Spring has reached London, at last. It’s still a little cold, not exactly the ideal weather to dig out your summer clothes from the cupboard – but oh how sunny, oh how nice, oh how great it feels to be on the first of 4 days of uninterrupted holiday.
Here I am, about to get ready for a stroll in Richmond Park, where I’ve never been before. It’s supposed to be really nice, and with this perfect weather it would be an unforgivable sin not to go out taking tons of pictures. I wonder if I’ll get to see some wildlife. Surely I won’t miss the chance to have the best ice cream I have ever eaten in London once again: it’s such a shame that it’s so far from home, and out of my weekly travelcard zone, as if it was more convenient to reach I’d be probably camping outside the door every night.
While I’m waiting, I’m indulging in one of my favourite pastimes during moments of utter laziness, that is to say listening to random music off the internet, hoping to discover some unexpectedly good songs I’ll promptly add to my personal this-time-of-the-year soundtrack. And here’s the point: I feel a little ashamed, but I must confess that Lana del Rey doesn’t sound that bad, after all. Alright, one song – as the first time I listened to Video Games will definitely remain my last. But hey, Born to Die is almost good enough for me to consider putting my prejudices aside (Fake blonde? Damn pretty? Music sensation? Everyone loves her? White dress, throne, one tiger on each side? No way, she must be crap) and downloading it – if not the whole album.
Since we’re talking guilty pleasures, we might as well inaugurate today’s foodie corner, as there’s a lot to write about. I haven’t even decided what recipe to post, this time: I cooked so much, and had so little time to write, that it’ll take me ages just to catch up with last month’s experiments. Let’s go for a classic, then – and inaugurate my new resolve to post better pictures. If you’re wondering where the catch is, you won’t be surprised to know that it has been taken in my mother’s kitchen, in Italy. Yes, that’s a really old one, but who said that old’s not good?
Eggless And Butterless Marble Muffins
(makes 10 – 12 muffins)
I discovered these one particularly dreary Sunday afternoon, when I was back home and looking for any pastime to cheer me up: if you grow up where I grew up, you’ll be subject to the risk of getting extremely bored at least once a day, every day: that’s how I started cooking, by the way.
That particularly dreary Sunday afternoon, my original idea was to try some very promising honey and almond muffins, but I quickly stumbled into a problem. The recipe required two eggs, and the eggs I had spotted earlier in the fridge were well past the expiry date. Two embarassing minutes of yelling at my mother because she hadn’t thrown them away followed. Two more minutes of sad contemplation of the fact that every nearby supermarket was closed came next, and then I rushed to my computer again, to find a new recipe which didn’t involve eggs. Problem solved! And very well, I must add, since these muffins are the best thing to make when you have almost nothing in the pantry. Easy, pretty and tasty – what more do you want?
- 250g flour;
- 1 sachet baking powder;
- 120g sugar;
- 30g oil;
- 250ml milk;
- 1+ tablespoon cocoa powder, depending on how much chocolatey you want the muffins to be (very chocolatey is my advice, so don’t hesitate to go for 2 tablespoons),
- one flavouring of your choice: rum works particularly well, but vanilla and lemon zest are also worth trying
- Prepare the batter: mix the flour, baking powder and sugar in one bowl, and the oil, milk and flavouring in a separate bowl, then put everything together and knead well.
- Split the batter evenly in two parts (you can wash and re-use the empty bowl), and add the cocoa powder on one side.
- Pour the batter in a greased muffin tin: start with the white half, add the brown one on top, and mix with a toothpick to blend the two.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°, and bake for about 20 minutes.