You may think I make an awful lot of muffins. You would be right. They are such useful items to take on a walk or to the beach – more robust than slices of cake, which will inevitably break up or get squashed in your backpack or beach bag. They are also much easier to serve and eat when you are out and about – and everyone gets their own individual little bundle of goodness, so no potential for squabbling in the ranks.
I was up early today, as Izzy Sausage, our friend’s dog, who is staying with us at the moment, became unwell in the early hours of the morning. Why do animals wait to feel unwell until a) their owners are away, and b) it’s a Sunday and the vet’s office is closed? Luckily, one of our close neighbours is a vet, so I sent her a tentative text message once it was a civilised hour, to see whether she could have a look at her. She adores Izzy, so immediately agreed to see her and has bridged the gap between today and when the vet’s office opens again tomorrow, with an antibiotic injection and a muscle relaxant to help poor Izzy feel a bit better in the meantime. She was looking quite sprightly earlier on, but is now feeling rather sorry for herself and has put herself back to bed (the dog, not the vet).
We had planned a long walk today, but poor Izzy is in no shape to leave the house, so we are catching up with a few jobs at home. For me, that means making bread for the freezer, making something yummy for dinner tonight – Izzy’s ‘mum’ will be back from Capadoccia this evening, so hopefully she will be here in time to eat with us – and repairing the recipe index page on this blog. This is something I’ve been meaning to face up to since before our trip to Tonga – somehow several of the URL links had morphed into one, and people wanting a recipe for raspberry ripple muffins were mysteriously finding themselves on the page for a one-pot roast dinner or some such thing. This morning, I took a deep breath and finally addressed the situation – like all chores, it was nowhere near as bad as it looked, and I got it sorted out fairly quickly (if you find that it still isn’t working correctly, do let me know – sometimes things appear to work when I am logged in to the edit mode, but actually don’t work correctly for everyone else).
Just when I was starting to feel on top of things, I caught sight of some very black bananas hanging on the hook on our window. Not just a little bit on the over-ripe side, these had not even one millimetre of yellow left on them – in fact, when I picked them up, one of them dissolved into a liquid heap. Despite my hate of waste and the throwing away of perfectly good food, even I couldn’t bring myself to secrete the poor thing into a muffin mix. After all, I might have inadvertently killed half of Gökseki if I shared them around. Still, there are two useable bananas – totally black on the outside but still solid within, so I reckon they will be just the ticket with some cocoa and chocolate chips to make something slightly decadent to go into the freezer for beach days, of which we are planning at least one this week.
They turned out really well, and the pistachios looked a bit like gold dust on the top. Not just yummy, but pretty as a picture.
100ml plain yoghurt or buttermilk
100ml sunflower or canola oil
2 very ripe bananas
130g brown sugar (I used Demerara)
280g self-raising flour
75g chocolate chips
30g pistachios, walnuts or hazelnuts, chopped (plus a few extra for sprinkling)
Chocolate buttons for topping (optional)
You will need a 12-cup muffin tin, lined with paper muffin liners
Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork (or use an electric beater) and then beat with the egg until fairly smooth – it doesn’t matter if there are a few bits of banana that don’t entirely mash down. (As you can see, my bananas were a bit yukky).
Measure the yoghurt and oil in a jug and add to the banana mix, along with the brown sugar. Mix until well combined.
Sieve in the cocoa and self-raising flour and fold in until the mixture is fairly smooth – don’t over-mix or the muffins will be tough, just mix it enough to make sure there are no big floury lumps.
Stir in the chocolate chips and the chopped nuts and mix again briefly until just combined.
Divide the mix between the 12 muffin cups (a spring-action ice cream scoop is good for this), then top each muffin with a chocolate button (if using) and sprinkle over a few more chopped pistachios (or other nuts of your choice).
Bake for about 20 minutes, turning after 15 minutes if one side is browning more than the other – the muffins should be firm to the touch – bake for another five minutes if necessary.