You know the way money burns a hole in some people's pockets - they can't rest until they have bought something and it's just not there anymore? I'm like that with food, both in terms of cooking it and eating it. Nothing edible is safe in my presence. So the bananas that were ripening up beautifully in the kitchen were lucky to even survive as long as they did. But now it's RIP bananas, thanks to the banana and chocolate muffins from Nigella's Kitchen. Having spent two hours in a queue to see Santy in Arnotts with my nephews (aged three and seven) on Saturday morning, as well traversing the usual negotiations in Smyths and then playing diplomat through the ensuing Hungry Hippos tournament, I returned home in need of peace, quiet and a little something to have with a big pot of coffee.
As well as ending the life of these doomed-from-the-start bananas, I also got to use my Dean and Deluca cocoa powder, which always excites me a little. Y'know the way some Irish people hot-foot it to Macy's, Woodbury Commons or Century 21 the second they step off the plane at JFK? Dean and Deluca is my NYC Mecca. I love the one right by the Rockefeller Centre, perfect for refuelling after a trawl through Anthropologie at the Rockefeller, an ice-skating session at the Rockefeller or Bryant Park or a few hours spent hidden away with a book in the nearby New York Public Library on 5th Avenue. And I like to take a good long wander around the one in SoHo, then grab a coffee and drink it by the bar at the front of the store facing out on to Broadway for a good dose of people-watching. Everything in there costs an amusingly ginormous amount of money, but all I ever have is a coffee and what would probably be on my top ten last meal list - a gloriously salty everything bagel with inches of cream cheese, which doesn't exactly break the bank, though admittedly it would cost considerably less elsewhere. It's also great for gifts, and sometimes these might be "to me with lots of love from me" gifts - as was the case with this cocoa powder.
These pecans were also burning a hole in my metaphorical kitchen pocket, and as I always think of them as being a very American nut (probably since my introduction to them was via pecan pie) I thought that they would make suitable bedfellows for my coca powder.
I never thought that muffin-making could be any easier, but, in fact, this silicon muffin tray further cinch-ifies the process.
As I contemplated popping these out of their snug silicon moulds, I was mostly thinking: how has Dolly Parton managed to remain upright all these years?
If Dolly can do it, the choccie-nana muffins can do it too, dammit.
Never one to be wasteful or miss out on a opportunity to eat more, I dutifully scraped the mixture from the bottom of the bowl to eke out one last muffin.
And in appreciation of the work that goes into keeping two small boys entertained on a constant basis, I popped down with some of these lovelies to The Parents of the aforementioned nephews. Well, you didn't think I was going to eat them all myself, did you?!! Don't answer that.