A year ago, I was regularly emailing recipes and photographs of new dishes tried or created to interested family and friends. It was a creative and fun exercise, which interlinked with a recipe book I was putting together, mostly for my own use. The person who most regularly responded, either to say she had made one of the dishes, or to share some of her own, was my mother. It somehow doesn’t seem the same without her in the world anymore to share this simple joy with, and I still have a folder full of recipes from her that I have yet to try, which has of course become highly treasured over recent months.
I have barely cooked or baked since her death (cupcake art and the occasional loaf of bread aside). My husband has taken over as chef in our household, where the job used to be evenly shared, and I have found that my enthusiasm for the kitchen – which had gradually waned since my return to full-time work following my maternity leave last year – has almost entirely vanished. This afternoon, however, I had some heartbreaking news, which left me feeling sad and helpless, surrounded by the loss and pain of so many of those around me. I wanted to simply stop dead still in the middle of the housework I was engaged in; it all felt so meaningless. I instead surged into action and used the blueberries I had bought to make blueberry pancakes with to make muffins, so I could at least pass on some baked love and a card to one of the many people I care about who is in distress. I am taking it one step further tonight, and once again sharing a recipe with the world (see below).
I have accumulated quite a large number of cupcake and muffin recipe books over the years, but haven’t found the perfect Blueberry Muffin recipe – so this is a adaptation that I tried today and rather like.
55g / 2 oz butter
250g / 9 oz plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
110 ml / 4 fl oz milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
250g – 300g blueberries
1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 355 F / gas mark 4.
2. Cream the butter in a large bowl, then beat in the sugar, followed by the eggs.
3. Mix in half the flour and the baking powder (sieved if you so desire, though I seldom do these days!), then the milk, followed by the remaining flour, and beat until smooth.
4. Blend in the vanilla essence, then add the blueberries.
5. Divide the mixture equally into 12 muffin cases in a muffin baking tray.
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Leave the muffins in the tray until they are cool, then turn out and enjoy.