Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bleeding Heart Muffins & Mauled Mallards

Here's another post with a multiple personality disorder. Don't say I didn't warn ya.

Wok&Spoon inspired me to make muffins with those eminently delightful dried cranberries a couple of weeks ago. To add interest, I gave the muffins a 'bleeding heart', which is a small spoon of cherry jam right in the middle. Topped with chunks of almond white chocolate and roasted hazelnuts, the muffins were ready for the oven. I almost forgot the cranberries - they were outside the kitchen by the sofa. Cranberries are great to munch on while watching the news - so I was in danger of scarfing the lot in my quest for interesting muffins.

The muffins were still reasonably soft the next day. Heat one in the microwave on low power for 12 to 15 seconds for an aromatic boost. If you want the recipe, here it is (I developed it myself):

Cranberry Bleeding Heart Muffins

150g butter
7 tbs sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar (or 1/2 tsp vanilla essence)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
a small handful of hazelnuts (or your favourite nuts), medium roasted
a small handful of white choc chunks
a handful of cranberries
4 tsp of your fav berry jam

Cream by hand the sugars into the butter for 2 minutes in a big bowl. Add eggs and mix lightly. Mix the flour with baking powder and salt, and add to butter mixture. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Butter 8 or 9 holes of medium muffin pan(s). Spoon a tablespoon of the batter into each hole. Add half a teaspoon of jam to the centre. Top with more batter till three-quarters full (a bit more if you like to bake dangerously!). Top with nuts, choc chunks and cranberries. Pop into the middle of the oven for 23-25 minutes. (Watch the 'rising show' through the glass front once every 5 minutes for added satisfaction.) Take out of oven and, after 2 minutes, remove muffins carefully with small fork and butter knife. Let cool on a wire rack. Eat two while still warm! (This recipe gives you 8 or 9 muffins.)

(Right) Isn't this the biggest cherry you've ever seen? It's labelled 'XL' in the supermarket here in Switzerland. Very juicy and sweet! Eating it is like a little spot of heaven on Earth.

The picture below is specially for Spiffy who wanted to see Scarface the duck. The Mallards seem to have lost some downy feathers from their heads. Next to these weather-worn wild ducks is a perfectly unmolested Eurasian coot, which is pretty hardy, cunning and quick.


SteamyKitchen said...

OMG that is a cherry on steriods

Argus Lou said...

Ha ha ha! Steamy, you have a way with words, woman.
Swiss eggs can be mighty huge too - 73g.

wonda said...

My heart bleeds for your muffins and cherries. We sure have a bloody sweet tooth!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

XL cherry?? Let's not even get started on that. ROFL.

Love them white chocolates...I shall enjoy trying out this recipe. :-) What mouthwatering pics too!

WokandSpoon said...

I totally agree - those cranberries are so addictive!! I love your bleeding heart muffins! esp. with the white chocolate as well! You mentioned that the recipe gives you 8 or 9 muffins - is that before or after you ate the 2 warm ones? hehe ;-)

Argus Lou said...

Wonda, are cherries in abundance in Japan? Are they 'on steroids' too? Or are they compact cherries - like some Japanese men? ^_^

Lyrical, so was Bald Eagle the one who popped your XL cherry? (You started it!) ;-P
Thanks for appreciating the pics. Do tell me how your muffins go.

WokandSpoon, at first I thought dried cranberries are low-caloried, but then they're quite naturally sweet, so eating too much of them can't be that good for us, eh? ;-)
Eight or 9 muffins BEFORE I ate 2 warm ones (yeah, one just wasn't enough). ;-D~

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Naughty naughty! I can see you're still high on japanese men. Are they really compact? Hmmmm.

And about popping cherries, I'll tell you my story if you'll tell me yours! LOL.

Muffins...yeah! Will definitely take pics and show you how they turned out. IF they turn out. :-P

Argus Lou said...

Yeah, Lyrical, you can double-check with Wonda. Some are compact but bursting with energy. ;-P

Hey, we food flirts don't kiss, order and tell. ^_^

Oh, I'm sure your muffins'll turn out fine. Just don't overmix or they might become tough. Am a lazy novice baker. Please send my best regards to your beloved stud muffin, ya?

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Argus, compact energetic japanese men, you say? They'll fit into my cabin bag perfectly! Tell Wonda I'll take two, thank you.

My muffins are fine, she said. They're certainly not tough. Bald Eagle doesn't like tough muffins.

Argus Lou said...

LL, how does Wonda know your muffins are soft and pliable?!
And your stud muffin doesn't exchange crumbs with tough cookies? ^_^

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

No, no, no...Wonda hasn't seen or touched my muffins! Have you, Wonda, have you??

