When Elliott was born my mum showered me in food. It was the best couple of weeks despite being in hospital for just under a week. Joel would deliver a basket of goodies from my mum every night – freshly made juices full of beetroot, ginger and all things healthy, a thermos full of roast vegetable soups, salads and muffins. I devoured it all and felt very blessed and very happy. I really couldn’t stomach the hospital food and mum’s food was always fresh and wholesome which every new mum needs.
We all moved in with mum and dad as I recovered from my fourth and final Caesarean, and the food continued. My mother-in-law moved in too and we were one big happy family. The highlight were these beautiful muffins mum made most mornings to have with a pot of tea for all us ladies, the children and any extra visitors.
I can’t remember the book that this recipe is from, one of mum’s and they are away in Russia for another few months. For some reason I can’t seem to make them as good as mum’s. She has this fantastic heavy cast-iron muffin tray which I think makes the difference. These are lovely and buttery. They aren’t those giant muffins you find at cafes, just nice homely muffins that taste wonderful. Best eaten warm straight from the oven with a big pot of tea to be shared with family and friends. Newborn baby is optional (after 4 of my own I think I’ll take my muffin and tea without the newborn these days!)
I will write down the base recipe and then give the 4 alternatives – blueberry, choc chip, banana, pecan. Every one a winner and very simple to throw together, even first thing in the morning for school lunches. I was up at 6am and I preheated the oven and melted the butter then left it to cool while I went for a walk to the bakery. When I got back I made the muffins and had them in the oven, cooked and cooled well in time to pop in lunch boxes. If that sounds smug then I can assure you I don’t whip up batches of muffins on weekday mornings normally, this was an emergency bake … plus my house is looking rather messy at the moment!
Best to make these on the weekend, have a few for morning tea then pop the rest in a container in the freezer. They can go straight from the freezer into lunch boxes. They can be frozen for up to 3 months and if you want to serve them warm then thaw them in the fridge, wrap them in foil and pop them in a 180 degree oven for 8 minutes.
2 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Grease a muffin tray or two (on average I find this mix will make 18 -20 muffins).
Sift flour into a large bowl and stir in the sugar. Make a well in the centre. Mix together the milk, eggs and vanilla extract and pour in the well followed by the melted butter. Fold gently together until just mixed. The odd lump or two is fine. Better then over mixing otherwise your muffins won’t be light and fluffy.
Fill the muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. They are really lovely when nicely browned.
Add 300g fresh or frozen blueberries to the flour and toss.
Add 1 1/2 cups of choc chips to flour and toss. Replace the caster sugar with 1/2 cup brown sugar.
Add an extra 1/4 cup caster sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice. Add 1 cup of mashed banana to the melted butter. Use only 1 cup of milk.
Replace the caster sugar with 3/4 cup brown sugar. Add 3/4 cup of chopped pecans with the flour.