When Susan Reimer, a Canadian with a science background and a love of baking, moved to Britain, she was frustrated to find that her favourite recipes didn't work. Eventually she realised that measurements and ingredients needed translation - two countries separated by a common language, once again. Experimentation led eventually to a cookery book, Muffins Fast and Fantastic, now in its third edition, and at one time available from Lakeland, one of the great cookstores. I have bought all three editions, but stick to the second edition as it's ringbound - I don't have to bend the spine to follow a recipe. It's full of useful information on the different cooking cultures and terminology, there's an explanation of what each ingredient means and why it's there, and the recipes are just so easy! I've located and unpacked my set of nesting Tupperware plastic bowls. All I have to do now is translate the ingredients into French...
Earlier in the week I made carrot and walnut muffins. The result was very like carrot cake, but without all that oil. You can also add chopped raisins, or just make straight carrot muffins. I mixed farine de blé with 20% wholemeal cake flour which came with me from the UK, and this gave them a bit of extra texture.
For 11-12 muffins:
10oz (280g) plain flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking powder (half a packet of levure chimique)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons (10ml) ground cinnamon
2-3 fl oz (60-90ml) milk or water
2 tablespoons (30ml) honey
4-5 oz (110-140g) white granulated sugar or light brown soft sugar
12 oz (340g) carrot, finely grated or processed
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla essence
3 fl oz (90 ml) vegetable oil or 3oz (85g) butter
2-3 oz (60-85g) chopped walnuts or raisns (optional)
For cream cheese icing:
2oz (60g) cream cheese (e.g. St. Moret), softened,
4 oz (110g) icing sugar, sifted (I use ordinary sugar, ground in my old Moulinex)
¼ teaspoon (1.2ml) vanilla essence
1. Prepare muffin tins. Preheat oven to 375 - 400°F (190-200°C) or for a fan-assisted oven, to 170°C.
2. In a large bowl (the blue one), sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and cinnamon.
3. In a separate bowl (the green one), beat the egg with a fork. Add milk/waterm honey, sugar, carrot and vanilla, followed by oil/melted butter. Stir well.
4. Pour all the liquid mixture into the dry. Stir just until combined, adding walnuts/raisins during the final strokes. Do not over-stir.
5. Spoon the mix into the tins. Bake for 30-25 minutes, until tops spring back when pressed gently.
6. Allow muffins to cool before icing them. If you want to ice the muffins, blend the ingredients using the back of a spoon (in the yellow tupperware bowl) and you get quite a runny mixture. Tim's more of an icing man than me, and he showed me how to do it - to build up a good thickness took three layers, allowing each to set for about half and hour between layers.