Monday, June 6, 2011

This weekend: birthdays, broken legs and bittersweet chocolate muffins

When it comes to the 'good news first or bad new first' debate I have long sat on the side of bad news first and then good. For me it makes sense; you rip the bandaid off and then get the kiss better, you eat your cauliflower before you get to have your cupcake, and so I present the events of this weekend in the order of unpleasant before pleasant. No, it is not chronological in any way, shape or form, but this is the way my mind is digesting the course of events that unfolded over the past 48-72 hours. 
Here comes the bitter:
Our new beautiful puppy, Molly, who you may remember from here, escaped from our backyard and was hit by a car. Thankfully she is going to be okay but she has had to undergo some pretty intensive surgery today and will be in recovery and rehabilitation for the next three months. This unfolded on Saturday afternoon, on my Mum's birthday so it put a little cloud over our celebrations but luckily we have some great friends who still managed to make it a great night for us, and we know that Molly will be fine in the end.

Let's skip back a few hours shall we?
Saturday was Mum's birthday! This wonderful lady is being celebrated the world over (well, my world over) for everything that she brings into people's lives. My Mum is a born nurturer, she radiates comfort like the sun, she is the warm earth in which all things flourish and are coddled until they are ready to bloom on their own. So on Saturday we celebrated the start of another year in this wonderful lady's life. I am sure I can never tell you I love you as many times as you have whispered it to me through out my short time here so far, so in case I don't tell you enough, I love you Mum. Happy Birthday. Here is to many more cups of tea shared in the evening, countless bags of confectionary that appear at exactly the right time, and thousands of hugs on the couch. 
We booked lunch at a great Moroccan/ Middle Eastern restaurant in Fortitude Valley called Mecca Bah which Mum and I had enjoyed dinner at a few months ago. The location is fantastic, nestled inside an apartment complex that wraps around an array of dining establishments and fine shopping stores and the menu is filled with Middle Eastern delights including tagines, Turkish bread and fantastic salads.

Me and my Mama, and my cousin Grace.

My sister snuggled up with her fiance.

My cousin Grace and I.

I chose the beetroot, rocket and yoghurt salad as I had eaten this before and it definitely did not disappoint on round two. So fresh with a kick of spice and sweetness from the beetroot. To accompany my salad I chose the Morroccan vanilla tea which was heady and sweet and so delicious that I had to order two pots.

I love Morrocan tea glasses, but I always forget to use mine at home. Aren't they pretty?

After lunch we headed home where I started preparing for Mum's birthday feast (14 people, 1 kitchen and a whole lot of cupcakes). Unfortunately while I was prepping and chopping and roasting the Molly incident occured and so I don't have any photos of food as I needed all hands on deck to get dinner on the table as guests were arriving. My thanks to the wonderful people who I count as friends who helped to make finishing up dinner a whole lot easier, and to my beautiful sister for handling a lot of the clean up.
I can however offer a picture of the flowers that decorated the table.

Anyway I couldn't help but feel that this weekend warranted some baked goods after that, and so the Bittersweet Chocolate Muffin was born.
Warning: this is not a sweet cupcake kind of muffin but more a solid cocoa base with chunks of dark chocolate flecked through the batter. Great by themselves with a cup of coffee or tea, or warmed and spread with some berry jam.

Bittersweet Chocolate Muffins

Ingredients - dry
1 3/4 cups wholemeal plain flour
3/4 cup sugar
8 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

Ingredients - wet
1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
2 eggs
1 cup soy milk (you could use dairy if you prefer)
1/3 cup canola oil

3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate

This is why I love muffins and quick breads, the ingredients list can be nearly as long as you like but the method is always so easy.
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line 2 muffins pans (I yielded 17 muffins out of this recipe but this depends on the size of your muffin tray, mine is a 1/2 cup capacity).
2. Using a whisk mix together dry ingredients, ensuring there are no lumps and that everything is nice and aerated.
3. In a separate bowl beat together wet ingredients.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
5. Fold through chopped chocolate
6. Spoon mix into muffin tins, filling each cup about 3/4 of the way up.
7. Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before removing from tray to cool completely on a wire rack.
If you can't eat all of them within a day or two these muffins also freeze and defrost wonderfully.

Hopefully the next post will be more on the sweet side of life but for now I am grateful that Molly is going to be okay. I think I'll have to bake her some special get well dog biscuits....

1 comment:

  1. I am so sorry to hear about your Molly. Dogs have such a special place in our lives so I can only imagine how hard that hold experience was. I am so grateful she is going to be okay! Happy Birthday to your mom! And I must try that muffin recipe :)