With these blackberry and chocolate muffins, I conclude my month long experiments with egg free and chocolate baking. I have to say it was quite fun and not as disappointing as I had initially thought; the highlight for me has to be the gluten free muffins, I could have never thought that the little chocolate and chickpea flour babies would turn out to be so delicious but they were and these breakfast muffins aren’t far behind not to mention the lovely beetroot chocolate cake. The gluten free muffins were soft, moist and sweet whereas these muffins have more of a dense texture (due to the whole wheat flour) which I felt worked very well here and aren’t quite as sugary, however the bits of chocolate, oats, nuts and fruit make this the perfect breakfast muffin but hey I ate some for tea and also dessert so they’re actually pretty good anytime.
In other news we just got back from a short trip to Manila in the Philippines; it’s a busy bustling city so I wasn’t expecting much but it turned out to be fun. We really aren’t the sightseeing type and as long as we find enough (good) food and drink, we are happy as can be and Manila definitely has some great food. I had read and heard some scary stories about Manila being unsafe but frankly I never felt that way, to be honest I didn’t exactly walk around the city much but wherever I did, I felt quite safe. I’m sure there’s some truth to all the warnings but like any other city Manila probably has certain areas that aren’t safe and are best avoided and anyway the traffic is so crazy you probably wouldn’t think of venturing out too far and this is coming from someone who has struggled with Jakarta traffic for almost five years.
The highlight of my stay was catching up with a dear friend who was also once my neighbour and dinner at Abby and Stanley’s house; Abby is a colleague of the husbands and has a beautiful house that could make a museum jealous; her home is filled with beautiful artwork, paintings from various local and international artists, furniture, sculptures and artifacts some of which date back to the 16th century, all carefully and lovingly collected by her husband Stanley who told us that the house was in fact designed and built around all the artwork. Stanley was such a wonderful host, he seamlessly steered the conversation form one topic to the next and made sure everyone was entertained, in addition to that he is also an amazing cook and to start with he had prepared a beautiful salad of jamon, cheese and mango with lettuce and a balsamic dressing; the mangoes were local and so sweet and paired beautifully with the salty cheese and ham. The main course brought in by courteous, uniformed staff starred a whole roasted pig with a super crispy skin, beef roast that was absolutely tender, paella with seafood, perfectly cooked salmon and rice noodles. Just when I thought the food couldn’t get any better, out came the desserts, yes plural; we had a mango torte made again with beautifully sweet local mangoes, coconut crumble also made with locally grown coconuts and although I’m not a big fan of coconut in sweets, I loved this crumble, then there was sweet corn ice cream something that I had never tasted before, I thought it was interesting and also chocolate ice cream, possibly the best I’ve ever had. All this amazing food in a beautiful home in the company of lively and knowledgeable hosts made this the most interesting dinner party I’ve ever attended…ever! I wish I had pictures to share but alas I was too busy eating and enjoying myself but I assure you I’ve told you everything.
I do however have pictures of these delicious black beauties accompanied by a simple enough recipe that I adapted from one of my absolute favourites Nigel Slater; his honest, no nonsense writing and food is something I’ve always been a big admirer of. These muffins are simple enough to make for a weekday breakfast and fancy enough for a weekend breakfast too, so no excuses- get baking!
- All purpose flour- 1 cup
- Whole wheat flour- 1 cup
- Brown sugar- 1/3 cup
- Caster sugar- 1/3 cup
- Cocoa powder- ¼ cup
- Rolled oats- 1/3 cup
- Baking powder- 2 tsp
- Vegetable oil- 1/3 cup
- Milk- 1 ¼ cups
- Vanilla extract- ½ tsp
- Mashed banana- 1/3 cup
- Chopped walnuts- ¼ cup (optional)
- Chocolate chips- ½ cup
- Blackberries- 150 grams (about 1 ½ cups)
- Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 12 cup cupcake or muffin tray with paper liners.
* You can reserve some chocolate chips, blackberries, oats and nuts to top the muffins with if you like.
- Sift together the flours, cocoa powder and baking powder; add the rolled oats and stir to mix.
- In another bowl, add the sugars, milk, oil, vanilla and mashed banana; whisk everything well to combine. Add this to the flour mix and stir until just combined; stir in the chocolate chips, walnuts and blackberries.
- Spoon batter into the prepared pan, fill almost till the top; top with chocolate chips, blackberries, oats and nuts if you like. Bake for 18- 20 minutes or until done.
- The walnuts are optional; you can replace walnuts with other nuts if you like.
- Stir in the blackberries carefully so they don’t break.
- Muffins can be eaten warm or cold.