Not the most romantic of dishes you might be thinking. Wrong. What could be more loving than a home baked, smokey, cheesy, warm, buttery treat? And why be so predictable this Valentines day with something sickly sweet and chocolatey? No say it with deliciously warm bacon-y cheesy muffins. Now. Never been a big fan of savoury muffins. Big statement. I suppose it just comes from growing up with always having the sweet versions or the savoury versions I have tried have always been sort of soggy and lacklustre. These however, these I can get behind.
These are totally customisable also. Don’t like dill? (exit my life immediately) use chives or parsley. Not keen on cheddar? Why not try parmesan or even some gloriously crumbled feta chunks? Vegetarian? Omit the bacon. Hate onions? Leave em out. What I don’t want you to do, is skip the salting and straining of the zucchini, otherwise you will end up with soggy muffins and no one really wants that. You’ll be surprised how much of the chlorophyll filled green water you’ll get out of a seemingly dry mound of grated zucchini but they truly hold on to a lot. Going to the effort may be annoying but it really will make a difference in the end product.
Final request, eat them warm from the oven and DO provide mounds of cold salted butter that can be deliciously melted into the tender crumbs. Bliss upon bliss. True romance.
1 large red onion, diced
4 rashers of bacon, sliced into strips
2 small zucchinis, coarsely grated
2 cups of self raising flour
1 cup of coarsely grated cheddar cheese (Red Leicester is also delicious here)
1/2 a large bunch of dill, chopped (can use more or less so substitute)
2 large eggs, lightly whisked
70 grams of unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup of full cream milk with 1 tsp of white vinegar mixed in. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before using
1 tablespoon of light olive oil
Salt and pepper
Firstly, pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. In a strainer or sieve, cover the grated zucchini with half a teaspoon of salt, mix together with your hands and leave to stand for 20 minutes or so.
After its had time to sit, squeeze the zucchini with your hands and extract as much of the liquid out as you can. Discard the liquid and set the strained zucchini aside.
In a frypan, add the oil, bacon and red onion and cook over a medium to high heat until the mixture is brown and caramelised.
You want this mixture to be sticky and almost jam like, so don’t be scared to push it as far as you can without burning. Once this is done, set aside to cool and get on with the dry ingredients.
In a large bowl, sift the self raising flour and add in a good grind of black pepper and a small pinch of salt.
Next add the grated cheese and mix to coat. Coating will ensure it is evenly distributed and won’t sink to the bottom on the muffin when baking.
Do the same for the bacon and onion mixture as well as the chopped dill.
Next pour in the homemade quick buttermilk mixture along with the melted butter (not pictured).
Lightly whisk your eggs in a separate bowl and add this to the mixture.
Gently combine all your ingredients being careful not to over-mix the batter.
Divide evenly between 12 pre-prepared muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until they are risen, golden brown or until a skewer/cake tester comes out clean.
Not only are these great served warm, they are also great to chuck into lunchboxes or as a heavenly lunch time treat for grownups too.
They are best enjoyed fresh but will keep for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge and warmed back up in a slow oven. Try to avoid the microwave or they’ll get tough. These also freeze quite well for up to a month and defrosted in a slow oven for 25 minutes.