|Wild strawberry muffins|
On one side of our house, wild strawberries are set on world domination.
The little white flowers are so delicate, but they tend to pop up in unlikely places – like bang in the middle of the garden path.
|Wild strawberry plant right in the middle of the garden path|
They lull you into a false sense of security and then – kapow – they spread.
|Fraction of the all-encompassing wild strawberry plants at the side of the house|
Looking on the bright side, last week I did manage to nip out and pick a bowl of teeny tiny wild strawberries before the birds stripped the lot.
|Whole bowl of wild strawberries. May look small, but it took a while.|
Once picked, I was keen to find a recipe that would stretch them as far as possible. Wild strawberries have a more delicate and less sweet taste than normal strawberries, so I was pretty sure the children wouldn’t eat them unaccompanied.
In the end, thanks to the wonders of Google, I found a quick and easy blueberry muffin recipe by St Mary of Berry to tweak.
The recipe only uses a limited amount of sugar, so the end result is quite light but not super sweet. It also uses vegetable oil rather than butter or marge, but give it a whirl, they still taste good.
I took a batch along when we went to visit friends at the weekend, and they disappeared almost as fast as they hit the cakestand. I’ll count that as a success.
WILD STRAWBERRY MUFFINS
|Golden brown muffins, cooling on a rack|
250g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
150g caster sugar
150ml vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
90g wild strawberries (or blueberries or whatever you fancy)
12 muffins, if you use great big muffin cases. I managed to eke out 24 in small size cupcake cases.
5p each for 24, 10p for 12, plus the cost of the fruit. The wild strawberries from our garden were free.
Based on: Morrisons for 1.5kg Savers Plain Flour for 45p, 170g Dr Oetker Baking Powder for £1.31, 1kg Caster Sugar for £1.48, 2.27 litres milk for £1, 1 litre vegetable oil for £1.20, 15 mixed-weight free-range eggs for £2.
I use pricey Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract, which costs £5.55 for 118ml from Lakeland, although it’s currently £4.53 in Waitrose. You only need to use small amounts for a great taste, so it lasts for ages.
1. Line a muffin tray or couple of cupcake trays with paper cases, depending on which size you use.
2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / gas mark 4.
3. Weigh out the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and sugar) in a mixing bowl.
4. Measure the milk and oil in a measuring jug, then add the vanilla extract and eggs, and whip it all up a bit with a fork.
5. Pour the liquid from the measuring jug into the dry ingredients, and stir together with a metal spoon until smooth. It makes quite a sloppy mix.
6. Remember to add the wild strawberries, blueberries or whatever fruit you fancy, and mix together.
7. Divide the batter between the paper cases, filling about two thirds full.
8. Bung in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the muffins look golden brown and the top bounces back when touched lightly.
9. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
10. Beat back raiding children so you actually get a few for yourself.
Using our elderly Aga, I put the tray on top of a rack on the bottom of the roasting oven, with the cold shelf above on runners about half way up.
Once one tray was cooked, I took the cold shelf out and ran it under the tap to cool it down (oven gloves are essential!!), then replaced it and cooked the second tray.
Yes, this is more faff than a fan oven. Sigh.
Anyone else got a recipe using wild strawberries to recommend?