“I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe.”
– Maya Angelou
Moving back to Melbourne feels like… home. The skyline, the trams, the strong coffee, the terrace houses, the bitter winds. All so familiar, like slipping on a second skin. Last weekend I went out for beers with one of my oldest, dearest friends. He suggested a bar in the city. It was a rainy night. Walking up a blue-stoned alleyway, lights reflecting off the wet ground, to a bar all but invisible until you stumble upon it. This. This felt like homecoming.
Although it has been easy coming back to Melbourne – complete with my all-black wardrobe and trusty Doc Marten boots – the one thing that I believe will take me a while to get used to is THE FUCKING COLD. Was it always this cold here?! Winter has arrived, my friends.
Last Wednesday, with icy winds and sleet rain, it was WAY too cold to venture out far. Our Melbourne homecoming has been crazy busy, but this particular day we had no plans, the kids and I. So after a morning of stellar parenting (the kids sat in the car and watched youtube on my phone while I frantically stuck labels on work boxes to get ready for the couriers coming at midday) W requested that we bake muffins. A perfect winters day activity – the kid definitely shares my genes!
And so we did. One quick stroll down to the supermarket for supplies, which we combined with a bunch of rhubarb in the fridge waiting to be used, and a riff on this amazing-sounding rose cinnamon sugar from Heidi Swanson (subbing cardamom for cinnamon, just ‘coz). I added coconut oil for a light crumb, and a streusel for just a hint of crunch.
As it turned out, these Rhubarb & Rose Muffins were delicious – rhubarb tang, a subtle sweetness, the lingering scent of rose. The three of us – the kids and I – put a blanket down on the living room floor, and proceeded to have us a midday indoors picnic. The muffins were so good, we had two each.
P.S. Here are some of my other favourite rhubarb recipes on the blog
And I’m hanging to make this Whipped Yoghurt Cheesecake with Roasted Rhubarb from Molly Yeh!
Rhubarb & Rose Muffins
400 grams rhubarb
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp dried rose petals
1 tbsp raw sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup dried rose petals
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup wholemeal flour
1/4 raw sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil, firm
Preheat the oven to 220°c/440°f. Line a muffin tin with paper cases, and set aside.
In a mortar & pestle pound together the dried rose petals, raw sugar, and the cardamom until the petals are powdered and everything is combined.
Trim any leaves off the rhubarb, halve the stems lengthways, then cut into small pieces. In a bowl toss the chopped rhubarb together with both the brown sugar and the rose sugar.
Make the streusel by combining the dried rose petals, oats, flour, and sugar in a bowl. Toss to combine, then add the coconut oil and use your fingers to work it through until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
In a small bowl mix together the plain flour, wholemeal flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl whisk the eggs until fluffy, then add the buttermilk and melted coconut oil, continuing to whisk until combined. Add the rhubarb/sugar mixture, and mix through.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold through until just combined – take care not to overmix, a few lumps are okay.
Divide the muffin batter equally between twelve paper cases, filling each one to about 2/3 full. Add a generous amount of streusel to the top of each muffin (about a tablespoon), then bake in the preheated oven for 15 – 18 minutes.
Serve hot or cooled.