Friday, 21 September 2012

It's still summer

For some reason, I got a flashback to a really annoying Finnish song that is played all through August on all the major radio channels. Every single bloody year. The lyrics go something like "There is still days of summer left, there will still be beautiful days, you can still find a friend, you will still get your chance". I absolutely hate the song, given that for the first 30 years of my life, I had to listen to it about a gazillion times. Ok, not the first 30 years, as it's probably from sometime in the late 90s. Anyways, the point was that it's probably one of the most annoying songs ever, and I can't understand why people keep requesting it. But the other point is that summer is clearly coming to an end. And I decided it bloody well won't end yet! I'm making summer muffins!! I know I have been wearing a jacket in the mornings, and today I was wearing a scarf as well, and it's not too hot to wear boots anymore. But summer can't be gone yet. Today when I went outside, it was almost warm in the sun. If you happened to be standing in a place where there was no wind at all.

Actually one thing I have wanted to bake with for quite a while is the Fazer strawberry chocolate. And by some miracle, a bar of said chocolate has managed to stay alive in my apartment for the last four days since I came back from Finland. However that happened I have no idea, but I decided I have to take the chance and bake with it right now before I mistakenly inhale it. I knew I wanted to bake some sort of muffins. Strawberry chocolate muffins. But clearly the muffins need something else as well. Strawberry chocolate and what? Strawberries of course! Duuh!! But not just any strawberries. Roasted strawberries! And then of course the hard choice of which muffins recipe to choose. Well, actually that wasn't a hard choice at all, as I made some super quick white choc and fudge muffins in the weekend. I really loved the muffin recipe for two reasons. First it's so quick to make, no whisking needed just a quick stir, and the second one is that the creme fraiche brings a nice sourness so that the muffins don't get too sweet even with the super sweet add ins.

Since I liked both the original muffins, which I shamelessly stole from the blog The English Kitchen and my own summer variation, I thought I would post both recipes so you can try them both. By the way, I really love The English Kitchen, it has amazingly good recipes and great pics. Do pop over there for a look. I love the idea that the blogger is a Canadian who moved to the UK and tries out traditional classic British recipes. And takes beautiful photos of the food as well. I think I should start a section of my blog where I make all sorts of Finnish stuff that I would buy ready made if I was back home, but have to learn how to make from scratch now that I'm living in the UK.

White chocolate and fudge muffins from The English Kitchen (makes 12):
300g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
115g of golden caster sugar
85g of fudge chunks
85g of white chocolate chips
125ml of whole milk
100ml of half fat creme fraiche
1 large free range egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g of butter, melted

The howto:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl and the milk, creme fraiche, egg, vanilla and melted butter in another. Combine but mix as little as possible. Scoop into silicone muffin moulds and bake for about 20 minutes.

"It's still summer" chocolate and roasted strawberry muffins (makes 6):
For the roasted strawberries:
400g strawberries
1.5 tbsp lemon infused rapeseed oil
1 tbsp pomegranate balsamic
1 tbsp strawberry vinegar
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp vanilla sugar

For the muffins (makes 6):
150g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
60g light muscovado sugar
100g strawberry chocolate (chocolate with freeze dried strawberry chunks)
60ml of whole milk
50ml of half fat creme fraiche
1/2 large free range egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
30g of butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Hull the strawberries and chop up into smaller pieces, mix all the ingredients of the strawberry marinade and coat berries in it. Spread out on an oven tray and roast for about 30-40 minutes, or until the strawberries are somwhat desiccated and the juices start to thicken and turn dark at the edges of the tray. Let cool.

Chop up the chocolate, mix it with the dry ingredients. Chop up the strawberries, and mix them with the milk, creme fraiche, egg, vanilla and melted butter. Combine with the dry ingredients, mix as little as possible. Scoop into silicone muffin moulds and bake for 20 minutes.

The verdict:
Like I already mentioned before, I love this recipe because it doesn't require you to get any kitchen equipment like electric whisks or food processors out of the cupboards. Sometimes a girl just needs a quick fix for a sugar craving. This most certainly is it, in less than half an hour from starting you will already have warm muffins on your plate. Or in my case, in my stomach.

Of the two flavour combinations, I have to admit the white choc and fudge was my favourite. Not saying that the strawberry and choc ones were bad, quite the opposite, I ate most of them in one go. And the roasted strawberries were perfect, but the muffins themselves did not turn out quite as good as I splashed a bit too much milk in them so the batter was a bit too runny I think. The great thing with both muffins was that they get really crispy on top, so it's a joy to dig into them. I think the strawberry ones would also have turned out better with white chocolate than milk chocolate. As an added bonus when making the strawberry variety is the amazing smell of roasting strawberries which fills the apartment.


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