Monday, August 2, 2010


When I left South Africa my mother gave me a handwritten recipe book containing many of the recipes with which I had grown up. Colonel Bird's beef, lamb a la Adkins, Spicy Lamb Shanks from Ouma, Canary pudding, many more...and basic muffins.

Basic muffins were what I wanted to bake for a Sunday breakfast, but I had no eggs (or so I thought...they were lurking at the back). Nor enough flour. But I had self raising flour and plenty of butter, so basic muffins became more basic, and I am very pleased with the results.

2 cups self raising flour
pinch of salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup milk, plus a little more

Combine dry ingredients and whisk the melted butter and milk into them until all the flour has been incorporated. You may have to add some additional milk to get a loose, but sticky dough consistency.

Grease a muffin tray and fill with mixture to 2/3 of the way up each cup. This made 7 tall muffins.

Bake for about 25 minutes at 350'F/180'C till lightly golden and coming away from the edges of the pan. Remove the tray from oven, loosen each muffin with a blunt knife, and slide out and into a napkin-covered bowl or basket. Eat warm.

One variation is to spoon a little batter into each muffin cup, add a tablespoon or less of jam, cover with more batter, and bake. It will bubble up a little, but is a nice surprise for unsuspecting persons who do not think there will be jam inside their muffins.

Another is to put a spoon of honey into the bottom of each cup, and add a strip of orange zest. Top with muffin batter.

I used to whip up the original basic muffins to take to the beach for afternoon tea with friends when I was at university. The tea came out of pots of course, and we drank it from China cups.

2014 Update:

The original recipe is:

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon mahlab (my addition)
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter

Grease a muffin tin ( I use a brush dipped in the butter). Mix  all the ingredients in a large bowl. For jam muffins drop a spoonful of batter into each muffin cup, then top it with about two teaspoons of jam. Cover that with more batter, gently covering all the jam by spreading the batter out with a teaspoon.

Bake for 20 minutes at 400'F/200'C.

This made 12 moderate-sized muffins.


  1. My husband will be a happy man when he comes home tonight...I'll try mine with the jam stuffing. Thank you, Marie

  2. Those are indeed very basic muffins. Looks takes with that jam though....just a reminder that sometimes "basic" is best.


Comments will appear after moderation. If you need to get in touch DM me on Instagram @marie_viljoen