Thursday, 14 August 2014

Cheddar, Ale and Chive Savoury Muffins

I know, two savoury recipes in a row. What is happening to me? Are you waiting for me to get back to recipe that produce sugar laden goods like these brownies? Stick with me, I'll be back there soon. I wanted to talk about these today because they are a breakthrough for me.

I'll start with a confession. All my savoury muffins up until now have been failures. Dry, overbaked, lacking in flavour or even more depressing, all three at once. Not good for a baker. The best I had achieved was nice fresh and pants a few hours later when cold. Once, Mum couldn't even finish one whenshe was dipping it in soup. Then again, Mum is really fussy and prefers to stick to the conventional so would rather I only ever make sweet muffins. That's ok though. I can cope with that because I love her. These muffins though were even a sort of breakthrough for her albeit a mini one. She tried a bite and gave me a quick 'these are nice'. Thanks Mum.

Baking for me right now is a distraction. We all need a distraction at the moment in our house because something very, very sad has happened but I'm no ready to talk about it. I might never be, not on here even though I've written the explanatory post several times already but let's just say if everybody stopped buying Kleenex tissues, we would keep the brand going on our own. Everything I;m doing right now, every positive comment I make and exclamationmark I type is a distraction. Sometimes I have to force myself to get on but baking is at least a distraction that I want to do. Because I still want to eat and I still want it to taste good. 

The beauty about muffins is that they are so quick to make. If you aren't a slow coach like me you can literally be trying not to burn your mouth on something deliciously satisfying in less than thirty minutes after pulling the mixing bowl out of the cupboard. I popped these in the oven at 7:55 am and by 8:20 I had tweeted a picture of my breakfast complete with a cup of Lady Grey to show off my creations. So yes, that does mean I was reaching for a bottle of ale before most of the shops had even opened for the day. I did feel a bit odd for that.

So less waffle and more muffins. (Incidently, I still want a waffle maker.) If you are going to have a savoury muffin over a decadent and rich sweet one, your main flavour needs to be strong so I knew I wanted to use the cheddar I had bought from the Huddersfield Food & Drink Festival. Then I remembered the leftover ale in the fridge from the pulled pork Mum made at the weekend so I thought I'd put some of that in there too. But what herbs to finish it off? To be a bit different I decided on the chives Mum had growing in the garden and crossed my fingers that I had got it right and I wasn't in fact making a grass muffin.

The flavours came together wonderfully into something which I only just managed not to devour two of straight from the oven and still thought were just as enticing cold with a salad for lunch. The punchy cheddar is complemented by a background of something darker and fuller of body in the ale and given a rightful sign off by the fresh herbs that did turn out to be herbs and not grass. I'll always prefer sweet over savoury but now I've found my savoury muffin feet I'm itching to try more. Cheese and Marmite maybe?!


print recipe

Cheddar, Ale and Chive Savoury Muffins
Strong cheddar combines with dark all and fresh herbs to make a truly well flavoured savoury muffins. Eat for breakfast, lunch dinner or snack as an ideal alternative to a sandwich.
Ingredients
  • 190g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 60g mature cheddar, grated
  • Small bunch chives, chopped
  • 65 ml milk
  • 65ml ale e.g. Newcastle Brown
  • 1 large egg
  • 60 ml sunflower or olive oil
  • 30g walnut pieces, to finish
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 220 C/200 C fan and place 6 muffin cases in a muffin tray.2. In a bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder then stir in the cheese and chives. In a jug, mix together the milk, ale,egg and oil. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and quickly but gently mix until just combined. The mixture will be lumpy.3. Divide between the cases (you may only need five), sprinkle on waluts and bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Turn the oven down to 180 C/160 C fan and bake for a further 13-15 mins until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the muffins comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack until cool enough to handle then remove from the tin to cool completely or dig in.

There are a few challenges this recipe is perfect for. First, is Ness' Love Cake over at JibberJabberUK where the theme this month is savoury.
Next is Karen's Cooking with Herbs at Lavender and Lovage where the optional theme is summer herbs and flowers so my use of chives fit here. 
Janine from Cake of the Week has set her Baking with Spirit theme as go crazy with whatever you like so I'm pleased I used ale here so I can enter.
Lastly, I am hosting the No Waste Food Challenge this month on behalf of Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. The ale looks like it isn't going to get used up so I'm glad I saved a bit from being wasted for this recipe.

