Sunday, 16 September 2012

The comfort of carrot muffins

And so, autumn is finally here. There's a chill in the blustery air and in the evenings, we're burning candles again. The changing season is the perfect excuse to fire up the oven and get baking. If you're looking for something different to go with your coffee this autumnal morning, then here is a recipe from Aarstiderne that won't disappoint. I'm not entirely sure whether this is a muffin or a cupcake, in truth, it can be argued both ways. But there's nothing wrong with the goodness of a muffin topped off with a dab of pretty butter cream icing and so its confused identity should not cause too much concern.

Don't also be put off by the sight of piped icing - this was just because I made these muffins for visitors and wanted to add a touch of flare. The icing is a nice light consistency and can just as easily be spread over the muffins with a butter or pallet knife.

Carrot muffins with lemon cream cheese icing
To make 12 muffins, you will need:

3 large eggs
300 ml cane sugar
200 ml coarse flour (wholewheat or spelt)
200 ml plain four
1 vanilla pod, seeds
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
500 ml finely grated carrot (or courgette)
150 ml rape-seed oil
200 ml chopped cashew nuts

For the lemon cream cheese icing, you will need

200g natural cream cheese
100g softened butter
500 ml icing sugar
1/2 vanilla pod, seeds
1 lemon, grated zest and a little juice

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease a 12-hole muffin tray or use paper muffin cases.

Whisk the eggs and cane sugar together until they are pale and fluffy. Mix all the dry ingredients together and stir them into the whisked egg mixture. Stir in the grated carrot (or courgette), oil and nuts until combined.

Pour the muffin mixture into the muffin tray and bake for about 20 minutes until they are golden and firm.

To make the icing, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir them together until they have a soft creamy consistency. Add lemon juice to taste. Divide the cream and spread it over the tops of the cooled muffins with a pallet knife or you could pipe ice them, if you prefer. Garnish the icing with some grated lemon zest or a mint leaf.

(Pictures and text, Katherine Ball)

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Hurra to Denmark

At the end of the summer holiday in the International Community there is a some what mixed feeling about the return to school. Obviously mostly one of relief that our darling children will once again be in the care of others for a few hours each day. Yet also one of trepidation as the friends we waved off at the end of term may not be returning at the start of the new year as they leave to make new lives in new countries leaving us to welcome in other families just staring their own Danish adventures.

A good friend of mine held a party on the first weekend of term to celebrate Denmark, living in Denmark and all things Danish. In doing so we were all asked to bring something that would represent one of our favourite aspect’s of life here to share with the other guests. The responses were varied and ranged from favourite bakeries to beer and bicycles. It was a really fun exercise actually and made me focus on all the things that my family and I love about living here, for there are plenty.

To go alongside the Danish mood board some of us also took nibbles and of course they had a Scandinavian theme. After much deliberation I went for a cupcake, not extremely Danish no but for the topping I used a whole punnet of fresh fragrant Danish raspberries, a glorious fruit enjoying a late summer heyday. They were in my opinion delicious, a real explosion of flavour on the tongue and the color was delicately beautiful. I topped them off with some freeze dried raspberries, again from a supplier in Denmark.

With renewed vigour and excitement we begin another year here in this wonderful country. We look forward to following the seasonal changes that Aarstidrne celebrates with the food boxes, it maybe farewell to summer berries but you can be sure there are more treasures to follow.

Click here to order berries direct from Aarstiderne.

Text and photographs by Sally McWilliam
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