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Something reminded me recently of a recipe I used to have for gorgeously golden cheesy muffins. I haven’t made them for years, but yesterday I was determined to track down a similar recipe and try again!

Thanks to Google I quickly found a new one, and I can tell you now that these are just as delicious as the ones I used to make. They are extra golden because they have cornmeal in them. I love cornbread and these muffins are like cornbread with cheese. Mmmmm!

I started by gathering up all the things I would need, including two mixing bowls, a grater, two muffin tins, paper muffin cups, measuring spoons, flour, butter, baking powder and an egg. Oh, and cheese! Before you start it’s a good idea to wash your hands, too.

Here is a list of the ingredients:

3/4 cup plain flour

1/2 cup fine cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

The first thing to do is put all the DRY ingredients into a big mixing bowl. (It looks like I was working in a very dark kitchen, doesn’t it?) I could see fine, really! Once these are all mixed together you grate the cheese into a measuring cup and add that to the dry ingredients.

The milk, melted butter and egg must all be beaten together in a smaller mixing bowl, then poured into the dry ingredients and stirred just until the whole mixture is moistened (no beating until your arm is sore or anything like that).

Fill the muffin cups about two-thirds full with the mixture, which looks rather like scrambled eggs at this point. The recipe says it makes twelve muffins, but I found it made only ten. Perhaps my muffin tins were bigger than normal, or I was filling them too much.

Bake the muffins at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit, Gas Mark 4) for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t get too toasty on top! Mine turned out very well, and straight out of the oven they tasted fabulous! I found they were hard to get out of the paper cups when they were warm (a lot of muffin stuck to the paper) but once they had cooled that problem disappeared. To avoid this whole issue, just rub butter or oil in the muffin tins and forget the paper cups altogether.

These muffins use Cheddar cheese, but the ones I used to make had Gouda instead. You can experiment with different cheeses if you have a particular favourite. It should work fine if you keep to the same measurements.

Good luck and happy baking!

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Hallowe’en is upon us and there are lots of exciting and spooky things happening in dark and shadowy castles across the land.

If you live in Scotland, click on the Visit Scotland website to see a full listing of all the ghost trails, pumpkin festivals and other Halloween events planned across the land.

If you live in England, there are all sorts of ghoulish goings-on, thanks to English Heritage. This year Halloween falls in the school half-term holiday, so there are lots of activities organised for families. Brave the Tunnel of Terror at Dover Castle, or have a creepy family sleepover at Kenilworth Castle. Click on the English Heritage link above to see a full list of all the events with times and prices.

Maybe you’re planning a Hallowe’en party of your own. Have you decided what kind of costume you will wear this year? Last year my son wore a giant banana costume, and this year he is going to wear a big, hairy wig and beard to be… a big, hairy bearded guy.

When I was growing up in Canada, the last day in October was usually freezing, and we used to go around the neighbourhood trick-or-treating in the snow! That meant our costumes had to be warm. Forget about being a ballerina or a fairy. You were much better going as a ghost, with a big sheet over you and lots of thick clothes underneath! Or a mummy wrapped in lots and lots of bandages!

If you’ve got a Hallowe’en party to go to, I wonder if you’ll be taking some special Hallowe’en food? I found a great website (based in the US) which has some fantastic ideas for spooky snacks. It’s called Family Fun and has a whole section on Hallowe’en goodies!

Here are some examples that I thought looked gruesome and tasty:

These are called Apple Bites, with teeth made of sliced almonds!

Don’t these Carrot Fingers look real? I’m sure they’d make me jump!

These are called Night of the Living Bread (as they’re made with pita pockets).

And I love this Hairy Daddy Longlegs!

HAPPY HALLOWE’EN EVERYONE!

Today is a holiday so I’ve made lovely banana pancakes for the whole family!  It’s great to have a lazy day and enjoy a special breakfast in the sunshine.  If you want to try and make these yourself, I’ll show you how:

Ingredients

1 cup self-raising flour

2 big bananas

1 egg

1 cup pineapple juice

What to do:

Put the flour in a mixing bowl. Take the two bananas and squish them all to a soft mush before you open the skins. (That’s much easier than mushing them after you open them.) Peel the mushed bananas and put them in the bowl. Mix the banana and flour to make a thick paste, then add the egg. Mix again until it’s all evenly mixed. Last, add the juice gradually to thin out the mixture until it’s just right for pouring. When your frying pan is nice and hot, pour out little circles of the mixture and get flipping!

You might need a grown-up to help you with the actual cooking, as the frying pan gets very hot. Good luck with your own yummy banana pancakes!