Oklar, my stud muffin loves all kinds. Depends on whether it's a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. Weekends, he rests. What about yours?

Argus Lou said...

Oh, my hot Weisswurst loves brownies, blondies, muffins, tender or tough cookies, banana cake and even Asian kuih. Rather ecclectic in tastes, you think?

wonda said...

Wah, you ladies talking about me hor? My ears itchy oredi. Japanese electric products are compact. Sushi is compact and one can tend to overeat sushi. Never tried cooking muffins before. I feed my family all kinds of food eg. African, Mexican, Malaysian, Japanese, American, and sometimes own concoction, and whatever new recipe that looks interesting and easy to me.

wonda said...

See Argus, you made me MCC again with your food talk and my "cooking" on my post. I meant baking and not cooking muffins. Ah, never mind, as long as MCC understands MCC's talk.

Argus Lou said...

Ha ha, Wonda, panfried muffins, anyone? ^_^ Seriously though, you should try this recipe - very easy.

J.T. said...

Hi Argus,

I am back again. When I saw the picture of the muffins, I got over excited and asked "oh my.. are those yummy cranberries?" They are!!

Love dried cranberries. I put them in my salad. Also, love cranberry jelly (mother in law's recipe) to have with ham or turkey during Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. yummm..
Oh...and cranberry juice. And cranberry oatmeal cookies. oooo...
You'd think I will be cranberried-out. hehe

The next time I want to try and bake something, I will revisit your blog for the Bleeding Heart Muffins.

Oh by the way, I have having roasted duck for dinner tomorrow. :)

Argus Lou said...

Hi, J.T. Nice of you to come by again. ^_^
Oh, ja, cranberry-everything is lovely! Mmm... cranberry sauce with smoked turkey reminds me of Thanksgiving when I was in the US.
In fact, I can pour dried cranberries neat down my throat. ;-D~ Yum!
Ooo... I will not tell the ducks at the lake about your dinner plans (actually, I think of duck liver pate every time I see their plump chests; yes, I'm wicked).

wonda said...

Eh, Argus, really? There is pan-fried muffins? U have the recipe? Anyway, I prefer the dark red cherries which are sweeter and they are usually imported ones. Japanese cherries are light red or orangy red. Hard to get cranberries here.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Ooh I've been linked. :-) Btw, I not so little leh. Both in terms of size as well as age! heehee.

I think I shall like your hot Weisswurst! Good things must be shared, u know.

Panfried muffins with dark cherries?? This is getting more and more interesting.

WokandSpoon said...

Hehe - actually you're right - those dried cranberries probably have loads of sugar! But I love them and can't stop snacking on them!

WokandSpoon said...

Oh - and you don't eat durians??????????????????????????

Argus Lou said...

Wah, we're getting some Frankenstein recipe here. Wonda, panfried muffins will turn out like pancake, I'm guessing. And, of course, you can add dark red cherries after taking out the pits.

Ooo... Lyrical, you like those German sausages with beer, right? Quite heavy but spicy and savoury - the wursts I mean! Well, you'll probably spicy and savoury too, heh heh.

Wok&Spoon, I tell myself it's fructose. ;-D But calories are calories. Nevermind, some foods deserve to be eaten passionately.
Yes, I'm terrible - can't eat raw durian, but love traditional durian cake and durian bubur cha-cha. But keep durian ice-cream away from me - that artificial durian flavour is like a biological weapon. ;-P

wonda said...

Lunch menu in Restaurant Argus:
Appetizer:Heavenly Earthy cubed beetroot served in a wineglass with boiled shrimp and whipped cream.
Main Course: Peking Mallard, Roasted Flying Chicken Wings or Drumming Drumsticks, Swinging Roti Canai.
Dessert: Bleeding Heart Muffins or Panfried Muffins topped with heartless cherries
Fruits: XL Steroidless cherries
Snack: Dandy coconut candy
Drinks : Cranberry shake
All are welcome.
Venue: Lucerne
Recommendation by Wonda's Wondaful World of Wonders.
Recipe enquiries: Argus World

wonda said...

P.S : Correction - Drinks: Cranberry shake botoms-up
Note: Discount for MCC members

tigerfish said...

Looking at those cherries and muffins makes my heart bleed....I like the name :D

WokandSpoon said...

hehe - that's really weird! You eat durian cake but not durians! hehehehehhehe.

Argus Lou said...

