Saturday, January 26, 2008

Nigella's Orange Breakfast Muffins

It's funny what happens when the world outside is covered in towering, powdery-white snowdrifts and your home internet goes out for what seems like a Very Long Time: you are given the chance to really, truly focus on those things you love to do in your spare time, without obligations to e-mail, upcoming-birthday-gift-shopping, bill monitoring or anything else that can leave a person tied to the computer.

During the past week and a half, we had great fun celebrating A's birthday with friends, learned so much more about my camera (and just how bad food pictures can turn out in oh-so-faint indoor winter light), delighted in the sheer pleasure Argos takes in chasing snowballs and jumping into said snowdrifts, watched some of the movies on The List*, read parts here and there of five different books without finishing any of them, baked a ton, and hoped for another huge snowstorm so we can spend another lazy snow day at home with the puppers.

In addition to a double batch of lemon curd- requisite for all birthdays- we spent last weekend enjoying all sorts of yummy treats with friends. On Saturday morning, I spent a few minutes wondering what in the world we were going to have for breakfast- a behaviour very unlike me, since I am usually insanely OCD and plan these things ahead. Having just gone grocery shopping, we had plenty of ingredients for something fancy in the house, but I really wanted something really fast and easy- no time spent chilling in the fridge (à la yeast breads or bread puddings), minimal preheating, no thawing frozen farm fruit from the summer.

Happily, while furiously digging through a stack of cookbooks, I thumbed right to a recipe for Orange Breakfast Muffins that I've had dog-eared ever since my copy of Nigella Bites arrived in the mail last fall. Yes, I am absolutely addicted to Amazon's cookbook section- and honestly, who wouldn't be? They have everything- absolutely everything- one needs to keep a girl happy in the kitchen.

These orange muffins come in a very close second on the happiness scale: light and moist, with a lovely, distinct orange flavour (and color!), they immediately made it to my will-make-often recipe shortlist. I want to say that they remind me of bright, sunny summer mornings, but I realize that would be silly, given that citrus season is winter. Ach. In any case, you get my point- they are the perfect thing for cold winter mornings. I didn't have the energy to grind almonds, so I substituted an overflowing handful of paper-thin, crunchy sliced almonds, which added a nice texture and subtle almond flavour. The sweet citrus scent of the muffins in the oven is enough to make anyone hungry, so I highly recommend doubling this muffin recipe. On the off chance that they don't all disappear at breakfast, however, they keep beautifully for snacks and weekday breakfasts.

* You know- that list of movies that you really, really must see at some point. The list that grows twice as fast as the crossing-off part. That one.


lesha said...

Hi Petite.
did you survive the special Tuesday?

In Italy we're in very deep political crisis (as usual), I'm planning to run away... ;)


la petite gourmande said...

Hi Lesha!

I did survive Super Tuesday... but surviving work is getting a bit more difficult! I voted for Obama, but he didn't come out on top here in Massachusetts. Good thing I am happy with either Democrat for the big election... phew!

I heard about your crisis! Sounds nuts!

Good luck running away :) Maybe you can go to France and have fun on vacation with Sarkozy!

lesha said...

Hi Petite,
I also hope the democrats will win next elections...I like obama, even if I not always understand him because of the accent. I better understand people from east coast, new york and new england being the accent more "similar" to the British one, the one I learned.
anyway, our crisis is the usual nuts. now we're already in election campain and I really don't want to vote anyone of them! who, by the way, are always the same people since 1948...;)