That was the drill this morning. As I eased myself into productive wakefulness, the hint of baking wafted into my mind like the smell itself. Gentle, sweet, slowly intensifying - till all there is to do is haul yourself out of bed and head to the kitchen.
Lucky I have the perfect muffin recipe at hand - again, I have Nigella to thank for it. But how could I not keep going back to it? It's so versatile, and I've made it even more user-friendly by lowering the sugar content, and replacing the sour cream with greek yoghurt - something I always have in my fridge.
As for the fruits - I've made these muffins as per the recipe several times, and again at least as many, experimenting with the fruit and flavour combinations. She calls for pear and ginger; I've done apple and cinnamon, blueberry and cinnamon, pear and chocolate - and right now, the aromas of pineapple and coconut are creeping into the very corners of my house. Tropical and summery - and let me assure you, a pineapple half purchased for a dollar from the bargain table at your local greengrocers smells just as sweet.
Nigella's Pear and Ginger Muffins (with my changes in brackets)
250g plain flour
2 teasp baking powder
150g caster sugar (I use raw caster sugar)
75g light brown sugar, plus extra for sprinkling (I omit this entirely)
142ml sour cream (I use greek yoghurt)
125ml vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey
300g chopped pear (or any other fruit equivalent)
1 teasp ground ginger (or other flavour/spice to match your fruit)
Preheat oven to 200C, and line 12 cup muffin pan with papers or cases.
Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl; mix all wet ingredients in another bowl; then fold wet ingredients through dry ingredients.
Add fruit to mixture and fold through.
Divide evenly into patty cases; if desired, sprinkle tops with a little raw sugar to give some crunch when baked.
Bake for 20 minutes.