I LOVE olive oil a lot. It is one of the many reasons I am 100% sure that something went majorly wrong with the whole being born in England thing. The other major one being my love of the sun and being hothot, as in the sweat drippy kind. Yep the Med calls to me and my misplaced genes really very loudly....especially in February.
So to make up for my very British and sub 20°c existence, I immerse myself (not literally...unless I'm on some particularly extreme beauty kick) in the green grassy liquor. I love it so much that I would not be disappointed if my last meal were a bottle of the good stuff, some fresh bread, proper tomatoey tomatoes and salt and pepper....ow and cheese, got to have cheese.
It's really just a happy coincidence that it's all good for you and whatnot...it's one of those good fats that I think of as giving my insides a wash. Useful, given that those unhealthy buttery fats would be included in most other versions of my last meal.
You can replace butter with a healthier fat consistently in baking, but that's not what's going on here. Here the olive oil and fresh lemonyness is the point...for deliciousness, not anything else. If you were a real connoisseur you could seek out a particularly lemony olive oil, because they do vary greatly in flavour notes and all that jazz, though I used a cheap, not overly flavourful extra virgin here because it's what I had (read: I am not a connoisseur). I hope you make them so you can accompany on my imaginary trips to the sparkling sea-ed home land.
What would your last meal be?
Lemon, Olive Oil and Poppy Seed Muffins.
A few notes:
- The secret to good muffins is speed; have everything ready so that as soon as the mixture is ready...bosh, in the oven.
- If you want to get fancy, you know, like me, you can make your own muffin cases out of greaseproof paper. It's simple, cut 15cm-ish squares, fold in half, fold in half again, then make a final fold by bringing the two folded sides together making a point with the centre of the square. Open in out and squodge into your muffin tray. If that makes no sense at all maybe have a look at how these overly cute kids do it.
- I LOVE olive oil and so was happy to use extra virgin to get as much flavour as poss, but if you're less of a fan, do feel free to substitute virgin which will be a less distinct taste.
You will need
a 12 hole muffin tray, lined with cupcake cases
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g caster sugar
1 tbsp poppy seeds
juice and zest 1 lemon
about 120ml milk
60g olive oil (see note)
For the syrup
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp caster sugar
- Preheat that old oven of yours to 200°c.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb, caster sugar, salt, poppy seeds and lemon zest.
- Pour the lemon juice into a mixing jug, then pour in milk until the combined mixture reaches the 200ml mark....it will look disgustingly curdled but that's ok.
- Whisk in the egg and olive oil followed by the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Divide the mix equally between your cupcake cases and get in the oven asap.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until gold and firm.
- Meanwhile make the syrup by gently heating the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved, then let it bubble for a minute or 2 before removing from the heat.
- When the muffins are baked, let them cool for a few minutes in the tin before moving to a wire rack.
- Poke the muffins all over with a skewer or piece of uncooked spaghetti to make little holes for the syrup to soak down into.
- Pour spoonfuls of syrup over the muffins and let it soak it while the muffins cool.
- Breakfast sorted.