1 September 2007
One of the things I've been rediscovering since Baby C's arrival is the restorative power of baking.
I've always found cooking to be a source of relaxation. Well, most of the time- there are those times when it can be stressful- trying a new, complicated recipe when friends are arriving for dinner in 5 minutes is unlikely to be a source of relaxation. But generally, at the end of my working day, I always found preparing a meal enabled me to switch off from the day's hassles or dramas and switch on to something tactile, productive, and instantly creative. Baking however never got much of a look in- there never seemed to be time.
Since Baby C's arrival my opportunities (and need for) moments of relaxation, and restoration, have changed. I'm feeling an increasing need for to satisfy creative urges. Urges which are certainly not being satisfied by drawing up the existing house in AutoCAD.
My sense of time has been also transformed and I have a new awareness of the opportunities and limitations presented by a baby's 45 minute sleep cycle: enough time to whip up a batch of muffins for instant snacks over the next couple of days; not enough time to pull out sewing patterns, fabric, the iron, the sewing machine, pins and needles to make a bag or a new skirt.
So yesterday after weathering a feeding frenzy from Baby C, being frustrated that I hadn't been able to do any work on the house plans (once I have I'll share them with you), and feeding the need to refuel my belly too, I decided that a batch of muffins was in order. Something to enable me to feel like I did something constructive with my day.
This is a recipe I hadn't made for a while, but they had been a favorite of mine years ago, and pleasingly they're just as good as I remembered. Not too sweet, pleasingly tasty and very convenient for wolfing down when Baby C catches you unawares as you attempt to embark on a relaxing morning/afternoon tea. They even seem vaguely healthy -certainly healthier than processed packaged cakes or biscuits from the shop.
Carrot (etc) Muffins
Makes about 10 depending on your muffin cup size.
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 cups oat bran
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped apricots
1/4 cup flaked almonds
3/4 cup grated carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
zest of one orange
1 cup buttermilk (or milk or soy milk)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together. Stir in bran, sugar, sesame seeds, apricots, almonds, carrot and orange zest.
In a separate bowl, beat together the egg, milk and oil.
Pour the liquids into the drys and mix together to moisten (as with all muffins, don't over mix or the texture will be heavy).
Fill muffin cups and bake for 25 mins at about 180 deg C
Enjoy whenever you have a moment to spare...