Category Archives: Things to do with soured milk

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Cornmeal muffins

A vendor handed me a big bunch of lavender at the Farmers Market on Wednesday. Since I was already so close to Malibu, I decided to head up into a favourite canyon and look for some elderberries. Last year I missed them completely- came home dejected and empty-handed, with sunstroke and eventually had to drive up into the Sierras to find some. This year I went on a whim and it happened to be just the right time, as they were everywhere, dripping from their branches like little black raindrops*. The sun was getting low, and the light was getting orangey, and the ocean breeze was blowing through the little canyon carrying the scent of alder and bush mallow, and it was all a bit perfect.

When I got back to the car, the scent of the lavender in the trunk had filled the whole car. It gets into your head, that smell, sticks in the air and onto your clothes, and all I could think about was how I wanted to infuse it in honey and drizzle it on absolutely everything. And that’s what I did when I got home- I made a big batch of lavender honey. Another batch of lavender tincture (one of my favourite things for liver-tension and headaches!), and then used what was left to make cornmeal muffins, because the honey wouldn’t be ready for a while and I really did want to eat it.

These muffins are ridiculously easy. I separated the batter before adding the flavours, and made half with elderberries, and half with lavender and lemon. The recipe is the same for each kind, you just mix the ingredients in at the end.



Elderberry cornmeal muffins/ Lemon-lavender cornmeal muffins

2 tb butter, at room temp
3/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used an all purpose gluten free flour mix)
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, or soured raw milk

2 cups elderberries (fresh or frozen)

or

1/2 cup chopped lavender flowers and
rind of 3 lemons plus the juice of two

 

A few hours before cooking, put the cornmeal and milk in a bowl. It’ll be a thick mixture, but you just want to hydrate the cornmeal a bit so that it’s not so crunchy when you cook it.

In the bowl of a mixer (or by hand) beat the butter and honey until fluffy and light. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the buttermilk-cornmeal mixture. Once incorporated fully, add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in 2 batches.

Add the dry ingredients- or do what I did and separate the batter, mixing in half the quantity to each.

Pour into a greased muffin pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Serve hot out the oven, sliced in half with a big dab of butter on top.


*Elderberries, by the way, make me want to talk in an Olde English accent. So I do, often to myself, while wandering around gathering them. When I run into people I get funny looks, especially if I’m mid-sentence. Sometimes I do it while I’m driving and forget that the window is open. More funny looks. But if you haven’t tried it, it’s really fun. I highly recommend hunching over and pretending you’re a little old witchy lady while you do it. Throw in a ‘boneset’ too, because it makes you sound legit.

 

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Rosehip Pannacotta

Wandering around London, I’ve been seeing tons of rose bushes with the rosehhips hanging on for dear life. My friends, if you want to  play this wild thing game, now might be the time to go and steal a few (responsibly of course) from a sleeping neighbour.

I’ve been going through a pannacotta phase lately. I mean, I made blood orange ones a few weeks ago, I order it every time I see it on a menu, and the first thing that I thought of with rosehips was pannacotta. I figured it’d be easy– just substitute rose hip syrup for the sugar and flavour, and I was right. Creamy. Slightly tangy from the hips, and with a touch of vanilla to round it out. If I didn’t convince you of how unbelievably easy panna cotta is to make last time, then here it is again. From start to finish, the whole process takes under fifteen minutes. You use one pan and one spatula, and a lot of the ingredients are things that are often just lying around (if you keep gelatin around like I do). Even more attractive is that it’s a great way to use up raw dairy that is turning sour, and for some reason it never fails to impress guests even if it only took 15 minutes and you didn’t break a sweat once.

Rose hip panna cotta

3/4 cup rose hip syrup

1 cup cream

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla

1 packet (1 tsp) gelatin

Warm up the cream and syrup and vanilla, and remove from heat. Remove a few tablespoons of the liquid into a bowl, and stir the gelatin in. Stir the gelatin mix into the main mixture, being sure that all the lumps are gone. Stir in the buttermilk, and pour into ramekins. Chill for at least 2 hours, before turning out. Or just serve in the dishes.