Now We Are One...

And what better to way to celebrate such a momentous occasion than by baking a batch of Hummingbird Muffins...
But firstly, here is a reminder of my first, slightly gauche post, back in the days before I even used photography to illustrate my writing!
So much has happened in the last 12 months or so. Paul has become a fully fledged, paid up in advance, badge-wearing member of WATKT (and some might say the superior writer; the Batman to my Robin if you will) and now has his own fan club (comprising three members: Paul, me and his Mom).
Last year was spent with the two of us flailing around in a cloud of financial and emotional despair. Two characters who were very important to us passed away. Benji, the spearhead of this blog, the canine gourmandiser, was the original influence for WATKT. Sure, you might say he was just a dog, but he was much more than that and anyone who has had a pet will understand. His picture remains on our overloaded kitchen shelves as a constant reminder of the little dog who devoted his life to food and to his stomach, regardless of whether he was filling it with leftover chili, roast chicken or Ben and Jerrys Mint Choc-Chunk Ice Cream.
Pauls youngest brother Lee died last February, after fighting cancer for as long as I've known Paul, which is over five years. Paul uses this blog to share his evocative childhood reminiscences, and I know that it makes him sad that he can't share those special memories with Lee anymore. However, we have both had the pleasure of cooking for Lee, most notably when we visited last February; Pauls Pig in a Trough being Lees favourite. It seems that memories start and finish around the dining table. That particular dish will always remind Paul of his brother.

The new year has given us great hope for the future in all aspects and we look forward to seeing what the future brings.
I also want to thank everyone who has stopped by and taken the time to leave us encouraging comments. On some days, this is what drives me on to keep posting. Paul and I have had great fun participating in the cooking events and have made lots of friends. Thanks, y'all.
This blog is one of my greatest achievements though; it symbolises that I am finally on the right track for my future goals, which involve cooking and writing and I hope that at some point I can find the opportunity to make this a full time career. For now, I sit at my desk, in a chilly office, and dream up the next hair-brained scheme (soup for five days, anyone?). I am considering a month of offal but we shall see...

"Enough of your sentimental, mushy blah Freya, where are the Muffins? That's all we're interested in - the MUFFINS!!"
I know, and who can blame you? These Hummingbird Muffins are perhaps the most delicious, most moreish and moistest of any cake I have ever made. They contain crushed pineapple, banana, carrot, coconut, cinnamon - see, healthy AND tasty!
The Hummingbird Cake is a Southern Classic that gets its name from the noise emitted from your mouth when you eat it: supposedly a contended hum. We had several joyous umms and ooohs and mmm-mmms but no hums. Still, until the much rarefied OoohingBird of Outer Mongolia is found, the cake shall remain devoted to the Hummingbird. Incidentally, this is also my entry for Muffin Monday, held by Elena over at the rather originally named SqPixels.
Muffin Monday
The recipe originally referred to them as cupcakes but I think they have a rather Muffiny feel about them. The fruit makes them seem like a healthy breakfast treat and without the rich buttercream icing, they look almost virtuous. Believe me, they are not.
125g Plain Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
125g Caster Sugar (I used Golden Caster)
115ml Safflower Oil (but I used Sunflower because that's all I had!)
2 Eggs
150g Mashed Banana (about one and a half bananas of large girth)
Grated Zest of an Orange (I used one of the Sevilles left in the fridge)
60g Grated Carrot
90g Tinned Pineapple Crushed (we used fresh because Paul was using it for smoothies)
60g Dessicated Coconut
Preheat oven to 175c.
Line your muffin tin with muffin cases.
Sieve together the flour, cinnamon and baking powder. Set to one side
In another bowl, cream together the oil and the sugar until pale and fluffy. Because you are using oil instead of butter, this will take no time at all!
Gradually beat in the eggs.
Stir in the dry ingredients gradually until thoroughly amalgamated.
Gently fold in the banana, orange zest, grated carrot, crushed pineapple and coconut.
Spoon out into the muffin cases.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. You will smell when they are almost done as the kitchen will be filled with a wonderful spicy, fruity aroma.
These taste best of all when warm but Paul said they were still good and moist the next day.


valentinA said...

Love your humming bird muffins!
love the combination of your ingredients!

charlotte said...

Congratulations on your blog-aversary! Just so you know that you're changing lives, I did your fail-safe roast chicken yesterday and it was a great success. The chicken-turning is a good thing, and will be included in my repertoire henceforth.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Congratulations, Freya!

Your blog is great, your witty texts are always a wonderful reading.

