If I was ever to own a food shop it would have to be a greengrocer. I'd eat all the profits of a bakery. Ditto a sweet shop. In truth, I will own up to the latter probably happening. A short spell as a teenager in the early '90s working each Saturday at "The Bon Bon" came to abrupt ending when the shop suddenly closed, citing what credit crunch commentators would now refer to as 'difficult trading conditions'. If my relatively recent weight gain was noted as we sold the very last of the Lemon Sherbets and the shutters closed for the final time, I'd planned to explain it away as teenage late-onset puppy fat and definitely not an addiction to Cinder Toffee.
If I were to open a greengrocer, I'd be inspired by Clifton Greens, which opened near to us last year. It is superb. It has every fruit and vegetable you'd ever need. Plus several you're still googling half way down the street. And it even has celebrity endorsement, Yotam Ottolenghi no less.
Taking advantage of all the fabulous produce I thought to bake these muffins. Plus, in the interests of it being January, when half the nation are trudging through the kilometres on the treadmill, the other half plodding around the park in day-glo Lycra and 5:2 diet recipes are being googled faster than you can say 'pass me the rice cake', a vegetable bake seems most apt.
Spiced Parsnip, Apple and Walnut Muffins
225g self-raising flour
175g light muscavado sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
150ml vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 eating apple, peeled and grated
2 medium parsnips peeled and grated (approx 150g peeled and grated weight)
75g roughly chopped walnuts
Makes 12 muffins
1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Line a muffin tin with twelve paper cases
2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, a pinch of salt and spices
3. In a separate bowl mix the oil, eggs and vanilla together then stir in the grated apple and parsnip, sultanas and walnuts. Pour into the bowl of dry ingredients and fold together taking care not to overmix
4. Divide the mixture between the muffin cases and bake for approx 30 minutes, ensuring a skewer inserted into the centre of the muffins comes out clean
5. Leave in the tin to begin cooling for five minutes before turning out into a wire rack to cool completely
- I appreciate that when you normally read the words 'Spiced Parsnip' you expect to read the word 'Soup' but, similar to carrot, parsnip adds moistness, flavour and texture to cakes.
- ...and it makes you feel a little healthier. Which basically translates to eating two muffins rather than one,
- This is an ideal brunch muffin but if you do fancy an icing, a cream cheese frosting would be the perfect partner