The easiest muffins in the world

IMG_0964 (600 x 450)We’re back in Turkey after a very swift visit to France, with a night in Amsterdam thrown in on the way home.

We managed to miss the floods and the strikes, and were treated to even better weather than they were having back here – hah!

I thought I’d better leave France while my bottom would still fit inside an aeroplane seat – those croissants and pains aux raisins are just TOO dangerous for comfort. It is so hard to believe that something so deliciously light is so calorie-laden. At least our pool is now warm enough for swimming, so 2km for me today – half already done, half to do when I’ve finished writing this.

Pause while I chase critters around the room – Toast, our cat, has just been bitten or stung by something. As I type, she is racing around the room, screeching and biting at her leg. We’ve turned over all the rugs and furniture, and can’t see a scorpion, so I’m hoping it was just a bee or a spider. Talking of which, there was a HUGE one in our living room last night – here he is:

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He is actually bigger than the cornice – eeeeek. I wonder if he’s the chap who just got the better of Toastie – she is utterly fearless and not many creatures manage to better her (I can’t tell you how many mice and bats I’ve rescued over the years). She’s now stopped screeching and has her head in the food bowl, so I don’t think we need to race off to the hospital for an antidote just yet (yes, yes, I know she’s a cat, but the hospital is at the bottom of our lane – the vet is in the next town).

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Notice the ‘badly’ paw being held out for effect!

Anyway, back to business. I have to make something this afternoon for the almond seller in town – he spends every summer here, but his wife stays behind at their home in Afyon and he misses her home cooking. I made the fatal mistake of introducing him to English-style cakes and now there is no going back. He had taken note of my ten-day absence and I’ve promised to take him something when we go into town this evening. We don’t want the poor man going into a decline.

As I’m a bit short of time, what with all those lengths I’ve got to swim to get rid of the many many layers of what Paul Hollywood would call ‘enriched dough’, I’ve settled on this recipe – for the absolute easiest muffins in the entire world. You literally just stir together some flour and sugar, then do the same with some yoghurt, milk, oil and an egg in a jug, introduce the wet things to the dry things, add some fruit and mix everything together. Spoon into muffin cases. Job done – no sieving, beating or whisking involved. Here are the details:

Blueberry or other fruity muffins

Makes 12

300g self-raising flour
150g brown sugar (any sort, but something lightish – I used Demerara)
100ml milk
80ml plain yogurt
125ml vegetable oil (not olive oil – it will taste bitter)
1 egg
Extra sugar for sprinkling
Couple of handfuls of blueberries or raspberries (frozen are best) or other fruit of your choice. You could use chopped cherries, apricots, dried apricots or raisins, whatever you have to hand.

You will need a 12-cup muffin tin and 12 paper liners. A ‘flicky’ ice cream scoop is also a good asset here if you have one

Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

Put the flour and sugar into a mixing bowl and stir until just combined. Pour 100ml milk into a measuring jug and then add the yoghurt and oil. Break in an egg and give everything a good stir.

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Pour the wet ingredients into the flour and sugar mix and stir until well combined (it doesn’t matter if the mix is a bit lumpy, the more you stir, the heavier your muffins will be). Stir in most of the *fruit, reserving some for the top.

(*I find frozen berries work best here – they are not so inclined to sink to the bottom)

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Spoon the mix into the muffin cases (one of those flicky ice cream scoops is most definitely the easiest tool for the job), then top each muffin with another berry or two.

Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for 30 minutes.

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You may need to turn the tin around after 20 minutes so that they bake evenly, depending on whether your oven has hot spots (most do to some extent).

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Yum yum. Now I just have to keep my hands off them. Off to the pool for a spot of bottom-reducing…


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