Savoury Christmas Fairy cakes
The Christmas Fairy says fairy cakes, like muffins, don't have to be sweet. So our Christmas versions use brussels and bacon, are very moreish and fill a little gap on a winter's day. If your kids are sprout-phobic you can just leave them out and add an extra rasher of bacon instead if you like.
2 spring onions
4 or 5 brussel sprouts
3 rashers bacon
115g plain flour
30g wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp mustard powder
4 tbsp sunflower oil
Takes 30 minutes
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas mark 5. Line a muffin tin with cases or grease it and omit the cases - either works fine.
2. Drizzle a little oil in a pan. Top and tail the spring onions and chop them up as finely as you can with kitchen scissors. Add to the pan. Take the ends off the sprouts and remove any tough outer leaves. Grate them in a box grater (discard any outer leaves that don't easily grate) and add to the pan; snip in the bacon with the scissors too and crisp the lot up over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, set a mixing bowl on a folded tea towel (this prevents it from spinning) and set a sieve over the bowl. Help the kids to measure out the flours, polenta, salt, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and mustard powder, decanting directly into the sieve as they go. Show them how to use the back of a spoon to press everything through the sieve (this prevents kiddie shaken flour going all over your kitchen). There will be some wholemeal flour left over in the sieve at the end - just pour this directly back into the mixing bowl.
4. Show them how to crack the egg into a separate bowl and beat with a fork. Measure out the sunflower oil and milk and stir into the egg. Grate in most of the cheddar (reserve a knob for grating over the little cakes before baking) and mix.
5. Make a well in the flour mixture, tip in the egg mix and help the kids stir it together. Fold in the crispy bacon and brussels mix then spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin, dividing equally. Get the kids to grate over the remaining cheddar and bake for 20 minutes. Cool briefly on a wire rack and eat warm.