- Food & Drink
Carrot and cardamom muffin
Carrots are the bane of my refrigerator. I buy them most weeks because I like carrots. I like them chopped into sticks to nibble on when I’m feeling ostentatiously healthy. I enjoy them roasted with potatoes and swede and honey. I eat them steamed, boiled and stir-fried. I like carrots.
But whenever I buy carrots, I put them in my fridge and then ignore them until their skins are papery and flaking. They go soft in places and black in others. They shrink and shrivel and when I open my fridge and look at their twisted, rotting forms, I see my own mortality rendered in oozing orange compost. A vegetable totem of death.
I’m doing my best to make it up to the carrots, to make amends for all the uneaten carrots that have gone before. And as I like cake above all other foodstuffs, I thought the best way to honour the carrots would be to turn them into something muffiny and spicy. I paired the carrots with cardamom because I’m currently in the thrall of this warm, sweet spice, but if you don’t like cardamom then you can swap it for 1/2–1 tsp ground ginger or cinnamon.
Carrot and cardamom muffins
Makes 6 muffins
50g walnut halves
1 tsp green cardamom pods
125g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp allspice
60g soft dark brown sugar
2 tbsp sunflower oil
200g carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
75g icing sugar
1 Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/fan oven 160°C. Line a 6-hole muffin tin with 6 muffin cake cases.
2 Toast the walnuts for 3–4 minutes until lightly golden. Leave until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, crush the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar. Fish out the papery green cardamom pods and grind the seeds into a fine powder. Roughly chop the walnuts.
3 Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate and allspice into bowl. Stir in the sugar, walnuts and cardamom. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with the buttermilk and oil. Stir the carrots into the wet ingredients, then stir them into the dry ingredients, but don’t mix to completely combine. It’s OK if it still has a few floury lumps. Spoon into the muffin cake cases and then bake for approximately 30 minutes until golden, risen and firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.
4 Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix with 3–4 tsp cold water to make a smooth, slightly runny icing. Drizzle over the muffins and leave to set. These are best eaten on the day they’re made. They will freeze (uniced). Defrost and warm for a few seconds in the microwave before eating.