Firstly, the muffins. This was my first use of The Chicago Diner Cookbook and I was excited to use it. However, these muffins were dull dull dull. I keep trying to make excuses for them, thinking perhaps because my husband bought fine cornmeal instead of the medium I’m used to that affected them and any other number of excuses, but reading the recipe again now there was just no flavour added to them, and cornmeal isn’t the most flavourful of things. I even used half milk half water which was supposed to make the muffins ‘richer’ according to the recipe but they were still bland. Even Little One, who would live on bread products if you let him and who can down several large pieces of cornbread, only ate half of one of these muffins.
The final thing about these muffins is that the recipe says that it makes 10-12 muffins, I got 7 from it. I didn’t make huge muffins, just regular sized ones and they cooked in 20 minutes (the recipe calls for 20-25 minutes cooking). I have an oven thermometer as my oven’s dial is way off so I know it was the right temperature. If you made 10-12 small muffins from this recipe they would be overcooked and hard as bricks after 20 minutes, let alone 25… Enough said, I hope this doesn’t bode badly for this book.
On the other hand, this soup is one of my all time favourites. It is hugely full of flavour and very easy to make. If you keep celery, carrots, onions, sun dried tomatoes, black beans, spices, sweetcorn and chipotle hot sauce as staples in your house then this is another ‘store cupboard’ recipe. For the first time I made this in my slow cooker as by the time it gets to dinner making time here at the moment I’m usually shattered and just want to do anything but stand about and cook. I cooked it on high for a couple of hours and then added the sweetcorn (we had run out so I had to go and buy some!) and turned it down to low for a few more hours. The soup was as delicious as usual although it confused my tired brain for a few minutes as it was very thin, much thinner than normal. Then it occurred to me, I had forgotten to blend some of it with my stick blender like I normally do. Blended or not though this soup is just wonderful and I will continue to make it every few months (DH doesn’t like it therefore I can’t make it more often!) for many years to come I’m sure!