Cheddar, Chilli & Courgette Muffins

One of the good things about coming out of blogging hibernation, is that in order to take photographs, I have to tidy my dining table, this being the only space in my flat that provides enough space and natural light to do so.

The dining table tends to act as a Bermuda Triangle for my post and any dry goods in my food shopping, which get abandoned when I get bored with putting away shopping and instead, wonder off to the sofa with a newly-purchased packet of biscuits. Once dumped, things stay there until I have a tidying frenzy, so having a reason to keep the table clear is good.

Another habit I've reacquired recently is buying flowers. This also helps keep on top of clutter. A table full of rubbish is easy to ignore, but a vase of flowers surrounded by rubbish is such a depressing sight, that it compels me to keep the area looking tidy (well, my version of tidy!).

Yes, this is tidy. Shut up.

If only I could find some tricks to keep my fridge in order. No matter how hard I try to regularly rotate food, there is always something on the verge of decay in my salad drawers. I bought some lovely courgettes three weeks ago. I found them yesterday, languishing behind some limp celery and a beetroot that now resembles a dehydrated, sunburned Alan Sugar. They were stupidly expensive, the idea of throwing them away pained me.

So mushy, past-their best courgettes have been turned into some lovely savoury muffins. They are paired with some other fridge survivors: the last fragments of some almost-dried out cheddar cheese and a half a red chilli pepper, left over from last week's fajitas.

If you aren't keen on chilli, try substituting it with dried sage or some fresh chives. I love the combination of cheese and black pepper, so I used lots of pepper in this recipe; check the seasoning is to your taste when the final-stage batter is mixed.

Cheddar, Chilli & Courgette Muffins
(Adapted from original recipe found on the BBC website)
Makes 6 large muffins

225 grams self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
175ml milk
1 free-range egg
75ml vegetable oil or melted unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
100 grams courgette, finely grated
50 grams Cheddar cheese, grated, plus 10g grated for topping the muffins.
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes or very finely chopped red chilli, seeds removed

You will also need a deep muffin tin.

1. Mix the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, salt & pepper in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Pre-heat oven to 190C, 170C fan-assisted and thoroughly grease 6 holes of the muffin tin with some of the melted butter (or vegetable oil, if using).
3. In another bowl, beat together the milk, egg & butter (or vegetable oil) until combined.
4. Stir the courgette, Cheddar and chilli into the milk mixture.
5. Pour the bowl of wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir mixture until thoroughly combined and all flour is incorporated. Check seasoning.
6. Use a spoon to fill each of the greased muffin holes with the batter.
7. Place on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes.
8. At the 20 minute mark, remove muffins and sprinkle the tops with the reserved Cheddar cheese.
9. Return to the oven and continue to bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes, until they are browned and the surface springs back when pressed.
10. Cool muffins in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes, before using a flat-sided knife to gently remove muffins from the tin. Best eaten warm, or continue to cool on the wire rack.

I'm submitting these muffins to Fuss Free Flavours' Breakfast Club blog event, hosted this month by Feeding Boys & A Firefighter.

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