September 16, 2011


Dom at Bellau Kitchen has posted an interesting Random Recipe Challenge for September.  It is to randomly take a recipe from your stash of magazine cuttings and other clippings and cook what ever turns up.

Not that long ago I ruthlessly disposed of most of my old magazine clippings.  I had a whole box file stuffed full to bursting with them, some dating back to the 1980’s and one or two to the 1970’s.  I started out by looking at every one, but then decided that if I hadn’t used a recipe at all in the last 30 years, it probably wasn’t worth keeping.  I ended up throwing most of them out without even glancing at them.  And I don’t miss them at all, not one bit……..sob……..


I was left with a few magazine cuttings, some favourite handwritten recipes copied from friends’ cookbooks ~ some of them still dating back to the 70’s ~ and quite a number of A4 pages printed more recently from websites and blogs.  I had put them all neatly in plastic covers in a ring binder – which is unusually well organised for me.randomrecipes2I flipped the pages and came up with a recipe published by Craig in his blog” Boris in Ayrshire” a few months ago, for APRICOT AND GINGER MUFFINS.  I had been meaning to make them for ages and now I had a reason.

My other reason / excuse for baking regularly is that my dad has rejoined Derby Model Engineering Society.  He is in the process of building a model steam engine himself (something called a Speedy) and is at the stage where he will soon be finishing it and hopefully running it around the little track at the club.  In the “station” at the club there is “buffet car” and I promised him I would bake something for him to take with him whenever he goes, which is most Sundays.

ENGINE2My dad’s Speedy locomotive, on the back yard, ready for a trial steaming.

ENGINE1  A member of the club giving rides on his own engine on a Sunday afternoon.

I digress !!

The muffins were as usual easy and quick to make, except that it took quite a while to gather together a record number of ingredients.

GINGER MUFFINS 1 (Mental note to self – must re-organise cupboards so that all baking ingredients are in one place.)  (Reply to self – that would be such a marathon task that I can’t see it happening for some time yet!)


I adopted a tip I found in a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe for whisking the dry ingredients together in a bowl to aerate them instead of sifting.  It seems to work well, so far as I can tell.

GINGER MUFFINS 5 I used another tip I once read somewhere, to use an ice-cream scoop to fill the muffin cases, making it easier to put the same quantity of mixture in each – and it’s less messy too.  That works well as well.

Just before I put them in the oven the phone rang.  It was my dad, checking what time the “buns” would be ready.  When he rang off, I was so keen to get them in the oven that I forgot to do the last bit of the recipe, which is to sprinkle some brown sugar and place a piece of crystallised ginger on top of each one.  Rats !!

GINGER MUFFINS 6 But, even without the decoration, they turned out very well.  My dad and his mates at the club really enjoyed them.



250g plain flour

120g caster sugar

60g dark brown sugar

2 teasp baking powder

1 teasp ground ginger

1 teasp ground cinnamon

¼ teasp salt

142 ml crème fraiche

125 ml vegetable oil

1 tablesp honey

20g crystallised ginger, chopped small

2 eggs

200g dried apricots, cut into small pieces

extra brown sugar for topping


Preheat the oven to 200°C.  Line a muffin tin with paper cases.

Mix together the flour, sugars, baking powder, spices, and salt in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl whisk together the crème fraiche, oil, honey, and eggs.  Fold this mixture into the dry ingredients.

Gently add the apricots and ginger pieces and combine without over mixing.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cases.  Sprinkle a little brown sugar and place a piece of crystallised ginger on top of each muffin.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 12 muffins (I found it easily made 14)


  1. What a lovely post. Such a good daughter. I live your dads locomotive. What excellent fun he must have? The muffins look really good too. Apricot and ginger are a wonderful combination. Thanks for taking part this month!

  2. Lovely - I've not used apricots much in my baking and love the idea of pairing them with ginger.
    That photo made me laugh, of the little dog riding the train! I'll have to show that to Mr CC - he too is into model engineering, particularly anything train/railway related

  3. I love anything with ginger in it so I know I will love these!!
    I love steam trains, your Dad's heart is in the right place. Diane

  4. Dom - thanks, it's always fun to take part (if a little scary)!

    CC - I had never used apricots & ginger together before, either. It would make a nice cake I think.

    Diane - they were very gingery.
    I love steam trains too. I obviously got that from my dad. I have actually driven a steam train! - must tell you about that some day !!

  5. Sound delicious. Like CC, the thought of apricots and ginger is most appealing. Speedy looks fun.

  6. When you get round to reorganising your cupboards, Jean, let me know then I can come for a master-class in cupboard reorganisation... Don't have a hope of doing it alone... I can say all this in the knowledge that you probably haven't either!

  7. Choclette - Speedy is great fun, or at least it will be when my dad has fixed all the leaks and gets it going!

    Elizabeth - too right! You know me too well already !!
    I've given up and continue with the cramming it all in at random for the time being. I really need twice as many cupboards - in both kitchens !!

  8. These look great. The creme Fraiche must make them really moist.

  9. Lovely recipe, and great blog . I will follow :-)