Gluten free blueberry muffins

Throwing stuff out is not my jam. Minimalists, let me spare you the pain and avert your eyes now.

Not only do I love to collect, I also struggle with sorting through and throwing out the accumulated tangible items of life. This includes my clothes, knick-knacks and kitchenware but my biggest challenge is anything that belongs to our boys; be it toys, items of clothing or books.

I detest waste (who knows when it may come in handy?) but I also attach an immense amount of sentiment to such objects. Each precious article reminds me of our curly-haired, chubby-thighed little boys in Bonds t-shirts. How could I get rid of the wooden medieval castle or the Schleich animal figurines thoughtfully chosen together? But what I find most difficult is the books. Ahh, the books.

Every book I pick up has been read thoroughly, over and over during those early years. Each of them reminds me of sweet smelling freshly washed heads, snuggly pyjamas, weary nighttime little limbs softened and curled against me. They listened and looked and recited along with either myself or the Yak as we read to them. As often and whenever we could.

Trying to sort through the boys early childhood collection was my very own personal nightmare and I admit to keeping more than I should have. The classic books remembered from my own childhood had to be retained. The Giant Jam Sandwich, The Bad Baby and The Elephant, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Where the Wild Things Are, The Tiger Who Came to Tea and The Story About Ping.

Nor could I give away the many Hairy McLary’s, The Gruffalo, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Peepo. (To name but a few.) Lovingly packed away for now, my hope is that they will be read to future possible grandchildren (if I live that bloody long). If not, they will hopefully be rediscovered by our boys when they get the wonderful job of clearing out the crap once we have shuffled off this mortal coil. Lads, you are welcome.

This recipe is slightly tweaked from the marvellous Gluten Free Girl blog. Her feelings and experimentation pertaining to The Science of Muffin Baking, mirror my own. As all of us who bake gluten free know, it can be tricky to enjoy a lovely tender bake without using a nut based flour. I don’t like a big, overly sweet and cakey muffin and these little fruity beauties have a lovely soft crumb, are hydrated (I am trying desperately to avoid a certain ‘m’ word that I hate) and are a divine accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee. Kid 1 loves them enough to hog the whole lot. (He will hopefully remember these muffins lovingly as he sorts through the mountains of inherited flotsam and jetsam.)

GLUTEN FREE BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

WHAT YOU NEED
260 gf plain flour (Bobs Red Mill 1 to 1 gf flour blend is my current fave flour blend. I do not get paid to say this!)
2 tbl psyllium husk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbl baking powder
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup buttermilk (I have used soy milk and regular milk as well but buttermilk provides the most tender muffin)
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil (I use grapeseed or rice bran oil)

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat the oven to 210C.
Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin liners. (I brush a little bit of oil in each one to assist the muffins in not sticking.)
Whisk the flour, psyllium husk, sugar, baking powder, bi-carb soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.
Add the blueberries and toss them in the flour mixture. This flour coating helps them to not sink when baking.
Whisk the buttermilk, eggs and oil together thoroughly.
Pour the wet ingredients into a well in the dry ingredients and and very gently, fold the ingredients until everything is combined.
Fill the muffin liners equally.
Bake the muffins for five minutes at 210C then lower the heat to 180C and bake for another 15 minutes. The muffins are cooked when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and place the muffins onto a wire rack to cool.
Eat them.

Recipe slightly adapted from the following blog. This is a great post involving all things muffiny and gluten free. Go have a read.

https://glutenfreegirl.com/2016/10/how-to-make-a-gluten-free-muffin-mix/

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Blueberry sauce and a baking competition

So, the opportunity arose to partake in a baking competition. The event was being held to raise money for a sensory room at the school where the Mothership teaches. The idea being that your baking would be adjudicated by a panel of expert judges (in other words, people who liked food). The entered goodies were then to be sold at a big bake stall. How could I turn down the opportunity to raise money for a great cause? To me, it’s never been about the winning, it’s always been about the participating. It’s about ‘the taking part’, ‘giving it your best shot’ and all that guff important stuff.

Who am I kidding? I wanted to win. Big time.

The things that this Cheergerm has won in life (if you don’t count the esoteric crap such as true love, two great kids, friendship, good looks, talent) are few and far between. I do remember winning a puzzle once. It wasn’t even a particularly good puzzle.

What to bake, what to bake. It had to be my never fail flourless chocolate cake recipe. But it needed to be elevated and given an extra touch that could really wow them. Basically, it had to be something that could be placed into my new German jars (that I am currently obsessed with). That way, if my cake sucked, the judges would be so blinded by my quality glassware they would hand me the win.

With a few fresh blueberries left and some good quality (as in they won’t poison anyone) frozen ones in the freezer, the idea of a blueberry sauce popped into my mind. A recipe was found, a few adjustments made and Bob was my uncle. Sweet, tart and wonderfully gloopy, this fruit sauce was the perfect accompaniment to the rich, dark cake. We ate the leftovers as jam.

Wonderfully, a decent amount of dosh was raised. Did I win? Sadly not but the runner-up sash and smaller, far less sparkly tiara were mine. My cake and sauce were pipped to the post by mini cheesecakes. Damn those tiny rounds of baked cheesy goodness. Damn them.

BLUEBERRY SAUCE

WHAT YOU NEED
2 cups blueberries (I had 1/2 cup fresh and 1 1/2 cups frozen)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tbl lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder or 1/2 tsp vanilla bean essence
1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbl water
Zest of one lemon (about 1 tbl)

HOW YOU DO IT
Place the blueberries, sugar, water, lemon juice and vanilla into a medium saucepan,
Over a medium heat, bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring regularly.
Add the cornflour (that has been dissolved in water) to the saucepan slowly. Be careful not to squish the blueberries.
Simmer the sauce until it reaches the consistency where it coats the back of a spoon, this takes about 5-10 minutes.
Stir in the lemon zest. Taste it, you may want to add another dash of lemon juice. I did.
Put the sauce into a pretty jar and serve with flourless chocolate cake, with lemon muffins, ice-cream, spread on toast or just eat it with a spoon. You may just win a prize.

Recipe slightly adapted from My Baking Addiction blog. See link below.

http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/homemade-blueberry-sauce-recipe/