Wonda, you really made me chuckle. Your memory is really good for an MCC president. ;-D
You're shaking your cranberries with bottoms up?!
However, location of weird should-be-health-inspected restaurant is Cham, Switzerland (in the canton of Zug). Will post pictures of the cute lil' 'town' I live in another day.

Tigerfish, thanks for dropping by. Glad you like the name I coined for them muffins. Do you enjoy baking too? :-) Will drop by soon to look at your tigers and fishes.

Wok&Spoon, well, cooking takes the sting - and stink! - out of durian (and garlic and onions). Yeah, it's strange, but after puberty I lost the taste for (uncooked) durians. Used to have a durian tree in our frontyard, too. 'Pass under tree with helmet' was our motto.

WokandSpoon said...

That's so cool having a durian tree in your garden! We had several mango trees - I was happy with that!

You've been tagged ;-)

gRaCe said...

ARGUS...!!! i missed you!! Heheh.. sorie sorie..had to be like MIA for a while..work was almost crushing me last week, especially Thursday & Friday. I saw the pic.. thanks so much for posting them up just for me! *HUGZ!* =)

Scarface look garang la..i can imagine him saying, "come any nearer to me and i'll give it to you! Yes, i will!"


Argus Lou said...

Yes, Wok&Spoon, it was cool having a huge-assed durian tree. But, being the youngest, I was often 'bullied' into climbing over the fence with a wooden ladder to collect the durians that had fallen on the empty plot of land on the other side.

Tagged?! I'm too aged to play, my running is dismal, nanti my calves and thighs koyak! Uh, OK, will think about it for a while. ~:-}

Spiffy! You bist back! (I'm mixing up English with German.) Scarface: "Yeah, one step closer and I'll rub u to death with my face and bill!" Thought though that Scarface looked a bit sad with his bill turned down. Even the mistakenly-called Mandarin (Carolina wood duck, pictured in an earlier post) is nowadays looking scruffy and feather-worn. Hope your work load has lightened up. ^_^

Lee Ping said...

Dear Argus,

You are never too old to play tag (blog) of course. In fact, I just did one. And thanks for playing the guessing game. The orange egg is Masago (a kind of fish roe).

I tried leaving you (and Alice) a comment before this, but my daughter vomited so, I had to clean up the mess. It had been a faith testing week for us because we were battling with stomach flu. The kids are all better but I am still not back to my old healthy self yet.

Cynthia said...

My heart is bleeding for the muffins and my senses have been mauled by the taste.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and helping me to discover yours. I'm sleepy right now but will definitely be exploring tomorrow :)

Argus Lou said...

Dear MrsHBT, sorry to hear of your family's illness. I hope and pray you will be fully well soon and back to your usual chirpy self. Hope Wonda is OK despite the typhoon in Japan (she has put out a quick post).

Cynthia, thanks for dropping by. Hope you like what you see later. Your blog is very interesting; love the colours.

gRaCe said...

My workload's lighten up a lil.. but dunno la. These days, it's getting harder and harder for me to blog. I so want to blog but then the words r hard to come by..

I remember someone saying tht blogging shud be fun..and we shud blog bcuz we want to..tht way it wun sound 'forced'.

Sighh...i think it's stress...or PMS. Haha..

Argus Lou said...

Grace, naturally you can lurk around other blogs while waiting for the words to flow like champagne in France. I'm sure you'll get inspired soon. ^_^
There's a nice line, a toast, in '25th Hour' (movie by Spike Lee starring Edward Norton): "Champagne to real friends and real pain to sham friends!"

Lee Ping said...

Thanks. One thing is for sure, kids heal faster than adults!

gRaCe said...

Thanks a lot dear..i sure hope those ideas and words come flowing back real soon...;o)

In the mean time...i can always stalk our blog. Heheh..

Padma said...

Agus lou....you have a very nice space here, Bleeding hear Muffins looks awesome, have to try coz this is the cherry season in here. Dont want to miss on this..

I thought I complimented you, but somehow I missed it, sorry. Have added you to my blogroll and thanks for visiting my site..I am glad you liked it If you wanna any TLC for Indian food, I can lend my hand!

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, Padma, for 'rolling' this blog on yours. ^_^
I didn't use cherries in the Bleeding Heart Muffins but dried cranberries, hazelnuts, and store-bought cherry jam (for the filling).
Fresh sweet cherries are great for eating just the way they are - juicy and delicious! Hope you take advantage of the season before it runs out. ;-)

My old living-room

My old living-room
In Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

A cherished dream

A cherished dream
To live on a pale beach by a crystal clear sea. (This was taken on the east coast of Johor state, Malaysia.)