Muffin time

I’m not a big savoury baker, but now and then I do like to dabble. While looking through the latest book from The Great British Bake Off series, one savoury recipe jumped straight out at me: red pepper and goats’ cheese muffins. These muffins are really quick and easy to make, freeze very well and are a great canvas for experimenting with flavours. The book suggests replacing the goats’ cheese with feta, and I’m sure courgette instead of red pepper wouldn’t go amiss. We had some pesto to use up, so I added that too, which gave my muffins a lovely basil-y tang. I’m now on a bit of a savoury kick, and in true Autumn fashion, am looking forward to making these pumpkin and rosemary treats next. Yums.

These muffins are great as an alternative to bread, perfect with soup, as part of a picnic, or with a bowl of warming noodles. They are also the ideal cheeky afternoon (or breakfast, or evening) snack. In the way of savoury baking, these muffins were an excellent introduction. Sweet potato pasties are also on my Autumn menu. Although I’ll always have a sweet tooth, I am definitely up for making room in my baking repertoire for savoury. Especially when goats’ cheese is involved.

Pesto, Red Pepper and Goats’ Cheese Muffins
adapted from Great British Bake Off: Everyday: Over 100 Foolproof Bakes

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Makes 12

Ingredients:
100g goats’ cheese
1 medium red pepper, cored and cut into 1cm chunks
300g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
salt and pepper, to taste
3 generous teaspoons green pesto
225ml buttermilk (I never buy buttermilk, just add lemon juice to milk…done!)
1 medium egg
100ml extra virgin olive oil

– Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas mark 5 and line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper muffin cases, or squares of baking parchment for the rustic look. Cut or crumble the goats’ cheese into pieces about the same size as the red pepper chunks.

– Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl. Add the red pepper and cheese and gently stir into the dry ingredients using a wooden spoon.

– Lightly beat the buttermilk with the egg and olive oil in a measuring jug, just to mix, and stir in the pesto. Season with the salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the mixing bowl, and mix everything together with the wooden spoon until just combined – there’s no need to beat the mixture. Spoon into the muffin cases, making sure they are evenly filled.

– Place the muffin tray into the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the muffins are golden brown and feel just firm when pressed in the centre. Leave the muffins to cool in the tray for a couple of minutes, then lift out and DEVOUR. Best eaten warm or at room temperature the same or the next day. To revitalise the muffins once cold, put them in a warm oven for 5 minutes. Instant deliciousness.

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