Although I hear that some people don’t like bacon, to me, it’s a food group all of its own, along with Diet Coke and good coffee. What follows is another delightful recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the third and final in this series for summer hospitality and easy back to school non-sandwich lunches. These cheesy, bacony, and very pretty muffins are fluffy and so eatable. The recipe below produces 12 and costs less than $6 to make.
- 1 tsp oil
- 100g streaky bacon, cut into 1cm pieces
- 1 red onion, finely diced (I used a regular brown one)
- 250g wholemeal self-raising flour (I used plain white flour)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 80g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 200ml buttermilk (replace with yoghurt, sour cream or ordinary milk if need be)
- 1 tbsp finely chopped chives (optional, I like chives so put in 3 tablespoons)
- 150g strong cheddar, grated
- Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
- Warm the oil over a medium heat and fry the bacon in it until just crisp. Lift the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. In the same fat, sauté the onion until just softened, about five minutes, then set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
- In a jug, whisk the eggs, butter and buttermilk, stir them into the flour mixture with a spatula until just combined, then fold in the cooled bacon, onion, chives, if using, and two-thirds of the cheese until just evenly distributed.
- Spoon or scoop the mixture into the muffin tins, sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, and bake for about 18 minutes, until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
As in most households, I suspect, Sunday night dinners get very slack in this house. ‘Breakfast for dinner’ (yes, Weetbix and porridge) get regular guernseys here – thankfully the kids like it. Every now and then, Sunday night dinner goes beyond slack to the absolute trashy, and tonight it was just that. A few months ago I heard of Nigella Lawson’s Vegemite Spaghetti and it intrigued me. Vegemite and cheese are winners in my tastebud book, so vegemite pasta topped with grated cheese throughly appealed. I was absolutely not disappointed. While I hate to think how bad it is for me (carb heavy, no protein, no vegetables), I think it’s set to become a Sunday night favourite in this house. Despite its not-so-healthy specs, it really is very cheap to make, so much so it’s not worth costing. If you’re a Vegemite fan in other gastronomic contexts, go on, give it a go!
- 375g dried spaghetti
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon Vegemite
- freshly grated parmesan or tasty cheese to serve
1. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water according to directions. Drain and rinse under water keeping a cup of the pasta water.
2. In the same pan, put on the heat and evaporate the water and then melt the butter and add the Vegemite and a tablespoon of the pasta water and mix to dissolve. Add the cooked pasta and more pasta water to combine if necessary. Serve with grated parmesan or tasty cheese if you like.
I really can’t tell you how much I love this cheap, versatile and easy recipe. These cheese and bacon savoury muffins are flavoursome, light and fluffy and quick as can be to make. I have used this recipe for a variety of purposes, including: a sugar-free and filling morning tea for the kids’ lunch boxes, mini-muffin sized ones for church morning teas and regular muffin sized numbers to pull out of the freezer to eat with soup (they freshen up beautifully after a few minutes in the oven). Unlike lots of savoury muffins these aren’t heavy and scone-like, they’re puffy and light. If you’d like to add other things such as grated carrot and zucchini, this recipe can certainly handle it if you add a little more milk to your mixture (the mixture should be quite a wet mixture that’s not over-mixed). When I made the ones pictured, I had little bits of un-eaten cheese in the fridge (cast-offs of swiss cheese, parmesan etc…) and so I used them all up to total the cheese component. The end result was a yummy mix of cheese flavours that would have otherwise ended up in the bin. These work really well as plain cheese muffins too, just leave out the bacon.
- 1 1/2 cups grated tasty cheese
- 200g bacon, thinly sliced
- 2 cups plain flour
- 4 teasp baking powder
- 1/4 teasp salt
- 1/4 teasp dry mustard (if you don’t have dry, just use dijon or whatever you’ve got in the fridge)
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds (optional)
- chopped herbs such as spring onion, dill or parsley (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and grease a 12 hole muffin pan using cooking spray
- Place grated cheese and bacon in a large bowl. Sift in flour (or not, if you couldn’t be bothered), baking powder, salt, mustard and pepper. Add herbs and sesame seeds if desired (or save the seeds to sprinkle on top).
- Lightly beat eggs and milk together in a jug. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the eggs and milk. Mix together gently using a knife with a cutting action so as not to over-mix.
- Place one heaped dessert spoon of mixture in each muffin hole and bake for 12-15 mins until muffins spring back when lightly touched. Makes 12.