About my baking challenge

I discovered the joy of baking for the first time ever in 2013, shortly after my dear mum passed away from cancer. During 2014 I tried to bring these two things together in a positive way , have fun and raise some money for Ashgate Hospice in Chesterfield where my mum passed away. Throughout the year I tried out new techniques and recipes from time to time ... and then sold some of my bakes for charity in my workplace. Since then I have continued to bake with some ups and downs .. and this blog charts my baking experiences, good and bad!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Winter Warmer

Up to now all my baking efforts have been focused on sweet treats; but with the cold days, and after the Christmas sugar rush I fancied trying out something savoury. I saw this yummy looking recipe for red pepper & goats' cheese muffins in a leaflet I got inside the newpaper, and made them yesterday as thought they would be the perfect thing with soup on a cold winter lunchtime. It's also my first attempt at a Paul Hollywood recipe!!

Red Pepper & Goats' Cheese Muffins

Taken from: Daily Mail leaflet adapted from The Great British  Bake Off: Everyday by Linda Collister (with recipes by Mary Berry & Paul Hollywood).

Makes:12 (so they say .... I made 10 :-) )

135g (4.75 oz) log style goats' cheese, crumbled into approx 1cm chunks
1 medium red pepper - cored, seeded and cut into 1cm chunks
300g (10.5 oz) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I omitted this as I didn't have any, and used black pepper instead)
1 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh basil or parsley (I used parsley)
225ml (8 fl oz) buttermilk, at room temperature
1 medium egg, at room temperature
100ml (3.5 fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil.

Tip: If you don't have any buttermilk (I don't and don't know where to get it) you can make your own by adding 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar to 225ml of milk, beat slightly to combine, and leave for 10-15 minutes to curdle.

12 hole muffin tin, lined with paper muffin cases.

1. Pre-heat oven to 190°C/170°C fan/Gas Mark 5.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and pepper into a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped basil or parsley, red pepper and goats' cheese and stir thoroughly using a wooden spoon.
3. Lightly beat the buttermilk with the egg and olive oil in a measuring jug just to mix, then pour into the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined (I did my best to "fold" this in).

4.Spoon into the paper cases evenly.

5. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes until muffins are golden brown and feel just firm when pressed in the centre.

6. Leave to cool in the tray for 2 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack. Eat warm or at room temperature the same or next day. Once cold, store in an airtight container.

This recipe really was very easy to make. The hardest bit was getting the paper muffin cases to behave themselves while I spooned the mixture into them ... they seem to move about a lot more than normal cupcake cases,and I did slop a bit of mixture onto the points of the cases ... but it didn't affect the taste ;-).

Being a fairly novice baker still, I was nervous of not having to beat the mixture to make it light and fluffy as I do with cakes; but I guess this is because it is made with oil rather than butter.

Originally I baked these for 25 minutes and they did seem to be done; but in hindsight I think they were still fractionally undercooked. I was in a real rush to try them and ate one with my soup while still very warm ... it stuck quite badly to the paper, crumbled and seemed a teeny bit greasy and undercooked. As they were still hot I popped them back in the oven for 3 more minutes and then let them cool completely ... when I ate a room temperature one today it was much better ... no sticking to the paper case or crumbling, and the texture seemed much better.

I do wonder though whether I might experiment with different oils when I get a bit more confident  ...  I have used a light vegetable oil (rapeseed oil) for making carrot cakes and might have a go with that. I'm also thinking about trying a version with sundried tomatoes and olives as I think that would lend a nice tang ... watch this space!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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