Oh, and the muffins... Well, I shouldn't even look at them. ;)

Kate said...

Congrats on your one year! Since I have just begun following your blog, I am really looking forward to your second year!

Brilynn said...

Congrats on a year!

I've never heard of hummingbird muffins, but I will definitely be giving these a try, they're like all the great muffins rolled into one.

Lydia said...

Happy blog birthday! One year of blogging is a great achievement. Hummingbird muffins are new to me, but I love the name and the recipe looks wonderful.

Ulrike said...

Humming bird reminds me of him , why not try a muffin ;-), but that's not an English muffin. Am I right?

Happy birthday WATKT!

D-man said...

(imagine Sinatra, stumbling around a stage, snapping his fingers to the tune)

Deeeaaahhhhh....haaaapppy birthday to you
happppppppy birthday toooo you
haaaaaaaapy biiiiiirrrrrrthdaaay
dubya aaaaaaeyyyy teeee kay te'eeeeee
Happy you two!

Catch you soon.

ps: I saw a hummingbird yesterday, hitting my pineapple sage plant in the back yard. They are so cool. Seeing the name of these muffins and the inclusion of the pineapple made me mention it, not to make y'all jealous, as from what I hear, the speedy little demons are a Western Hemisphere phenomenon......

Joyce said...

Happy Anniversary,
The Hummingbird ingredients sound like a pina colada in cake form - though I've never added carrots to a pina colada. Eager to make them, converting to spoons and cups will be key! But I'm always up for a challenge. ;>0

Meeta said...

Happy Blog Birthday Freya and Paul. Those muffins look and sound great.

Kathryn said...

Hello both of you! Thanks for such a warm post. I hope 2007 is decidedly better than 2006 for you both! And well done for a year of blogging...

On another note, the muffins look very yummy!

Kathryn x

Mark said...

Speaking for my wife... If fish and seafood dishes equate to "Sarah's Worst Nightmare", these muffins would be an "Ultimate Fantasy" of sorts. These look delicious.

Gattina said...

Happy Birthday :D I enjoy you guys the writing a lot, Freya, hope your dream come true!
Hummingbird muffins... what a beautiful name! Just look at your pic I can tell they taste great!

Mary said...

Happy Blog-aversary! So much can happen in a mere 12 months. Losing a loved one (human or pet) can be so terrible, but hopefully the memories can keep us warm for a lifetime.

Mimi said...

Congratulations! I have been long remiss in popping over, Freya and Paul, but the last two weeks have been insane.

Elena said...

This is wonderfully tropical and fruity! Congratulations on your anniversary and so glad that you're celebrating with muffins! Thank you for your wonderful contribution to Muffin Monday!

Melting Wok said...

wow..1 year older, 1 year wiser hehe :) Happy bird-day guys, cheers :)

sher said...

Ahh! Happy Blogaversary!!! I enjoyed reading your post so much. And those muffins! The name alone would make anyone want to eat them. I have 5 hummingbirds who come to my yard each day. I'm going to tell them about your wonderful creation! :):)

Saffron said...

It's always a big pleasure reading your posts!

Kelly-Jane said...

HI, I've come to you via Kathryn's blog links. Great blog, and congratulations on your first birthday.

Your cupcakes look lovely. I have long meant to try a hummingbird cake, but have had this obsession with carrot cake for a while...
I must get round to trying it now.


annauk said...

Happy 1st birthday!! and wonderful muffins too!

ros said...

Happy birthday WATKT! Sorry to hear that this year wasn't the best for both of you. I'm sure things will be better in 2007/8.

Those muffins sound lovely - very tropical!

Yes, do a month of offal! You know it makes sense!

wheresmymind said...

Where is the bird in that muffin? What a rip!! lol

veron said...

Congratulations Freya! banana and pineapple, now that's a muffin I wanna take a bite out of...actually I want the whole thing!

Julia said...

Congratulations! Happy blogday!

Callipygia said...

Congratulations on the achievement of your blog's first year! I'm new to your posts but am already smitten. I wish you and Paul a great upcoming year. Seeing that we just entered the year of the Pig I think all of our luck is changing. PS. Love hummingbird muffins, they remind me of college and yeah so decadent.

Kristen said...

Happy Blog Birthday! I'm glad you are here... I really enjoy reading your posts!

Sarah said...

Happy Birthday Paul and Freya! This was a really nice blog entry...very special and personal.

I liked the zucchini bread and Yet Another Meme entry too. They really made me laugh! Keep up the good work. I'm excited about the Asian food recipes - everything looks so delicious!

Love you guys,