I have a bit of a confession to make – I compulsively freeze things. I’ve become a freezer pack rat.
It began last winter. When faced with cold, dark nights after work, I wanted comfort and ease. So I began planning ahead, doubling recipes for hearty casseroles and stews, tucking away my bounty into neatly packed containers and promptly sending them into the deep freeze. I felt terribly domestic, organized and prepared. Whenever I opened the freezer, greeted by my handiwork, I felt accomplished.
But then, it started taking over. Somehow the ease of being able to tuck away food for a later day spawned a neurotic compulsion in me. Now I not only freeze pre-made meals, but I’ve begun freezing leftovers. Not exactly leftovers, but the odds and ends we sometimes find ourselves in possession of, through the course of a recipe. Think egg yolks (whisked with a bit of water), stock cubes, and compound butters.
No matter the mouthful or morsel, the tiniest tidbit, I cannot throw things out. Into the freezer they go, packed and labeled, waiting patiently for their culinary rebirth.
At present, a quick survey of my freezer produced:
• Bones from two chickens. From various recipes, for the day I finally make stock.
• 1/2 can of tomato paste, frozen in cubes. I couldn’t find it in the tube, and I hate those little cans.
• Pan drippings from a roast. I wasn’t making gravy that day, but I couldn’t part with the drippings.
• 1/2 cup of sweet garlic marinade. The chicken did not need the drenching I had believed.
• 1/2 batch of pumpkin purée. Excess from pumpkin cheesecake last Thanksgiving.
• Eight of the aforementioned egg yolks. Leftovers from a birthday pavlova.
• Three blacker than black bananas. I always seem to buy too many, these are destined for banana bread.
• 1 1/2 cups of raspberry purée. For a birthday cheesecake, I went a little blender happy. I used it for the cake, and for Bellinis, but still had excess.
The raspberry purée has been invading my thoughts. I’ve been planning a Mother’s Day brunch, and wanted to see if I could somehow incorporate it into my menu. Its colour was calling me — somewhere between rubies and fuchsia, the purée seemed perfect for the festive occasion.
Feeling excited over the prospect of conjuring something from the depths of my freezer, I surveyed the purée’s bunkmates. Spying those ripe bananas brought about my solution — muffins.
Absolutely a breeze to make, these muffins are the perfect start to a day or a midmorning snack. The intense, almost caramel sweetness of the banana base is cut by tart, jeweled jammy-ness of the berries.
Truth be told, my muffins were a bit overdone on the bottom. I wasn’t paying attention and I unnecessarily greased the pan, leading to the toasty brown colour seen above. Though I was tempted to hide my shame, I decided better of it – for today is a day we celebrate those who inspired us, encouraged us, and loved us always, even if we almost burnt the muffins.
Happy Mother's Day.
Raspberry swirl banana muffins
An adaptation of the blueberry muffin recipe from Modern Classics, Book 2 by Donna Hay
1/2 cup raspberry purée
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups plain (all purpose) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup mashed ripe bananas, about three whole bananas
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring raspberry purée and sugar to a boil. Turn the temperature down and simmer the purée until it has reduced by half. Allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, stir in sugar.
In a separate bowl, whisk sour cream, eggs and oil, until smooth. Whisk in mashed bananas.
Stir the sour cream/banana mixture through the dry ingredients. Be careful not to overwork the batter – mix until just combined.
Spoon mixture into 12 x 1/2 cup capacity non-stick muffin tins until about two-thirds full. Spoon approximately one teaspoon of the reduced purée across the centre of each muffin. With the tip of a sharp knife or a skewer, draw the point through the raspberry, creating a marble effect.
Bake about 12 minutes, or until a skewer inserted through the centre comes out clean.
• My raspberry purée was simply that – puréed raspberries. It was quite tart, so I added a bit of sugar in the reduction. You may skip this addition if you’d like.
• I like to under fill my muffin tins to make miniature versions. If you choose to do so, this recipe will make 18 of the size pictured.