I spent a great deal of time on Saturday-night-late-writing and doing a myriad of other things.
Sunday I woke up, after having had a rough night w the boy (he didn't sleep well--things were bothering him--hope he wasn't picking anything up from me....) and I decided I was going to do some creative work--in the kitchen....
Do you know how to make fairy porridge? If you can make porridge, then you're fine.
Basically, in order to entice my lovely picky little daughter to eat, I spent a great deal of time a few years ago going through and reading all the fairy party and fairy teas and fairy cookbooks that I could find, either online or in the library. I was not impressed. Better yet, neither were my kids. Ya know why? We don't much care for that much sugar. Not in cookie form or cake form or cupcake form or much of anything else.
Do you know what fairies LOVE? Cucumber sandwiches. No crust at all. Thinly sliced fresh cucumbers on thinly sliced fresh home-made bread cut into cure little shapes. No dressing. No anything else. My own fairy told me so. Who am I to argue?
Have you ever seen such a thing in any of those commercial fairy cookbooks?
No-you haven't. Because no self-respecting fairy would write such a thing, much less agree to it.
So, we talk to our own fairies and they tell us things.
One thing we know is that in order to make fairy porridge, you have to infuse it with flowers. There's a very easy way to make this. Usually we use lavender tea -- which I LOVE dearly myself -- or rose tea -- which my daughter cannot get enough of -- chrysanthemum tea works as well, in case you are needing ideas. It doesn't matter if the base is a green or a black tea, or even white. I brew a nice pot of tea, measure out the grains I will be using for the porridge (more on this in a sec). Usually two cups grains to four cups -- liquids--more or less, although usually a bit more. I always use half tea and half milk--if I have cream I use cream-or half and half works as well. I also add about a heaping tablespoon of honey to the mix.
I stir it all up in the pot on low heat and let it bubble away, until it it very thick and all the grains have swelled up nice and fat.
There you have it, fairy porridge. We add some brown sugar, not too much, or some maple syrup, to our bowls, depending on day and preference. No one here can handle any more honey than is already in it, so we don't add honey. But you could, if you wanted.
A word about the grains. I am notorious for buying the 5 grain cereal, the 7 grain cereal, the 10 grain cereal, and combining them all together. And then I add a bunch of other stuff. Scottish style oats. Oat bran. Wheat germ. Flax seed. Bulgur wheat. Barley flakes. Whatever I can get my hands on. I mix it all up--and these are the grains I use. It changes every single time I make it, depending upon what I have on hand and what mood I happen to be in.
Yesterday I needed warm foods. Not just foods that were warm, but foods that made me warm inside as well. Hard to explain. But fruit loops would not fit the bill. Neither would toast and jam.
I had all this porridge yesterday. Some days E eats it up and I cannot make enough. Other days she looks at me as if I am just crazy. I know the feeling. Some days the thick goo that is porridge seems too bland for me as well.
I decided to take our marvelous porridge and make waffles, since E is on a waffle kick lately. I took the left-over porridge and added it to waffle mix. They didn't turn out very well. I tried a couple. The batter was too thick, even after I thinned it out more.
I tried making them into pancakes. One did turn out, but I am the only one who ate it. It was thin and not light and fluffy and airy. But it was darned good. No one else wanted a pancake. Even if E watches me make the batter for the waffles, she will not touch it if I use the same batter to make pancakes. Luckily, N rarely cares what I make or how I make it. :-)
I took the left-over batter then and decided to try making it into a bread.
Two hours later in 350 degree heat it was still very gooey on the inside. I threw it all away.
I made a fresh batch of porridge. And I pondered what else to do. I made more porridge because E was apparently dying of starvation and wanted a third bowl.
I wanted something warm (inside warming) , small and portable, that wouldn't make a mess when I sat down at my keyboard, something that would keep well.
Muffins. They're easy to make. You can stick all sorts of stuff in them. And they can be very very nutritious and warming to the soul. Full of happy goodness.
For some reason, on top of the porridge, I decided I want to use muesli as well in these muffins.
I did a quick search online. Found a couple decent muffin recipes. WRote them down side by side, just the ingredients.
Walked into the kitchen. And basically disregarded both recipes, while still managing to fairly much combine both. Which is what I do when I am in experimental mode--which I truly was.
Here's what I did though, because it is good to share:
Fairy Muesli Muffins
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Spray your muffin tins with cooking spray (or however you do this part of the process).
We combine the dry ingredients all together first--everything goes into the same bowl. We do this because if you over-mix a muffin batter they are tough and surly.
2 cups of muesli, full of nuts and fruits (I even added extra fruit and nuts that I had on hand as well)
1-1/2 cup flour (normally I would use 1/2 wheat and 1/2 white--I didn't bother with this batch--I used all white, all purpose)
roughly 2/3 cup packed brown sugar (I have a mix of both dark and light brown sugar, cause that's how i do things)
3+ teaspoons of assorted spices (here's where I get tricky--I cannot tell you how much of anything I used--I grabbed my spices off their shelf and I just added what felt right-cloves, cardamon, allspice, chinese 5 spice, nutmeg, cinnamon......add whatever you like and however much you like....)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Incorporate these together really well.
Now, we move on to our wet ingredients.
2 TBLSP maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 cup applesauce (all I could find was cinnamon applesauce, so that's what I used)
1/3 cup olive oil (I used the extra virgin extra light stuff cause that's what I have on hand)
I stirred all this up, until everything was wet. Everything was lumpy, but that's ok in muffins, not to mention with all the fruits and nuts.
That's when I eye-balled it and dropped roughly 1 cup of our ultra thick porridge into the mix and stirred that in.
It looked good. Not too wet. Not too dry. Tasted heavenly even in batter form.
We got 23 muffins, filled the cups 2/3 of the way full. They didn't puff up very much. But they did a bit.
I baked them for roughly 30 minutes, but keep an eye on them, because I had something else in the oven as well for the first 20 minutes.
When they pull away from the sides, stick a knife in the middle of one of the middle ones. If it comes out clean, you're good.
Ours turned darker because of the spices I put in, so don't go by colour.
The girl ate one. She was not pleased with the fruit or the nuts, not that I expected her to be. But the muffins are tasty enough she doesn't mind breaking them to pieces to pull out the fruit and nuts and eat just the muffin. :-)