Food and Friends- Halloumi Cheese Muffins

One of the key ideas behind The Grumbling Belly is that food is not just about great flavour and yummy recipes but  that food can be an integral part of community and culture. It brings people together, marks occasions, enriches our personal and communal history, introduces us to different places around the world, and it fuels creativity. I am blessed to know many wonderful people who inspire me to continue this Grumbling Belly mission and I have decided to start inviting them to share their stories and their food with you.

It seems only fitting then that I begin with a submission from the woman who began my journey in the kitchen, my mum. The very first thing she taught me to make was her famous Apple Crumble. We had a Bramley Apple tree in our garden and every season, mum would collect the apples and cook them up for the filling. I would be in charge of the crumble and would sit at the kitchen table, happily working the butter into the flour and sugar to make bread crumbs. I felt so proud of myself when she would present the dessert at our next dinner party and tell everyone I helped make it. She then moved me up to filling Cannelloni shells with her spinach and ricotta mix, and buttering layers of phyllo dough ready for all manner of Greek syrupy desserts. Soon I graduated to wrapping the dolmades filling with grape leaves and then on to stirring the bechamel sauce at its most crucial stage to avoid lumps.  I loved working in the kitchen so much that it didn’t take long for me to start looking up new recipes in Mum’s cookbooks to make with her or by myself.

All these years later and she is still teaching me family recipes and giving me baking/cooking tips. Here is the one she most recently sent me for her Halloumi Cheese Muffins. Mum and Dad have always opened up their home (and their dining table) to bring so many people together and this is one of my fondest memories from my time living with them. Our house was always bustling with guests for Sunday lunches, celebrations, or welcoming out of town visitors. She started making these Halloumi Cheese Muffins as a feature in her great buffet party spreads, or sometimes to help with a charity bake sale. They are  moreish warm yummy delights for any occasion!

Halloumi Cheese Muffins

(Halloumi is a Cypriot cheese that has a very unique texture ensuring it keeps its shape in cooking and baking. However, Mum says if you can’t find halloumi, these are still tasty using all cheddar cheese)

Cheese and Halloumi Muffins

5 eggs
1 cup corn oil
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup grated cheese (cheddar)
1 cup grated halloumi
2 1/2 cups self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sultanas
2 tsp dry mint
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180 c (350 F). Whisk eggs well then add the oil and beat until well combined. Mix in milk and sugar. In a separate bowl combine the two cheeses and then add to the egg milk mix. Next, add the flour and baking powder and stir well. Pour in the sultanas and salt and mix until everything is combined. Divide mixture into 24 muffin cases in muffin pans and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown.

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