Mmmm Muffins!

Although our seaside location keeps us in a warm bubble for most of the year, today even Bridport is cloaked in snow and the thermometer registered a lip tingling minus seven when we woke!

We rose at first light, busy, chafing our hands against the chilly house. Nick had to take the train to London for his Passivhaus design exam and we weren't quite sure what effect all this snow would have on the road to Dorchester.

Pretty soon though, lunches and warm sweaters were packed into the car and we patted the dashboard lovingly, giving thanks once again to the marvelous efficiency of German engineering. Ice crunching beneath the tires, I crept out to the main road and we were off into the pink morning with the blower on full blast.

Out of town the countryside lay silent under a frozen quilt, trees standing stiffly to attention, hedges weighed down with a frosting of powder. Mist rendered the sky as white as the fields below. The only thing to remind us that we were driving and not floating, were headlights gleaming towards us through the milky air.

Rounding a corner to the crest of the hill we were bathed in the glorious colours of morning. Pink and gold mingled with white to form an ice-cream sundae for the eyes. At the side of the road, untouched drifts of caster sugar glistened with opalescent lustre, as though they had been dusted with tiny fragments of mirror.

We plunged back again into the shade, everything lost colour and I had the impression that we were driving through a sepia photo. I half expected to look over and see Nick in a three piece suit with a moleskin trilby in his lap.

We saw him off in good time, clouds of breath billowing, "Goodbye! and good luck!".

Finley safely dropped at school, I came home and fired up the oven for a batch of muffins to welcome him home with. There's nothing that comforts the soul like a batch of banana muffins and a warm cup of tea.

I plan to look out the window often today, as tomorrow is forecast for rain and all this magical winter white will be washed away.

Banana Muffins (Makes 12)

This recipe is gluten free, but not SCD. To make these muffins SCD friendly, just replace the flour with 9 oz ground almonds (almond flour), reduce the butter to 2 oz, add a heaped dessertspoon of yogurt and omit the xanthan gum. If the batter seems a little thick then add a little more yogurt.

8oz (220g) ground almonds (or flaked almonds ground in a food processor)

2 large ripe bananas

4 oz (110g) butter

4 large free range eggs

1 avocado

½ cup (125ml) honey

4 oz (110g) brown rice flour

4 oz (110g) buckwheat flour

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

6 tsp cider vinegar (or similar)

2 tbs milk or yogurt

Flaked almonds (optional)

Fill a muffin tray with cases and set the oven to 170C.

In a food processor combine, butter, honey and bicarb and process until smooth.

Add banana, eggs and avocado and process until smoothish.

Add vinegar, flours, xanthan gum, ground almonds, milk/yogurt and vinegar and pulse until combined, scraping down in between bursts. The mix should have a soft dropping consistency - if it's too stiff, add a little more milk.

Scrape into muffin cases, sprinkle with a few flaked almonds and bake for 20-24 minutes until golden, risen and springy to touch. Putting a tray of water in the bottom of the oven gives an even better rise.