All posts by Armin Grewe

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Blueberry & Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins

As promised yesterday, today I made the third batch/version of muffins. After the Cherries & Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins and the Dark Chocolate & Almond Muffins it was time for Blueberries and Dark Chocolate Chips today.

Picture of Blueberry & Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins (before baking)
Blueberry & Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins (before)

The ingredients were essentially the same as for the Cherries & Dark Chocolate ones, replacing the cherries with blueberries:

  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g fresh blueberries, washed
  • 200g dark (70%) chocolate chips
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 150ml pot natural yoghurt
  • 100g butter, melted

Making them was also very similar:

  • Preheat oven to fan assisted 180°C, (200°C, gas 6)
  • paper cases in 12 hole muffin tin
  • sift flour and bicarbonate of soda into large bowl, stir in chocolate and sugar
  • beat eggs, add yoghurt, then molten butter. Add this mixture to the flour etc
  • add in the washed blueberries
  • stir to combine, but do not “overmix” (it’s fine if it’s a bit lumpy. Apparently if you “overmix” the muffins will turn out tough)
  • fill the mixture into the papercases and then bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden brown

Same as before the whole process took just over an hour. Again some will go into the freezer, some will be eaten over the next few days. And one I’ve eaten just now while writing this. Tasted very nice.

Picture of Blueberry & Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins (after baking)
Blueberry & Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins (after)

I’ll take a break from them now, I’ve got enough in the freezer for a while. But I’m sure I’ll be making some again. For now I’ve got two breads in the oven, baking away.

Dark Chocolate and Almond Muffins

Following on from the Cherry and Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins from last weekend I decided to bake some more. This time I decided to improvise a bit to make some Dark Chocolate and Almond Muffins. I actually made them on Thursday, but only get round to write it up today.

Picture of Dark Chocolate and Almond Muffins in a muffin tray
Dark Chocolate and Almond Muffins (1)

Still based on the other recipe I replaced several of the ingredients, here’s what I used:

  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g chopped almonds
  • 150g dark (70%) chocolate chips
  • 50g fine dark cocoa powder (100% cocoa solids)
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • approx 17ml Moroccan Almond Extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 150ml pot natural yoghurt
  • 100g butter, melted

And making them followed pretty much the same process again:

  • Preheat oven to fan assisted 180°C, (200°C, gas 6)
  • paper cases in 12 hole muffin tin
  • sift flour and bicarbonate of soda into large bowl, stir in almonds, chocolate chips, cocoa powder and sugar
  • beat eggs, add yoghurt, then molten butter and almond extract. Add this mixture to the flour etc
  • stir to combine, but do not “overmix” (it’s fine if it’s a bit lumpy. Apparently if you “overmix” the muffins will turn out tough)
  • fill the mixture into the papercases and then bake for 20-25 minutes until risen

Same as before, took just over half an hour to make. I think they turned out very nice, although I have to say they are quite heavy. The chocolate and almonds are a nice combination I think, really like it.

Picture of Dark Chocolate and Almond Muffins on a rack
Dark Chocolate and Almond Muffins (2)

Some I put into the freezer for later, some I took into the office for Friday afternoon refreshments, some I’m eating this weekend. And if everything goes to plan I’ll make some Blueberry and Dark Chocolate Chips muffins on Sunday.

Cherry & Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins

Not sure why, but I decided I needed to do something different again (although I have made muffins before, but for some reason haven’t made any for quite some time). And for some reason I felt like Cherry & Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins. So I made some yesterday.

Picture of Cherry & Chocolate Chip Muffins still a in baking tray
Cherry & Chocolate Chip Muffins in tray

Here’s what I used:

  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g dried cherries (the original recipe had 140g, but they came in 75g packs, so I decided to just use them all)
  • 200g dark (70%) chocolate chips (the original recipe had 100g each of dark and white chocolate, but I don’t like white chocolate)
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 150ml pot natural yoghurt
  • 100g butter, melted

Here’s how I made them:

  • Preheat oven to fan assisted 180°C, (200°C, gas 6)
  • paper cases in 12 hole muffin tin
  • sift flour and bicarbonate of soda into large bowl, stir in cherries, chocolate and sugar
  • beat eggs, add yoghurt, then molten butter. Add this mixture to the flour etc
  • stir to combine, but do not “overmix” (it’s fine if it’s a bit lumpy. Apparently if you “overmix” the muffins will turn out tough)
  • fill the mixture into the papercases and then bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden brown

That’s all. In total took just over half an hour. Put some in a freezer bag for deep freezing, according to the interwebs they should be good for 1-2 months.

Picture of Cherry & Chocolate Chip Muffins on a kitchen worktop
Cherry & Chocolate Chip Muffins on kitchen worktop

I think they taste nice, the cherries and the chocolate go well together. I think next I’ll try the same recipe with blueberries.

Idlewild’s new album, Interview Music

While I wasn’t an early adopter and didn’t hear of them until their second or third album (can’t remember exactly) I’ve been listening to Idlewild for many years. Even saw them playing in Oxford 12 years ago (and I don’t go to many rock concerts any more). But that’s not the topic of this post. They have (after several years) released a new album today (which I’m listening to while writing this post). Here’s a taster from their YouTube channel:

Listen to a taster of Idlewild’s album Interview Music

I’ve played it may be 3-4 times now and my first verdict is positive. While I don’t think there are any instant radio hits on it (which isn’t a bad thing) there are plenty of nice tunes which open up after listening a couple of times. Some are mellower, some are noisier. Roddy has written up how the album came about. I think it was worth the wait.

Just read: Ivan Rogers’ 9 Lessons in Brexit

With Brexit having just been postponed this small book (more a booklet than a book actually) is probably a good read to help understanding how we got to where we are now. It also complements my earlier post that Brexit hasn’t really started yet.

In case you haven’t heard of him, Ivan Rogers is a former UK ambassador to the EU, so he knows rather well what he’s talking about. He resigned in January 2017 as he couldn’t support the governments negotiation strategy and his since then been giving lectures and speeches about the Brexit negotiations. This book is an edited version of one of the best received lectures he has given.

Focus is on strategy, not so much tactics/detail, as you would expect from a comparably short lecture/booklet. It highlights the mistakes and misinterpretations by the government in the preparations and negotiations which instantly put in on the back foot. It also highlights how many of the difficult decisions and trade offs haven’t been made yet but will have to be made as many of the promises made by some campaigners simply can’t be met.

An interesting (and for some eye opening, if only they were to read it) essay, well worth the time. Published in 2019, so very current even after the latest developments.