Monday and Tuesday last week were the best days man. Pret A Manger got me hooked on these grainy double berry muffins. It took two. Then all of a sudden they cut me off. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday they didn't have any. I was forced into the back streets of Manchester to get a fix, and the flabby, sickly excuses given to me did nothing to scratch that itch. Some ladies like cup cakes. They will swoon at the sight of those prissy little pastel confections. I like a muffin. All you can do to it, you have to do before it goes in the oven (with the exception of a quick drizzle with honey or icing sugar and water frosting) The muffin has nowhere to hide.
I bought 2 baking books, and some supplies, and thought, I'll do it myself.
Now some of you may have lovely childhood memories of baking with grannies. My great Gran was more likely to bung you a couple of slices of toast with the crusts cut off, which, while heavenly, was about the extent of the kitchen comforts. Nanna was great at showing me how to dye stilettos and fix earrings, but certainly no baking there apart from a couple of Christmas cakes. Mum was a bit more domestic Goddessy with her veggie style dinner party stuff, but I was definitely most unwelcome when she was in the cooking zone.
So I taught myself. I learnt quantities and methods off by heart and simplified them and here are my 'perfect muffins' instructions.
Laying everything out beforehand is for people with teams of helpers to put it all back.
All you're going to need is baking powder, flour, milk,sugar, oil, an egg and jolly bits to tart them up.
Use a cup or mug for quantities. Scales are rarely used enough to warrant buying them.
If you have two mixing bowls, I envy you and you may adopt my children gladly. I have one mixing bowl, and use another bowl for wet ingredients.
I don't have a sieve so I use a colander to push one cup of flour through. It helps the flour get air under it apparently, which is useful. I add a teaspoon of baking powder, a shake of salt, half a cup of sugar for sweet muffins, a teaspoon of sugar for savoury ones. Mix it all together.
In the other bowl crack the egg, pour in about a glug of oil, enough milk to mix the egg into.
Add the wet stuff to the dry stuff
Loosely fold together but be sure to leave it ugly and lumpy.
Now you can add the fun bits.
I like to throw in oats, poppy seeds, lemon curd (cover the bottom of muffin case with mixture, add a generous dollop of curd, cover with muffin mix) pistachios, dried cherries, almonds, cheese and wholegrain mustard, cocoa powder and chocolate chips, but you will use whatever you like.
Fill muffin cases 3/4 of the way up, and cook at about 200/gas mark 4 for 20 mins.
Stuff your face.