This week I read a really lovely piece in The New Yorker on food in literature, about the joy of reading about what others eat and drink. To my mind, some characters can almost be defined by the food they consume – think of Chief Inspector Montalbano in the Andrea Camilleri novels – his lunches, his coffees and his dinners are central to who he is and how he solves crimes on Sicily. I love the details of the seafood, the wine and the times he comes across a wayside restaurant where he partakes of an excellent lunch. Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti also enjoys food, with his family lunches and dinners an important part in plot development. It is not just Italian based detectives that enjoy good food, Evert Bäckström in Leif GW Perssons novels is also a gourmand.
When I started this blog, I didn’t think I would spend so much time on writing about food. It’s something I like reading about, and can easily relax with a cookery book or writing on food. Today, Sunday, is a cold and sunny day, the sort of day to wrap up warmly, drink lots of tea and head to the kitchen for some baking before settling down with a book.
I bought rhubarb again yesterday, and decided not to make a rhubarb crumble, my usual ‘go to’ thing to do with that tart, beautifully coloured fruit (or is it a vegetable?). I thought about muffins, and after some rather unsatisfactory searching for a recipe I fancied, I turned to that perennial favourite, the Australian Women’s Weekly book of muffins, scones and breads, where I found these rhubarb crumble muffins. Here’s my version, slightly adapted.
Rhubarb – in the garden but not grown in the garden
Preheat the oven to 200C and grease a 12 hole muffin tin. Begin by preparing the filling. For this you need 190g chopped rhubarb, 55g brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of water, a little powdered ginger and the rind of a lemon. Cook until soft. I also added a bit of apple as there was one in the bowl that had to be eaten that day.
Sift 375g of self-raising flour into a large bowl, add 130g caster sugar, 100g melted butter, 250ml milk and a lightly beaten egg, and stir until well mixed. Half fill each of the muffin tin ‘moulds’ with the mixture, spoon the rhubarb filling on top, then cover with the remaining muffin mix. Make a crumble topping by combining 25g wholemeal flour, 65g brown sugar, 2 tablespoons porridge oats, 1 teaspoon of lemon rind and 30g melted butter, and sprinkle over the top of the muffins Bake for around 20 minutes.
Verdict? A super moist muffin, bursting with a citrus/rhubarb/ginger taste. The crumble topping was very crumbly. Would make a good desert muffin, served with yoghurt or sour cream perhaps.
Inside a muffin