Spiced apple and raisin muffins (and some early morning runs)

The house smelled all cinnamon-y and delicious!

Under the current semi lockdown situation we have been avoiding going to the supermarket and trying to use local shops and deliveries as much as possible. Some businesses have been very creative and enterprising in adapting to what’s happening. A fruit and veg company in New Covent Garden, which in normal times supplies hotels and restaurants, has turned to delivering great quality fresh products, including milk, bread and eggs if required. It’s a random selection, and it’s actually quite fun planning meals around 4 giant onions and a swede! We got lots of apples this week, plus pears and bananas. I decided to use some of the apples to make muffins.

Scooping the mixture in to these funky cases!

Yesterday I made muffins using this recipe from the BBC GoodFood website. The recipe is quite good, although not brilliantly written as it fails to mention in the method the topping (sugar) that is supposed to go on before you bake them. I probably wouldn’t have used any anyway. I adapted the recipe to use what I had in the cupboard. So instead of sultanas I used a mixture of raisins and dates. I used half the quantity of sugar. They were very good. Softening the apples by cooking them a bit first with the dried fruit, sugar and spices is definitely a good idea.

I like recipes like this because they are very versatile and can be tweaked quite a lot depending on what you have in the cupboard. Whole meal flour could be substituted for part of the plain. You could use different fruits or spices, and light brown sugar, or white, instead of golden caster sugar. You could use firm pears too I should think, with a little ginger as flavouring.

In other news (in other words Running News) – I have still been going out early (6-7am) to walk or run. It is very peaceful at that time in the morning, with few people around. I am hoping that the government will still allow us to exercise outdoors, although I wouldn’t be surprised if sometime soon restrictions become tighter.

Today I ran 10km locally. I do seem to be getting slower and slower, which is slightly concerning! I think it’s because I’m not particularly training for anything so I am just jogging along. And I do stop quite frequently to look at things. Today I saw: a pair of jays in the trees by the river; a heron sitting high up in a very tall tree surveying the landscape; a rat darting into the undergrowth by the path; a blackbird singing in a ash tree; several robins defending their territory. Sadly I also saw a lot of litter. Why oh why are some people so lazy that they cannot just take their crisp packets and plastic drinks bottles home with them, or find a bin? And why are they sitting on a bench socialising and having a mini picnic right now anyway? But I did also see a lovely man in Pitshanger Park picking litter as he went for a walk. Hurray! The helpful people always outnumber the antisocial ones.

Very early run on Tuesday this week – sparkling frost on the grass
I saw the jays near here. It’s the river Brent near Perivale Park.

I hope that wherever you are you are staying safe, and managing to do some kind of exercise whether that’s inside or out. The weather in the UK today has been beautifully warm and sunny, and we are very lucky to have a garden.

Thick with flowers, so beautiful against the blue sky

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