27 February 2013

Chocolate Chip Lemon Muffins feat. Smartie

No not the lolly Smartie...our adopted half wild cat Smartie.
He couldn't stay away from the muffins so he's in this post.

These muffins are my go-to morning freak out muffins. Freak out as in look in the cupboard for kids lunch food and there is nothing except one dry cracker and a shriveled up apple. Yes in this house we do have days like that. Which is why I keep frozen berries in the freezer. And a handy dandy quick muffin recipe. *don't worry my kids get PLENTY of nutritional food!

Today's flavour come courtesy of needing to use up the one remaining lemon in the fruit bowl before heading off on our big Chile adventure tomorrow, and chocolate because who doesn't love chunky chocolate chips?

Here it is,

75g butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
zest and juice of one lemon
 2 1/2 cups self raising flour
chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar and add lemon zest and beat until fluffy and light. Add eggs one at a time and then pour in the milk and lemon juice. Mix together.
Add the flour and chocolate chips and CAREFULLY fold it in until just incorporated. The biggest failure for muffins is overmixing so just have a gentle hand.

Makes 12 normal size muffins or 6 texas sized.
Bake for 20 mins in 180 deg C oven.

And if you like a heartwarming cat story here is Smartie's story of how he came into our lives.

This wee cat has our hearts. I've never been a cat person until now. 
We moved in almost a year ago to our new home in Katikati. The orchard holds a lot of lovely wildlife including pukeko, quail, pheasant, tui, kingfisher...the list goes on. We also discovered two tiny wee kittens that as the weeks went on it became obvious they were either wild or abandoned. They were scrawny and scared so they didn't venture too close to us. One day in the mail I got a free cat food sample and against all advice I decided to put it in a little bowl and see if the black kitten with little white socks who regularly watched us from the safety of the driveway would be tempted to eat it. Well it did. I figured it must be one hungry kitten (it turns out he's a pretty lazy hunter). So every day for 7 months he was fed to stop him from killing the native birds (rats were fine though) and we moved the bowl closer and closer to us until he was happily eating on the other side of the glass french doors as long as we stayed on the other side. By now I was CONVINCED he could be tamed and made to become used to us. It became my mission to have this cat let me touch it. Sitting at my computer doing my editing for the book gave me plenty of time to keep the french doors open and for him to hear my tap tap tap at the keyboard and the smell of the house. This went on for months and months and months. Every morning he would be there waiting for his food, and every day he would run away as soon as we got near. Taming a cat takes a REALLY REALLY loooonnnng time.

Then one day in November he was eating and I put my hand out to touch him. He jumped like I'd given him an electric shock. I tried again and he jumped again but he didn't move away. So I tried again, stroking down his back, and he started purring. I tell you, overnight he became a different cat. Within a week he was making himself at home, purring up against us, letting the kids even pit him on their lap. He nipped and clawed but so gently just like a kitten. This cat was suddenly a total softy. And he had us captivated. 

However, last month when we came back from Fiji he had disappeared completely. For over 3 weeks we searched for him around the orchard. I assumed perhaps he had been attacked by a dog or shot by the neighbouring orchard owners (they shoot wild cats down here) and Katie who had grown a huge attachment to Smartie cried herself to sleep every night and refused to let us mention his name. Until Monday.

Monday tea time and suddenly he was back. Skinny and scrawny and terribly hungry, and with an additional big scar on the side of his body. But he was back. Katie ran out to him and he nuzzeled against her, big fat happy tears rolling down her face. One of the best moments I've ever seen. Nothing quite compares to seeing that look on your kid. So he's back and more affectionate than before. But now we are leaving him for a few weeks so hopefully he won't run away again!
Now he's back the next job is to get him FIXED!

That's right you heard me, no more kittens in the orchard please!


Ash said...

Oh Katie, such a sweet girl! I'm surprised she didn't smother smarties to death on his arrival home! Happy packing! Xx

Sammy said...

I LOVE cats and Smartie is such a cutie. Give him a snuggle for me x