It’s 8 o’clock on a hot, Canadian, Tuesday morning in August 1999 and I’m 17 years old. My host family are sat around the breakfast table eating blueberry topped cereal. Would I like some? Blueberries? On my cereal? Absolutlely! I don’t think I’d ever seen a blueberry before, other than perhaps one or two tucked away under some banana in a fruit salad. We were on a school field hockey tour to British Columbia, and I was eating blueberries for breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea.
Following the expansion of global fruit distributors, and my move to the desert, blueberries are now a regular guest in our fridge, but what follows is the very first recipe that got me hooked. This recipe reminds me of hockey matches, incredible scenery, playing ‘mafia’, the beach, and some of the most welcoming and hospitable people I’ve ever met. It smells of Vancouver Island’s bear inhabited forests and West Vancouver’s beaches. Most of all though, it reminds me of a particularly generous host-mother turning up at our minibus as we were about to depart with a BUCKET of these muffins, stuffed full of more blueberries than I thought possible. 14 of us hungry hockey players demolished them in a matter of minutes.
Turn on your oven and dig out the blueberries (frozen works too). These uncomplicated, fresh blueberry muffins are perfect for entertaining a crowd.
I wish I could remember the hockey-mum that gave me this recipe but I can’t. Instead I’ll dedicate it to all the mums in BC that were so kind to us in the summer of ’99.
Canadian Blueberry Muffins
Makes 20 large muffins
200g caster sugar
240g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup of milk
2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen, if using canned rinse first)
2 tsp sugar for topping
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat well.
Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk and vanilla.
Gently stir in the blueberries.
Put in paper lined muffin cups (I often use cupcake cases which make smaller muffins).
Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
Learn from my mistakes! This mixture can’t hold more than 2 cups of blueberries!