|Part of the testing batches for the new book|
It started on the plane, flying to Sydney recently. I was presented with a plate of food (luckily I did take my own) and part of it, was something called an "Orange and Poppyseed Muffin". It didn't look like a muffin, and on opening the packet, it certainly didn't smell like any real food I knew - certainly not oranges. Turning over the packet, these were the ingredients: Muffin Mix (sugar, wheat flour, vegetable fat, emulsifiers (322, soy, 471, 477) antioxidant (320), milk solids, modified maize starch (1422) mineral salts,(can't read the two numbers), salt, flavour, vegetable gum (4150, vegetable oil (antioxidant 307), food acid (330), egg, canola oil, water, orange fruit paste (contains orange juice concentrate) poppy seeds, colour (water, colour 110), preservative (211), food acid (330). This, dear friend, is not a muffin - it is not anything real at all and a great example of our Matrix food world of illusion - this is an illusion of a muffin. Foods made with highly refined flour starches, sugar and oils with generous handfuls of chemicals in the form of preservatives, colour and flavour. I get too distressed when presented with these foods I know, but I can't help but feel a deep sense of betrayal when this happens. That muffin was a tragedy, as it offers no deliciousness whatsoever, and certainly no nourishment.
So let's talk real muffins - whole food style - no illusions here. Firstly, I rarely make mine with 100% wholemeal flours - even working with 50% will give you a bucketful of variables to deal with. Bear in mind though, that when I use a 'white' flour, in real, wholefood world, white wheat and spelt flours are made by grinding the whole grain, then sieving of various amounts of bran and germ - and certainly not bleached. So they remain a good and wholesome option, but I've also included some alternatives you might like to try. Good brands of these flours in Australia include Kialla, Demeter Mill and Four Leaf.
|It actually looks like an apple and berry muffin|
I use 400gm fruit and weigh it with the stone/peel in. Cut dryer fruits small (eg apple) - 1 - 1.5cm, and wet fruits (mango, stone etc) bigger. I like to use rapadura sugar - a whole dried sugar cane (also often called panela) - it adds delicious flavour and a subtle, whole sweetness. Maple syrup is also a good whole option. The trickiest part of making these is judging the amount of liquid to add - in Melbourne and Perth we used 3/4 cup milks (this is the amount I most commonly use) and in Sydney 1 1/4 cups - (though you will use more if using wheat flour) your batter should not clump, and move easily as the spoon moves through it. Don't over mix either - stir it as little as possible, and try to gauge ahead of time if you need a little more milk. If your muffin comes out of the oven looking fabulous but collapses as it cools, it was too moist. Bake it at a moderate temperature - 180c or 165c fan forced. A good guide for your oven is this muffin should take 30 - 35 minutes to cook - that's the right temperature. Finally make sure you weigh your flour to the measurements below... this helps to reduce the variables.
These muffins are best eaten the day they are made and frozen - they're not meant to last for 1 year (like the plane ones were)......
Can I tell you before I go, what a fabulous time I had in Melbourne and Sydney - in class I met the most wonderful, lovely people. Can you believe that Rachel and Davina drove from Canberra to be at class - with their two gorgeous babies !!! ? It truly was a Nourishing Young Children class. Thank you, each and every one of you for being there - I love and feel so honoured to be a part of your lives (including you Sarah and Shar) - sitting in your kitchens, through my books. What a beautiful and deeply nourishing community we are building. In Sydney we were lucky enough to have my dear friend Holly Davis teach with me - Holly is such a wealth of wisdom and experience, and it just made it extra special. For those of you in Sydney - do check out Holly's classes. We both have a very similar background, believe the same things but express them differently - as we all do - we all have our own song. Belinda graduated from the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program last year, and flew down from the Sunshine Coast to help me - could not have pulled it off without Bel.
Indeed, our patchwork community of real and nourishing food, and a meaningful life blessed with beauty in all it's many forms is growing. Thank you all.....
|Belinda, myself and Holly Davis - exhausted but happy at the end of a long and very warm weekend of Nourishing Young Children in Sydney|
|The amazing Karen Ward from the amazing Honest to Goodness and myself|
MY CLASSIC MUFFIN
Dairy Free Option
Makes 9 - 10 good size muffins
½ cup roughly chopped nuts
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons coconut palm or rapadura sugar
Other Ratios and Mixtures of Flours:
• Light + Fluffy:
2 cups white unbleached spelt flour or all purpose wheat flour
• A Little Bit Chewy:
1 cup unbleached spelt flour or all purpose wheat flour + ½ cup wholemeal spelt or wheat flour + ½ cup rolled oat or spelt
• 100% Wholemeal, Moist and More Chewy
1 cup wholemeal spelt or wheat flour + ½ cup oatmeal + ½ cup rolled oats
• High Protein
1 cup white unbleached spelt flour or all purpose wheat flour + ½ cup Quinoa flour + ½ cup Quinoa flakes
1 cup /130gm unbleached/white spelt flour or 130 gm all purpose white wheat flour
1 cup /145 gm wholemeal spelt flour or 130 gm wholemeal wheat flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ cup rapadura sugar
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
80gm butter unsalted – melted and cooled a little, or 1/3 cup macadamia or almond oil
½ cup full cream, non – homogenized milk
½ cup buttermilk, kefir or yoghurt
(plus extra as needed, especially if using wheat flour)
½ cup each rice milk and coconut milk (plus extra as needed) with 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar added.
400 gm fruit
Preparing to Bake
Pre heat the oven to 180c or 165c if fan forced. Place muffin papers into a 12 - hole muffin tin. Have your topping prepared and ready, and your fruits cut.
Place flours, baking powder, and sugar into a bowl and stir through with a whisk to lighten and break up the flours, and sugar clumps. Add the fruit (except if using berries) and stir gently to distribute evenly.
Place the egg, vanilla, butter and ¾ cup (or 1 cup if using wheat) mixed milks into a jug and whisk together. If using rice and coconut milk, add the apple cider vinegar also. Add to the dry ingredients and gently mix together taking great care not to over- mix and work your batter. Add the remaining milk as needed, and gently fold through berries if using.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, generously sprinkle with the topping and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until golden. Cool for 10 minutes in the tins, then remove and cool on wire racks.