In addition to my youngest daughter wanting varied and interesting lunches during lockdown, there was a time when I struggled to find any flour available to buy, forcing me to rethink obvious lunch choices.
It is a funny thing really because I write blogs that include recipes to encourage people to get cooking from scratch and baking, however, I did find it frustrating when people who seldom baked suddenly decided now was the perfect time to take it up as a new hobby. Fantastic... if only supply could keep up with it and there were enough ingredients to go round!
So for several weeks I eeked out the last of my bread flour, trying to find something other than bread (and pasta as that was also sold out) for lunch. I had hardly any plain flour left too so I was rationing that and trying to find new and inventive ways of making snacks and dessert. However, I was well stocked up on self-raising flour, having bought a 5 pack from Costco not long before COVID-19 reached the news.
One thing you can make with self-raising flour is muffins. I'd never really tried baking savoury muffins before because I couldn't really understand when you would eat them. I mean, they aren't dessert and not really what I would be looking for in a snack either. And why would you eat them for lunch when you could make something with bread.
Well, now bread was off the menu it seemed like the perfect time to give savoury muffins a go. It being spring at this point, what we had to hand was plenty of leeks so our first batch was leek and Cheddar muffins. My youngest and I enjoyed them immensely, especially served with some coleslaw and crisps on the side. My eldest is suspicious of anything containing leek so opted out.
As the season moved into summer and the crops from the allotment changed and flour came back into stock, we gave Cheddar and courgette muffins a go. Both daughters are very much used to eating food with courgette grated into it so they know well that it is often completely undetectable so they both tucked into these. As they also freeze well, there are a handy thing to make for lunch and to have in stock for a packed lunch on days when the bread runs out or is unexpectedly mouldy.
Cheddar & Courgette Muffins (makes 6)
1 courgette, peeled and grated
75g plain flour
50g wholemeal flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 egg plus a dash of milk
125ml double cream
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small carrot (45g), peeled and grated
70g Cheddar, grated
Preheat oven to 200°C and put 6 cases in a muffin tin. Put the dry ingredients in a bowl with some salt and pepper. Put the egg, milk, cream and olive oil into a jug and beat. Squeeze the excess water out of the courgette then combine all the ingredients. Spoon into the muffin cases and bake for 25 minutes.