Spinach and white cheese muffins

By Helen
  • Cook: 25 min
  • Servings: 6

Ingredients

Dry ingredients:

  • 100 g plain flour
  • 20 g medium polenta
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 50 g Apetina® Classic Cubes in Brine
  • 50 g sun-dried tomatoes drained and chopped
  • handful of baby spinach finely chopped
  • a pinch of oregano
  • 1 spring onion
  • 0.25 mild red chilli - deseeded and finely chopped
  • chilli flakes - optional

Wet ingredients:

  • 125 ml semi skimmed milk
  • 2 tsp oil from the sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 medium egg

Twist

The addition of polenta to the flour adds texture, colour and flavour. Chilli flakes are also one of my favourite ingredients, adding all the flavour, but none of the heat of chilli. Find them in Middle Eastern supermarkets.

Serving

Serve warm spread with butter, for brunch, as a side with salads or soups, in your child's lunch box, or as a bite-sized canapé.

Muffins are so easy to make, which makes them extremely popular. For some reason, savoury muffins are often overlooked in favour of their sweet cousins. I’ve redressed the balance here with these Mediterranean-inspired mini cheese muffins flavoured with sun-dried tomatoes and oregano.

Muffins with their endless variations are a weekend ritual for us. I often whip up a batch first thing and then get dressed while they're in the oven.

Because muffins use a liquid fat (oil or melted butter) rather than solid, they are far easier to mix. All they take is about 15 folds with a spoon, which makes them perfect if you don't have an electric mixer or are cooking with children. You can also measure out most of the ingredients the night before for this recipe, leaving the wet ingredients, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and Apetina in the fridge overnight, before adding them to the dry ingredients.

I almost always bake my muffins in flexible silicone baking pans which I rest on an old, upturned cooling rack for support it. Of course, you can bake them in any pan, grease well or use cupcake liners. This mix makes about 12 mini muffins or 6 smallish regular ones. I think that bite-sized mini muffins are much more fun!

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 190°C / Gas 5. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, add the polenta, baking powder and salt, and mix well. Stir in the other dry ingredients, reserving some of the Apetina and sun-dried tomato pieces. Place all the wet ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Fold the egg mixture into the dry ingredients. This should take no more than 15 folds. Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to transfer the muffin batter into a well-greased or lined baking tin. Sprinkle the reserved Apetina and sun-dried tomatoes over each muffin. Add a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes if desired.

Bake for 15-18 minutes for mini muffins (20-25 minutes for larger ones). They're done when they have risen and are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes before turning out of the tin and to cool on a wire rack.