Well, it's that time of year again when school holidays are drawing to a close and we have to start preparing for the busy year ahead. I'm not sure about you, but I always find the start of the year the hardest. After six weeks of peace and quiet, happily following my own routine without the restrictions put in place by bells and timetables, I find the rigidity of the school day comes as quite a shock. As if it's not bad enough having to get up, get organised and arrive at school on time, there is then the horror of facing hundreds of people mixed with the knowledge that morning tea is exactly 162 minutes away and lunch will be exactly 97 minutes after that. Assuming I don't get waylaid by diligent students, or, (heaven forbid) feel the need to hold an extemporaneous detention.
I find my eating habits change considerably during the school holidays. I wake up (surprisingly quite early most of the time), have a leisurely cup of tea, read a bit then have brunch with coffee at around ten or eleven. I then generally snack on small things or have a delicious lunch at some point in the afternoon. A considerably laidback approach to eating, particularly when compared to a school day which starts at 6.30am when the alarm goes off, coffee and toast or muesli (hmmm...I'd better make some muesli just in case there's no bread in the house next week, and buy some peanut butter!), read the horoscopes if there's time, work out what to wear, shower and hopefully leave by 8am at the latest.
For some reason, I am always starving well and truly before recess. Once I've got back into the routine of things a handful of almonds and a cup of green tea will suffice, but I know that, at least for the first week or so, I will need something a little bit more substantial. That's why I have made a large batch of muffins which I plan to freeze, ready to be taken out, one at a time for my play lunch.
Why blackberry and coconut? Well I still have a fairly substantial supply of frozen blackberries left over from last years' abundant crop, and there is coconut left over from my Australia Day lamingtons. I learnt to make muffins whilst working at the Melbourne Theatre Company. We had a rough recipe which we all committed to memory: 1/3 oil to 2/3 milk/ cream/ yogurt, approximately 6 eggs, 1/3 sugar, a generous dash of vanilla essence, however much of what ever ingredients were required to achieve the desired flavour and enough self-raising flour to enable the mixture to only just hold its shape. I've tried to give exact measurements here, but please keep the above method in mind in the off chance that your muffins seem a bit stodgy or don't rise enough.
2/3 cup oil 1 1/3 cups milk 2/3 cup raw caster sugar 3 eggs 2 tsps. Vanilla essence 2/3 cup coconut 2 cups blackberries 2 cups self-raising flour Cinnamon sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 180°C and line muffin tin with paper cases. Mix the oil, milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Add the coconut and berries (if using frozen berries, do not defrost first) and stir through. Gently stir in the flour, being careful not to over mix. Fill paper cases to ¾, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar if using and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden. Insert a skewer, if it comes out clean they're ready! Cool a few minutes in the tin before turning on to a wire rack.
Note: muffins are best eaten the day they are made, alternatively you can freeze them and defrost as required.
Makes approximately 18 muffins.
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The Swallow's Nest Patisserie
The Swallow's Nest Patisserie is a family owned and operated business with a wealth
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