Thursday, 12 November 2009

Anatomy of a recipe

The other thing I made yesterday was banana muffins. Again, I didn't say much about it yesterday and intend to redress the balance now :-)



You see, I read a post on Amy's blog last week and she talked about how she doesn't often follow a recipe when she cooks. It resonated with me because most of my savoury dishes I more or less make up as I go along, and when I bake, even when I have a recipe in front of me I often just do it my way. Sometimes my way matches the recipe's way. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the dish works out. Sometimes it doesn't. I just thought I'd share an example of how my cookery can happen.....

Banana Muffins

Makes: 12 muffins Darn it, where are the muffin cases? Where's the muffin tin? Kids - we're making cupcakes!

Makes: 12 muffins 24 cupcakes
Takes: 10 minutes + 20-25 minutes cooking time

 
Ingredients

 
9 oz (250g) plain flour Hmm. Wonder how many ounces that is that I spilt on the floor? Better chuck a bit more in make sure... 
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda Must put bicarb of soda on the shopping list for next week. That's _nearly_ a teaspoonful, that'll do....
1/2 tsp salt I never understand why we put salt in sweet recipes. Must find out some time.
3 medium well-ripened bananas We seem to have 5 squishy bananas in the fruit bowl. Why does my family not eat them? I wonder if these count as small or medium? This one is almost completely black, better not use that. And I'll cut the end off this one. That makes about 3 medium ones. I think.
1 egg
3 oz (80g) soft brown sugar Oh, I never remember to get soft brown sugar! Got demerara though, that'll do!
5 tbsp water
4 tbsp corn oil What the heck is corn oil??? Never seen that at Asda.... I'll have to use light and mild olive oil and keep my fingers crossed...

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 170oC (fan oven)/190oC/Gas Mark 5.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Bother it, that's more on the floor. Wonder how many ounces are actually in the bowl now?
  3. Peel the bananas and place into a separate bowl. Mash them to a puree Heh heh, take THAT, bananas! And THAT! Ha, well and truly mushed :-) That was satisfying! then add the egg, beaten. Why would I beat the egg first? That would just make more washing up! If I stick it in and mix really well that will surely have the same effect? 
  4. Beat the sugar and water into the banana mixture then add the oil and stir well. Aargh, forgot to switch the oven on to preheat!
  5. Tip in the dry ingredients and quickly mix till just combined. Don't overmix - it's better to have a few lumps and traces of flour! I wonder exactly how many lumps and how much flour is OK? I don't want a mouthful of flour when I bit into a muffin cupcake, do I? But I don't want them to be tough, either....
  6. Spoon into paper cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, until firm and springy to the touch. Ow, they're hot! Cool on a wire rack.
Best eaten fresh but they also freeze well - great for lunchboxes!

I'm thinking that you may now feel nervous about trying any of my recipes lol... But can I reassure you that I only put recipes on my other blog when I've tested them thoroughly?! And the photos there are of what I've made with that exact recipe, following those exact steps, each time - if the dish doesn't work out it doesn't get into my blog!

16 comments:

Nadine said...

thanks for sharing! (:
am gonna bookmark this and should
I ever start baking, I'll definitely
try this and maybe add chocolate so
it'll be awesome :D

humel said...

Mmmmm, chocolate.... Sorry, got distracted there! Just to add to Nadine's comment ^ I have thought of adding chocolate chips, or - even better - shoving a piece of chocolate into the middle of each spoonful of mixture before baking, though I haven't tried it yet :-)

Angela2932 said...

I love your editing and commenting on this! I literally almost typed out the recipe, but realized I'd be ad-libbing from your units of measurement to ounces and pounds. . . and that could get scary!

scrappyjacky said...

I can identify with all those mutterings.....they look great....I love baking,but rarely do it.....cause I eat too much of the end product!!
The shopping wasn't fun....far from it....a crowded Tescos!!

glitterbygrammie said...

Choclate in the middle of each one.HHHMMM. sounds so good.
You bake about the same way I do. I am not a perfect measurer at all. I do it my way. Sounds like a song.

Ruth said...

It's easier for me not to bake! And bananas are the devil's own fruit!!

Clair said...

I can highly recommend adding chocolate. I always put chocolate pieces in my banana muffins - it works so well.

A bit miffed I missed out on these - stupid old lady body. Even if I'm not better next week, I'll just dope myself up x

Amy said...

Mel, that is exactly how I cook!
I'm so hit and miss - I always scrounge out of the bottom of the flour, sugar, bicarb ......
ooops, I don't mean to say that you are a slap dash cook ;)
I often add choc bit to our banana cakes or muffins - kids think they are having something so naughty!

Jocelyn said...

Definitely worth adding the chocolate (mind you I would say that about adding chocolate to just about anything lol).

I have an awesome banana brownie recipe that I found on Stacey Julians site that has choc chips in it - mmmm to die for, chocolate and banana its like strawberries and cream... marriage made in heaven.

Birgit said...

When I cook I am like you -- doing it my way. :) However, when I bake, I usually stick to the recipe -- with baking it's the safest way to success (Jamie Oliver says the same!). :)

sharyncarlson said...

oh how funny! I know the feeling :)

Sian said...

Ha! Yes, sounds very familiar. They look like they turned out beautifully all the same.

RachelB said...

This is how I make cakes too, I always end up with a lot on the floor, worktop & me! Love reading your posts Mel, they always make me smile.

Tammy said...

This was so funny and so true, at least in my house. Good job, I hope that the Bananna Cupcakes were good. I've had some banannas sitting on my cupboard turning black and I keep thinking that I neede to make bananna bread...I'd better get to it.

Anna Bartlett said...

Love it, love it. A girl after my own heart. Off to do your granola again now!

Lizzie said...

Hey, just stumbled on this today. It's wonderful! I have a good recipe for banana cupcakes/muffins too... extra nice if you add some raisins or chocolate chips!

I will try your recipe some time and see if I prefer it to my old one. Looked great in the photo!