Friday, 27 January 2012

G&T time - but not before I tell you about these chocolate muffins

I was mentally trying to review the day ahead over breakfast this morning with half an ear on the children’s conversation. They’re big on jokes at the moment and Blue in particular is trying to push the comedy boundaries

“What do you canaries eat for breakfast” “Tweetabix!”
“What do you get if you run a canary over with a lawnmower” “Shredded Tweet!”

“What do you get if you run a banana skin over with a lawnmower” “Slippery gears” then (rather despondent) “That’s not really funny is it mummy?” “Well, not really, love, but it’s a good try.”
It’s hard being 8.
“Mummy” “Yeeessss” “What if I really did have a lawnmower, and there really was a banana skin and I revved it up really hard – vvvrrrroooommmmmmm - and it went racing over the banana skin?”

cup of tea - necessary when listening to Blue's jokes
Too early.

So where was I? Oh yes, reviewing the day. With a cup of tea.

I remembered that I’d had a vague arrangement to see a friend for coffee. I was rapidly coming to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to be able to fit it in during school hours, but that I could invite her and her boys over for tea. Quick text, job done. Now, what are we going to eat?

Nigella’s fabulous marmite spaghetti was already on the menu for the kids – easy to double, no problem, slice up some carrots and cucumber, add a few cherry tomatoes (with lots of added food miles) -  but what for pudding? I still have some of Hugh’s pumpkin and raisin tea loaf left over (although I made the beetroot variation – I couldn’t resist the promised purple marbling, and it didn’t disappoint, although I’d say not so much purple marbling as pink flecking). Blue and Pink have been enjoying it in their lunch boxes all week (really, they have – Pink, who will often survive a day at school on half a slice of cucumber and a few crumbs of oatcake regardless of what delights I put in to tempt her, has eaten a whole slice every day – amazing when you consider (1) that normally she won’t touch beetroot with a bargepole and (2) how much giggling and whispering time eating a whole slice must take up). However, I’m not sure it’s the kind of thing I would offer up as pudding to guests. Especially discerning guests of the 7 & 5 yr old boy kind.
I had a quick flick through Kitchen, and then reached for Dan. Muffins had occurred to me, and when I saw this recipe, I couldn’t resist. It also appeared that I already had everything required in the cupboard apart from eggs which I was going to have to buy anyway. Excellent.

Having completed the daily beasting that is making sure the kids are dressed and ready for school, and having kissed Blue goodbye (he walks to school on his own – I bite my nails every morning) I had a few minutes (have to give him a head start) so decided to be super-organised and get everything lined up and ready to go so that I could whip up the muffins while I was making my coffee and before settling down to the day’s work . While doing this, I realised that we didn’t have enough cornflour, but given the recipe decided that custard powder would probably do in its place, and headed out the door, Pink and the dog in tow.
After a glorious walk  – bright blue skies, crisp frosty morning, dog basically behaved – I got home with my eggs and some vegetable oil, and set to. I’ve never made muffins this way before, basically making a chocolate custard then beating in eggs and sifting the flour on top and beating in – and I was worried that they might be quite dense, but after the requisite 25 minutes, they looked risen and cooked and smelled divine.
out of the oven and looking good!

treacle chocolate fudge frosting
I had to put off the frosting till after pick up this afternoon. But work, another dog walk and dealing with the fall out of a busy week at school on the 15 minute walk home, had at least given me the time to decide between meringue butter cream and treacle chocolate fudge. More custard (again custard powder instead of cornflour, this time with treacle) and not quite enough dark chocolate, plus some butter and vanilla extract, and bingo. Treacel chocolate fudge frosting. Divine doesn’t begin to describe it.
I have to say that I couldn’t wait – in the interests of deciding whether they were the best chocolate muffin I would ever eat, I had to try them. Reader, I was not disappointed. If I was going to make any adjustments, I might include some chocolate chips, rather than just melting the chocolate in to the custard when making the muffins, but they weren’t heavy, and the frosting went beautifully.

Did I mention that my friend and her boys couldn’t make it after all? All the more for us!

a better cup of tea - one with a muffin attached

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