Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A farewell and raspberry, mango and almond muffins

Today was a day of goodbyes and airport hugs.  The kind that is always accompanied by a few teary sobs and a few weeks of heart ache.  My sister and her kids went home to Canada today after spending six weeks here with us; never a happy event.

We spend the morning taking photographs and playing in the garden.  Her son adored the space and freedom of spending time in a country with abundant sunshine.  He wanted to be outside all-day, everyday, chasing the chickens, climbing trees, picking flowers and seeds and riding his bicycle.  So that was what we did this morning before going to the airport.  

My son, E was so sad to see his little cousin leave, heartbroken almost.  They became as close as brothers and spend hours together.  Distance is always harder for the little ones to grasp.  He has no concept of the size of the earth and always asks inquisitive questions about geography.  He wants to know if Canada is further than Johannesburg or Durban.  He wants to know if you can drive here or have to fly there.  He is trying to get to grips with the fact that his new best friend can suddenly disappear for years at a time.  Little does he know that we adults struggle with the idea too.

I thought that a day like today needs a bit of colour and cheer and therefor made little cheery raspberry muffins for breakfast.  The first batch was pretty standard with apple grated into the mixture.  But then the mango on the counter looked too appealing and I made another batch with mango.  

Muffins are the sort of thing that you can throw together on a busy morning in less than half an hour from start to finish.  And it always surprise me that something that requires so little effort can yield so much reward.  You have to try them, you know you want to.

Raspberry, almond and mango muffins

270g self-raising flour
50g almonds, blanched
100g sugar
50g soft brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 medium apple, grated
1 medium mango,grated
75ml buttermilk
75ml sunflower oil
125g raspberries, fresh or frozen

20g almonds for sprinkling
vanilla sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Place the almonds with a little bit of the sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until fine.
Push the apple into a sieve and squeeze out as much of the juice as possible. Squeeze the mango by hand, being careful not to pulverize.  
Sift the flour into a bowl and mix the sugar, egg, buttermilk and oil into it with a spoon.  Do not over mix.  Add the apple and mango and stir again until just combined.  Gently stir in the raspberries.
Spoon into muffin wrappers and top with a few almond slivers and vanilla sugar.  Bake for 20 minutes, however start checking after 15 minutes; you are after a muffin that is just set, not dry.

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