Have I mentioned that I LOVE making muffins? Not just a little. Really, I thought for a while that I would start a business baking and selling muffins out of my little Siemens oven in my little Swiss kitchen. I even went so far as to ‘sell’ a batch to one of my yoga students. I have never been so stressed and had such a meltdown as I did that morning in preparation for delivery. It almost put a damper on my passion, but not for long. It did, however, make me realize that I am not cut out for that right now with a wee man running around and all (and that I commend those who have figured out how to be equipped for that!) I digress…
But seriously, I am not quite sure of the rationale behind Swiss boulangeries not being able to produce a proper muffin. They can make croissants and eclairs, tarte au whatever-you-like and ramequins, anything and everything chocolat… and yet, somehow when it comes to the muffin they are either a) not interested or b) incapable of producing anything worth consuming the calories. In order to get my fix, I have to do it myself. What this means is that I am always on the hunt for new recipes. Zucchini Pine Nut, Sweet Potato Cupcake muffins, Multigrain Blueberry… and since I am married to a bit of a health nut (he would adamantly deny this, but seriously, who would scrape icing off of a cupcake?), I usually do try to find things that are, well, a bit healthier.
I actually can’t take credit for my latest batch. I hosted my first fete (birthday) here in Nyon for my mother-in-law (belle-maman in French, which means ‘beautiful mother’… only the French would endear the mother-in-law in such a way, right? But she is lovely, I must admit…) I was on the hunt for recipes for the festivities and it was actually MY mother (equally as lovely) who stumbled upon the absolute perfect recipe for the occasion. It is a from a website that we both love and visit frequently (her probably more so than I) called DesignSponge.
Oh dear deliciousness with a healthy undertone heaven. Pistachio Olive Oil Fig Compote Layer Cake with Cream Cheese frosting. And I substituted agave nectar for the sugar to make it slightly less guilt inducing. But let’s face it. Icing is icing. And I absolutely smothered those suckers in it. Best prepared with a big hunk of butter, an even bigger hunk of full fat cream cheese and as refined as you like powdered sugar. YUM. It was amazing. I actually botched the first batch baking in a tin that was too deep and not well greased. Upon turning it out, it fell out in three distinctly separate and un-rejoin-able (if there is a word for this concoction that I have just put together, do tell) pieces. Morning of the party with Nash dumping the contents of an entire box of Puffins cereal (am) AND his bowl of green peas (pm) onto the floor coupled with having to do TWO batches of the cake… I was not a happy Martha to say the least. But, in effect (and happily so) what we were left with were handfuls of cake which went very well casually schmeared with the extra icing (I doubled the recipe).
As for the party, we took a stroll to the dairy farm to get our fresh milk for the weekend and to feed the cows. The adventure was complete with a few meltdowns between the cousins fighting over who would ride piggy-back on Grandmaman, a dig in the community children’s sandbox at the farm, glasses of fresh milk for the kiddos, a frolic with the geese (actually they were more running/flapping frantically FROM the kiddos), and a visit with the pigs (I can’t really handle the squealing ever since Hannibal, so sans moi.) This worked up quite an appetite for the party-goers, I must say!
My intention was that it be kid-friendly, and it was, but what that also meant was that most of it looked a bit slopped together (and thereby not worth photographing.) Even the muffins are a bit scrappy, but something about the structure of them on the little wooden paddle, well, that I felt ok about sharing. (as soon as we dig the cable to connect my fancy Canon to the computer, I will add it;)
Artichoke-Spinach Dip (a throwback to parties back in Greenville on McDaniel Avenue hosted by Mom. Always a staple at her functions as I remember, and I always loved it!)
Southern (kinda) Purple Cole Slaw with Avocado (it was pretty amped up with all the naughtiness of traditional cole slaw, but had to add a little essential fatty goodness to the mix. An homage to my South Carolinian heritage for my Swiss family. Next party I will be attempting pulled pork as finding this is as much a challenge as a good muffin.)
Turkey Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie (just as it sounds, but for veg I tried to get a little creative and added red peppers to the mix. Intended to put mushrooms, but they got a little ‘saucy’- and not in a good way- before I could use them. Nash’s favorite dish at the present, always with a variation on the veggies- Eggplant has been the biggest hit so far!)
Zen Sangria (for the grown-up’s but the look of it was VERY tempting for kiddos. Looked like Hawaiian punch but was a fiesty version with Green Tea infused vodka in the mix! Fun times.)
So that was pretty much our weekend. Sunday I did a morning yoga workshop with Chris Chavez (www.chrischavezyoga.com) at the newest yoga studio in Geneva (AOM Yoga). Feeling it this morning as he had us trying to push up from Lotus into Crow (legs still bound in lotus) and directly into Handstand. Yikes! But fun challenges to spice up my own practice a bit…
A bientot, y’all!