Wednesday, 3 November 2010

How about them apples?

I have been baking more and more lately - mainly because my attempts are no longer total disasters.  I know I bang on about purchases changing my life a fair bit but, after buying a oven thermometer, I discovered that my oven had been running 25c hotter than the thermostat.  Now, like magic (or just actual science), perfectly formed and very delicious cakes.  Seriously getting very grand illusions of opening a bakery, even though my cake successes are not even in double figures.  I like to dream big.

As previously noted life has been rather hectic recently and time at home has been limited.  Baking slows everything down, gives you space to think and to concentrate on the simple things.  Like creaming the butter and sugar to pale softness and sieving the flour until it falls like snow.  And then there is there is the fruits of your labour...
Spiced Apple Muffins

These muffins are a celebration of the British apple.  Shopping last week I was slightly shocked to see that 90% of the apples on sale were from France or Spain.  Ironic considering the glut we have in this country at this time of year.  If you make this recipe (I hope you do because it is lovely) and don't use British apples I may no longer be your friend.

The apples pack in the moisture and the result is fragrant, delicately spiced and very very moreish.  Great for breakfast or with a cup of tea on a stormy Autumn afternoon.

100g (4oz) light brown muscavado sugar
60g (2oz) soft unsalted butter
225ml (8 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
255g (9oz) plain flour
3 tsp of baking powder
sultanas, a small handful
walnuts, a small handful
apples, quartered and cored
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of ground allspice
pinch of salt

Sieve the flour, salt and baking power into a large bowl.  In a second large bowl cream the softened butter and sugar, by hand or by electric mixer - the important thing is that it pales to a light toffee colour.  Fold in the flour mixture into the butter mixture alternatively with the milk until smooth.

Now you have the basic muffin batter you can add the flavour.  Grate in the apples, skin and all, throw in the sultanas, walnuts and all the spices.  Fold together until combined.

Spoon into muffin cases set in a muffin tray and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.  Easy!

I also want to show off my beautiful new crockery that Bo and Angie surprise me with; how lucky am I!  The range is called Blue Fluted by Jamie Oliver and is pretty extensive so that's my Christmases and birthday's sorted for a while.  I love the pretty vintage look and am seriously coveting the oval platters.  Its so lovely having proper grown up crockery and horrible leftovers from our student days.