Over Christmas, the intention was to bake Piragi (savoury Latvian treats, like little pasties) but as things became more and more hectic, I took an executive decision not to make them and to test out a savoury muffin recipe instead. These went down a storm. Muffins for the Christmas Eve ‘pick n mix’, muffins for breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea and supper. And a snack in between. The vegetarian ones were really tasty too. I substituted the bacon for a mixture of chopped olives and courgette. I added some pumpkin seeds to the top of the veggie ones, to distinguish them. I reckon chillies would have nice in them and maybe some chopped peppers – I’m going to experiment. The recipe came from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall:
They were lovely hot AND cold and even microwaved. (Remember the days when microwaves were the new ‘thang’?! I recall dad ‘cooking’ an entire chicken for Sunday Dinner on defrost in the microwave, although I’m not sure it was meant to be on defrost).
These muffins do come out slightly paler than I thought they would – maybe red cheddar would provide more colour, as would wholemeal flour…??
Anyway, here’s the recipe:
1 tsp oil
100g streaky bacon, cut into 1cm pieces (or olives/diced peppers/courgettes)
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 spring onion, finely chopped
250g self-raising flour (wholemeal OR gluten free could be used)
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
80g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tbsp finely chopped chives (optional)
1 tbsp finely chopped herbs (I used thyme, rosemary and basil)
150g strong cheddar, grated
* Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
* Warm the oil over a medium heat and fry the bacon in it until just crisp. Lift the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. In the same fat, sauté the onion and spring onion until just softened, about five minutes, then set aside to cool.
* In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a jug, whisk the eggs, melted butter and buttermilk, stir them into the flour mixture with a spatula until just combined, then fold in the cooled bacon, onion, chives, herbs if using, and two-thirds of the cheese until just evenly distributed.
Spoon or scoop the mixture into the muffin tin, sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, and bake for about 18 minutes, until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.