February 27, 2011

Last weekend of summer - A day on the boat and thyme, pine nuts and feta muffins


It is the last weekend of summer here in Sydney! Saturday was beautiful so we decided to pack our picnic basket and bags and spend the day on the boat at Sydney's beautiful Pittwater. It was a stunning day and every time we go boating it feels like such a luxury. I love getting away from the city, away from all the traffic noise and masses of people. There is no better way to enjoy this beautiful city than on water and it really is the best way to relax and just get away from it all.

We usually take the boat a couple of hours drive away from the marina, anchor and enjoy lunch at a peaceful bay with no other sounds but the cicadas and the water. There was a gentle breeze and it wasn't too hot so we set up lunch, ate and had a good catch up with my partner's parents. I had prepared us a variation of this couscous salad to go along with savoury muffins of thyme, pine nuts and feta. Lunch on the boat is always the best part of the day!

These muffins are great picnic food. I would usually make this in a loaf form (and you could do that too, with the exactly same measurements), but individual portions worked better for this occasion. They are wholesome with rye flour, just enough salty with feta cheese and the pine nuts along with thyme give them extra boost of flavour.  

Thyme, pine nut and feta muffins
(Makes one loaf or 12 small muffins)

1 cup organic rye flour
3/4 cup organic white, unbleached spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup pine nuts
few sprigs of fresh thyme
4 large free-range eggs
1/2 cup low fat milk
100g low fat feta cheese
3 tbsp pine nuts, extra

Preheat oven to 180C and prepare the muffin tins or a medium size loaf tin. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl along with the pine nuts and the thyme leaves. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and the milk. Pour the egg mixture in with the dry ingredients and mix through. Finally crumble in the feta cheese and stir everything to combine. Spoon the batter into the prepared tins, sprinkle each muffin with extra pine nuts and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and a tester comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

We were back at the marina late at dusk - a little dazed from all the fresh air, but so happy and relaxed. Looking forward to the next time! Thank you again M & G!