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Cornmeal muffins

I was debating whether to call these cornbread muffins as the taste and texture is similar to cornbread, and then I thought perhaps spicy cornmeal or cornbread muffins. To avoid any confusion, as the recipe isn’t an authentic cornbread recipe nor are they very spicy, I’m going with the (perhaps boring but simple) cornmeal muffins.

If you don’t want to make muffins, you can pour the mixture into a square baking tin and then cut them into squares after they’re cooked. Or you could make a loaf and cut off slices.

The level of spice is very mild, so perfect for toddlers (the predominant flavour is cheese). But you can easily add more spice by increasing the cumin and coriander, and/or add some crushed dried chilli.

Eat them on their own as a snack or as an accompaniment to a main dish, they’re perfect for little and big fingers alike.

CORNMEAL MUFFINS

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Makes 12 small muffins

140g fine cornmeal
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (about 75g)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp vegetable oil
225ml Greek yogurt

Preheat theΒ  oven to 200C and grease your muffin tin with a little oil or cooking spray (or line your tin with paper cases to avoid washing the tin).

Mix the cornmeal, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cumin and coriander in a bowl. Add the grated cheese and mix well so the ingredients are combined evenly.

In another bowl or jug, mix the beaten egg, vegetable oil and yogurt together.

Mix the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients and stir quickly until just combined.

Pour into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 15 – 20mins until golden on top and cooked through when tested with a skewer.

Variations:

  • Add fresh chives or coriander to the batter
  • Add some crumbled cooked bacon to the batter

Β 

Zucchini bites

We had a fabulous four-day weekend in Bruges, and Nicholas had a great time toddling around practising his walking and his balance on the cobbled streets. There’s nothing like a mini family break to recharge the batteries. We ate lots of scrumptious things (and tried lots of Belgian beer!). Nicholas had his first taste of mussels and frog legs, and loved them both (oh and his first lollypop, given to him by a waiter). How proud am I that he seems to be turning into a mini-foodie?!?

So back home and back into the kitchen, but with some more enthusiasm for cooking. And today, one of our very tried and tested, and very much loved recipes made from a fabulous vegetable – zucchini or courgette (depending on where you’re from). You can do so much with this vegetable. You can grate them raw into a salad, slice and grill them, chopped into sticks and steamed they’re great with dips, stuff and bake them, or roast them in chunks. One of my favourite ways to have them is grated and very quickly fried with a little bit of lemon juice and caraway seeds; it’s the perfect accompaniment to fish (I’ll write up the recipe soon!).

I often add zucchini to recipes I make for Nicholas. It has a very mild flavour and so goes with a lot of things – diced finely into a minestrone, grated and ‘hidden’ in burgers, chopped and added to casseroles, or simply steamed and dipped into yogurt. I came across this recipe for zucchini tots and immediately thought they would be perfect finger food. And I absolutely love a recipe I can easily make a few servings of and put in the freezer for another day. I made some slight changes, rolling the mixture into smaller bites and baking them on a tray rather than using a mini muffin tin (which I don’t have!) and using cheddar cheese instead of parmesan to cut down the salt content.

You can easily make bigger ones for adults for a low calorie lunch (because of the high water content zucchini is super low in calories), and they’d be perfect to take on picnics.

It’s important to squeeze the zucchini after you grate it to get rid of the excess liquid (and it has a lot of liquid). The simplest way is to squeeze a handful of it over the sink. You can also put it into a clean tea towel and squeeze it. You really don’t need to measure the grated zucchini (the quantities don’t have to be exact); one good-sized zucchini should be fine.

ZUCCHINI BITES

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15-18 mins
Makes about 15 bites
Freezable

1 cup finely grated and squeezed zucchini (about 1 large zucchini)
1 egg
1/4 medium onion, finely diced
1/4 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
Pinch of salt (optional)

Heat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Put all the ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and mix until combined. Shape into small balls and place on the lined baking tray.

Cook for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Variations:

  • add chopped herbs (chives, mint or parsley would all work well)
  • add crumbled feta

Tips:

  • Don’t use aluminium foil on the baking tray as the bites will stick to it and will be difficult to take off.
  • To make your own dry breadcrumbs, keep leftover bread uncovered for a couple of days until it’s hard. Break into chunks and chop in a food processer or blender until it’s fine crumbs. The breadcrumbs can be stored in an airtight container or ziplock bag for several months.