Much ado about muffin

My inclination is to start this post by apologizing for being negligent with posting new stuff because I adore you all. But the actual truth is that the last two months have been wall-to-wall academia and stress. So I’m not really that sorry. (Sorry.)

Let me tell you what I’ve been up to instead of providing your beautiful faces with the comfort of carbohydrates and sugar. It’ll help me assuage some of the last dregs of guilt for not posting more… but you can also skip down to the mocha chocolate chip muffins toward the bottom. This is a one-time pass, don’t get used to it.

Here it is… some of the good, some of the ‘no thank you’ from the last few weeks:
  1. Went to London with Dan for American groceries and really solid game of Munchkin with M
  2. Had my debit card cancelled before said trip (for fraud prevention… but STILL)
  3. Borrowed £10 from Dan so I could get the train home from a BBQ because I had no debit card
  4. Went to a BBQ at K’s house
  5. Borrowed £10 from a 9-year-old at K’s BBQ so I could get from the train station to my house because I had no debit card (and forgot about that portion of the trip when borrowing money from Dan)
  6. Completely re-drafted 2.5 thesis chapters
  7. Had an official pow-wow with my supervisors about my Timeline to Submission ™ for this thesis
  8. They told me that I need to completely reorganize those chapters back to how they were… but also rewrite them again so they suck less (not their words, but nonetheless true)
  9. 85% successfully baked some gluten-free brownies (33% for the challenge of it, 67% specifically for EJ since she has to put up with me giving her glutinous goods on the regular)
  10. Watched Eurovision for the first time… WTF Europe?! But also silly fun.
  11. Despite my moratorium on peppermint bark outside of the Christmas season I made a whole tray of it for K’s birthday. She found a loophole I was not anticipating.
  12. And thought I was going to die at least twice. Turning 30 has not been kind to this drama queen.

Now, it may look like only 2 of those points are thesis writing but I can assure you that those two points are giant ogre points compared to the other teeny, tiny pea-size points. Moral of the story… do I regret embarking on this PhD? No. Not at all. I do feel that the research is an important augment to student and arts education advocacy. But also… do I regret embarking on this PhD? Well, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted to do, so yeah… a little bit. But that’ll pass. It always does.

 

podcastDuring the epoch between posts (I’m calling it an epoch because it feels like it’s been that long) I decided to explore some foodie podcasts. So far I’m enjoying:

  • Edd Kimber‘s podcast Stir the Pot
    Little bit of love for Edd chatting with recognisable names about real stuff, I’m a big fan. I can’t get behind much pretentiousness and this podcast is pretty informal, conversational, and lovely. And after listening to the most recent episode I now almost want to shell out for a subscription to Baked from Scratch magazine.
  • Carbface podcast with Laurie Woolever and Shit Food Blogger (WHY CAN’T I KNOW HIS NAME?!)
    My love for this podcast is wholly housed within the “DGAF but also give a little bit of AF” attitude. They talk to leading industry folk about the culinary world, turn Anthony Bourdain into an agony aunt, and discuss the merits of Peeps and circus peanuts. When I grow up I want to write like Laurie and be witty like SFB (but not until I get a name… I  don’t understand why this is a thing). ALSO this last episode spent a goodly amount of time on community/church cookbooks so I’m forever loyal. If this is the first post that you’ve read, those are my jam.

Yeah, that was a bad listicle. I’ve only got 2 food podcasts to recommend so far. What do other folks listen to?

Right. Now for what you’ve come here for… a recipe!

single muffin insta
Apologies… my food photographer was pre-occupied with his real interests (toy photography)

Mocha Chocolate Chip Yogurt Muffins

I made these recently, during a particularly hectic moment when I knew all I wanted to do was bake something (procrastination!) but needed to focus (finish this degree already!). Since they only use 2 mixing bowls and a spoon/spatula they come together quickly and you can get back to what needs your attention most. They’re lovely and moist and since there’s caffeine and yogurt in them I christened them a breakfast muffin.

Makes 12 standard-size muffins

Ingredients

225g AP flour 3 tsp baking powder pinch of salt handful of chocolate chips 50g dutched cocoa (see my post on cocoa if you’re puzzled by this) 2 tsp coffee powder 1 egg 80g milk 120g yogurt (I used 0% Greek) 100g neutral oil (I used rapeseed) 100g caster sugar

Directions

In bowl #1 combine flour, baking powder, salt, chocolate chips. Make sure it’s mixed really well! In bowl #2 (this is the bowl it’ll come together in, so don’t use your measuring jug for this stage) combine the egg, milk, yogurt, oil, and sugar. Mix these together, I use a fork to make sure everything is homogeneous and also incorporates some air into the mix which is useful during the baking process.

Add the dry ingredients from bowl #1 into bowl #2. Gently mix these together (remember, you got some air built up in the wet ingredients, don’t ruin that by over mixing at this point)! As a rule of thumb, only mix for as long as it takes to incorporate all of the flour – it’ll still be kinda lumpy. Don’t panic.

Evenly distribute the batter into muffin tins and bake at about 350°F for about 30 minutes. As with all baking times and temperatures, this is a guide and you should trust your instincts. If you think your muffins need an extra couple minutes, then let them have it. Cocoa in a recipe makes it notoriously difficult to know when your bake is really done.

 

Today’s Beginner Philosophy Lesson is brought to you by: the Panopticon

The panopticon is concept initially proposed by philosopher Jeremy Bentham in the 1700s. He described the panopticon as a circular prison and in the center is a watchtower. At the top of the watchtower is a light that shines around the prison walls and illuminates the cells which line those walls (think: a theater in the round but with a lighthouse on the stage, the light swings around the theater, illuminating the audience, leaving the rest in darkness until the light circles back again… only its a prison and prisoners instead of a theater and audience). Grim – but stay with me.

paintopticon
This is my artistic retelling of the panopticon prison. You can all appreciate my talents in the prodigious MS Paint. Don’t @ me.

If you imagine that there is a guard in this watchtower, constantly shining the light on the prisoners to ensure they are not breaking any rules (or suffer grave consequences), eventually the prisoners will know that the light means they are being watched and will be punished for bad behavior. Eventually, prisoners learn to self-regulate their behavior to avoid punishment and the guards in the watch tower become unnecessary.

Michel Foucault uses this concept to explain society and asymmetrical knowledge as an ultimate cause for power imbalance (in this case, the guards knew that they weren’t surveilling prisoners, but the prisoners could only assume they were being scrutinized). One example of this that comes straight from my own experience is the time I sat at a red light in my car, in the middle of nowhere, Texas for ten solid minutes because it was a red light and despite the fact that I could literally see that there was no one for probably a whole time zone, I sat there and waited. Because it was a red light.

3 thoughts on “Much ado about muffin

  1. A curious concept, people are strange ducks. Today I was also sitting at a red light like a good citizen. While there I observed multiple people ignoring the red light and walking across the street. I knew if I were walking I to would have ignored the light and safely walked across the street, but if I were to drive across the street I would have been horribly guilt-ridden. Kind of made me smile as I was sitting there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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