Some people have an old boy network or even an old girl network. I have an expat network! And there is nothing more knowledgeable, helpful or friendly than the expat network. Our fingers spread wide in every pie, in every town, in all the world. Are you moving to Houston, London, Paris, Perth, Sydney, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Quito, Austin, Athens, Mexico City, Nashville, Boston, Aberdeen, Lagos, San José, Taipei, Shanghai, Mumbai, Caracas, Copenhagen, Berlin or Stavanger, just to name a few cities? I know someone there who will help. Often more than one someone! Ah, yes, good people. I can find out where to get decent chocolate chips and Extra Chunky Jif peanut butter in most cities of this world at the drop of a quick email or new Facebook status. The expat network is also invaluable when you are moving. When we found out about the transfer to Dubai, the first thing I did was send out a query on housing. In which areas should I look? And why? The responses were immediate and thoughtful, taking into account our empty nest status and Boxer dog who needs a yard. So, far from being a strange city, Dubai was already well-mapped in our heads before the first appointment was made. You can’t buy worldwide expertise like that! The point of all this is that we found a home and from (probably) mid November you will be seeing photos from a whole new kitchen.
Meanwhile, we are still baking muffins in Cairo! This week’s Muffin Monday choice is from Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen but you can also find it online, right here. I decided to leave off the cocoa powder and add mini baking bits of semi-sweet chocolate. If you are wondering why I have just brown, yellow, blue and orange, I’ll tell you. Last December a dear friend generously stepped into the role of Christmas party planner for her son’s fourth grade of about 100 children. She needed decorations for cupcakes or cookies or something so we sat and picked all the red and green ones out of my bag of baking bits for her project. Because, when you love someone, you will even give her your imported red and green baking bits. True story.
1 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup or 225g flour (Life is so much easier with a scale! You should get one.)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 very ripe bananas (10 oz or 285g by weight when peeled)
1/2 cup or 125 ml light vegetable oil
2 medium eggs
1/2 cup or 100g packed soft dark brown sugar
1/2 cup plus extra for sprinkling on top or about 100g semi sweet baking bits
Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C and grease your muffin tin or line it with paper cups.
Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together. Make sure to mash out any lumps of brown sugar.
Mash the bananas with a fork then add in the eggs and the oil. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Fold your wet ingredients into your dry ones until they are just mixed.
Add in the half cup of chocolate baking bits and fold again gently.
(Small side note: M&M have stopped making the semi-sweet baking bits so these were actually ordered from NutsOnline in a five-pound bag. I have started a Facebook campaign to get M&M to reconsider this decision. If you have a moment, go on over to the Facebook page and follow the link in About to send Mars North America a message on their website. Thank you!)
Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Decorate with the remaining baking bits.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
Allow to cool slightly in the muffin tin before removing to a wire rack.
And, for those of you who care: Here is our new house. Assuming the paperwork goes through without a hitch.
Muffin Monday is an initiative by BakerStreet. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop Anuradha a quick line to join her on this journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week. Make sure to go and check out what my fellow bloggers have come up with this week!
Plus learn all you ever need to know about muffins, right here at Muffin 101.