I hate these dark gloomy days . . . the sky all leaden and filled with heavy clouds . . . the air damp and cold. It does nothing for my constitution! I find it kind of drags me down a bit . . . it also makes it very difficult to get good food pictures in natural light.
It would be different if the sky was filled with little white flakes instead of scattered plops and drops . . . that would actually be a bit exciting I think . . . and I know that is only because I am not a person who has to travel back and forth to work. If I did need to travel . . . I probably wouldn't be as enamoured with snow as I am!
Perhaps it's the Canuck in me . . . that finds myself longing at this time of year for that excitment of the first snow fall . . . I guess it's pretty hard to teach an old dog new tricks . . . even of the snowy kind.
I have to do my cooking early in the day these days . . . so that I can use the light from the back window for my picture taking. What do other people do? How do they manage. I see lots of lovely food pictures all over the place. There must be a way. Perhaps my camera is the wrong kind. I don't know.
I guess I'll just have to drown myself in one of these delicious muffins . . . buttermilk, brown sugar and grated pear makes them super moist . . . cinnamon, ginger and ground cardamom make them nice and spicy.
Altogether I guess you could call them incredibly, edibly moreishly scrumptious!
That works for me! hmmm . . . I might dig out my Dirty Dancing DVD and
*Pear Ginger Streusel Muffins*
Makes 12 medium muffins
Moist, spicy and delicious. Perfect with a hot cup of herbal tea.
8.5 ounces plain flour, divided (2 cups)
7.5 ounces light muscovado sugar (1 cup packed)
4 ounces cold butter, diced (1/2 cup)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground ginger
165ml of milk or buttermilk (about 2/3 cup) (you may not need it all)
1 large free range egg beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 conference pears, peeled and grated (Bosc, use pears that are more on the hard side)
Combine 6 ounces of the flour, along with the brown sugar in a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine meal. Measure out 2 ounces (1/4 cup packed) and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Line a 12 cup medium muffin tin with paper liners, or butter really well.
Add the remaining flour to the flour mixture in the bowl, along with the spices, baking powder, soda and salt. Mix well. Beat together half of the milk, egg and vanilla. Add to the butter mixture along with the grated pears, only adding as much of the remaining milk to give you a soft droppable batter, and mixing only to moisten. Spoon into the prepared muffin cups, dividing the mixture equally amongs them. Sprinkle some of the reserved crumb mixture over top of each.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until risen, lightly brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre of one comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container.
Over in The Cottage today, a comforting Potato Pie.