Recently I invented a savoury upside down cake which went down a storm in our house. The sponge was made with a goodly portion of polenta which gave it a rich, slightly dense yet still fluffy texture. It had a lovely yellow corn hue and tasted good and wholesome.
We enjoyed it so much that I figured it would be a good sponge base for savoury muffins.
Being gluten free, we find bread can be a bit hit and miss, so I am always looking around for alternatives to traditional lunch options such as sandwiches, to ensure not only variety and interest, but also decent nutrition. Savoury muffins are fantastically versatile and very transportable. They can be made with any number of flavours and 'filling' ingredients, which makes them a perfect healthy substitute.
We rarely see savoury cake in the UK, but apparently the French eat it more frequently. Personally, I think we should eat more here too. Not only can it be made bespoke to your chosen 'fancy' and varied with each batch, but it stores well in the freezer and can be grabbed at a moments notice, lobbed in the microwave and be ready in seconds. Eat for breakfast, lunch, as a side, snack, appetiser or part of a picnic, it is delicious....... and I for one, am a convert! Besides, I love the idea that when I am asked 'what's for lunch?' I can answer with all honesty, 'Cake!!!'
These muffins are given extra texture and substance with a courgette-filled sponge and they are stuffed full of Spanish Manchego cheese and French Saucisson. Actually, I fully intended to use Chorizo which I think would have been even better with its spicy kick and its beautiful red colour, but the large chunk that was in the fridge the other day seemed to have disappeared...... devoured by the hungry fridge-raiders that share my home. I couldn't be bothered to head out to the supermarket, and a quick rummage revealed an unopened French Saucisson which we had bought on our summer trip to Paris. It seemed it had just found a good use!
The muffins continue their rather Mediterranean identity with a handful of oregano which nicely compliments the cheese and salami flavours. If you don't have either Chorizo or saucisson, salami would work just as well and cheddar or an alternative hard cheese will substitute the Manchego as a straight swap.
They taste wonderful. Full of southerly flavours with a hint of summer sunshine. They are just as good warm or cold and toast pretty well too! Spread with butter or cream cheese........ even houmous complements them and makes for a good meal.
I am entering these Manchego, Saucisson & Oregano Muffins into a couple of challenges :
Tea Time Treats brought to us by Janie at The Hedge Combers, in conjunction with Karen from Lavender & Lovage). This month, they are inviting all things Mediterranean to be brought to the tea time table....... These savoury muffins are full of both the flavours and produce of warmer climes.
I am also sending a batch to Karen's sister challenge Cooking With Herbs, which is for September, celebrating an Indian summer and Mediterranean herbs. The Oregano packed into these little cakes is full of the flavours (and memories) of warm holidays and mountain walks in Greece and beyond.
And lastly, I am offering them to Simple & in Season, this month being guest hosted by Franglais Kitchen on behalf of Ren Behan. The courgettes are coming to an end in the garden, but I am making the most of every last (now scrawny) one! Grating them into cake batter seems a fab way to get the best from them. The oregano is also home-grown......
I already have the veggie version planned and underway!!
Manchego, Saucisson & Oregano Muffins (makes 24 muffins)
160g plain gluten free flour mix (I used mix A from this post)
160g fine ground polenta
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons GF baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh, chopped oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
140g grated Manchego cheese (or an alternative hard cheese or vegetarian cheese)
3 large eggs
90 ml olive oil
150 ml plain yoghurt
130 ml milk
1 medium courgette (approx 230g untrimmed weight) - grated
80g saucisson or Chorizo - trimmed and chopped into small pieces
- Prepare non-stick muffin tins by either lining with baking cases or lightly greasing.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Weigh and mix together the flour, polenta, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and pepper, making sure any lumps are broken down.
- Add and stir in the herbs and grated cheese.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, yoghurt and milk, then add to the dry ingredients and fold until just combined.
- Add and fold in the grated courgette and chopped 'sausage'.
- Spoon into the muffin cases and bake for about 20 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the tops spring back to the touch.
- Leave to cool in the tins for about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
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