I think it was my second or third week at a new job, the one I now refer to as my Favourite job ever, and I was working the breakfast shift which entailed me starting work in the kitchen by 6 AM. I had arrived at 555 AM so my heart sank as I walked in to find lights on, oven going, muffins in. I worked for a head chef at that time who was quiet, really quiet as chefs go, but extremely dedicated to her job, hardworking and also very, very pregnant. We continued to set up, slice fruit, grill bacon and fetch eggs, all the usual breakfast things, and once we were done Chef turned to me and said most calmly, I think I am in labour, so I am off to the hospital now to have a baby, you will have to cover the rest of service on your own.
And that pretty much defines the women I have worked with in kitchens, strong, resilient, not prone to panic. Most of the women chefs which I remember were all fantastically dedicated to their work and would probably also have baked muffins and served you breakfast whilst in labour.
I can’t remember what muffins Chef made that day, but I hardly ever make muffins without thinking of her. She did give me the recipe for these great Back to school muffins though, and since we lost touch soon after she left the kitchen of my Favourite job ever, I hope she doesn’t mind if I share the recipe.
I would like to say that my kiddos lunch boxes are gourmet, have to be seen, inspired by Julia Child herself masterpieces, but they really just aim at mediocre and hit every time. On occasion though I succumb to a dazzle of brilliance and cook up a batch of these great muffins. They are super filling, packed with veggies and nuts, i.e. pseudo-healthy, and the kiddos love them.
It doesn’t hurt that afterwards I am able to walk vainly about, having been the kind of Supermom who puts homemade goodies into lunchboxes. (You should know that the original name for these muffins was Carrot and Zucchini muffins, but since my kiddos would think twice about those I renamed them Back to school muffins.) The recipe yields at least two and half dozen muffins so it’s a great recipe for when you need a bigger bake. Any muffins that survive after the first round of eating–them-warm–with-jam are frozen immediately. I can then take one or two out the night before school and by morning they are defrosted and ready to pack.
Pretty Girl is at school with a child highly allergic to nuts so I leave the nuts out or replace them with chopped, drained canned pineapple.
What you need
750ml carrots, grated
400ml courgettes, grated
250ml pecan nuts chopped (I use one cup of pineapple pieces if I am substituting)
250ml plain yoghurt
250ml oil (if I am using canned pineapple, I use 125ml oil and 125ml pineapple syrup)
2 apples, grated
780g cake flour
600ml brown sugar
60ml baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line your muffin pan with paper muffin cups.
- Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon.
- Toss the prepared vegetables though the flour mix and set aside.
- Whisk together the eggs, yoghurt, oil and apples in a very large bowl.
- By hand add one handful of the four/vegetable mix to the oil mix stirring well after each addition.
- Continue until the two mixtures are well combined.
- Spoon the mixture into muffin cups and bake for about 20-30 minutes until golden, risen and firm to the touch.
Its the last weekend of holidays and on Monday the kiddos head back to school for the fourth and final term of the year. So baking it is this weekend then, get the week off to a good start, you too can feel like a Supermom!
Dear husband also goes in for surgery on Monday so its going to be a busy day in our part of the world. Say a prayer for him would you? We are all feeling a little nervous.