Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Where's the pudding?


On the wall of our kitchen is an 1950's school sign. Two purposeful children, one with perfect pigtails - both with a confident swagger - are striding off to school. Fast forward to 2009 and the picture in our household is rather different on a school day. Hair is unkempt, eyes bleary and invariably there is a row going on; arguments over lost sports kit, incomplete homework, empty cereal boxes, shoes without laces. In fact when we leave the house in the morning at the unearthly time of 7.30 to walk to school, we stumble out onto the pavement. The only creature with anything approaching a confident swagger is the cat. Every morning he attempts to escape through the front door on a kamakazi mission to run across the road where he will meet certain death. Every morning so far, we have stopped him.
So the hot school lunch in a flask mission has required some 1950's style discipline. I feel the spirit of Elizabeth Craig and Etheline Fearon running through me as I look into my freezer. I have become the queen of batch cooking and last week's lunches included a one-pot Winter Casserole (11 out of 10 from Freddie),Leek and Potato Soup, Leek and Macaroni Cheese, Tomato and Lentil soup and Hot Dogs. We are doing well, but there was one major complaint.
"What is for pudding?" You see, Freddie's school has a superb line in hot puddings. I still have the school menu emailed to me so I know why he is a little disappointed by my efforts. This week they are serving Pear and Ginger oaties, rice pudding with forest fruits, Toffee Flapjack, Bread Pudding, Sweet potato pudding, Chocolate Orange Peel Muffins, Pineapple and Coconut Sponge and Assorted Jellies.
So I made these muffins, half of which were inhaled hot from the oven by my children last night - the others made it into the lunchbox, alongside the hot Leek and Potato Soup.
Here are Buttermilk, Beetroot and Apple Muffins. Scored 9 out of 10.
Makes six large muffins or 12 smaller ones
1 egg, beaten
150ml buttermilk
50g butter, melted
1 eating apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
2 small beetroot, cooked and finely diced
50g Demerara sugar
1 tablespoon of maple syrup (or runny honey)
150g plain flour
1 and a half tsp of baking powder
For the topping
1 tablespoon of porridge oats
1 tablespoon of Demerara sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180C. If you are using a deep muffin tray, cut out six squares of baking parchment 15 cms by 15 cms. Line each muffin tin with a square of paper. You can use paper cases if you prefer. Melt the butter, allow to cool slightly and in a bowl stir in the sugar, beaten egg and buttermilk. Mix well. Add the finely diced cooked beetroot and diced apple and spoon of maple syrup. Sieve the flour and baking powder and roughly stir in so the flour is distributed but don’t over mix. Spoon the mixture evenly into each lined muffin tin. Mix together the ingredients for the topping and sprinkle evenly over the top of each muffin.
Cook in the oven for 30 minutes.

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  1. Is that proper bread pudding on the school menu? Or bread and butter pudding?

    Beetroot and apple is such a classic combo.

    i guess its hard to try and include veggies in sweets. I can think of 6 that i've seen in cake/bake recipes - Beetroot, Carrot, Parsnip, courgette, squash/pumpkin and sweet potato.

  2. Beets would impart their own sweetness to these muffins. What an ingenious way to use this winter root veggie Charlotte. I also think your doing a bang up job in the creativity department with the kids lunches!!

  3. Beetroot in muffins? They look lovely and I'm always up for trying new things, but I think my husband might be pickier than Freddie and veto that idea. Heh. I suppose I could try to shame him into it. ;)

  4. Anonymous8:41 PM

    You need to share the 11/10 winter casserole recipe. That must be great.

  5. Anonymous9:02 PM

    Yes, please share that winter casserole! This is brilliant! Inspiring!

  6. Anon - I will I promise....

    Kalinda - Just dont let on to your husband that there are vegetables in the muffin - I mean the beetroot LOOKS fairly harmless...try it and let me know how you get on

    BV - Thank you. Do you ever cook meals in aflask - if you know of anyone who does, let me know....I dont know if you could ever mention our quest on your blog as we are hoping for ideas from flask users aroudn the globe!!

    Jenny - it is proper bread pudding....But I am planning some hot puds - maybe a crumble or two!

  7. Anonymous10:20 PM

    Hi I found this cool recipe for Artichoke-scrambled Eggs Benedict. Has anyone ever tried it? Sounds good and I hope it is. Here is the link with the recipe and article. nice site to whoever created it.


  8. Sounds interesting - though I havent tried it

  9. Wonderful and I have all the ingredients except the buttermilk and that can soon be rectified :)

    What a great school menu too!

  10. Charlotte, you little genius. I'm a total sucker for anything beetroot-esque and I just love the sound of these muffins.

    I've got out of the habit of making muffins, but they're such a useful snack to have in the freezer. Thanks for posting these, they are inspired.

  11. Highly impressive - on the menu for the weekend, great stuff


  12. I'm all out of maple syrup. Love the idea of using beetroot, though.

  13. Look delish, and I like the cases, my excuse for never making muffins is that I don't have any cases for them! I can't usually bring myself to eat beetroot but might make an exception :)

  14. Atia - this is beetroot but not as you know it....

    Scott - get the Maple Syrup in!

    David - thank you. Isnt the forced UK rhubarb due in season soon?

    kathryn - Thank you. A muffin genius I am not - but Garrett from vanilla garlic is the true thing.
    Holler thank yuo - are you a teacher?

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