Last weekend I co-hosted a pre-Christmas dinner with friends in Segur le Chateau. I was requested to make my savoury pumpkin and blue-cheese muffins. I wondered however what course my savoury muffins would fit within. My lovely friends Vicky and Charlie, and owners of the venue for pre-Christmas dinner, La Durantie, assured me that the muffins would be work well with aperitifs.
I was even more perplexed – muffins and gluhwein, could they really work together?
Perhaps I should explain the background of the request. I recently sent, Vicky, Charlie and Vicky’s husband Ralph, off on their holiday with a bag of savoury muffins. The muffins were deemed as a delicious road-trip snack, and the girls were keen to try them again – hence the request to make them for our dinner guests.
I felt uncertain about the muffin and gluhwein pairing, worried I’d frighten the French guests, and perhaps confuse everyone else. Eventually we agreed I’d make the muffin recipe, but as a savoury loaf.
As it happened however, I was unable to source a decent pumpkin. The piles of pumpkins seen all around Segur two months ago seem to be no longer. Carrots however, were plentiful. So I substituted carrots for pumpkin, goats cheese for blue cheese, and added caramelised onions.
The end product was a success. We served the loaf cut in bit-sized morsels – with the gluvine. The loaf was both sweet and savoury, with the sweetness of the onion working well against the creaminess of the goats cheese.
2 cups grated carrot
½ cup caramelised onion (around four small brown onions)
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup chopped rosemary
1/2 cup crumbled goats cheese
1 cup milk
Ground black pepper
2 cups plain flour
2 table spoons mustard
Step 1: pre-heat the oven to 180C. Great the pumpkin and set aside. Caramelise the onion.
Step 2: Combine the chopped rosemary, mustard, goats cheese, caramelised onions and parmesan. Add most of the carrot, save a little (to top the loaf later).
Step 3: Sift the flour and the baking powder, then stir into the mixture.
Step 4: In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and milk together. Then add to the mixture. Add salt and pepper. Then stir in slowly, folding the ingredients together gently.
Step 5: Add the mixture to your (greased) loaf tin. Cook for 40 minutes.