Pulling off myself on the 2nd or 3rd ring of alarm, the floor is pitch cold as I hastily search for my slippers in the muffled rays of dawn that penetrates my room. Outside its cold and dark and as the first rays of amber sunshine begin to warm the sky, I drag my feet to the main door in sleepy eyes to reach out to the pack of milk that is door delivered by the milk man, as early as 4 in the morning. A splash of cold water on my face freshens me out of my slumber like a refreshing mint in a foul mouth. Before my man and my baby wake up, the milk is boiled, tea is made, while priorities race through my mind as I gear to organize for the day ahead. A quick round of discussion over a cup of tea with my hubby helps clear my thought process. But then that’s a daily facet.
There are some things other than the mundane that perk up our lives. If cold rainy winters can be dull and gloomy, I like to see the blessed part of it too. December brings about several comforting thoughts to my mind, about winter, the nip in air, waking up to be caressed by misty chill mornings, vibrancy of bounty fresh produce our markets will boast of, Christmas holiday baking, New year partying, which gives me good enough reasons to feel peppy about. Like the sight of first seasonal peas in the market or the Christmas tree in its glittery décor that has been put up in the nearby mall, year-end sales catching up at fast pace, obvious that we are chasing the last lap of the year that will soon be gone.
True to December, our markets are flooding with fresh produce of green leafy vegetables, cauliflowers, assortment of apples, juicy Nagpur oranges and bright pink strawberries. We are seeing first signs of fresh peas in the pod and I’m eagerly looking forward for more of litchis and figs. We are bringing apples, melons and pears in bulk. With Christmas which is hardly couple of weeks to go, I am pinning hopes to make use of all that bulk my refrigerator is currently stocked with, make time for some bakes that will keep my kitchen warm and cosy, roiling out dishes from the freshest of produce my markets have to offer. Food can be emotive in many ways!
I have already made a start with these breakfast muffins that make it perfect for the season. Healthy, flavoursome and quite festive too. Packed with health from fresh fruits, goodness from wheat, bran and cornmeal, crunch from nuts and eggless to boast, these will make a perfect beginning to my year end baking marathon.
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat flour
2 tbsp. cornmeal
1 tbsp. rolled oats, powdered
1 tsbp. coconut flakes (I've used frozen one here)
1 tbsp. wheat bran
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp. baking powder
2 bananas (I've used yelakki bananas here)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup apple, cored and finely chopped
1/4 cup pears, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp. cinnamon powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. chopped cashews
1 tbsp. raisins
Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C. Line the muffin tins with paper cups and set aside.
Blend the bananas along with milk, vanilla and dark brown sugar. Add the oil and vanilla extract and pulse again. Transfer to a bowl and set this aside. This becomes the base of our wet ingredients.
In a separate mixing bowl, mix all the dry flours, like all purpose flour, wheat flour, cornmeal, rolled oats, coconut flakes, wheat bran together along with baking powder and cinnamon powder. Add in the chopped fresh fruits, cashews and the raisins and toss well. Make a well briefly and add in the wet ingredients to these dry ingredients. Fold the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Spoon into muffin tins, almost to the tops of the rims.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool in pans for 10 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
The cup measurements mentioned here are standard Indian tea cups.
Cornmeal does have quite a distinctive flavour which may not be in favour of everyone's palate. So skip it, instead substitute with equal amount of wheat flour or all purpose flour. The batter will be slightly thicker than the regular cake batter.