My best friend Sophie M loves savoury muffins. Like crazy loves. She will buy one almost everyday to have for morning tea. In her muffin quests she has come to be quite the connoisseur. I always get really nervous when I make them for her for fear they will not live up to her high standards. For some reason she still thinks mine are some of the best. I find this odd considering mine always come out kind of flat and not overflowing and lush like the ones she buys are. Clearly it really must be what is on the inside that counts.
She asked me to make these for our work's SPCA Cupcake Day appeal even though they aren't cupcakes. But considering she rescued me early on Sunday morning from my deathly hungover state and found me food I owed her a batch. It was a funny morning actually. I finally graced my flat with my presence at one of our flat shin digs in the name of one of the girl's birthdays. I was expecting to be on the floor after two glasses of wine but come 2am I was the last one standing, let alone dancing. After waking up at the crack of dawn with a stomach that ached and waves of nausea washing over me I found myself nestled around a porcelain basin. I voice Vibered Sophie M and told her I needed to get up and force myself to eat something substantial to soak up my Saturday sins. The messages were most tragic sounding. I am not going to dictate them to you here. An hour later she came to get me. In this time I had gotten up, forced some bread into me, washed myself, dressed myself, washed the kitchen and done the recyling. My semi comatose couch bound flatmates could not handle how productive I was being. Hehe turns out the nana of the flat is actually a hardened Scarfie veteran who knows how to hangover.
After getting breakfast burgers we strolled to the Auckland Winter Gardens and basked in the sunlight on a bench and people watched. We felt like old nattering ladies sitting there. I could actually imagine us in fifty years sitting at that same bench still nattering away like old tarts.
We literally spent two hours discussing her mother's extensive stash of dinner party supplies and how we despise the tradition of a man asking our parents for our hands in marriage. Like seriously, if my parents had an issue with said man and I actually cared what they thought he would be long gone. We also felt like we should have the first say on the whole debacle considering you know, it's our life. Also we are not objects to be taken possession of. But Sophie's Mum has like 100 napkin rings! That is insane!! We also realised that we are pretty much dating each other. We also spent Friday night watching Sex in the City 2 (don't even ask..), drinking wines and eating Wok n Noodle take out. She also tells me all the ridiculous, random and mundane things that enter her head via Viber voice message. Add the fact that she rescues me and helps me find Sunday morning food and its pretty much Facebook official.
I guess what I am trying to say is that Sophie M is great, and hilarious, and honest (sometimes brutally haha), highly intelligent, sassy and daring (lol), and one of the most sincere and reliable friends I have. Just thinking about her fills me with joy (oh God maybe we really are dating!)
I always roast my vegetable cubes before putting them in the muffin mix. Roasting helps to concentrate the natural sugars making the final product just that little bit sweeter. Feta cheese also helps the muffin to stay moist on the inside. I think the trick to a good savoury mufin though is ample chunky filling. you are of course free to disagree.
Pumpkin, Spinach and Feta Muffins
Makes 20 smallish muffins
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
2 ¼ cups milk
75g butter, melted
1 small onion, diced
200g frozen spinach portions
300g pumpkin, cubed into small pieces
2 cups grated cheese
100-200g feta (the more the merrier) plus extra to garnish the tops with
Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds to finish
Small handful or parsley or mint finely chopped
Splash of oil
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees on bake. Line a tray with baking paper. Toss the pumpkin cubes in the oil then scatter across the baking tray with a sprinkling of salt. Bake for 40 minutes until tender then remove from the oven and leave to cool. Alternatively, microwave the cubes in a container of just boiled water for 5-6 minutes until the cubes a tender then drain well and leave to cool.
Chop the frozen spinach portions up into shreds whilst still frozen. Submerge the shreds in boiling water and leave until defrosted. Drain well and squeeze out all the excess moisture.
Sauté the onion in a splash of oil until translucent then put to one side.
Keep the oven set to 180 degrees on bake and line two muffin trays with muffin cases or grease them really well.
Sieve all the dry ingredients together then make a well in the centre. Whisk together the eggs, milk and melted butter then pour into the well. Give the batter a quick stir until just combined. It is ok if there are lumps of flour, these will sort themselves out in the oven and it is super important you don’t over mix.
Tip the pumpkin, onion, feta, spinach, herbs and cheese into the batter and quickly stir to evenly disperse.
Spoon the batter into the muffin trays, topping each muffin with some extra feta or grated cheese and a couple of seeds. Bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer when poked into the centre of one of them comes out clean.
Enjoy warm with a good smearing of butter.