Thursday, October 11, 2007

March of the muffins

Well, they do kind of look like they're marching somewhere, don't they? Not a better future anyway, just our bellies!

Sometimes I'll become hooked by an ingredient and keep using it like a woman obsessed until I can eat no more (and then feel a little bit sick as a result - you'd think I wasn't a grown-up or something). Last week, it was the turn of the humble lime.

Maybe there's not enough vitamin C in my diet and my body is trying to tell me something, maybe it's the lack of sunshine which is triggering some deep-seated need for fresh, zingy flavours, perhaps I just like the colour green a lot - who knows. But I wanted to sneak limes into everything we ate last week. And I nearly very nearly succeeded. So this recipe, and probably the next one too, is all about limes.

I first came across Robin Asbell when Heidi at 101 Cookbooks posted this recipe for red rice salad. Heidi loves wholegrains and hearty, healthy fair, as does Robin. So much so that she's written a book called The New Wholegrains Cookbook. Because I'm always interested in shoehorning some more fibre into my diet, I made a mental note to look it up when it eventually travelled across the Pond (American publications sometimes take a while to reach the UK and Ireland, if ever). So I was a bit suprised to see it in Waterstones* on Dawson Street just a couple of weeks later.** Of course, I snapped it up... It's cooking that's good for me, see? It's not an indulgent purchase... Honest!

And lo and behold, there was the recipe that (temporarily) satisfied my lime mania - lime coconut banana muffins made with wholewheat flour. The original recipe contained macadamia nuts. I didn't have any but the lime lust was so strong that I didn't feel that I had time to go out and buy some. I needed those muffins yesterday.

The results didn't disappoint. Strongly lime-flavoured, complemented by the coconut with just a hint of banana in the background. The wholewheat pastry made for a slightly tighter crumb but not the dense rockiness you might associate with 'healthier' treats of yesteryear.

I was sated - for the time being...

Lime-coconut banana muffins with macadamias from The New Wholegrains Cookbook by Robin Asbell

You'll need:

½ cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
2¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsweetened coconut, shredded
2 large over-ripe bananas
1 cup brown sugar
4 limes
1 large egg
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper cups.

2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt and coconut. In a separate bowl, mash up the bananas and whisk in the sugar.

3. Grate the zest from the limes and add to the dry mixture, then juice the limes and measure 1/2 cup of the juice for the batter, reserving 2 tablespoons for the glaze. Add the 1/2 cup lime juice, egg and oil to the banana mix and beat in thoroughly.

4. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture, then fold in the macadamias. Divide the mixture into the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

5. When the muffins are completely cool, put the icing sugar, two reserved tablespoons of lime juice and vanilla into a bowl. Stir thoroughly to make a stiff paste. If it is too dry, add a few more drops of juice. Drizzle the glaze across the top of each muffin and leave to set before serving.

*OK, I was in Waterstones but my new bookshop allegiance is to the excellent Hodges Figgis. Although, reading that Wikipedia entry, it seems all my money is going to the HMV group, whichever shop I buy from.
**Although it's probably coincidence, it tickles me to imagine that there's someone at Waterstones who reads Heidi's blog and buys in books on her recommendation.


hellojed said...

Those muffins look so good! Great idea, will have to try out the recipe. Maybe this weekend?

Anonymous said...

Well if the book money is going to swell the profits of the HMV Group, at least you're helping your sibling (ultimately) ...

Jen said...

Hi Hellojed - they are indeed a tasty treat! A really powerful hit of lime. And I love the idea that they might be slightly good for you, what with the wholewheat flour... At least that's what I'm telling myself!

Dad - yes, that's true isn't it? Hope he's happy about it! HMV bought Fopp (a music chain) recently as well. The HMV empire is expanding... We'll drag you along to H&F when you come to visit, see what you think.

Anonymous said...

ok, but here's the weird bit, i keep forgetting i get discount and end up going to borders instead, though that is mainly laziness cos there's a borders 2 doors down from the store.

damn i shouldn't have mentioned discount should i? now it's gonna b a big stack of cookery books on the xmas list, nevermind


Jen said...

Yay! Cookbooks for Christmas! I'll start making a list right now... Thanks J :-)