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Carrot, spinach and cumin muffins

It’s National Baking Week here in the UK and many people across the UK are baking up a storm to raise money for the wonderful Great Ormond Street Hospital.

I thought we’d try another of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s savoury muffin recipes to start our week of baking, as we all loved his courgette and pine nut muffins. And his combination of carrot, spinach and cumin didn’t disappoint! Savoury muffins are such as great finger food for little hands and mouths, and you really can pack them full of wonderfully nutritious vegetables.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Usually for me, savoury muffins just have to have some kind of cheese (is that just me?). Cheese makes pretty much everything taste better! Yet, amazingly, I didn’t miss the lack of cheese in these at all.

The only thing I’ve changed from Hugh’s original recipe is the amount of spinach. He uses 150g of spinach, while 100g was enough for me (and left me with spinach leaves to throw into other dishes for the rest of the week).

If it’s difficult finding the time to cook, try to toast the pumpkin seeds ahead of time, even the day before. If you don’t have pumpkin seeds (they add a fabulous extra texture to the muffins) you can use sunflower seeds or a mixture of the two (Hugh’s suggestion). You could also cook the onion mixture ahead of time.

The batter is quite a stiff mixture, but still produces lovely moist muffins which freeze wonderfully (great to have in the freezer to add to lunchboxes).

CARROT, SPINACH AND CUMIN MUFFINS

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 18-20 mins
Makes 12
Freezable

80g unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra 10g for frying
1 onion, finely diced
2 tsp ground cumin
100g spinach, tough stalks removed and very finely shredded
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
275g whole milk yoghurt
150g carrots, grated
40g pumpkin seeds, toasted

Heat the oven to 200C and line a muffin tray with paper cases.

Warm the 10g of butter in a large frying pan and sautรฉ the onion with a pinch of salt until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the cumin, stir for a minute, then add the spinach and stir until wilted and soft. Leave the mixture to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.

In a jug, whisk the cooled melted butter, eggs and yoghurt.

Pour the wet ingredients over the flour and stir with a spatula until just combined. Fold in the cooled onions and spinach, the grated carrot and seeds.

Spoon into the prepared cases and bake for about 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

How are you celebrating Baking Week?

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Spiced carrot muffins

spiced carrot muffins

Nicholas loves making and eating ‘muffles’ (that’s muffins to you and I!). I’m not sure he understands that what he’s stuffing into his mouth are the fruits of his zealous stirring and pouring, but that doesn’t matter; we both like eating them.

While these muffins aren’t sugar-free, I have reduced the sugar a lot. With the healthy carrot, seeds and sweet raisins inside, as well as some wholemeal flour, I think the amount of sugar is ok. And adding a pinch of extra sugar on the top makes them seem much sweeter than they are ๐Ÿ˜‰

You can easily leave out the seeds, but I like the different texture they add to the muffins. I also like sprinking a few more over the tops before baking.

SPICED CARROT MUFFINS

Prep time: 10-15 mins
Cook time: 18-20 mins
Makes 12 regular-sized muffins
Freezable

150g white self-raising flour
100g wholemeal self-raising flour
75g golden caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
30g raisins
20g pumpkin seeds
20g sunflower seeds
125ml vegetable oil
125ml milk
1 egg
1 large carrot, grated
Extra golden caster sugar for sprinkling

Preheat theย  oven to 180C and grease your muffin tin with a little oil or cooking spray (or line your tin with paper cases to avoid washing the tin).

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the white and wholemeal flours, the caster sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Stir in the raisins, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, until evenly distributed.

In a jug or another bowl, whisk the oil, milk and egg together. Squeeze the excess liquid from the grated carrot and stir it through the milk mixture.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (mixing too much will make your muffins heavy and dense).

Pour into prepared tin and bake for 18-20 mins until golden on top and cooked through when tested with a skewer.

spiced carrot muffins

Variations:

  • add chopped walnuts or pecans instead of the pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Tip: soak the raisins in hot water for about 10 minutes beforehand to become plumper and avoid them drying out while cooking.