27 comments:

  1. Hope you feel better soon. If you do ever feel like you need/want a listener, you know where I am. I'm also a willing distraction person, if you want book recommendations or pictures of cake or a GBBO discussion instead. :) Mel and Sue have their own chat show soon. I hope it involves cake. :)

    Also, I've never had savoury muffins but these look gorgeous :) The brownies you made recently look extremely nommable. And I'm always after new things to do with pasta, so I may have to try something pumpkin-y - thanks for the idea :)

    *hugs*

    x

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    1. I know MJ, thank you =) with the pasta, if you find something pumpkiny I might like, do let me know! Recipe recommendations are ALWAYS welcome!

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  2. Baking is always the best distraction, especially when life's crap! Well done for getting the muffins sussed...... love the little nuts on top. Hope you feel better soon.....

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    1. Thanks Kate, I really appreciate that =)

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  3. I don't think I've ever come across a more amazing-sounding muffin recipe before! Pinning these and can't wait to make them :)

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    1. So glad you like the sound of them Nicky! Do let me know the results if you get to try them =)

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  4. Good Morning Laura, Well you had me at Cheddar and my husband at ale as he is a Geordie and what are you using in your muffins, Newcastle Brown Ale.... enough to make your delicious muffins and some left for him to drink.
    I am so sorry to hear there is such a lot of sadness in your family at the moment, I hope whatever is hurting you resolves itself soon.
    I have enjoyed my visit Laura, so I have become a new follower.
    Best Wishes to you.
    Daphne

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    1. Hi Daphne, thank you for your warm wishes, they mean a lot. I'm glad you liked these muffins and I hope you enjoy more of the recipes I post. Welcome and thanks for following!

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  5. Time to yourself and baking is sometimes the best therapy and a good way to distract yourself, especially when life becomes a little unkind. So I am pleased for you that you are trying to keep your spirits up! I love muffins, the sweet and the savoury - I call them the fairy cake and cupcakes ugly sister, but I love them still. But its been a while since I've made a savoury version, a few years in fact to yours are calling out to me, especially on this wet dreary evening. You take care.

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    1. Thank you Shaheen =) your words mean a lot. You know, I think that is a very good idea to have a savoury muffin on a dreary day, warmed in the microwave if need be and with something really comforting like a favourite soup.

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  6. Love all the flavours in these muffins, they look great. Hope your feeling more cheerful soon :) Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!!

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  7. I'm so sorry for loss of your Cassie. She really seemed like your best friend. I hope time becomes something of a healer for you. I agree that baking is a great distraction at the best and worst of times. Thanks for linking up.

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    1. Thank you. I'm sure it will and you're right, baking really is a good distraction =)

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  8. SO sorry for my late comment Laura - but thanks for adding a BEAUTIFUL recipe to the cooking in herbs linky! Karen

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    1. My pleasure Karen, I'm so glad I finally got to enter =)

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  9. First thing - I love your china plate! My mum had that English Rose set growing up and I used to play 'restaurant' from a very young age, preparing dinners complete with menu and fully decked out table with that set. I'm really wanting one of my own but a) it's expensive and b) I have no where to keep it! Secondly - beautiful photos and a beautiful recipe! Yum! Thank you for sharing with the no waste food challenge! x (ps. I have a new laptop and your website loads in microseconds - it used to take about ten minutes to load completely with my rubbish laptop which thankfully died yesterday!)

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    1. Isn't it great when our mothers trust us with their very expensive beautiful things? =) I'm so glad you like the recipe and my pictures and that's great news my site is loading much quicker now! Enjoy your new laptop =)

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  10. This is a lovely presentation Laura ! And I love the combination of ingredients in these muffins !

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    1. Thank you Linda! The plates are my mum's andd I love them =)

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  11. I do love a good sweet bake, but sometimes savoury is what you need to hit the spot and these look so yummy!!

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  12. These muffins would be perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

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    1. I totally agree - and that's what I used them as!

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  13. Yum! I love savoury muffins, this sounds like a wonderful combination!

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    1. So glad you like the idea. I'd love to hear of any other flavour combinations you enjoy.

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