Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

Apples are synonymous with autumn for me. When I was a little girl, growing up in the wilds of Suffolk, the one fruit tree in our garden was an apple tree. Each autumn it would heave it’s bounty onto the lawn, a bounty my younger self never fully appreciated. They were Bramley apples and this was a huge disappointment to me. Every once in a while I’d pick one and take a small bite to see if perhaps the grown-ups had got it very wrong and the fruit could be eaten straight from the tree, but alas they hadn’t, and I’d spit out the bitter flesh and wonder why we hadn’t been blessed with a tree that gave us Cox’s Orange Pippins or Granny Smiths.

Apples

But I loved that tree, as did my brother. It was the one really old tree in our garden and it cut a noble form beside the lawn. In the spring, it would erupt into a froth of pink blossom, and in the winter it’s black, gnarled branches would stand out stark against the snow.

One year, Dad built us a treehouse. It was a rectangular hut built into the branches of the apple tree, which could only be accessed by an old wooden ladder. Sometimes, the ladder would be stolen away by a vengeful sibling, leaving the other child stranded among the branches, unable to get down! My brother even slept in the treehouse one summer’s night. (Not because I’d stolen the ladder, I hasten to add, it was entirely of his own volition.)

Then one wild and windy night in October 1987, Mum heard an almighty crash in the early hours. We awoke to find our lovely old apple tree uprooted and stretched across the lawn, the treehouse crushed beneath it’s branches. We were devastated.

The Great Storm of 1987 was exciting for me in many ways, mainly because school was closed and the power-cut in our village meant that I had to take baths by candlelight, but the loss of our apple tree was a great tragedy.  We did count our blessings though, for had the wind been blowing in a more southerly direction, we might have all been flattened in our beds that night.

Ade and I don’t have an apple tree, but last week, our neighbour gave us a bag of apples freshly-picked from his brother’s orchard. They’re eaters – and beautiful they are too.  I decided to pair them with cinnamon, a classic flavour combination, to create these deliciously moist muffins. Perfect with a cup of tea.

Enjoy!

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Apple & Cinnamon Muffins

APPLE AND CINNAMON MUFFINS
Makes 18  Prep/Cooking Time: 45 mins

Ingredients
2 eating apples
250g self-raising flour
2 tsp of ground cinnamon
100g light brown sugar
2 tbsp. maple syrup
60 ml natural yoghurt
125 ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
75g raisins

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan oven).

Mix together the flour and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Whisk together the sugar, maple syrup, yoghurt, vegetable oil and eggs in another bowl before folding into the flour/cinnamon mixture.

Peel and core the apples, and chop them into small cubes before adding to the bowl along with the raisins. Mix together.

Spoon the mixture into a muffin tin lined with paper cases.

Pop the tin in the oven and bake for 20 mins until risen and golden.

Remove the tin from the oven and leave to cool for 5 mins before transferring the muffins to a wire cooling rack.

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Tea & Muffin

 

And So It Begins…

We’ve been harvesting bits and pieces from the allotment over the past few days and so I’ve had a busy weekend in the kitchen. The first of many I suspect! We harvested the first of our pak choi which went into a stir-fry; the first of our cabbages, a beast of a specimen which will probably feed us for the next month; and the first of our perpetual spinach which I blitzed into a green smoothie along with some coconut milk, banana and apple – a perfect energy boost after my Pilates class this morning.

cabbageI also baked some Rhubarb & Ginger Muffins with the last of our garden rhubarb. I was hoping to post the recipe today but it still needs perfecting. Mind you, Ade has already demolished six of them so they can’t be too bad!

muffins

I dragged Ade away from his revision this afternoon (his RHS exams are looming so you might not hear much from him over the next week or two!) and we went for a walk by the canal. The hedgerows are positively brimming with elderflowers at the moment and I’m eager to use them in a recipe. I initially thought I might brew up some elderflower champagne but all the recipes I’ve looked at involve buckets and demijohns and other apparatus that I don’t have, plus I’ve been warned about exploding bottles, so I might just stick to a simple cordial recipe this summer and progress to champagne next year if I’m feeling brave!

We also had to visit our neighbour’s allotment as they’ve gone away for a few days and have entrusted us to keep their plot watered until their return. Their plot is at a different site to ours, so after our watering duties were finished, we were keen to have a nose around.

DonnasPlot.jpg

Then it was up to our plot for a final check. Things are really beginning to flourish. The mangetout will be ready any day now and the garlic won’t be far behind.

mangetout

And so it begins…

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