muffins! (I say this every time I hear a doorbell and I don't know why but it's some weird Pavlovian response possibly from something I saw on TV many years ago?) (That got deep, huh)
I continue to be an utter slattern at being organised and a regular blogger, and the only thing stronger than my conviction that I'm not going to slide out of blogging regularly, is my overwhelming need to nap hard during the day when I'm not at work all night. I mean, I started this blog in 2007 and it's pretty much the only thing that has remained the same in my life since then, with only a tiny bit of exaggeration. But also being angry at myself for not being organised enough is not going to stop me being tired and making like, toast or something instead of having the time and energy to make real food. I'll get there though! This blog has been there throughout all manner of tumultuous and/or tired times, and just because I am not as good at burning the candle at both ends as I used to be, doesn't mean I can't relearn that (albeit rather terrible) behaviour once more.
I house-sat and cat-sat for friends over the weekend when they went on a mini holiday, and it was so lovely and blissful, like escaping to a cabin in the woods somewhere (a nice one, not the horror-movie kind, way to ruin cabins in the woods, Joss Whedon.) I've been weighed down by such cat-longing feelings lately, I mean, I always am, but it has been stronger than usual, so I was excited about the thought of having a cat roomie for a few days. Unfortunately the cat in question was hellaciously skittish and I only saw her for a grand total of twenty seconds over the four days I was there, but she ate her food and didn't cause trouble so it could've been worse. In happier news, the house was just darling, and it was more than enough to gaze rapturously around at it all. I decided on Sunday to make some muffins, since I just felt like baking a damn thing, but also they seemed like the perfect house-sitting foodstuff to make - easily made and consumed, not too taxing on the house-owners' ingredients or infrastructure, able to be frozen and eaten later (not that it came to this since all but one were eaten by the time I left.)
suspect was catless, repeat, catless
When the weather turns extremity-stiffeningly cold my thoughts turn to cinnamon: how can I make everything around me scented of it? Baking is the obvious way (although if anyone knows of an amazing cinnamon-scented candle that won't cost as much as a pet pony please give me details) and so I made some cinnamon-orange muffins, inspired by the sight of an orange in the fruit bowl that I could nick for this purpose. I swing wildly between finding muffins dull and basic and finding them tears-makingly comforting and delightful, and I guess over the weekend was a time when I was swinging towards the latter, because I could not have been more content with myself: being in a tiny, adorable kitchen, shaking clouds of cinnamon into the batter, melting butter, flinging flour onto the ground (that bit was not fun), dropping heaped spoonfuls of orange-tinted batter into the muffin tin, waiting around while they briefly baked in the hot oven and the room filled with the smell of warm cake. Muffins! They're honestly so great.
a recipe by myself - makes 12
75g butter, melted
one cup milk
the juice of one orange
two and a half cups flour
two and a half teaspoons baking powder
half a cup brown sugar
a teaspoon or so of ground cinnamon
25g soft butter
quarter of a cup brown sugar
half a teaspoon or so of ground cinnamon
the grated zest of the orange
three tablespoons flour
Set your oven to 180 C/350 F and lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tray. Or put little cupcake holders in them if you like, this will certainly save on a lot of washing later.
In a large bowl, mix the butter, milk, eggs and orange juice till everything is well-dispersed and you can't see any one ingredient floating about being all individual, if that makes sense. I mean, just mix them all together, that's all, really.
Tip in the flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Very, very gently mix it all together - just turn it around and over a few times with your spoon, not worrying if everything's still all lumpy and the flour isn't 100% incorporated. Drop heaped spoonfuls of the batter into the muffin tin until all the batter is used up and the muffin tin is evenly filled.
Quickly mix together the remaining ingredients - you can either bash it with a wooden spoon or use your fingertips to work in the butter, either way you want to end up with a dusty, crumbly, floury mix. Sprinkle a little of this evenly over each of the uncooked muffins. Bake for about 18 minutes, then allow to sit for about ten minutes before removing and eating, preferably sliced with more butter spread across. Because of the crumbly topping, you'll probably need to run a knife around the edge of each muffin, but they should slide out easily.
Look, muffins are so excellent. They take hardly any effort to make - in fact, if you put too much effort into stirring the mixture together they'll toughen up like an old sponge. A mere gentle prod is all you need to bring the ingredients towards each other, then less than 20 minutes in the oven, and you have freshly baked goods. Isn't that wonderful though? These are as winningly cinnamon-y as I'd hoped they'd be, with the pinpricks of orange zest in the crumbly topping and the juice of the orange in the batter giving gentle citrussy sweetness. If I had to sum up these muffins in one word it would be: snug. They tasted snug.
by this point I was literally just carrying the muffin around the house being all "here are more pretty things that I can photograph, I'll just put the muffin on it and not care about whether you'd actually normally consume a muffin amongst a trolley of succulents")
It's my birthday this Friday! Oh my gosh! How audacious of me! I've decided that my birthday treat to myself is going to be to break my general mood of grim austerity to buy myself a way cool outfit to wear to the joint birthday party that my flatmate and friend Charlotte are having the following day, and frankly I'm so excited about going clothes shopping. I saw this ridiculously amazing fluffy yellow oversized cardigan in a shop in town which in my daydreams looks incredible on me, so I guess that's what I'm going to make a beeline for (and may end up looking like a literal bumblebee, or perhaps a small Big Bird, but we'll see.) But what do I really want for my birthday, I conveniently imagine you asking? My needs and wants are simple, I simply want the following:
~ A pair of Victorian-ward-of-the-state-esque black boots for both work and frivolous times
~ more tattoos, or at least one more tattoo, singular
~ more hair dye in pastel blue, purple, peach, pink, whatever
~ Maldon sea salt and excellent coffee beans
~ a pet cat (c'mon universe, you know I deserve this)
~ the makings of a mighty liquor cabinet - perhaps a glamorous bottle of gin, some thoroughly decent peaty whisky, and a bottle of dry vermouth. Also some Disaronno and port and dark rum and I guess I've thought about this a lot.
~ a fake fur coat
~ a little record player so I could finally play all my records again
~ a cinnamon-scented candle, or something similarly glorious
~ some crystals for doing witchy deeds
~ Marc Jacobs Oh Lola perfume, I've run out and am utterly too broke to buy more, this is entirely my own fault for repeatedly using it instead of my Nivea roll-on and calling it "baller deodorant" but still
~ a facial but where someone pretty much just pats your hair and rubs the pressure points above your eyebrows and tells you that everything's going to be okay and makes your skin smell incredible
~ to be financially chill enough to go to brunch more often (slash: at all)
So simple, those needs and wants of mine! I will report back after my birthday as to how successful I was with this list. Fingers crossed! But also I like to think I make my own luck. But fingers crossed as a back-up, in case that's what the universe arbitrarily requires from me.
title from: Lana Del Rey, Radio. I just love her so much, quite frankly.
Crucial Conflict, Hay. I found a "top 20 songs" list I made in 1996 and this song was on it, I am pretty sure I haven't listened to it since that very time? It still goes hard though and honestly should be having its own No Diggity type revival (No Diggity was on the list too, haha)
One Direction, I Would. Don't talk to me about Zayn leaving, okay? It's still too soon (but honestly, who could blame him, all that relentless touring must've wilted those boys down like a three-day-old bouquet of flowers) (I love this song so so much still though)
next time: I'm gonna try so hard to cook stuff more often and take photos of it more often! Y'know, like, be a blogger.