There’s not much to say about this post except… I’m weak. I caved in. I really am a lost cause.
You see, I recently bought another two (2) new cookbooks. Well, there was the Small Adventures in Cooking one, and now, after a suitably solemn interval, I have Annabel Langbein’s The Free Range Cook.
There’s more guilt with this latest book because it’s big and heavy and full of colour photographs. Small Adventures in Cooking looks like a moderately serious novel or something, and doesn’t scream ‘Make something from me or you’ll feel guiiiilteeee...’ every time you glance at it. Hopefully this situation won’t be around much longer, because I now have a longed-for e-reader woohoo!, though the only books I’ve downloaded so far are a (free) copy of Pride and Prejudice and a history of the Churchills (Winston’s family). Of course, I haven’t read either book yet, but at least they’re not sitting on the dining table, mocking me with ‘Read me or you’ll feel stuuuuupid…’.
Pear and Date Muffins
175g pitted dates
1 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
60g butter, chopped
250g brown sugar
175g self-raising flour (or 175g plain flour plus 2 ½ tsp baking powder)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground ginger
2 pears, cored and diced
1. Preheat oven to 180C/360F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper cases.
2. Place the dates, water and baking soda in a large pot and boil for 5 minutes. The baking soda will puff up, hence the need for a large pot. Remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher to break up the dates to a mush.
3. Stir in the chopped butter and mix until the butter is melted. Mix in the sugar and eggs, then fold in the flour, vanilla and ginger. Note again the need for the large pot.
4. Pour the batter into the muffin pan then push down a couple of pear pieces into each muffin.
5. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
6. These muffins can be served warm, or they can be reheated in the microwave for 20 seconds.
For an awesome accompaniment, try my favourite caramel sauce, here
Recipe adapted from The Free Range Cook by Annabel Langbein
Some of the ingredients, including flour, a lot of brown sugar, pears, eggs, dates, ground ginger, vanilla and butter.
A serious Tabitha cat was flocking around the kitchen, as usual, but decided that dates are not her thing.
The soaked/boiled dates are mashed to a brown mush before the other ingredients are tossed in.
Pieces of pear are studded into the batter before baking. The muffins are a lovely tanned colour.
For these muffins (for presentation), a slice of pear was put in the bottom of the muffin case before pouring in the batter. Remove the paper case from the muffin before serving on a plate.
The muffins are quite sweet and spicy, so serving them with refreshing pear slices is ideal.
Alternatively, if you're not scared of a little sweetness, top with some caramel sauce for some more scrumptiousness.
For another Annabel Langbein recipe, try this