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Chocolate and banana muffins + rum

Does it happen to you? As you walk down the street, do you cast an eye to the shop window and catch a reflection, a glimpse with undefined contours? What do you see? or rather, who would you like to see in that reflection? Sometime I hope with all my heart to see a slender girl, with an innate elegance just as Audrey Hepburn, with finely combed hair, a peculiar but not too eccentric style, a bright smile and a golden aura around her. Needless to say, when I look up and focus on that reflection, there is no trace of Audrey and her little black dress.

Nigella chocolate and banana muffins

If I got off on the wrong foot, surely I’ll see a girl with Mafalda‘s hair, far from being a style icon, circled eyes and grey-sh to puddle green complexion, clumsy as a rhinoceros in a china shop, a girl who never knows how to bring her bag, as it tends to slide down from whatever position it is, giving me that precarious and awkward aspect I cannot shake myself free of.

But there are also good days – the most of them, fortunately – and in that moments I see not the most elegant, refined and confident woman in the world, but a country girl I like, someone with flaws that make her human, someone with a calm self-irony, a tool to get over circled eyes and a living bag always falling from her shoulder! So I smile at her with affection, I rearrange my bag on my shoulder, precariously, and I step to the next shop window.

Nigella chocolate and banana muffins

I’m pretty sure that Nigella sees exactly herself into that shopping window. You can clearly see that she loves herself in each and every inch of her soft femininity, she respects her being a woman and covers her body in smile and light. This is why I like her so much, not only for her books and tv programs. Actually her cooking style is not exactly like mine, but I feel a great respect and affection for her, because when you see her on tv you can’t help but exclaim What a beautiful woman!, looking with more affection at your belly, not as flat as the sea when there’s no wind!

This brings to my mind a passage from Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert. The following one is one of my favourite moments in the book, a page I’ve read many times, a fundamental truth to learn by heart if you want to live in harmony with yourself. The reflection that you see in the mirror it’s not just you, but it’s a friend of yours, someone who will always be there for you, someone to take care of. This is what Liz eventually learnt in the book, this is what Nigella does every day, this is what I’m learning to do!

Tonight, this strange interior gesture of friendship—the lending of a hand from me to myself when nobody else is around to offer solace—reminds me of something that happened to me once in New York City. I walked into an office building one afternoon in a hurry, dashed into the waiting elevator. As I rushed in, I caught an unexpected glance of myself in a security mirror’s reflection. In that moment, my brain did an odd thing—it fired off this split-second message: “Hey! You know her! That’s a friend of yours!” And I actually ran forward toward my own reflection with a smile, ready to welcome that girl whose name I had lost but whose face was so familiar. In a flash instant of course, I realized my mistake and laughed in embarrassment at my almost doglike confusion over how a mirror works. But for some reason that incident comes to mind again tonight during my sadness in Rome, and I find myself writing this comforting reminder at the bottom of the page.

Nigella chocolate and banana muffins

Today is the perfect day to publish the recipe I chose for Sarah’s Forever Nigella #2 Seduced by chocolate blog event at Maison Cupcake. You can find all the information about the blog event on her blog. By the way, I just love Sarah, we discovered in London during FBC10 a shared passion for paper napkins!

The recipe: since I am sticking exactly to the original recipe as illustrated in Kitchen, Recipes form the heart of the Home, just follow the link to Nigella’s website, where you can find the recipe. My only change was a splash (a generous splash, let’s say 60 ml) of dark rum, inspired by Nigella’s joyful and sensual cooking style!

A few tips: store these muffins in a tin box and they will be soft and fragrant for more than a week. Place a few dried orange peels into the box, too. Orange and rum is a powerful mix: you will be amazed by the wonderful aroma that will overwhelm you every time you’ll open the box! Ideally, these are morning muffins, studied for breakfast, but I went a bit heavy with the rum, you know, I’m a generous person… so, they are now perfect after-work snacks to be enjoyed with a cup of black tea. They wipe off the last clouds from your heart and your eyes and welcome you at home with verve.

Nigella chocolate and banana muffins

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This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Oh, how I wish my reflection could simply behave itself. How the wispy fly-away hair that flips out so perfectly in my daughter’s hair would do the same for me and I could look just a little more sleek.

    I’m headed over to the website to check out the recipe for these muffins. We are pretty big on muffins in our house and I’m sure the kids would love the chocolate and in the adult cupcakes the rum will help us with the kids’ exuberance! I admire your photos, your setting is so unique and gorgeous. It is also a reminder that spring is just around the corner.

  2. I’ve gotta say…using parchment paper that way is really brilliant! I never would’ve thought of that.

    Of course, the muffins aren’t half bad, either. 🙂

  3. Thanks, it tasted really delicious. Try out Gluten-free Banana Nut Muffins with Almond Flour too, it taste the same as “Chocolate & banana muffins + rum! Forever Nigella #2 “Seduced by Chocolate””. Anyone interested could go on

  4. Country Girls Unite! Throw on worn boots and strut your stuff!
    Actually, I always try and look “through” my reflection, so as not to be disturbed or what not. Remember that Seinfeld episode where Elaine doesn’t trust the department store mirror because she looks too good? That’s how I always feel when I approve of my reflection… “hmmm. what are they up to?”
    I can’t wait to bake these muffins!

  5. @ Rosa: it is, thank you!
    @ Anthony Kimber: you’re right! rum makes them smell and taste tropical!
    @ Joy: thank you for your nice comment! I’d be delighted if you’ll try my muffins!
    @ Maria: I love the dark brown colour as well!
    @ Medeja: mmh, tea with milk, delicious!
    @ Carolyn: thank you so so so much! it’s always so important to receive a feedback on the writing style, especially since I’m not a native speaker!
    @ Heather: usually I use paper cupcake case, but usually they get dirty and translucent while baking, so eventually I don’t like them! parchment paper works beautifully!
    @ Erika: thank you for your link
    @ briarrose: 😀 happy you like my change in them!
    @ Kirsten: Go country girls!! this is a very good idea, look through your reflection, I have to keep it in mind for next time! 😉 love your comment!

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