Wednesday 4 February 2009


I had planned to write about a few different things by now.

I had planned to tell you about walking to Fortnum and Mason to drink a cappucino complete with miniature ice-cream cone...

and about the pistachio ice-cream that not only tasted delicious but matched the tables in the 1950's style ice-cream parlour perfectly.

I was going to show you the Chinese New Year lanterns in Chinatown.

And I meant to let you know that on Sunday the sun came out just long enough for a trip on the London Eye...

and later, when we were well and truly chilled to the bone, we sat in Pain Quotidien sipping from huge bowls of thick hot chocolate and eating bread and jam.

I had planned to tell you how we bought baklava from one of our local supermarkets and about the way they dripped honey and tasted of orange blossom.

I had planned to tell you all of this but then it snowed.

I woke up on Monday to a thick blanket of snow and no buses on the streets of London. Happily I am reliant on buses so had no choice but to take a snow day. We stayed inside and watched the weather and travel updates. We walked to the park and threw snowballs, we looked at deer with snow on their antlers and a snowman complete with moustache, and when the snow started to fall again we headed home.

It felt like a holiday, it felt like everyone had been given the freedom to play for a day. I think we need a snow day every year if this is what it does to people.

When we got home we ate scrambled eggs with chorizo and bacon and drank tea and I decided it was a muffin day. To be more precise I decided it was a maple syrup muffin day...

Maple syrup muffins
Makes 12
From 'Muffins fast and fantastic, 2nd edition' by Susan Reimer

1 large egg
240 ml (8 fl oz) milk
90 ml (3 fl oz) maple syrup
60g (2 oz) rolled oats
85g (3 oz) butter, soft
85g (3 oz) caster sugar
225g (8 oz) plain flour
3 teaspoons (15 ml) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
60g (2 oz) chopped pecans or walnuts

1 rounded tablespoon soft butter
60g (2 oz) icing sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) maple syrup (plus 1/2 teaspoon milk if needed)

Prepare the muffin tins and preheat oven to 190-200˚C (375-400˚F). In a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg with a fork. Add the milk, maple syrup and rolled oats. Set aside to soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. In a large bowl, blend together the soft butter and sugar with a spoon. Sift together (or stir well with a fork) the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture and cut in with a pastry blender (or rub lightly with fingers) until it resembles fine crumbs. Pour all of wet mixture into dry. Stir just until combined, adding nuts during the final strokes. Do not over-stir. Spoon into the tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned and feel quite firm. Stir the glaze ingredients together until smoth. Spread on hot muffin tops immediately after baking.


shanna said...

How perfectly lovely--every bit of it. (If it's going to snow, I say, it may as well give you a snow day, right?) Perfect for muffins!

Sam said...

That hot chocolate looks amazing, I would love to be able to make patterns like that.

We've had loads more snow today, it just keeps on coming!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post.
read it twice.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed that maple syrup gives baked goods an almost buttery flavor, it's a great ingredient! These sound very tasty and ideal for breakfast.

Alicia Foodycat said...

You are so right! It was a maple-syrup muffin day, but I had taken the day off to play with my new kitten so I was much too involved with her to do any baking.

Lisa said...

What a perfect day. Lovely photos too, especially the Chinatown one and I want to dive into that hot chocolate!
I so wanted to make your maple syrup muffins yesterday but had no maple syrup so had to make do with blueberry ones instead. Will give these a try next time. :)

Jeanne said...

Oh, it all looks wonderful! And wasn't it funny that the snow could make a whole city sit down, take a deep breath and relax?

Kelly-Jane said...

Your pictures are so good! I'm loving the idea of a mini ice cream cone with coffee, and your muffins too.

jbeach said...

Truly lovely photos. Mmm, that hot chocolate! Never seen anything like it! Also, the maple syrup muffins sound unique. Thanks for the recipe; I'm going to try these!

Gemma said...

Thanks for all your lovely comments, they all made me smile. I'm finally over (well, almost over) the excitement and ready to get back to normality! x

Anonymous said...

this recipe has sold me on your blog! lovely!