Now that both children are at school I am endeavouring to be a good mother and provide them with a vaguely nutritious snack. Last week was flapjacks; stuffed with maple syrup and dried fruit, they were predictably well-received. This week I thought I’d gamble with savoury. Now that the season is mellowly fruitful etc. etc. apples are in abundance and so I’ve paired sweet eaters with a creamy sheep’s milk Wensleydale to make these muffins. There’s also a passing nod here to the Yorkshire saying ‘an apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze’ (note though, Mr Trump – you ask first).
Wensleydale is usually thought of as a cow’s milk cheese but cheese in the area would originally have been made from ewe’s milk, as indeed would most English cheese. Over the centuries, the cheese changed and, during the fourteenth century, cow’s milk started to replace ewe’s. Originally, it was probably also a blue cheese, due to the influence of the French monks over at Jervaulx Abbey. My cheese for this recipe is produced by the Wensleydale Creamery in North Yorkshire; I’ve tried their Kit Calvert’s Wensleydale before but do want to track down some of their blue Wensleydale, so watch this space.
250g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp baking powder
80g butter, melted
2 tsp thyme leaves
1 eating apple, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
150g Wensleydale, crumbled, plus extra, grated, to sprinkle on the top
Salt and pepper
Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder in a bowl and season well. In another bowl, mix together the melted butter, buttermilk and eggs. The trick with these muffins is to work quickly (which is my excuse for not taking many photos).
Fold the wet mixture into the dry, add the cheese, apple and thyme leaves until all ingredients are combined. Spoon into muffin cases and sprinkle some grated cheese over the top.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200/180 fan-assisted/gas mark 6 for about 20 minutes, or until the muffins are cooked through and coloured. Best served warm.