I'm having car trouble again. A couple of weeks ago I had a problem with one of the callipers on my hand break sticking and while driving to the shop, my back wheel started to smoke alarmingly and I had to pull into the doctor's surgery car park so I could call out the RAC. The lovely recovery man un-stuck the calliper and sprayed it with all manner of stuff to keep it unstuck and I was hoping and praying that it would be fine for a couple of weeks until the car goes in for it's MOT next week so I could get everything fixed at the same time. Unfortunately, despite not putting the hand break on when the car is parked in my driveway and not using the car very much, it seems that the sticky calliper on the hand break is stuck on again which means that the hand break doesn't release properly and when I drive the car, it gets stuck in the on position and the back wheel gets hot so it starts to smoke. I now have to figure out a way to get the car to the garage for it's MOT next week without driving it and without it costing an arm and a leg for a tow truck!! Anyway, for the moment, I'm stranded at home in the middle of nowhere, with no transport and the nearest bus stop a 25 minute walk away. Now I don't mind this so much usually but I'm getting a bit low on food so yesterday, I spent an hour online doing a food shop from a supermarket that will deliver. Problem one solved, a delivery slot booked for Saturday evening between 8-10pm, the cheapest one available at such short notice. Problem two ...... last night, after ordering the shopping I really REALLY wanted something sweet to eat but with my cupboards looking a bit sparse, it had to be something I could make that used what I already had in the house and that didn't use a lot of butter because I didn't have much left. I also had half a jar of lemon curd that needed using up so after a quick trawl through my cook books I found a recipe for Lemon Curd Marble Muffins from the River Cottage Everyday book and whipped up a batch. They're totally delicious, especially warm from the oven with a dollop of cream on top :-)
Lemon Curd Muffins
225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
A good pinch of sea salt
100g caster sugar
1 medium egg
125g plain yoghurt
125ml whole milk
75g unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
150g lemon curd
Mix the egg, yoghurt, milk and melted butter together in a jug. Pour them into the dry ingredients and mix lightly, stopping as soon as everything is combined – it's essential not to over-mix or you'll get dense, cakey muffins.
Spoon a some mixture into each muffin case and top with a generous ½ teaspoonful of lemon curd. Add a final spoonful of muffin mixture to encase the lemon curd and three-quarters fill the cases.
Bake in an oven preheated to 180°C/Gas Mark 4 for about 30 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Eat on the day you bake them, ideally while still slightly warm.
And with just a couple of tweaks, you can also make
Replace the lemon curd with your favourite jam, first beating it lightly to soften slightly. Thick, fruity jams work best – a strawberry jam containing whole strawberries is perfect.
Chocolate Marble Muffins
Replace the lemon curd with 150g chocolate hazelnut spread (warm it gently first, so it's easier to marble).
Replace the lemon curd with 1 large, or 2 small ripe bananas, thoroughly mashed; or 75g blueberries; or 75g stoned and halved cherries; or 75g raisins or other dried fruit, such as chopped dried apricots. Stir the fruit into the mixture lightly and quickly, just before piling into the cases.
I'm also very excited...... I know, it doesn't take much and I get excited about the smallest of things ..... anyhow, I mentioned earlier this week that I had liberally sprinkled wild flower seeds all over one of my flower beds. It was only 5 days ago so you can imagine my surprise when, while out doing a bit of gardening this morning, I saw this.
At first I thought they were weeds, in fact I know that some of them are .... like the spiky leaved plants which are definitely weeds because I'm forever pulling them up and there are always nettles , dandelions and grass growing in this flower bed, which I also have to remove on a regular basis but, the others are absolutely not the usual weeds that I get growing in here. I am therefore reasonably confident that the seeds that I sprinkled on there the other day have germinated and are well on their way to becoming a lovely mass of wild flowers. I can't wait to see what happens next.