Saturday, May 05, 2007

Lazy days

A rare opportunity to curl up on the sofa on a hazy spring morning and eat breakfast while watching what’s going on in the park across the road.

Kids setting up the posts for their Saturday football practice, some hanging around on the sidelines and not looking quite so keen (I can sympathise). Joggers cracking a fair pace across the square in ones and twos. A toddler running at full pelt across the grass, his arms bouncing up and down, his smile broad – he hasn’t quite worked out how to stop without falling over. And it looks like a bit of a shock when he does (but dad comes to the rescue). Cherry and apple blossom slowly falling off the trees dotted around the park - white and pink petals drifting gently in the breeze to land across the street in the tiny scruffy strip of garden around our flat. People wandering past with the papers and a pint of milk from the corner shop – off to do the same thing as me and watch the world go by.

It’s a beautiful place and I’m going to miss it so much.

Yes, I was starting to fall into my own navel with introspection. So I scarfed down the rest of my breakfast and retreated to the boxroom kitchen (no window = no chance of depressing thoughts) to make muffins for Veggie Kate and D, who were coming round for a cuppa.

Veggie Kate is a slight misnomer as she's actually vegan. I looked at what was lurking in the fridge and what Isa Chandra recommended in her fantastic book Vegan with a Vengance. Recently published in a UK edition, it’s a sign of the times that you can find it readily available in any good bookshop near you. (And it’s doing quite nicely on the veggie page at Amazon.)

The fridge rummage turned up some carrots, so…

Carrot and raisin muffins
From Vegan with a Vengance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

You'll need:

75g raisins - soaked in hot water to plump them up
175g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground/freshly grated nutmeg
4 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
250ml of rice or soy milk
4 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
4 medium carrots, grated.

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 4. Spray a 12-hole muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or lightly grease with oil.

2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour. baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and salt.

3. Create a well in the centre and add the milk, oil and vanilla. Mix until just combined. Fold in the grated carrots and raisins.

4. Fill the muffin tins three quarters full. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes until a cocktail stick/knife inserted in the centre of one comes out clean. Let cool on a cooling rack.

Cook's notes

Of all the things I was expecting a vegan muffin to taste like, it wasn't eggy. I think it was the brand of soya milk I used, so I'm going to experiment with some others to see. But it wasn't overpowering-ly eggy - just a background taste. Mainly just lots of lovely cinnamon and carrots. Mmmmm.

Also, it only made enough batter to fill six large muffins holes in my tins (mini carrot cakes really) - the alternative was 12 small wide pancakes. So I need to get some cupcake tins or double the recipe. Either way it's a winner.

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