Tag Archives: muffins

Winberry muffins

winberry muffins

 

If you go down the woods today…..

Or, indeed walk up a large hill, then you may well be in for a surprise. No bears having picnics (I hope) but bushes of these delicious little bursts of purpley goodness. My lovely friend and I try to take a walk each week. It’s always a great walk whatever the weather. We put the world to rights in an hour and a half. At the top of the hill you are always rewarded with a wonderful 360° view, whether that is cloud shrouded fields, or crops withering under a heat haze. But at this time of the year you are also rewarded with winberry bushes. There is a mass of them, covered in these tiny berries. They are time-consuming to pick and this is made slightly more difficult, but also more hilarious, by my friend’s dog cavorting through the bushes, stopping to hoover some of the berries up with his front teeth. You don’t get many in fifteen minutes of picking (unless you are a dog), but you get enough for a couple of batches of these muffins. So, well worth the purple stained fingers.

winberries

 

The winberry is a cousin of the blueberry but much smaller. It is known by lots of other names – bilberry, whortleberry, blaeberry, windberry, whinberry etc etc. They grow on nutrient poor acidic soil and my friend and I were discussing how amazing it is that on this windswept hill, which spends a fair amount of time under low slung cloud and takes the worst of the winter weather these little bushes thrive and produce these delicious fruits.

Please remember that if the land on which the winberry grows has an owner then you should ask their permission before foraging. Take only a few, leaving plenty for the birds and mammals which rely on them. Most importantly, make sure you know for certain that it is a winberry bush and not something poisonous.

Makes 12 mini muffins (fairy cake size) or 6 muffins.

150g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
25g caster sugar
1 egg
80g butter
200ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
80-100g winberries (or less if you haven’t managed to pick that many)

Method

When making muffins, lightness is key, so sift the flour and baking powder and don’t overmix.

Sift together the flour and the baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar gently. Make a well in the centre.

Melt the butter and add to the beaten egg, the milk and the vanilla extract in a jug.

Pour the liquid into the flour and mix very briefly. Add the winberries and mix just enough to distribute them.You should still have some lumps of flour.

Spoon into muffin cases in a patty tin. I used cupcake sized cases to make mini muffins and made 12 rather than 6 large ones.

Place in a preheated oven at 200°c, gas mark 6 for 15-20 minutes. I took them out of the oven five minutes before they were ready and sprinkled demerara sugar on their tops and continued to cook until the muffins were golden brown. This gives them a slightly crunchy top.

half eaten winberry muffin

Blackberry and apple muffins

With all my talk of things that have not been good in the garden this year, (and then reeling off a list of the things that have done well and caused envy in several of you – sorry),  I can report that blackberries have done really well this year. We have several blackberry brambles in our hedge – which says a lot for my weeding skills.

It has been lovely to watch the girls crouching by the hedge feasting off the goodies. Although, this has occasioned me to stand over them a few times reminding them that they must only eat the berries that look like purple raspberries and not to eat any that are single purple berries (again my lack of weeding skills and the habit of deadly nightshade liking to grow in hedges). Am I coming across as paranoid? If I am, then it’s because I am.

I formed a bad habit of giving the girls something to eat when I meet them from school. This means a trip to the shop next to their school for a mint choc chip ice cream a couple of times a week, or a chocolate bar fetched out of my bag. But I do try to cook them something once a week. I was inspired by Michele’s recent post about bran muffins. The ones I cooked in the end are roughly based on my mini chocolate muffins  but are probably healthier. I wondered how they would be received by the girls, as they can be fussy little blighters. I am pleased to report that they really enjoyed them and ate several.

This recipe makes 12 mini muffins (fairy cake size) and would make 6 normal sized muffins.

60g wholemeal flour
60g plain flour
30g oatbran
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon

100ml milk
1 egg
25g melted butter
50g muscovado sugar
1 eating apple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
50g blackberries (frozen, if that is what you have)

2- 3 tsp of demerara sugar for the topping

Method

Measure the flours, oatbran, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl and mix well.

Put the milk, egg, melted butter, sugar, apple and blackberries in a large bowl and mix these well. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix lightly. Do not overmix. Divide the mixture into 12 fairy cake cases. Sprinkle each one with demerara sugar.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 for 15 -20 minutes until golden and firm on top.