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I think I almost have enough muffin recipes to set up their own category …

And now I’ll be adding another.

I certainly don’t believe that muffins should only be a sweet thing. There’s a whole world of savoury muffins out there. I made a batch of wonderful cheese and herb muffins a couple of weeks ago at the husband’s request – not that I took any photos – of course! I also have a recipe floating around here for a cheese and chutney muffin – definitely a brunch thing!

Now, I found the original recipe for these here at All Recipes Australia but I made enough changes to warrant me copying out the recipe as I did it!

One thing I do want to talk about (and its not the whole zucchini/courgette thing – zucchini comes from the Italian and courgette comes from the French – they both mean the same thing in English: “little squash”) is cheese. I am a lover of cheese, and have used several different types of cheeses in muffins.

One of the cheeses most often seen in savoury baking is Parmesan, and for the life of me I cannot understand why. Yes, it smells very ‘cheesy’ when its uncooked, but once baked it loses all its flavour. I’m lucky. England is the home to one of the best cheeses with which to cook – Cheddar. France may hold its own with soft or veined cheeses, and has a Cheddar-ish equivalent with Cantal and Italy’s answer is Friulano, but there is no cheese quite like proper West Country Farmhouse Cheddar for cooking with. In these kinds of recipes, I would say to use strong mature or extra-mature Cheddar. The original recipe calls for a mix that includes Parmesan, and a total of only 120g (1 cup) of grated cheese. I upped this to at least 150g. You do want to taste it, don’t you?! I also added a touch of mustard powder just to increase that oomph – if you don’t have any then replace with paprika – or omit altogether!

Ingredients

  • 220g self-raising flour (I split this into 170g ‘normal’ and 50g wholemeal)
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • Quarter teaspoon salt
  • Quarter teaspoon mustard powder
  • Quarter teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 65g butter, melted
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 courgette, finely grated (I used 4 baby courgettes)
  • 150g strong cheese (Cheddar is preferable)
  • 160g cubed pancetta (simply because I like bacon and had a box of pancetta in the fridge and this is what it weighed!)

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180C and line a 12 case muffin pan
  • Melt butter and leave to one side to cool. Do the same with the pancetta/lardons/bacon.

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  • Sift the flour with the rest of the dry ingredients.

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  • Combine the butter, egg, milk and courgette in a separate bowl or mixing jug.

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  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix slowly with a spoon until just combined. Add in the bacon and cheese and mix. (If you remember to reserve some cheese then sprinkle on the top before baking.)

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  • Spoon into the prepared muffin pan and bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, remove and finish cooling on a wire rack.

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As you can see, they aren’t exactly grease-free – adding the fat that had rendered from the pancetta didn’t help with that – but they are very moist as a result. Perhaps baking in a coloured muffin case or liner-free in a silicone tin and then inserting into a pretty liner would be best if you were planning on presenting these!

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