I have lived in the UK long enough to know that muffins are very popular and I often bake them for my children’s breakfast, as a snack for a play-date, or simply as a treat. I think that the secret of their popularity is that they are very easy and super quick to make and there are endless possibilities: from savoury varieties, such as cornmeal and cheese muffins, to sweet varieties such as blueberry, chocolate chip, lemon or banana flavours. I am a big fan of cheese muffins and I have my own recipe to make them Italian-style. I like to bake cheese muffins during the those rainy afternoons at home: they are a perfect comfort food and a fun activity for a great family time.
- 190 g plain flour
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 150 g of a grated semi-hard cheese (any semi-hard cheese would work: provola, taleggio, scamorza, caciotta, provolone, caciocavallo are all good choices) + tbsp to dust
- 50 g of grated parmesan
- 120 ml milk
- 120 g natural yogurt
- 1 egg
- 60 g butter
- mild chilli powder (or paprika)
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cheese in a large bowl. In another bowl mix together all the liquid ingredients: yogurt, milk, egg and melted butter. Then add the liquid ingredients to the dried ingredients and mix using an electric mixer until smooth.
Line a muffin tray with paper muffin cases and fill them two-thirds full, dusting on top some grated cheese and a pinch of mild chilli powder (or paprika if you prefer). Bake for 15 mins, until risen, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Delicious!
A topic frequently discussed in the world of wine, especially among French and Italians, is how to successfully combine wine and cheeses or cheese-based dishes. French people prefer to pair cheese with white wines, while the Italians prefer the aromas and structure of red wines. The topic is complex, due to the variety of cheeses which can change the flavour of a dish and, therefore, the perception of wine. I usually support the French thesis: if cheese is the main course, then it is better to choose a dry white wine, in order not to disguise it or modify its aromas. Obviously, a lot depends on personal taste, but I think that the flavours of the cheeses should be enhanced, and not covered, by the wine. This is true for delicate dishes, such as Rita’s cheese muffins, while for aged cheeses, with strong flavours, I support the Italians’ choice of red wines. For the cheese muffins, I’d recommend a wine that is not too structured, slightly savoury and soft. My choice today is Pinot Grigio from Alto Adige, soft, fruity, delicately savoury and fresh. The colour is straw yellow. The recommended temperature for serving this wine is 8 ° -10 °. I tried the Pinot Grigio ‘Anger’ of producer San Michele Appiano 2019. Salute e buon appetito!