Wednesday, 12 January 2011


Thanks to amazing IFJ photographer, Jack Caffrey, for all the gorgeous snaps as always.

Well hi there if you've been directed here from Country Living Magazine! Hopefully you enjoyed the feature written by the lovely Imen (who you will find here) and thanks also to the IFJ for having me grace their cover (a cover girl at last, yay!). If you fancy, you can read more about my work as a Food Stylist and Home Economist over on my website and other blog. UPDATE: and you can now see the feature here.

Anyhow, welcome to Friendly Cottage. Around here we mostly eat. lots.

Now, you may be on a New Year healthy eating buzz but these muffins, as seen in the feature snaps, contain fruit (result), healthy nuts and wheatgerm (double score) and then everything else is merely mood enhancing which is always a good thing after the festive anti-climax.

If you buy a bunch of bananas, it’s inevitable you are going to be left with at least one that everyone avoids because it’s going black. I mash these orphaned bananas and stick them in the freezer until I have a build up of three. I then whip them out to make banana bread or these yummy spiced muffins. Such a domestic goddess me.

Anyhow, these are delicious for breakfast on the run (I’d probably pass on the sugary icing in that case though!) or as an afternoon treat. If you choose not to top with the icing then pop a pecan nut on top of each before baking. I like to use wheat germ (for extra nutrients) as I always have some in the fridge anyhow, but you can omit it if you like.

Makes 12

75g unsalted butter
250g self-raising flour
1 tbsp wheat germ (optional)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch salt
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
100g caster sugar
50g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
125ml buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas
200g cream cheese
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
300g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pecan nuts and / or redcurrant strings, to decorate

Preheat the oven to 170C (Gas Mark 5 / 375 F). Set paper muffin cases into a 12 hole muffin tin.

Melt the butter and leave to cool.

Sift the flour, wheatgerm, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a large bowl and stir the caster sugar and pecan nuts through.

Measure the milk into a large jug and then crack the eggs in. Add the vanilla extract and cooled melted butter and beat together.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the egg mixture in. Mash the bananas in the jug and then tip them in too. Stir everything together, but do not over mix, to give a lumpy (because of the bananas) paste.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cases, bringing it almost to the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and cooked through. Leave in the tin to cool for a few minutes before removing and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, prepare the icing. Beat the cream cheese and butter in a food mixer for a few minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides, sift in the icing sugar, add the vanilla extract and then gently beat again to give a smooth, thick paste. Refrigerate until ready to use to firm up a little.

Pipe or spread the icing quite thickly onto each cooled muffin. Decorate with a pecan nut or redcurrant string and enjoy!


Crooked Sister said...

Love banana. Love spice, and I Looove cream cheese. Can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks so much for sharing!

Lorraine said...

They sound delicious - and wholesome! Excellent tip on the bananas, it's usually my compost heap that has the pleasure!

All things nice... said...

Oh yum, looks devine!! Was reading Country Living this week and stopped you! Well done! I love reading that magazine each week! Always some really interesting articles, cooking, interiors, country life.

All things nice...

Lori said...

So yummy as is your blog! I have been hesitant to ask but simply must, have you ever seen Daniel Day-Lewis about town? Yes, extremely fanatic U.S fan of his! Yes, i am embarrassed I finally ask, but had too! Lori

Aoife Mc said...

Wow. Just...WOW. I love vegetable based muffins, they're the business. I'll have to give these a whirl asap, especially as I'm trying to over-come my baking fears in 2011. Yum!

marty, sharon and pearl said...

thanks crooked sister!

wow, lorraine, no more chucking bananas in the compost now please!

yes, isnt it a great mag 'all things nice'?

lori, ha ha ha...are you a daniel day lewis stalker?! no i cant say i have spotted him, sorry to disappoint!

hey aoife..glad you like. i always have them on the go as always have those rotting bananas!


Nenaghgal said...

Sharon -Congratulations on being featured in the Irish Examiner today - and on the cover! Very exciting - it was an interesting piece. Look foward to more posting from you.
Lisa McGee aka Nenaghgal

koralee said...

Just found your lovely blog and these look amazing...I may just have to make them to peek around some more. xoxoxo

Deutschland said...

You’re so awesome, man! I can’t believe I missed this blog for so long. Its just great stuff all round. Your design, man...too amazing! I can’t wait to read what you’ve got next. I love everything that you’re saying and want more, more, MORE! Keep this up, man! It’s just too good.

Brasil said...

I must say, youve got one of the best blogs Ive seen in a long time. What I wouldnt give to be able to create a blog thats as interesting as this. I guess Ill just have to keep reading yours and hope that one day I can write on a subject with as much knowledge as youve got on this one!

Top Mba colleges in Pune said...


mba colleges in Pune said...

This is a nice website

mba in Pune said...

Thanks for sharing

Unknown said...

I noticed that you have lots of yummy recipes on your page and I would like to suggest you have a look at our Top Food Blogs section here:

If you want to add your food blog to the list and have your recipes indexed on, all you have to do is follow the instructions here:

Hopefully hearing from you soon,

Sakkarin Sº

Clipping Path Service said...

Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic blog post. Much thanks again.

Unknown said...

takipçi satın al
takipçi satın al
takipçi satın al

Unknown said...