Thursday, August 16, 2012

Improvising with Peppers and Tomatoes

After making an amazing cheesecake for this month's crazy cooking challenge I was so sad to find out that it was the last one, and that the crazy cooking challenge was only a year long thing. But luckily, the improv cooking challenge seems to be a more permanent thing. This month's ingredients were tomato and peppers, and I nearly did not enter because the days have just been slipping away from me! At the start of the week I realised that I had to make something quick if I wanted to join in, and I immediately tried to think of how I could bake with peppers and tomatoes, because I really do like baking more, and I already have so many soup and pasta recipes featuring these two ingredients. I'm not sure if you can actually bake anything sweet with these ingredients and I didn't have time to try, so I'm looking forward to seeing the other entries. My entry is muffins - delicious savoury muffins to have for lunch or alongside soup.

This is only the second savoury muffin that I have published here - I had intended to make them on a regular basis because they are so good, but I always seem to get carried away with the sweet stuff. The first muffins I made were an old recipe of mine, for simple herb and cheese muffins, and at first I thought to adapt that recipe, but then I found a recipe in a cookbook that I have at home for savoury muffins with tomatoes and polenta, which is something I have never worked with before, so what a great excuse to buy some! To make the recipe fit the challenge I simply added some roast peppers. Unfortunately I'm not sure that I like these muffins so much and I'm not sure why, so next I am going to try plain corn muffins and then bit by bit figure out what it was I didn't like about these. The original recipe called for fresh basil and I think that might be it - I often find it has too strong a taste for my liking. So in the recipe below I have called for dried, mixed herbs but you can of course use fresh if you like.

Tomato and Roast Pepper Muffins

300 grams plum tomatoes
1 roast red or orange pepper (or rough equivalent from a jar)
140 grams plain flour (1 cup)
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
200 grams fine polenta/cornmeal/maize
1 tablespoon dried, mixed herbs
1 egg
300 mL milk

Turn the oven on to 200 degrees celsius and grease a muffin tray. Don't just use paper liners, as I did, because these muffins will stick. If you want to use liners, you should probably spray them with non-stick stuff first.

First peel the tomatoes and remove the seeds. I have never bothered with peeling tomatoes before but for this I actually went to the trouble. Which isn't much trouble at all, you simply place the tomatoes in a bowl of boiling water, leave them for about three minutes, then tip the water out and fill the bowl with cold water. The skins split and peel off easily.

Next, thinly dice the seeded, peeled tomatoes and the roast pepper. Then, in a large bowl, combing the flour, baking powder, salt, polenta and mixed herbs.

In another bowl whisk together the egg and milk. Then add the tomatoes, peppers and liquid mixture to the flour and fold gently, until only just combined.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for about 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.


  1. MMMMMMMMMMMMM -- these look so delish!

  2. Great idea adding tomatoes and peppers to corn muffins. I agree with you about the fresh basil, it can be quite overpowering.

  3. I'm a muffin addict but I've never had a savory muffin before. I need to make and try these out right away!

  4. I'm definitely a muffin girl so these are right up my alley! Yum!

  5. I know what you mean about getting carried away with the sweet stuff. When I look back on what I have blogged, sweets are always at the top of the list, so I try to cook other things whenever possible.I think your muffins look very good, and I am anxious to see if you figure out what you didn't care for. I agree with you on the basil; a little does go a long way! Great recipe!

  6. Savory muffins, what an amazing idea! What a great way to combine tomatoes and peppers!

    Visiting from the Improv Cooking Challenge (#21 - Green Chile Pepper and Tomato Soup)


    Amber @ The Cook's Sister

    1. I enjoyed your recipe so much that I've shared it on my blog today:

  7. What a yummy muffin!!! These would be fabulous with so many dishes...and I'd be a happy camper to eat one or two for a snack :)

  8. Loks great! I'm a huge bread/muffin fan so these are right up my alley!

  9. Your muffins look amazing and what a wonderful way to use the required ingredients.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my Improv Cooking Challenge entry: French Fries Hash Browns.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  10. I am a sucker for savory! I bake the sweet for my family but give me savory anytime. These cornbread muffins look delicious and I can't wait to give them a try. I might even add bacon.


  11. I am so glad to see a savory muffin made out of this month's ingredients. They look so pretty with the vegetables baked in.


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