Last weekend I had the pleasurable excuse to spend a weekend in Genova, teaching cooking classes to a group of enthusiastic and passionate women from different parts of Italy. We even had a participant – thanks Flavia! – come all the way from Sicily! Patrizia from the blog Melagranata organized the gathering and generously lent her home and kitchen for the occasion. It was a pleasure to teach in such a beautiful and well organized space. Her kitchen contains every cooking appliance, utensil, and gadget you can imagine – yet still somehow manages to remain tidy and spacious. The other big advantage of the location was this:
We had to take “sunset breaks” both evenings, in order to take in the view between poaching eggs and baking muffins.
Speaking of muffins, I’m appalled to discover I haven’t posted even one muffin recipe on the blog yet. To make up for this oversight, I’m posting the ultimate, any-fruit muffin recipe that can be modified and adapted into a hundred different variations. I’ve listed a few variations below, but feel free to experiment with new fruit and spice combinations – and let me know what you come up with!
- 1 cup (7 oz / 200 g) blueberries, mixed berries, or other fruit, cut into small cubes
- 1 1/2 c (200 g) flour
- 1/2 c (100 g) sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
- 4 tbsp (60 g) butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 egg
- 1/3 c (80 ml) milk
- 1/3 c (80 ml) yogurt
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C. Butter muffin tins or line with paper liners.
Toss blueberries with 1 tsp of flour in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.
In a medium bowl, beat together the butter, egg, milk, yogurt and lemon zest. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry until they are only just combined. Do not over mix. Delicately fold the blueberries into the batter, taking care not to crush or break them.
Fill the muffin tins only about 2/3 of the way up, then sprinkle the tops of the muffins with sugar.
Bake for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven, until they are golden-brown.
Orange and almond: add 1/2 cup (50 g) slivered almonds in with the dry ingredients, and substitute 1 teaspoon orange zest for the lemon zest.
Lemon poppyseed: Add a teaspoon of poppy-seeds to the dry ingredients. Add two teaspoons of lemon juice and an extra teaspoon of lemon zest to the wet ingredients.
Apple pie spiced: Substitute 1 cup (200 g) finely diced apple for the berries. Add 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon of cloves to the dry ingredients.
Chocolate chip: Add 1 cup (200 g) chocolate chips to the dry ingredients.
Here’s a few more shots from the weekend cooking extravaganza!