Orange Date Muffins

Standard

When I was young my mother, who I called B, was a fabulous cook, in much the same style as my grandmother.  She regularly cooked meals from the Bohemian family repertoire and so many people would happen to drop by our house at dinner time that she always made enough food to cater for at least a couple of unexpected guests.

However, as the bohemian influence began to outstrip the Bohemian heritage, B’s cooking started to deteriorate. In her efforts to make things healthier she would substitute ingredients.  Initially her substitutions were ok – wholemeal flour instead of white, 4 eggs instead of 5…  She could get away with that.  But eventually the subsitutions got out of hand.  There would be the change in flour, honey instead of sugar, powdered skim milk and water instead of full cream milk, oil instead of butter (not even sure she could claim a health benefit there), 2 eggs instead of 5 etc etc.  The result was most often what we’d call a ‘sod’.  Sods were flat, damp, hard, sad pans of disappointment, laid on the table in exchange for dessert.

Now there is nothing wrong with B’s healthy intentions, nor the ingredients she used.  The problem was that she used those ingredients in recipes not designed for them.  So eventually, whenever some family friend would serve us something tasty, I would ask them for the recipe so that I could hopefully offer some inspiration to go with our pantry offerings.  Of course the outcome was that B happily retreated from the kitchen and encouraged me to experiment with new culinary ideas.

This recipe was one of the first recipes I was given during this time. These muffins are so light and airy you won’t believe they use wholemeal flour.

Recipe

  • 125 g butter
  • 3/4 c caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 whole pureed orange (peel and all)
  • 125 ml orange juice
  • 1 1/2 c wholemeal flour
  • 1 t bicarb soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 c chopped dried dates

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy and pale. Beat in egg. Beat in puree and juice. Fold in dry ingredients. Add dates. Spoon into lined muffin tins or 1 loaf tin. Bake 20 minutes at 175C (or 35-40 mins for loaf) or until skewer comes out clean. Makes 10 standard muffins or 1 loaf.

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About baking bohemian

My name is Jen and I am the baking bohemian. My blog identity comes from the cultural background of my mother’s family, (Bohemian), and my mother’s more left wing lifestyle (bohemian). The big ‘B’ Bohemian refers to the rich cultural heritage of our family that emigrated from Bohemia when it was still its own country (it now comprises two thirds of the Czech Republic). Food featured prominently in the family and broader social life of that part of my family. No social interaction was without sustenance, and any celebration, large or small, was an invitation to cook up a storm. My own family emigrated from the United States to Australia when I was a child. For the most part we lived with our mother, and my dad eventually moved back to the US. The little ‘b’ bohemian relates to the semi-alternative lifestyle we led with our mother. I hesitate to refer to her as a hippy, for that conjures up so many misconceptions, but certainly she was on that side of the fence. She was probably more eccentric than radical at the end of the day, but she could really cook. We always set extra plates at the dinner table because inevitably people would visit at dinner time. I started cooking when I was about eight. Cookies. Obviously I was motivated by desire! I loved cooking, I loved that the kitchen was always, in every way, the heart of the house, so I was always part of anything else that was happening while I was cooking. I loved people loving my food. With all the different things that I have done in my life and am interested in, food has remained my most consistent and enduring passion.

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