As you may have gathered, I do a lot of baking. Among the things I’ve baked the most are these delicious courgette and mozzarella savoury muffins from a recipe by the baking genius that is Dan Lepard.
This recipe has many of my favourite ingredients – with courgette, chilli, cheese and parsley all in there, this is a dream bake for me! It’s also super easy to make, employing one of my favourite methods: throw it all in a bowl, then mix and bake. So simple!
Some notes on the ingredients: courgettes are widely available now, as they’re a summer vegetable that seems to keep growing whether gardeners would like it to or not! So they’re pretty cheap at the moment. Mozzarella can be expensive, but I recently discovered that Morrisons has included the cheese in its new ‘Savers’ range, which is the equivalent of Asda Smartprice and Tesco Value. At 44p for 125g, it’s definitely the cheapest I’ve come across in all the time I’ve been making this recipe, and it tastes fine, so I would recommend finding your nearest Morrisons if you’re on a budget.
Back to the muffins, then. Being a pescetarian, I make the vegetarian version of this recipe, which replaces the smoked ham with smoked paprika. Add to this the generous helping of chilli flakes, and you have some wonderfully spicy muffins! The spice level is perfect, in my opinion, but if you don’t get on with chilli it’s probably a good idea to reduce the amount you put in by one or two teaspoons. I had to use red onion instead of white this time, and I only had frozen parsley as opposed to fresh, but that didn’t make much of a difference to the overall flavour.
As with most muffin recipes, the key is to not overdo it when stirring the mix. I always mix until the ingredients have just come together (for me, it’s when it’s mostly combined, but I can still see some bits of unmixed flour in the bowl). Overmixing can result in hard, dense muffins that fail to rise, so keep an eye on what you’re doing!
You can eat these while they’re still warm, but they’ll most likely still be a little soft in the middle, so try to resist temptation until they’re completely cool and you’ll find them easier to eat. I also think they’re tastier when cold, but then I’m the sort of freak who likes cold cheesy pasta and pizza!
Get the recipe from Dan Lepard’s Guardian column here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/apr/10/courgette-mozzarella-muffin-recipe