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6 Aug 2012

Buckweat-Quinoa veggie muffins with lime-vanilla cream-cheese frosting

Buckweat-Quinoa veggie muffins with lime-vanilla cream-cheese frosting
August is here and so is the middle of summer, not only that actually; August usually brings my whole family to Bonn for a little summer vacation.
My family has been visiting me regularly since I moved to Germany; a subtle way to keep an eye on my doing as well as experimencing new places, people and realities. The days of their visit are though punctuated by visits to some of our canonical restaurants of different extractions and traditions, often joined with some of my friends, but these days ar essentially a continous shopping-spree for the ladies of the family. By now, after more than 7 years, they are rather used to Bonn and so they do not need much attending from my side so I can continue my work as usual.
At the beginning of July, when we had to fill up the participation form for the August Secret Recipe Club event, I was hoping to get it done way ahead of time so to have all the space (and leave the mess) I wanted to create the recipe and photograph it.
You should know that my shooting surface is what was previously known as the dinining table. This means that my dinners usually takes place in front of the laptop in the company of my Twitter friends and possibly some nice ghost-hunting stories. The dining table is just way too filled up with boxes, bakcdrops, reflectors with realtive place holders and weights, and naturally props of sorts. An ironing board on the side, doubles as a working surface where to dish the recipe and put all the extra props chosen for the shoot.
Living in a 1 room apartment and having an home-office/photo-studio do not always mean and orderly living style. To summarize, it took me a good 5 days to get the house barely ready to welcome my family that I totally forgot about the SRC recipe (did I mention that it was berry season and I had come up with a wealth of shoot to try??).
Versailles - Sunday Rest
The blog I was assigned for the month of August was Ginny's Cooking with Chopin living with Elmo blog. I had a proper look at it as soon as I received the notification of the assignement so to, at least, choose the recipe I wanted to recreate.
It wasn't that easy to choose just one recipe, many of Ginny's are savory, and that is a plus for me, furthermore they are quite healthy looking and so easy to fit in your dining schedule (Ginny is mother of 2 boys and so they often dictate her choices I bet).

 I was immediately attracted by her Zucchini-Lemon Zest Puffs they just seemed great to be had with some cheese and I was in my cheese-phase in those days. Then the protein crave kicked in and her Blackened Cajun Chicken seemed quite promising; Ginny makes the Cajun spice-mix by herself and I was pretty attracted by the idea of having something tasty to sprinkle on almost anything (it has garlic powder in it, hence it truly goes with everything).
Ginny doesn't have just savory recipes in her blog, and among the desserts she proposes, this Butterfinger Caramel Chocolate Cake Ginny prepared for a past SRC appointement, seemed quite droolworthy in the eyes of somebody who is limited to a couple of teaspoons of sugar per day (at most!).
At the end I chose to reproduce her Quinoa Confetti cakes. I am trying to explore quinoa as far as I can as ingredient and I couldn't just let this chance pass by.

From the choice to the execution the recipe had its evolution.
When I went to the grocery store to buy some more quinoa, I noticed that they were selling also buckwheat berries so I decided to buy them too.
I had some of it as I would rice or couscous with a stew I prepared and I quite liked its delicate flavour and springy texture. Contrary to quinoa or amaranth, buckwheat has pretty sizeable seeds that you can really chew on while eating and this made it all the difference in the experience (a picture will soon come, just after I have received my macro rings). I decided then to use both quinoa and buckwheat for this month recipe.

I did not change Ginny's original recipe that much except that I reduced the amount and variety of extra vegetables that went into it since I wanted to showcase more the seeds nutty flavors.
I chose to bake my "patties" in a mini-muffins tin, for ease of portioning and prettier presentation, it was natural then that a "frosting" had to come up into play. With the flavours already present in the muffins, I chose to use a cream-cheese frosting. It couldn't be as sweet for obvious reasons but I still wanted to pay hommage to the original idea by using some vanilla extract in it (vanilla can work oh so well in many savories). A grating of lime zest and a dusting of garlic powder brought the frosting together.

With their bright flavors and ease of preparation these muffins are perfect for a brunch on a sunny summer day.

Buckwheat-Quinoa veggie muffins with lime-vanilla cream-cheese frosting

Ingredients (make 24 mini-muffins or 12 regular ones):

For the muffins:

  • 1 cup/225g cooked Buckweat berries, at room temperature
  • 1 cup/140g cooked Quinoa berries, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 green Thai chilie, minced
  • 1/4 cup/40g diced red pepper
  • 1/4 cup/40g mixed diced onions, corn, scallion, garlic etc to you choice
  • 1/4 cup/70g creme fraiche
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provences, grinded
  • 2 tablespoons flour all purpose or glutenfree
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt
  • Butter, to grease the pan
  • Nuts Flour
  • For the frosting:
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla syrup
  • Zest of 1/3 lime
  • 3 tablespoon cream or to taste
  • Salt

  • Method: 

    Preheat the oven to 200C/390F. 
    In a bowl, using a fork, mix the buckweat berrie, the quinoa berries, the minced chilie and the mixed vegetable with the egg. 
    Add the creme fraiche, the powdered herbes de Provence and mix thoroughly. 
    In a little bowl whisk together the flour with the baking powder and a pinch of salt if the batter needs it; add the dry ingredients to the wet one and mix well but briefly. 

    Butter and dust with nut-flour the muffin or mini-muffin tin and spoon the butter into its cups until level. Bake the muffins for 30-35 minutes (20 minutes for the mini muffins) or until cooked through and they detach easily from the baking tin. 
    Let the muffins cool down slightly in the pan before unmolding them. 

    While the muffins are cooking, prepare the cream-cheese frosting by simply whisking together all the ingredients and using the cream to dilute the mixture to the desired consistency. Refrigerate until ready to use. 

    Serve the muffins at room temperature or lukewarm with the tangy cream-cheese frosting and a refreshing glass of mint-lime tea.


    1. I like the idea of actually using whole grains in a muffin...brilliant. These looks great!

    2. just one word: perfection!

    3. What a unique muffin and the combo of garlic and vanilla in the frosting, I need to try this. Gorgeous pictures as always.

      If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my SRC entry: Chicken Satay Noodle Salad.

      Cook Lisa Cook

    4. Lovely and beautifully impressive, Alessio! I love what you did with the recipe, and your photography is incredible....light years beyond my own. Thanks for your kind words about my blog.

      I could sit at that gorgeous table by the fountain for 100 years. It just might be my new "happy place".


    5. Oh, my these sound fabulous - healthy and delicious! I can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing it with the SRC.

    6. This is the most interesting muffin I've seen in a very long time. They look really good.

    7. What a great mix of flavors! I was assigned your blog for SRC, stop by to see which recipe I made.