A pinch of saffron…

by Sunita on October 22, 2007

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A couple of days ago, it was time for Rengoni and Agastya to have their school photographs taken. Their individual photographs would be taken during the day but the kids had to be taken early to school, to pose with their siblings. So, off we went and joined the queue of brothers and sisters , huddling together, waiting their turn to capture a moment in time, of their lives together as siblings, for posterity. It was nice to see all those children, looking smart in their cleanest uniforms, at times teasing one another, the moms fussing, trying to keep their wards as neat as they could; all those hairbrushes coming out one after another from their handbags, as they tried to keep the ever tousled hair of their kids in place…after all everything had to be picture perfect. For the kids, probably all this seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary…but when they grow up, and look upon the picture… a brother and a sister, smiling without any care, at the camera,while saying ‘cheesy biscuits’ at the photographer… they will be flooded with emotions and wonderful memories.

School photographs…I remember those days when we had to come to school in our sparkling best to have our class photographs taken. Throughout the day, the different classes would be taken out and arranged according to height. Then, the shortest would get to sit on the bench and the tallest ones would have to stand on one(!!!) at the end. I remember the giggling that went on as we tried to balance ourselves on it, much to the displeasure of our teachers. I have still treasured those pictures taken in different classes, which I show to my kids, pictures of classmates, of teachers, most whom have now drifted away , caught in the wheels of life, driving their own course. Looking at them , I feel nostalgic and my eyes can’t help but get a little misty for all those days of fun and carefree days which are no more. But then, I glance at my own kids and it makes me relive those days again. All those little incidents in their little lives always succeeds in taking me back many thousands of miles, and many years ago, when I went through all those emotions with a similar essence, but, of course, in a different setting.

Nostalgia apart, coming back to the recipe of the day, it never amazes me to see how just a few small strands of ’saffron’ can add so much flavour to a dish..and not just flavour, but colour as well. Thinking of how to capture it’s essence , so that every bite screams ’saffron’, I settled for these saffron- coconut muffins topped with a saffron cream topping. The topping was simply gorgeous and I couldn’t help licking my fingers, once the muffins had been covered. What? One is allowed to do that…some of the simple pleasures of life :-)

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What’s needed-
For the muffins-

1 and 1/2 C warm milk
2 large pinches of saffron
2 eggs
3/4 C wholemeal flour
2 C plain flour
2 and 3/4 tsp baking powder
4-5 tblsp (more or less) honey
1/2 C oil
5 tblsp of dessicated coconut( I used the dried kind)

For the topping-

1C double cream
1 tblsp granulated sugar
a pinch of saffron
a few silver balls(optional)

How to-
The muffins-

  1. Soak the saffron strands in the warm milk for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Pre heat the oven at 180 deg and line a muffin tray.
  3. Beat the eggs.
  4. Add the milk and whisk well.
  5. Mix the flours and baking powder and add to the egg mixture and blend in.
  6. Add the honey, oil and coconut, one by one and mix well.
  7. Add the coconut and mix well.
  8. Fill eight muffin cases 3/4 the of the way, place the tray in the centre of the pre-heated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  9. Remove the muffins and cool completely before topping.
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How to-
The topping-

  1. Add the saffron and sugar to the cream and leave for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Beat the mixture till it forms soft peaks…do not over beat.
  3. Pipe the mixture around the top of the muffins and add the silver balls(optional)

I loved the muffins with the saffrony flavour and the topping was really heavenly. The coconut added a slight chewy feel which was nice.The only downside was that the muffins were a little dry( hubby’s critisism), but the flavour was great and the topping complimented them wonderfully. If you want to indulge yourself further, split one of the muffins, spread with the topping and dig in…

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…well, that’s what I did anyway…the topping is to die for. As these had the unmistakable flavour of saffron throughout, I’m sending it to myself as an entry for Think spice…think saffron.

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sunita October 28, 2007 at 6:42 pm

Sig, thanks…and don’t worry…you can always join in the next month…you’re always welcome here.

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2 Rachel October 30, 2007 at 5:49 pm

you know what..Your blog makes an interesting read..love the way you write..how you relate things.. great pics too..

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3 Mansi Desai October 30, 2007 at 9:11 pm

wow, you rock girl!! this muffin deserves the best-looking muffin award!:)

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4 Vcuisine October 31, 2007 at 8:54 am

They are so gorgeous Sunita. Viji

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5 sunita November 2, 2007 at 12:22 pm

rachel, thanks for those nice words of encouragement…really appreciate it.

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6 sunita November 2, 2007 at 12:23 pm

mansi, thanks…wouldn’t mind receiving that award ;-)

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7 sunita November 2, 2007 at 12:24 pm

viji, thanks…glad you dropped by.

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