33. Pear and Cinnamon Muffins

This summer has brought us a fantastic glut of fruit in the garden.  This week it is pears.  The trees can barely hold them all and I’m wondering how to best use them.

Today I thought I’d make a start and do some baking.  I’ve only used 3 pears in this recipe which has made absolutely no difference to the basket full but luckily we’ve had a few visitors who have taken a bag or two each.

This muffin recipe is tried, tested and very easy. It is also perfect to adapt to whatever you happen to have at hand.  In the past I’ve used apples, walnuts, blueberries, blackberries, pecans, coffee  (not all at once, of course.)

You will need:

3 cups of plain flour

1 cup soft brown sugar

4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt

3 medium pears – skinned and chopped small

2 eggs – beaten

1 cup yoghurt (I use home made low fat yoghurt)

1 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Topping –  a mixture of rolled oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts

Oven: Gas 4 / 175 / 350

12 – 18 muffin cases and muffin pan/s

Sift first 6 ingredients together and stir in the chopped pear.

In another bowl or jug, whisk eggs, yoghurt, oil, and vanilla.

Lightly stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients.  It will be lumpy with some streaks of flour.

Fill the muffin cases about 2/3 full.

Mix together whatever topping ingredients you are using and sprinkle over the muffins.For these muffins I used a very small amount of brown sugar and cinnamon.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

23. Gooseberry and Elderflower Yogurt

I think a lot more of my makes over the coming months will be food based as we are fortunate enough to have a garden bursting with produce.

This week we picked the last of the elderflowers, the start of the gooseberries and some blackcurrants.

So, after starting the last batch of elderflower cordial  at the weekend, I got to thinking about what I could do with the gooseberries that would make a good Sunday lunch dessert.

Gooseberries go beautifully with the flavour of elderflowers and there are a lot of recipes around bringing the two together.

I had about 500g of gooseberries altogether:

The most time consuming part of this recipe is topping and tailing them!

Then I put them in a pan with a slug of elderflower cordial and a small squirt of golden syrup (the gooseberries were pretty tart to start with). You could use honey or soft brown sugar but be careful not to add too much – the aim here is to keep much of the tart taste.

Heat until the gooseberries start to burst giving them the occasional stir to help the process along. Leave to cool.

I divided the gooseberries into 6 stemmed glasses and as I usually have natural yoghurt in the fridge (no surprise, I make it!) I added several dollops to the top of the berries and decorated each with some toasted coconut flakes.

Some of those eating it, said it would be better topped with cream, some thought it was too tart and one ate 3 portions!