In a week or so my colleague and friend Marmiet is leaving our university and moving to Stellenbosch. After a lifetime of being the jetsetter thanks to a diplomat dad, it still feels so surreal to be the one who remains and see others go. I always used to see people as fixed entities and myself as the variable, but nowadays I am so utterly blissed out at not having to renew my passport or pack up my life that I’m often left boggled by people who yearn for change. In Marmiet’s case change is awesome and I’m so psyched that she’s doing something that will make her happy (being closer to family is always a bonus!), but it’s very saddening to have someone so special leave one’s daily life.
Because she’s awesome she gifted me with a flavour grinder – it grinds spices and chops/minces herbs! My mortar & pestle is used 99% of the time to smash chocolate chips down for baking, because it’s a pain to grind herbs especially, so I am super excited to have such a handy gadget! With our new fridge working wonders on freshness, we’ve been able to store a lot more herbs (because our garden herbs are feeling the winter and are rather sorry for themselves), but anything more than plucking out the stems is boring, so this takes care of that. 😀
To celebrate my new shiny, say thank you, and test out my oven all in one, I decided on muffins, because I’m on a carb-loving spree at the moment (what do you know, it actually makes you full!). I’m not going so crazy original because my oven was “fixed” for a second time this morning (whilst I was at work, far from my perch in the kitchen, overseeing the horror!) and my oven timer needed testing on someone’s recipe. Savoury muffins? With delicious pumpkin and spice? Sounds about right!
Because Marmiet has food sensitivities and I love buckwheat, I decided to troll for savoury muffins and came across this delightful looking recipe for savoury pumpkin buckwheat muffins, as well as this equally tasty treat by Ricki Heller (alas some of these flours are too wild for my pantry, but I’ll track them down eventually – and I managed to get a link to a cool one-for-one GF flour mix that works just like normal flour does). I made some slight modifications to the first recipe but overall there wasn’t as much fiddling around as usual. 😀
Ingredients (makes 12 normal muffins):
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup leftover curry
- 1 cup milk
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 2 TBSP tahini
- 2 TBSP tahini “oil” (that stuff floating on top, otherwise omit)
- 2 flax eggs (2 TBSP flax powder + 6 TBSP water, mixed til it becomes a paste)
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped finely
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp onion powder
- white pepper, smoked paprika, etc
- 1/3 cup artichokes if you have them! (alas I did not)
- 1/3 cup pureed black olives (alas, I forgot to add them *headdesk*)
NOTE: If you add olives or artichokes it’s safer to add 5 minutes onto your bake time.
- Preheat to 180C and spray your muffin pans/line them.
- If you’re going to purée your pumpkin from scratch, put your steamed pumpkin cubes (approx 2 cups) in a food processor and blend with 2 TBSP tahini & 2 TBSP of the tahini oil (if yours looks anything like mine there’s always some oil on top) until smooth.
- Add the chopped parsley and blend briefly.
- Transfer to big bowl and add 1 cup milk, apple cider vinegar & 2 flax eggs.
- In the food processor, blend half a cup of leftover curry stew til smooth (adding a few TBSP of water where necessary) to make up the last 1/2 cup of “milk”.
- Add this to the wet ingredients and stir well.
- Stir together your dry ingredients, then add the wet to dry and stir well but be careful not to over-mix. Light, fluffy mixing style here!
- Spoon 3/4 full into a prepared muffin pan, then add 1 TBSP of bean sprouts on top of each muffin and press them in so that they don’t stick out and burn separately.
- Splash some paprika/smoked paprika on each muffin for jazz on your tongue.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes (but be careful, my oven is still dodgy so perhaps start checking at 30 minutes).
These are a delightful, easy, and tasty treat! I’ll be sure to add some artichokes or olives next time (since we were out of onions anyway) for an extra uber burst of flavour, but I haven’t had muffins like this in soooo long so I’m chuffed beyond measure. It was also a fun way to show off two of the gadgets she’s gifted me with – not only the grinder/mincer but also my epic sprouter!
And there you have it! Perfect way to ease into the indulgence of the weekend without compromising on health and vitality. These are nom with some hummus slathered on, or maybe even dunked in a thick, hearty stew or luscious, silky soup (oh yeah! Lunch time plans for tomorrow are *sorted*). I’ve been trying to eat proper meals instead of snacking like a bird and then morphing into an ancient beast of tooth and tyranny, shredding up any carob chunks, cereal or nut butter that dares to exist anywhere other than in my belly. It seems rather silly to politely pat the corners of one’s mouth and then turn into a mess less than an hour later from a disturbing hunger/boredom combination that seems to strike true like clockwork. There’s debate about smaller meals versus bigger ones that stretch out your gut, but no balance exists as of yet in a world where each day presents its own issues, emotions, and eating responses. I guess I should stop being an emotional eater, but that’s a daily journey.
For now, today, I’m happy to scarf down my savoury muffin with equal joy at wholesome baking and sadness at it being made because someone is soon leaving. Most of the time one can’t control the world around you, so it’s best to just feel blessed for the moments that one is able to share with others, and to be content to realize that all instances of the present become memory. It’s up to each individual to determine the prism through which they recall those memories!