I’ve always been the kind of baker who’s drawn to the hand-made, rough-around-the-edges, but still thoughtfully crafted pudding, cake or loaf. For me, it’s the story behind the recipe that drives me to recreate much-loved recipes in my own kitchen and, in turn, add my own few sentences to the chapter.
When it comes to more-famous-than-me type bakers and cooks, I adore those who can slap together a delightful treat without too much pomp and don’t shy away from licking the beaters fervently while no one else is looking – or if you are the ever-delightful Nigella Lawson, while the whole world is looking and falling in love with you just a little bit more – swoon.
Plus, let’s be honest – who doesn’t love a super easy, no fuss recipe that’s sure to please? Especially when you can eat cupcakes for breakfast – (everybody cheer) – alright they’re muffins and there is certainly a difference, but let’s not beat around the bush. It’s the Christmas season, friends are inviting themselves around for brunch like nobody’s business – so let them eat cake.
So, today I pay homage to a great influence of mine – Nigella Lawson. This is her recipe that has got me out of tight nothing-to-serve spots on more than a few occasions and satisfied cravings for cake at breakfast time on a few other occasions. Ms Lawson, to you I tip my hat.
The Homage Orange Breakfast Muffin
75g unsalted butter – melted and cooled
250 grams of self-raising flour
25 grams of ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
75 grams golden caster sugar
Zest of 1 orange
100ml freshly squeezed orange juice
100ml full-fat milk
12 hole muffin tray lined with paper cases
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Combine the flour, ground almonds, bicarb, baking powder, sugar and orange zest in a large bowl. Combine the orange juice and milk into a jug and whisk in the egg and the cooled, melted butter. This mixture will split and look curdled as the milk and orange juice combine, but never fear, this concoction has extraordinary powers.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing with a fork as you go. The batter will be beautifully. Mix until only barely combined and never over mix – the odd lump is perfectly fine.
Enter the much talked about powers – When I first made this recipe I marvelled at the instant reaction between the acid from the juice and the raising agents. In the time takes to set out your muffin cases the mixture begins to transform into a cloud-like fluffy delight.
Spoon out the mixture equally into the muffin cases and cook for 18-20 minutes until lightly golden. Remove, in their paper cases, to a wire rack and let cool slightly (but not completely) before devouring – with butter, or clotted cream, or jam or a little of each. Makes 12
Recipe adapted from Nigella Bites, by Nigella Lawson