I’ve been thinking a lot about collective nouns lately. Yep, it all started when my aunt’s, friend’s pet bulldog was attacking a three legged squirrel at the racecourse last week. I was watching the scenario when I all of a sudden thought…”I wonder what the collective noun for a group of squirrels would be?” So I put my hand into the pocket of my spiderman suit and pulled out my iPhone to quickly search for the answer.
I found out that a group of squirrels is actually called:
A scurry of squirrels…or a dray of squirrels…or a colony squirrels (Oh and PS…how greedy are squirrels? They’ve got three collective nouns.)
Then I kept reading and found some other interesting collective nouns:
An army of caterpillars.
A coalition of cheetahs.
A quiver of cobras.
A watch of Nightingales.
A parliament of owls.
An escargatoire of snails.
A wisdom of wombats.
A mutation of thrush (yep, I didn’t make that up…let your mind wander!)
Who comes up with these ideas I wonder? I think I could do just as good a job of coming up with collective nouns. Let me have a go…
A Yellow of Lego Men
A Nept-ock of wild Neptunese bouncing orbs
A Muff-a-luff of muffins!
RECIPE – Quick and Easy Blueberry Muffins with Crumble Topping
This recipe is faster than a child running from a plate of peas…seriously. It takes no longer than 10 minutes to whip out your ingredients and mix the whole thing together. You only need two bowls and a whisk to make it. You don’t even need to cream butter and sugar together, so there are no beaters or stand alone mixers involved. Because we are using melted butter and not creaming any butter and sugar together, the muffin crumb is more dense. It has more of a friand texture. So if you like friands and you love muffins…then these will be your new best friend. Maybe we should call them muff-ands…or fri-uffins??
Quick and Easy Blueberry Muffins
Makes 14-16 muffins
- 450g plain flour
- 3 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 270g (1 1/4 cup) white sugar
- 140g melted butter (cooled)
- 240ml milk (almost one cup)
- 1 cup (240g) yoghurt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (or any berries of your choice)
- CRUMBLE TOPPING – OPTIONAL
- 114g cold butter
- 3/4 cup plain flour (about 120g)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius (350F). Butter your muffin tins (or spray with canola oil). I use two, 12 cup, deep, muffins tins and oil 15-16 muffin cups.
- PREPARE YOUR CRUMBLE MIXTURE IF USING – to do this place your butter, flour and sugar in a medium bowl and rub together with your fingers. Do this until you have a mixture that resembles a bowl of sand and mixed sized pebbles…some of the mixture will be rubbed in completely and sand like, other parts of the mixture will be chunky and pebble like…get it?! Place this mixture in the freezer while you prepare your muffins.
- In a medium size bowl, place in your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir with a whisk to aerate and evenly distribute ingredients.
- In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together your eggs and egg yolk until all combined and thoroughly mixed (you’d ideally like it to be a little frothy). Slowly whisk in your sugar, butter, milk, yoghurt and vanilla until combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold everything together very gently until the ingredients are just combined. It doesn’t matter if the mixture is lumpy and there are still a few visible clumps of flour…don’t try to smooth it out! This will only give you tough muffins.
- Fold through your berries. HINT – if you’re using frozen berries, put them in frozen. If you defrost them and add them in, the colour from the berries will tint your whole mixture. E.G. If you’re using blueberries it will make the mixture blue. If you’re using raspberries it will make your mixture red. You get the picture!
- Spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups, filling them up to the top (not so they’re overflowing, but so they definitely reach the top). Then remove your crumble mixture from the freezer (if using) and generously sprinkle this on top of the muffins.
- Bake your muffins in the oven for 30 -40 minutes. Muffins are cooked when they are golden on top and they spring back when you gently push them in the middle with your finger tips.
- Let the muffins cool for about 20 minutes in their pans prior to removing them.
- These muffins taste best on the day of making but can be kept for a few days in an air tight container at room temperature. To refresh muffins after a day or two’s storage, pop them in a 160 celcius heated oven for about 5 minutes. Or alternatively you can freeze the muffins…make sure you wrap them tightly in cling film first though. Ideally use your frozen muffins within 12-14 days.