What are you doing this mother’s day? Are you a cynic who slanders the mere thought of yet another commercialised holiday? Soppy cards, posh lunch deals, spa breaks, the lot. Do you quietly moan, yet celebrate it anyway in a more subtle manner? A bunch of fresh flowers or breakfast in bed. Or, do you wholeheartedly embrace the opportunity to celebrate? Flowers, cards, breakfast, lunch and a spa break to boot. I’m always torn when it comes to such events. Is it rude to ignore them? It is it an overt display of consumerism to embrace them? In the end I usually decide that ‘celebration’ is justified a) if the card is homemade (and by you, not from that funky store down the road) and b) if it involves good food (again, homemade is preferable).
Now, I’m approximately 3346 kilometers away from my mother at present – we’re either side of the nation. Not exactly ideal for a short surprise visit. I also may or may not have forgotten to send a card. Sorry mum! However, I do still have time to consider what I would have treated her to if we were in a closer vicinity to one another. Because, after all it’s the thought that counts, right? Even if it’s not meant to be taken in quite such a literal sense…
We might go for a power walk along the boardwalk, with stunning views out towards the southern ocean. She’ll insist that we go out for breakfast at one of her favourite haunts. I’ll staunchly refuse. She’ll point out that I’m a scrooge. I’ll agree yet note that I baked muffins. Just for her. We’ll then head home and have a leisurely breakfast – a cup of tea and said freshly baked muffins (well, the evening before counts doesn’t it?) out on the back porch. Broken open and slathered in creamy, salty butter that oozes into the gaps of the warm muffin. Is that not a decent gift? Personal. Heartfelt. Too soppy? Let’s move on.
With a mere tablespoon of brown sugar – that’s it, you heard right the first time, one tablespoon of sugar – it’s impossible to feel guilty for polishing off a few of these. Whole-wheat flour (you know you’re brain’s had it for the day when you type ‘flower’ instead), dates, banana and walnuts provide a low-GI kick-start to your day. Oh, and there’s fibre and protein too! The banana and apple-sauce provide more than enough sweetness – this isn’t one of those cake-for-breakfast under the guise of muffins recipes. If you fancy a little more, smear with clear honey for a stickier, sweeter mouthful.
These Banana, Date and Walnut muffins provide you with the opportunity to splurge later in the day – perhaps Sweet Potato and Caramelised Onion Tarte Tatin for dinner or Panforte for dessert. Or both! Of course, these muffins aren’t just reserved for mothers day. Pack one in your sports bag for a post-exercise snack or try lightly toasting one for a late afternoon need-something-to-get-me-through-to-dinner moment.
It’s cheesy as all get out, yet spending time together truly is the best present one can give, and what better way to do that then over good (preferably home made) food? And, if you’re prone to forgetting events such as mothers day, bake these muffins later down the track as compensation! Food bribery almost never fails…
Banana, Date & Walnut Muffins
Makes 8 muffins.
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
½ cup self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp chopped dates (about 9 dates)
3 tbsp chopped walnuts
¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 large banana, mashed
½ cup skim milk
½ tsp vanilla essence
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease 8 ½ cup capacity muffin holes or line with paper cases.
In a large bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Stir though the chopped dates and walnuts, ensuring that the dates are completely coated in flour.
In a separate bowl or jug whisk together the mashed banana and unsweetened apple sauce. Add the beaten egg, milk and vanilla essence and whisk to combine.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and tip the banana mixture in all wat once. Fold the wet into the dry until just combined. A few lumps is okay. Divide the mixture amongst the muffin holes and bake for 12 minutes or until risen and the tops spring back when touched.
Allow to cool in the pan for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Best served warm with a little butter, and jam/honey if you wish. Will keep in an airtight container for up to three days (though do taste best the day made). Also freeze well.
Source: A Taste Without Waste Original.