Saturday, 28 June 2014

Westport Greenway and Pistachio Lemon Muffins

I drove west 
in the season between seasons. 
I left behind suburban gardens. 
Lawnmowers. Small talk. 

Under low skies, past splashes of coltsfoot
I assumed 
the hard shyness of Atlantic light 
and the superstitious aura of hawthorn. 

Extract from White Hawthorn in the West of Ireland, Eavan Boland 

I love that Ireland is small. I love that I can get in a car and see the ocean within a few hours. Atlantic ocean preferably of course. I never considered myself to be outdoors-y, but there is a sense of calm and presence that I cannot find on the east coast, even on a beautiful grassy cliff in north county Dublin overlooking the Irish Sea. The Atlantic and its coastline, for me, knows no equal.  It is rugged and wild and.... spontaneous.  

And we all need spontaneity. To remember that we are actually young and not as young as we sometimes feel. 

So last week we took a 500 km roadtrip in one day to County Mayo to cycle from Newport, just outside Westport out to Achill Island on the Westport Greenway, the longest off road trail in Ireland. 

It was so pretty I thought I would share a few photos. 

I made these muffins the night before we left for some hearty sweetness on our journey. The pistachios add a lovely salty crunch but leave them out if you would rather a plain lemony soft muffin.

For the muffins- makes 12 large muffins

200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g caster sugar
zest 2 lemons
Juice of one lemon
100g butter, melted
4 eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons of natural yogurt
75g pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped plus extra for decoration

For the icing
250g icing sugar
3 tablespoons of lemon juice

1. Place the caster sugar and lemon zest in a bowl. Using the back of a big spoon mash the lemon zest into the sugar. This will bring the lemon oil out of the zest.
2. Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl.
3. Add the eggs, cooled butter, yogurt and mix gently. Finally add the lemon juice and pistachios and mix well but thoroughly.
4. Bake for 15-18 minutes @ 180oC until a skewer comes out clean.
5. Allow to cool completely.
6. Mix the icing sugar and lemon juice together until smooth. Spoon or drizzle over the muffins. Decorate with pistachios.

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