As it is bake off fever here in the UK, I decided to put on my baking cap this weekend. I actually first made these muffins for a job interview when I had to come up with a new lunchtime product for a supermarket. I got the job in the end so all the endless recipe modifying and force feeding my family samples was worth it! They were actually a brilliant find as they make a superb lunchtime treat and you can really make them your own by adding all sorts of different ingredients. I got my original inspiration from Hugh Fearnely Whittingstall who has a few ideas you might like to try here.
I originally made them gluten free so I can vouch that using gluten free flour also works. You could use any flour you want though to get the flavour you want to achieve; it’s all personal preference. They are lovely on their own but also good served with a bowl of soup. You can freeze them as well so you can pop one into your lunch box for a change to sandwiches too. Here are the recipes for the ideas I came up with. There is no absolutes to the quantities used for the ingredient additions so if you want to add more ham for example just go for it!
Makes 12 large muffins
Basic Muffin Mixture:
400g plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of Soda
8 tbsp olive/rapeseed Oil
- Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
- In a large bowl, mix together all of the basic muffin ingredients together until roughly combined – don’t overmix. Add in your chosen ingredients (see below).
- Spoon the batter into the muffin tins. Bake for about 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
8 mixed olives, finely chopped
10 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
2-3 large, flamegrilled peppers (antipasti style from the jar)
A handful of fresh, finely chopped basil
125g of soft goat’s cheese/goat’s curd
A handful of pine nuts, to sprinkle on top
- Add the olives, basil, sundried tomatoes and flamegrilled peppers to the basic muffin batter.
- Spoon in a tbsp of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin case.
- Place about 20g each of the soft goats cheese/curd on top on the mixture in the cases.
- Use up the remainder of the mixture by spooning on top of the goat’s cheese, ensuring that it is covered.
- Sprinkle pine nuts on top of each muffin. Bake as above.
If you don’t like goat’s cheese (if you are a regular reader you may have realised that Hayley and I do!) you could mix in some Parmesan instead or use another cheese of you choice.
2 1/2 slices of thick cut, deli-style ham or ham hock
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 eating apple, skin on and finely chopped into small chunks
2 dessert spoonfuls of chutney (I think a fruit based chutney works well here)
150g mature cheddar cheese, to sprinkle on top
- Add the ham, onion, apple and chutney to the basic muffin batter.
- Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cases.
- Top each muffin which a generous sprinkling of cheddar cheese (about a handful), when this baked you get a gorgeous tangy cheese crust on the outside. Bake as above.
For a veggie option, just omit the ham. If you fancy changing the cheese too, a blue cheese like Stilton or Shropshire Blue would also be nice.