The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Savoury Muffins

I can't believe it's almost Christmas already! Where did the time go? I know 9 months of the year was spent baking a little bun in the oven, but even that 'little' bun is now more than two months old! I'm amazed at how much time is taken up just taking care of one little baby, and I hardly have tme to do chores, much less my own leisure activities. To celebrate Christmas this year, we'll be having a small gathering at our apartment tomorrow to share a roast turkey lunch, which I will blog about when I have the chance to.

Last Tuesday we had a potluck-style Christmas lunch at the weekly young mothers' Lifegroup meeting that I'd only recently started attending. I needed an easy dish that takes less than an hour to prepare, which is usually the length of Zak's daytime naps. These savoury muffins were great, which I adapted from this recipe, but I felt they were not bacon-y, cheesy nor leek-y enough to actually have the title Bacon, Leek and Cheese Muffins. In fact, because I'd used EVOO instead of the 'extra light' variety specified in the original recipe, the flavour of the olive oil was on par with the flavours of the savoury ingredients. So I call these simply Savoury Muffins. The Japanese girls at lunch didn't know what "savoury" meant, so I simply said that it means ama kunai which is Japanese for "not sweet".

I made these muffins slightly more healthy than the original recipe by using less sugar, less oil (but more milk to make up the liquid volume), and plain yoghurt instead of sour cream. And of course I used ingredients more readily available to me in Japan such as negi (Japanese leek) instead of the normal leek, plain flour plus more baking powder instead of self-raising flour (which I've yet to find in Japan), and gouda cheese instead of the garish orange (American?) cheddar that is popular on the shelves here. I thought that these muffins tasted better the next day because the savoury flavours had developed further and were more pronounced.

Anyway, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and hope you have an awesome New Year in 2009!

Savoury muffins


4 bacon rashers, finely chopped
1 stalk negi (Japanese leek), finely chopped
2 cups (250g) plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoons caster sugar
1/4 cup coarsely grated gouda cheese
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup plain yoghurt
2 eggs
pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 190°C.
2. In a frypan over medium heat, cook the bacon for a minute until some fat has been extracted. Add the leek and continue cookin and stirring for a few more minutes until leek is soft and bacon is crisp. Drain and allow to cool.
3. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl, then stir in sugar, cheese, pepper and the bacon mixture.
4. In a jug, combine the wet ingredients (milk, oil, yoghurt and eggs) and whisk lightly.
5. Add the wet mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and combine well.
6. Spoon mixture into a 12-muffin tray to only 2/3 full.
7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Stand for 5 minutes in pan before turning onto a wire rack to cool.
8. Best enjoyed fresh and warm out of the oven, but tastes great the next day too!

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