Do you like all those food/cooking competition shows that seem to monopolize the food channel schedules these days? I don’t. Actually, I really hate them. What exactly is the purpose of these shows?
I don’t get them.
They bug me.
Take the cupcake competition show, for example. There was an episode I happened to catch where some idiot “special” cupcake maker let a deep pot of oil get so hot that it caught fire. And then, instead of smothering it, she ran around the kitchen, flaming pot of oil in hand. To make matters worse, she tried to solve the flaming oil issue by sticking the pot in the sink and, in a moment of SHEER GENIUS, she turned the tap on, creating an eruption of fire. She did all this while desperately trying to make cupcakes with gumbo ingredients.
Because we all need to learn how to turn gumbo into a cupcake, under pressure, while the clock is ticking.
If anything, these shows just make me feel inadequate because, somehow, the idiot “special” baker can’t put out a simple oil fire but she owns, runs and bakes in her own cupcake shop! Yet, I can’t seem to manage that. Wait, what?
When I was younger, I learned a lot from the early days of Food Network Canada. Martin Yan taught me to peel ginger with a spoon, and Anna Olson’s earliest shows really got me into baking. The channel was educational and I discovered all sorts of recipes, as well as a few tips and tricks. I’d take copious notes while watching every show (this was before google was so easy to use), and then try out the recipes from my notes.
Unfortunately, there’s not much worth watching any more. I don’t take notes anymore. I don’t even print the recipes from the website. So, I cancelled my cable subscription. If I could ask for a refund, I would. Am I being too harsh? I can’t be the only one who hates the new format of food shows….
Thankfully, I have my food magazines to fill the void.
Red currant muffins recipe
This recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking magazine. These are a lovely light, cake-y muffins full of tart little red currants, fresh from the market. This is the perfect recipe to throw together with any of the summer berries you can find. Bake it in a cake pan to cut and serve later, or in a muffin tin for summery breakfasts and snacks.
Tip: If you are experiencing particularly hot/humid weather, I suggest baking these muffins until they are a deeper golden brown because otherwise they will be too moist to store for very long.
And, if you are listening Food Network and Food Network Canada: please bring back the real cooking shows. I’ll even watch the repeats if that makes it easier.
If you need more muffin inspiration, try these honey blueberry muffins or these plum muffins. And if it’s not summer, my go-to is the date bran muffin, which is my all-time favourite muffin, even if it’s not really cool.
Red currant muffins
Homemade red currant muffins made with fresh red currants also known as gooseberries. The berries are nice and tart, which makes a lovely flavor contrast to these sweet, buttery muffins. These muffins have a lovely light texture. These are a lovely light, cake-y muffins full of tart little red currants, fresh from the market. This is the perfect recipe to throw together with any of the summer berries you can find. Bake it in a cake pan to cut and serve later, or in a muffin tin for summery breakfasts and snacks.
- 250 grams all-purpose flour 2 cups
- 250 grams granulated sugar 1 1/4 cups
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 125 mL milk 1/2 cup
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 115 grams melted unsalted butter 1/2 cup
- 300 grams berries (I used red currants) ~2 cups, tossed in a few tbsp flour
- Handful sliced almonds
- 3 tbsp coarse cane sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a muffin wrapper in each well of two muffin tins.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl with a spout, combine the milk, eggs and vanilla, then pour them over the dry and mix just to combine.
- Add the melted butter and mix again. Then fold in the floured berries
- Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups and top each with sliced almonds and coarse sugar. Bake them for about 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack.
For this recipe, I used unsalted butter from Stirling Creamery
Janice Lawandi is chemist-turned-baker, working as a recipe developer in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She studied pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and cooking at l’Académie Culinaire. She has a BSc in Biochemistry from Concordia University and a PhD in Chemistry from McGill University.