Orange and Cranberry Muffins

Blood oranges. We have a surplus of them going soft in the fruit bowl. They were bought on Daisy’s request, but no one’s touched them and they’ve been there for five days. I cut one open and can’t work out if it’s off, or just a special Lidl hybrid-version. It’s a mottled mix of purple, red and orange. 

I try it out on the kids. Daisy insists I cut it into quarters, peel intact, so they can suck the juice out, like it’s half time at a football match. 

That’s got rid of one orange, nine more to go….

I mention this orange surplus to my friend, Beccy, in the school playground. I mention lots of things to Beccy. In fact, I never run out of things to say to her. We have a spot, a few metres from the corner shop, where we stand after we’ve dropped off the big children, and we talk until my toes can’t take any more, frostbite setting in, or until Ollie throws himself down in despair at all the chatting. 

So these muffins were Beccy’s idea. Her method is to boil two oranges for five minutes to make them nice and soft. Then she whizzes them in the food processor, peel and all. It’s a very good method and strangely satisfying pulverising the whole fruit. The smell is almost as good as marmalade-making. 

Below are two recipes. The first is the basis of Beccy’s muffins, but she boils the oranges, adds cranberries and sprinkles Demerara sugar on top. 

The second is a dairy and gluten-free version which I made. I boiled the fruit (a la Beccy) but followed the rest of the method as stated. They were surprisingly good straight from the oven – I really couldn’t have told that they were gluten-free – but by teatime they were a bit dry and needed some squirty cream (any excuse!)

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