I've been sat here for about 20 minutes thinking of how to start my first blog post, typing and erasing each sentence I start with. How do I make my first sentence so wow that people actually stick around and read about what I've made? So I gave up, as writing has never really been my thing, and hoped that the recipe title and pictures will do all the hard work for me.
These muffins started out as an innocent attempt at the savoury muffins from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. All I have ever had were sweet sweet muffins of all sorts, but never a savoury cheese-y, spinach-y muffin. So I made them. And they were really good. But I wanted more savoury-ness. My second attempt introduced olives and a chilli, and that batch was demolished. But I still wanted more. Some fresh mint, paprika and an extra chilli later, I think I hit the jackpot.
These muffins are not crazy cheese-y, and allow the other ingredients (mint, onions, chilli) to shine through. I added an extra chilli as I enjoy a spicy kick, but feel free to only add one, or omit it altogether. I also found the batter to be quite dry so I added more milk than suggested, but I would recommend you start off with stated amount of milk and add more if needed. Also, I added olives, but not enough for it to stand out - but that was due to the amount I had on hand rather than anything else, and next time I'll add quite a bit more. So, basically, I changed the recipe quite a bit to suit my taste buds.. But isn't it funner that way?
Cheese, Spinach and Mint Muffins
Adapted from (or inspired by) The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
(Makes 12-14 muffins)
30 grams of butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely sliced*
100 grams baby spinach leaves, chopped
Around 20-25 fresh mint leaves, finely sliced
160 grams pitted green olives, finely chopped
360 grams plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
250g grated Cheddar cheese**
220-250ml whole milk
Preheat the oven to 170ºC (325ºF).
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, then fry the onion and chillies until cooked, but not browned. Add the spinach, mint and olives and mix for a minute then set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, paprika, salt, pepper and cheese/s. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk and egg, and slowly pour into the flour mixture and beat with a handheld electrical whisk until all the ingredients are well mixed. (I've tried to mix the mixture with a handheld whisk but I always find the batter too thick and dry to mix that way, so I mix it manually with a wooden spoon, which is an arm workout - but I find it easier for me).
Stir in the onion mixture with a wooden spoon until evenly dispersed.
Spoon the mixture into paper cases until two-thirds full, or in a greased muffin tin, until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes (for my oven, its 35 minutes), or until the muffins are deep golden and the sponge bounces back when touched. To make sure the muffins are cooked insert a skewer in the center of the muffins, the skewer should come out clean, however if there are a few crumbs attached then the muffins need a few minutes longer.
Leave the muffins to cool slightly in the tray before transferring onto a wire cooling rack.
Serve warm (it's delicious warm) or serve when completely cooled (also delicious).
*As noted above, you can use this amount, half, or none. I didn't deseed my chillies, but if you want to, feel free to do so.
** I used whatever hard cheese we had on hand, which ranged from Cheddar, Parmesan, and Emmental, and sometimes a mixture of cheeses. I think Mozzarella would work really well here too.