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Cheesy Vegetable Muffins

by Roy Chambers (follow)
Healthy (1888)      Vegetarian (1517)      Snack (848)      Baking (674)      Summer (237)      Brunch (217)     
These muffins are perfect warm for brunch or a light lunch or great cold on a picnic.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: Makes 4 large muffins or 8 to 10 small muffins

3/4 cup white self-raising flour
1/2 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
1 large egg
1/3 cup cooking oil
1/3 cup milk
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 to 2 cups of vegetables such as coarsely grated zucchini, finely chopped shallots, finely grated carrot, peas, corn, thinly sliced red capsicum and finely chopped spinach.
Optional: chili powder to taste for those who enjoy spicy food
Optional: 1 level tablespoon white sugar

Note of ingredients: the main ingredients are cheese and zucchini. As long as you have those two things in the muffin, the other vegetables can be whatever you have available.

The peas and corn are a favourite of my guests, and let people know at a glance that these are savoury rather than sweet muffins. I put in the carrot and the finely sliced red capsicum mostly for a bit of colour. The shallots add a bit of onion flavour and the spinach just rounds it all out.

There is of course no reason why you couldn't throw in some ham or bacon if you want a non-vegetarian version, but personally I find that it doesn't add that much extra flavour.

In a large bowl combine the white and wholemeal flour. I use a mix that is close to 50/50, but some people may want more or all wholemeal flour.

Add in a pinch of salt. I usually also add a tablespoon of sugar, but you can easily leave this out. If you like spicy muffins, then a little bit of chili powder is also worth adding.

You want between 1 1/2 to 2 cups of vegetables. My experience is the more vegetables the better. The main one is zucchini, without which we can't call these zucchini muffins could we?

The other ingredients I love to add Include about half a cup of cooked peas and corn, finely chopped shallots and finely chopped spinach.

There are two ingredients I mostly add in for colour. These are the finely grated carrots and the finely sliced red capsicum.

Add all these ingredients to the flour and combine. This lets the flour absorb some of the moisture from the vegetables.

Add in the two cheeses. The cheddar cheese makes the muffins moist but the Parmesan cheese has the stronger flavour. For healthier muffins reduce the amount of cheddar cheese but keep the Parmesan for the taste.

Meanwhile mix together the oil, milk and egg and beat. Then add to the bowl. The best way to think about the perfect consistency, is that the mixture should be spoonable rather than pourable. That is, when you spoon the mixture into the muffin containers, it won't flatten out right away. The cheese and vegetables will make the muffins very moist without needing too much oil.

For these, I am using medium sized ramekins. These make a nice sized brunch or lunch muffin. But you can also use standard muffin trays or even a slice tray.

Bake for 30 minutes at 200 C or until the tops are golden brown and when you prick the muffins with a toothpick, it comes out dry.

For brunch I usually serve these warm with a green salad. When entertaining I often slice these large muffins into quarters or even 8ths and lay them out on a tray. The vegetables, especially with the combination of green, yellow, orange and red, make these very appealing.

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