There are certain foods that I absolutely love- beans, potatoes, bananas. And of course strawberries. Maryam agrees with me here, she relishes all these as well. One of her first words was 'strawbido'- her way of saying strawberry! This was not the way I planned it- it just happened, a mother communicating to her child even before she is born, the wonders of nature. Or just fluke? I'd like to think it's the former.
Perhaps I passed it down to her as that is all I consumed during the first six months I was pregnant. I detested all forms of meat and poultry then. I went through periods where all I ate were certain foods such as apples. Only green apples mind you. Then it was apples but peeled, And of course, I couldn't bear to peel them myself. Akber willingly obliged. Anything for his princess he said- Princess Maryam that is, not me. I had several such love affairs with different fruits, vegetables and chocolate of course.
When we visited the market last weekend, Maryam spotted the strawberries from afar and squealed, 'Mummy, look- strawbido.' She perched over the table that was much higher than her, her head barely peering over the top, balancing like a seasoned ballerina. She quickly grabbed a box before I could even ask how much. The farmer knew her as we had visited his farm just the week before and laughed as she dashed off with her treasure.
I grabbed two more boxes as the market will only be running for a few more weeks. I find the strawberries so unlike the ones you get at the supermarket. They are much more petite, definitely more ripe and their aroma permeated the car, lingering for days- dainty, just the way nature intended them to be.
We came home hungry and excited to bake. And photograph. And to eat of course. Maryam couldn't wait for me to bake strawberry muffins so she ate hers plain. She systematically hulled them by biting off the tops and then popping the rest into her mouth in a very orderly fashion. I promised Maryam the strawberries would transform into a magical dessert later that day. I opted to make muffins for us. I had to be a real wizard in the kitchen with only a few hours before Maryam would awake from her afternoon nap.
We enjoyed this as our tea time snack- I took photos as she munched away on the high chair, the muffins keeping her busy and out of trouble. I loved the fact that they were airy and not too sweet. In fact, I'm munching on the last one as I sit here and type this post.
Can you smell the aroma of strawberries yet?
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade and line a muffin tray with paper liners. In a bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Make a well in the centre and add the wet ingredients. Lastly, fold in the strawberries and whisk until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the muffin liners until 2/3 full. Bake in the oven for 20- 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from muffin tray and cool on a rack.
Makes 16 muffins.