It’s Tuesday. Let’s talk about muffins. But first let’s talk about family. Let’s talk about my family.
My family: we are a circus without a ringmaster; we are loud – intimidatingly loud; we are emotive – every emotion, all the time, from ecstatic to furious and back again in barely a sentence; we are so, so different to one another, and a homogeneous lump of genetics at the same time; we are, well, we are a family.
My Dad at the time I sat down to write this post was standing next to me with two baseball caps on top of his head giving me his impression of a ‘gangsta’, before he made himself a slice of apple pie for dessert, and drafted another angry letter – see: a funny, homespun, and cranky old man all tied up in one package.
My Mum is currently ensconced on the couch with the cat on one side of her lap and Molly the malamute’s head on the other side. No doubt she is working on one of her detailed quilts all the while watching crime shows and solving the case before a CSI cast member can say ‘mass spectrometer’.
My sister and her husband no longer live here but when I last saw my superwoman of a sister we gave each other lectures on our various personality faults (mostly calmly) and then discussed our next baking challenges – we’re just like that, and sometimes people get freaked out that we can go from yelling and crying to best of friends, but people, that’s the way these sisters roll, m’kay?
When a newcomer is introduced into the fold of our family they had better brace themselves. Sometimes it is funny to watch people’s reaction to the way that four people can uphold eight different conversations at once all while paying attention to what’s on television and which of the animals requires feeding or letting in/out. Most of the time though I feel sorry for the initiate. My brother-in-law is a sensible and quiet young man and I think it was truly a test of his mettle that he lived with us all for three years and didn’t run screaming into the night. In fact, he bound himself to our circus wagon forever when he married my sister. We’re like that – get attached to one family member and you get the whole clan.
Over the years I have brought various friends home who have then become like family – Casey, Caroline, Josie, Shane – all of them have been through the trial by fire that is dinner with my family, and survived (I hope) mostly unscathed and mentally un-scarred.
Chris, bless his mismatched cotton socks, fits into this mess perfectly. He pays attention to Dad’s work stories and hands out IT advice free of charge, compliments Mum’s cooking or bonds with her over her action movie collection, and he even likes my dog and is super cute when handling our fairy-sized cat.
So yeah, that’s my family. We may have to apologise when we leave shops because the sales attendants are either visibly shaking with trauma or laughter; we never know which it is. We may have to pack an entire boot of food, chairs, books, gardening equipment, an industrial-size first aid kit, and a laptop computer whenever we go anywhere – just in case. We may snack endlessly on whatever lies around the house and hide our sweets from each other (like the time Mum started hiding her Chico babies in her unmentionables drawer because my Dad is a sweet-tooth beyond compare). We may sing Christmas carols in Woolworths in the middle of April, and share forkfuls of food, ask for the special dietary menu, and order milkshakes with low-fat milk and whipped cream, and cry in public, and laugh louder than is acceptable, but that’s okay with me, because they are my family. And I love them.
We also bring things when we visit. There is always too much baked goodness happening in our house for one family to digest in a reasonable amount of time, so we bring things.
Today, I am bringing you, my Thoroughly Nourished Life family, my recipe for Tropical Carrot Muffins (p.s. the whole family can enjoy them because they are gluten-free).
Tropical Carrot Muffins (gluten free)
This recipe makes about 14 standard-size muffins. If you don’t require these to be gluten free, simply replace the buckwheat and brown rice flours with 160 grams of wholemeal plain flour or white plain flour. Keep the almond meal as it adds a great texture and healthy fats.
For the pineapple: drain first and then measure. Keep the juices to drink with breakfast – delicious.
- 80 grams almond meal
- 80 grams brown rice flour
- 80 grams buckwheat flour
- 80 grams brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon baking powder (gluten free if required)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/3 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons rice bran oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 1/2 cup drained crushed pineapple
- 1/3 cup sultanas
- Preheat your oven to 200C (390F) and line 14 cups in two 12-cup muffin trays.
- Into a medium bowl weigh the almond meal, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, and brown sugar. Whisk in the salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and shredded coconut. Make sure everything is well mixed and no lumps of brown sugar remain.
- In a measuring jug measure the milk and add the eggs and vanilla essence. Whisk together well.
- Add milk mixture to dry ingredients along with the crushed pineapple. Mix well.
- Add grated carrot and sultanas and mix to distribute.
- Spoon mixture equally among the muffin cups and slide trays into the oven.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Share with your family, or those friends who are like family.
My dear readers, what makes your family unique? What is a stand-out trait that everyone shares? Any favourite family recipes?