Muffins!

As I retired in early 2020 I didn’t really expect to be participating in another #blogjune but here we are. I was also a little surprised to see that my WordPress login is my old work email address. At least it still worked!

Answer these three questions:

What do you currently do for a living?
Officially not much, but actually quite a lot! I have never once been bored since I finished working, even when I was stuck on the couch for a few months after breaking my leg and ankle. I sometimes say to my partner Wayne that I don’t think I’ll really know what retirement feels like until he’s retired too. I’m looking forward to it.

What three words would you use to describe your role?
Retired, handyman, senior. I applied for my Seniors card as soon as I finished working. I love a bargain.

What is your biggest achievement to date – personal or professional?
In my professional life I’d count public speaking as an achievement, because it was something I never thought I would be able to do, and something that I surprisingly came to enjoy. It’s one of the small number of work things I miss since I retired, and it was one of those talks that led to getting a peer-reviewed article published – I wrote about that here.

There were two highlights in my last year of working in 2019. Firts, in March travelling to Austin, Texas with my friends Michelle and Dan to present at the ER&L Conference and where I also got to meet in person my (until then) online friend Steven. And then, in July 2019, being invited to speak at a forum of Japanese librarians in Tokyo.

It is quite something to have your talk simultaneously translated into Japanese. There was a team of three translators who took turns – it was a bit like the Auslan interpreters tag-teaming during the Covid press conferences. Also, I now know how to write my name in Japanese.

And now to my special #blogjune question…

What is the secret to making great muffins?

One of our friends refers to muffins as “big cakes”, which is one very good reason to like them. Another reason, which I read somewhere many many years ago, is that it’s ok to have lumps in your muffin batter.

Looking back through some photos I discovered that I baked muffins in my first week of retirement. These are Apple and Cinnamon Muffins and Savoury Muffins, both using recipes from the Heart Foundation.

The savoury muffins make a nice simple lunch with soup, so I made another batch to prepare for this post. I substituted oat milk for the dairy milk in the recipe, and I used chopped red capsicum instead of tomatoes. Oh, and I used feta instead of edam cheese, just because I had some to use up, and I didn’t bother blanching the spinach. So that just goes to show you that muffin recipes are pretty forgiving if you want to mix things up.

I noticed that some other muffin recipes use melted butter and I checked with Martha Stewart who says it’s fine to use olive oil instead if you want. If it’s good enough for Martha, it’s good enough me – I used rice bran oil.

I found another muffin tip that said you should fill your muffin tins about 3/4 full and to use an ice cream scoop to fill the cups. This turned out to be a great tip! My vintage ice cream scoop turned out to be the perfect size for filling the muffin trays. It’s also fun to have another excuse to use it.

Another tip I read was that if you end up with some empty cups in your muffin trays you should add a bit of water to those. My recipe was for 12 muffins but I only got 10 so I went ahead and added a bit of water to the two empty muffin cups, although I’m not sure that it made much difference.

Happy baking 🙂

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