Do you believe in fate, kismet, meant-to-be? Cynical old me would not, normally, indulge in such matters. We are all just wandering round this planet, no plan, making our own choices and seeing where they take us. And yet sometimes, just sometimes, something happens that makes me wonder. Take, for example, my husband. Before we met, we know for a fact that we were both in the same place at the same time at least twice - in two different countries. We were both, at the same time, considering buying an apartment in the same block in a city that neither of us were living in. We finally met in a hostel in Sydney, on a day that neither of us had planned to be there. So, I don't know. Maybe it is fate. Maybe it is coincidence. Maybe you could take most people in the world and figure out the same kind of connection.
But then, how do you explain this - when I used the brilliant gadget that Dom at Belleau Kitchen had given us to choose our Random Recipe this month, and after I'd dutifully counted my depleted stock of cook books and plugged the parameters in, and it gave me number 24, Nigella Lawson's Kitchen, and from there it gave me page 244, Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins, and it just so happened that I had every ingredient necessary sitting right there in my kitchen - well, tell me you don't believe in fate now.
OK, I know, tenuous link, but still, fate or not, take it from me that you should make these muffins, right now. Go on, stop reading, go and look, and see if fate has delivered these ingredients for you too. I know the world doesn't need another blueberry muffin recipe, but the differential here is the cornmeal. Truth time: I'm not a fan of polenta, but used in baking I think is where it comes into its own. These were, in the best possible way, unlike any other blueberry muffin I've ever eaten - and, let's face it, there have been many. The cornmeal adds the most delicious texture, nubbly and homely and not at all dry - and on the top granular and chewy, akin to what happens when you sprinkle sugar on the top of cakes.
I had some warm, and I had some cold (in the interests of research, naturally) and can report they are definitely better warm, even if it means warming them through in a warm oven for a few minutes, or nuking them in the microwave for 20 seconds or so. Oh, and just be warned too that the blueberries, as they bake, burst and when this mixes with the yellow cornmeal, can produce a couple of slightly alarming greenish patches.
Anyway, whether you want to hear it from me, or whether you want to hear it from fate, make these now. They are your destiny.
Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins
From Nigella Lawson, Kitchen
150g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
0.5 teaspoon baking soda
150g caster sugar
125ml vegetable oil
125ml buttermilk or plain yoghurt
Preheat the oven to 200C,
Mix together the dry ingredients - so flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar.
In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients - stir together the oil, buttermilk or yoghurt, and whisk in the egg.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring until just combined (with muffins you really don't want to aim for a completely smooth mixture), and stir through half the blueberries.
Line a 12-hole muffin tin with muffin cases, and divide the mixture equally between them. Take the remaining blueberries and put them on top of the muffin mixture - aim for about 3 per muffin but this is, obviously, not an exact science.
Bake for 15-20 minutes (they only took 15 in my furnace of an oven) - try a cake tester and it should come out clean. Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before moving them to a cooling rack.