Rhubarb Cheesecake Muffins


Friday was a fairly eventful day. After being disappointed that there hadn't been enough snow overnight to cause a snow day I got ready for work, only for the snow to start falling in force. By the time we left to get in the car Nick wasn't sure we would get out of the carpark. I got to work eventually, then 2 hours later they announced they were shutting the building and everyone should go home. By this point Nick couldn't get back out to pick me up and the traffic was so bad I'd have been waiting ages so I wrapped up warm and headed out to the bus. My goal this year is to learn to drive, I've just never got round to it but I really need to get it done. The bus was running on time, quite unusual to be honest and I made it home by half 12. The best thing about getting a snow day was spending the afternoon baking bread and hanging out with Evie.
I made these muffins on Thursday night and photographing them against the snow backdrop was too hard to resist. The view from our flat is just some tall evergreens and behind those is abit of a building site and some mountains of soil. This soil is a pretty crappy view most of the time but when it snows it's like having the alps outside my window. A dusting of snowy icing sugar on these muffins and they are the perfect January coffee break treat.
The great thing about this weather, as Butcher Baker mentioned yesterday, is that you finally get round to using up what's in your cupboard. We did our food shop on Monday so we were running low on the main ingredients we had bought. I try my best not to throw food away, I don't enjoy it at all. I used some of the remaining rhubarb from last week's crumble for these muffins. Rhubarb is definitely not something to throw away, it's not the cheapest 'fruit' but it is extremely versatile so there's not excuse for not using the whole pack. I am sorry to bring you another rhubarb post so close together but with snow in photograph, it made more sense to post about it today rather than later. 
There's been a lot in the news lately about food wastage, occasionally it is unavoidable but I think so much could be done by us as consumers and by retailers to learn more about how to preserve and cure food. We could do with better education on what is ok to freeze and ways to preserve more foods. The Scandinavians are excellent preservers and eat more seasonally than here in Britain. I wrote down in my diary what is in season in each month so we can pay more attention to those fruits and vegetables when the time is right. I've been guilty of throwing whole packs of meat away because I missed the use by date by a day so I'm much more conscious of freezing packs of meats, especially poultry, if it looks like they might not get used in time. I'm trying to make us more mindful eaters and at the same time I think it can make us more adventurous because using up leftovers can lead to some great recipe inventions.

Rhubarb Cheesecake Muffins
(adapted from BBC Good Food)

(makes 10 muffins)

For the roasted rhubarb:
225g rhubarb
40g golden caster sugar

For the muffins:
140g light brown sugar
75ml vegetable oil
1  egg 
zest 1  lemon
225ml buttermilk
300g self-raising flour

For the cheesecake:
140g cream cheese
60g golden caster sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt 
  1. To roast the rhubarb, preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F, cut the stalks into finger sized pieces and lay in a roasting tray. Sprinkle over the sugar and cover with tin foil. Bake for 15 minutes before removing the foil and baking for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Whilst roasting, line a 12 hole muffin tin with cases and set aside.
  2. Turn the oven down to 160 C/320 F. For the muffin mix, beat the sugar, eggs, oil, lemon zest and buttermilk in a large bowl until smooth. Fold in the flour until combined and then add the rhubarb.
  3. For the cheesecake mix, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla and salt. It will be very runny but don't worry, that's the right consistency.
  4. Fill the muffin cases around 2/3 full, spoon the cheesecake mix over the top until it's 3/4 full. Finally place a teaspoon more muffin mix on top and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Let cool in the tray for a few minutes before removing and letting cool completely on a wire tray. Dust with icing sugar before serving.