Nathan and I have spent a few grueling days making out budgets, looking at houses, travelling backward and forward across the country, being shocked by rental prices and feeling frustrated at not finding anything. Still, we have time. We’re just so eager to find our new home. It will be hard leaving Galway, not just because of the buzzing atmosphere, cordial warmth and rugged, breathtaking scenery, but also due to the invaluable relationships we have made here. We will miss our friends, those from our church and the group of wonderful teenagers we have spent almost every second Friday with for the last 14 months from the youth group we run. Location is important, but relationships are vital. These relationships are what makes leaving Galway the hardest.
Yet, we also have this exciting time of transition to look forward to; new jobs, a new home and new experiences. Thus, we are sandwiched right between the bitter and the sweet. Yesterday however, I just wanted sweet. So to escape from the weight of decision for a little while, I made one really good choice and decided to fuse sweet and juicy barbecued sausages, with a light and fluffy muffin. For a little while, all the tough decisions evaporated.
While cornbread is extremely popular in some parts of America, it’s not so widely known here. Corn meal is even quite hard to find. I buy mine in a local Mediterranean food store, but you can find it in a lot of health food shops here too. I love using honey in my cornbread to add a delicate sweetness. This time, I used some of the delicious honey Nathan had been given as a present while in Moldova, but any honey would do. The qualities of sausages vary in Ireland. Some sausages contain as little as 26% pork! I like to use Hodgins sausages because they’re purse-friendly, are Irish made and contain 80% pork (They were 2 euro for a pound of sausages in Dunnes). For these muffins I chose to use their Barbecue variety – fat, tender sausages coated in barbecue spices. If you can’t get similar ones though, you could easily use normal sausages or coat your sausages in some barbecue sauce when roasting.
Honey Cornbread Muffins with a Sausage Centre (makes 12)
- 4 jumbo sausages
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 cup corn flour (i.e. corn meal, not the flour you use to thicken sauces)
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tbsp melted butter (cooled)
- Preheat oven to 200C or 390F. Place sausages in an oven proof dish, drizzle with a tsp of olive oil and bake in oven (once the oven is heated) for about 30 mins or until cooked through. Alternatively you could fry or grill the sausages. I just find it’s convenient to lug them in the oven and then make the muffin mixture while they’re cooking.
- In a large bowl mix together your dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until mixed.
- Once your sausages are cooked, removed from the oven and using a knife and fork, so as not to burn your fingers, cut each sausage into 3 equal pieces (totaling 12 pieces, 1 for each muffin).
- Reduce the oven temperature to 180C or 375F.
- Grease a 12 hole cupcake tray. In greasing my mould, I went one fatty step further. Using a pastry brush, I greased the mould with the leftover fat from the sausages in the bottom of the oven dish. Sausage grease = tasty grease.
- Place one piece of sausage in each cupcake hole. Then, divide the cornbread mixture evenly between the 12 holes. I wouldn’t feel like you were compromising the integrity of my recipe if you topped each muffin with a little grated cheddar cheese right now. Actually, that would be completely okay.
- Bake in the oven for 18-20 mins or until muffins are golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.