Sometimes I like to start my day on a savoury note—Full English, preferably, but that’s only if I’m not making it. When I am making breakfast, the best thing in the world is to have it done the day before, whammo it in the microwave for two minutes tops, and be enveloped in the nirvanic warmth of a just-sliced melty, marvellous, morning muffin.
You can change up the tomatoes and greens for plenty other things in this muffin, but this has been the most heavenly (read: Mediterranean-esque) match for me so far. The herby oils and sweet tang of the sundried tomatoes are the yin to the yang of sharp cheddar notes, while the Parmigiano crisps the muffin tops, balancing the unctuous sponge beneath.
A savoury muffin made in Mediterranean heaven: glossy sundried tomatoes, ooey-gooey cheddar cheese, and a fistful of heady herbs.
- 1 cup baby leaf spinach, washed
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (the ones in oil)
- 1/3 cup fresh sweet basil
- 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (parmesan cheese), grated
- 1 cup mature cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 cups + 1/3 cup self-raising flour
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup rapeseed oil
- 2 eggs
- Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F / gas mark 4.
- Line a 12 hole muffin tin with unbleached paper cases. Pulse the spinach, basil and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor until you’re happy with size of the bits (I prefer chunky, my kids prefer a smoother mix). Transfer to a large bowl, and combine with the cheeses.
- Next, add the two cups flour and paprika to the mixture. Combine by folding the ingredients until the wet is just about covered with the dry (if you over-mix, your muffins will turn out dense, and not light and aerated).
- In a small jug whisk together the milk, oil and eggs. Pour into the large bowl and mix until just combined. If the batter seems a tad sloppy, add a third cup more flour.
- Fill your muffin cases 3/4 of the way with the batter. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean, and the top is golden and fairly springy to the touch.
- Eat as soon as they’re cool enough not to scald your mouth, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days, reheating in the microwave for two minutes and maximum meltiness.
The Perfect Muffin 101
If your muffins are sinking, there’s a good chance you’ve overmixed the batter. Don’t be too zealous—use folding and scooping motions to incorporate the ingredients, as opposed to stirring. This will keep the batter aerated, and your sponge light and fluffy.
If the muffin bottoms are browning or burning, either move your tray up a shelf in the oven, or place a baking sheet/tray on the shelf below your muffin tray.
If your muffins are still soggy on the inside, you may have overfilled the cases, meaning the muffins will need a bit longer to bake through, or you don’t have enough flour in your batter. When testing, a skewer should come out clean (a little residue from the cheese or veg may be present, but the skewer should definitely not be wet with batter), and the surface should be a little springy to the touch.