It was foodie heaven in sunny Dublin this weekend. Working on Saturday morning had me in the city early. Once finished, at 11am I decided to park the car and enjoy town instead of rushing home and facing the never decreasing mountain of laundry. It seemed the whole of Dublin had the same idea as parking spaces were already thin on the ground. Having a small car is great (so I keep telling myself) and I squeezed it in between two double-parked SUV’s and smugly walked off.
The food market in the Meeting House Square, Temple Bar is a lively buzzing hive of hunger on a Saturday. Eating Sushi outdoors I mused with an Englishman just how much Dublin had changed in the past ten years. Back then you were considered pretentious to drink bottled water, now eating raw fish by the road side doesn’t even merit comment. The usual suspects tended the drooling queues. The Gallic Kitchen usually tempts me with its Duck Confit pies but this time I settled for a sausage roll. Some overwhelmingly smelly black mushrooms called Trompettes de la Mort (trumpets of death!) from the vegetable sellers would be turned into a stroganoff and sausages from Hicks would sort out Sunday brunch.
When my brain and belly were full it was time to head back. Town was starting to feel like the run up to Christmas so I escaped. Walking into the kitchen, proud of myself for my unselfish shopping I stepped into a huge puddle. The freezer door had been left open all night NOOO! You know that feeling, it just plunges you to the murky depths of domesticity. Sleeves up and the mop out I changed out of my nice clothes into my scrubs, True the freezer was so frozen-over I needed a crow bar to open the drawers so I guess it was an accident waiting to happen. Lots of food had to go in the bin and dinner would now be frozen chicken Kiev, shepherds pie and everything else I couldn’t yet recognise.
The following morning I woke refreshed but a bit worried. I had a bag of defrosted strawberries that, as yet, served no purpose. There was no way they were going in the bin, so I got up and got out my recipe books. I love muffins for breakfast; they fall between the cracks of cake and buns depending on how you make them. A good friend sent me a sweet book, the Joy of Muffins (yes!) and in it I found a basic blueberry muffin recipe. I could easily substitute the blue berries for strawberries so I got bowls and tins out and got started. Don’t be intimidated by the paper cups you see in the photo. They are simply squares of greaseproof shoved into greased muffin tins, I had paper cups but these hold up more, like a good bra. They are the idea of the same good friend who bought me the muffin book who is also a professional baker in Limerick. She supplies goodies to the lucky customers who shop at Ivan’s on the Ennis Road. The great thing about muffins is how easy they are; you don’t need a mixer. Simply mix the wet ingredients together in one bowl and the dry in another, combine them with a fork and add the berries at the very end.
This recipe is a hybrid but it works just great
Strawberry and Buttermilk Muffins
Preheat your oven to 180/160 fan/Gas 4
For 12 huge/24 regular sized muffins you will need
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 Cup Caster Sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup butter milk
1/4 LB melted butter
1 1/2 cups strawberries/blueberries
Flaked almonds to sprinkle on top
Sift the flour and add the other dry ingredients in a large bowl, make a well in the centre
In another bowl combine the wet ingredients and pour into the well. Mix quickly with a fork, do not over mix of the muffins will be tough
Carefully fold in the berries. Divide the mixture between the paper cases and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden
Go back to bed with pot of coffee, the papers and a plate of these and enjoy your Sunday