Spicy Pumpkin and Apple Muffins
‘What a curios feeling!’ said Alice.
This is very much how I feel when spring arrives and the landscape starts to change. And not only does that landscape change, but so too does the way we eat and the things we do. It’s a curious feeling indeed that this change in season brings! Winter has come and gone, wooly jumpers and gumboots (for the most part) have been stored away, and spending time outdoors is top of the to-do list. The weather is clement enough to enjoy most activities, yet not scorching enough to cause one to wilt.
I love spring! The season is abundant with possibilities: the possibility of new life, of warm lingering days and the pursuit of outdoor adventure. For us this means namely picnics and lazing about in hammocks reading. Oh, and wandering about local and sometimes not so local markets in search of fresh spring produce and little trinkets to amuse. And always a dogeared book or two. This we cannot resist, even though we have too many books to shelve as it is. One of my all time favourite books is Lewis Carols ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ It’s forever enchanting and I never tire of reading it. Or watching the original Disney animation for that matter. I very much had Alice in my mind: her falling down the rabbit hole, taking tea with the Mad Hatter, being maddened by the Cheshire Cat, and the Queen of Hearts and her tarts when making these muffins and styling this shoot.
Lewis’s story provides endless inspiration. I got mine from the passage below:
‘There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two were using it as a cushion, resting their elbows on it, and the talking over its head.
`Very uncomfortable for the Dormouse,’ thought Alice; `only, as it’s asleep, I suppose it doesn’t mind.’
The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it: `No room! No room!’ they cried out when they saw Alice coming.
`There’s PLENTY of room!’ said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.
`Have some wine,’ the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.
Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. `I don’t see any wine,’ she remarked.
`There isn’t any,’ said the March Hare.’
Isn’t it just fantastical! The first few pages of Alice in Wonderland promises so much and delivers so much more. It beguiles the same way spring does. The promise of fine weather and eating alfesco is always a tad intoxicating. For me, a moveable feast with all the bells and whistles is too much to resist. There is nothing like eating out of doors. It brings the most voracious appetites and the food is always so much fun to prepare and eat. There are many wonderful things to take on a picnic, but I find muffins to be one of the best. They are easy to make, incredibly versatile as you can just throw in whatever you happen to have in the pantry. In my case, it was pumpkins and apples. These muffins are particularly good as they are not overly sweet. They work just as well being filled with something savory, like cream cheese and smoked salmon, as they do with something like cream and jam, as I’ve done here. Because they’re baked in their own little paper holders, they are a breeze to transport. They are no fuss, look lovely and children in particular love them because they don’t have to interrupt their adventuring to eat one.
Nothing beats a spring picnic, so head outdoors, with good food and in good company and maybe a copy of Alice in Wonderland to add to the joy of eating, drinking and being merry. Curious indeed.
Love and light!