Zucchini Muffin Recipe

Here is a Zucchini Muffin Recipe sent in by Helene of  Countryside Connection and Once Upon A Pine. Helene has also includedwith the recipe recommendations for healthier / dietary substitutions as well as changes she has adopted over the years. The original recipe has been provided with subsitutions and changes noted in brackets. Helene says, “Everyone always loves these and they are definitely a family favourite.”

Zucchini-Nut Muffins


3 cups flour, sifted (I use half wholemeal flour and half white)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda (American name for bicarbonate of soda)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (I love extra spices, so always increase the amount or add some fresh grated nutmeg and a bit of allspice as well as the cinnamon)
1 1/2 cups sugar (Splenda works perfectly for diabetics or those restricting sugar intake; using one cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar is also a great option)
4 large free-range eggs
1 cup oil (I subsitute with 1/4 c. oil needed for moisture content and 3/4 cup homemade applesauce)
2 cups unpeeled, coarsely grated zucchini
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup raisins or sultanas (I prefer sultanas and use a VERY generous 1/2 cup)


Sift together flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

Combine sugar and eggs in large bowl of electric mixer and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Gradually add oil in slow, steady stream, beating constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add zucchini and vanilla and blend well. Stir in walnuts and raisins.

Fold in dry ingredients just until batter is evenly moistened. Do not overmix.

Note: This works just as well using a large mixing bowl and mixed by hand with a large wooden spoon.

Fill 22 paper-lined muffin cups (or butter cups well if like me you prefer to prepare without paper linings) 2/3 full with batter. Bake at 175 degrees C. for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand for 10 minutes, then remove muffins from pans to cool.

Note: Makes 22 muffins, or if larger muffins are preferred, fill about 16 cups to the top (butter around the top of the muffin tin for easy removal) This recipe can also be used to make a dozen medium size muffins and one small loaf of zucchini bread.

To freeze: Wrap individual muffins or small loaf in foil and when ready to use, simply remove the foil and reheat from frozen in warm oven or smaller toaster oven – tastes freshly baked every time.


Let me know what you think of Helene’s Zucchini Muffin recipe when you try it.

James Martin’s Custard Tart Recipe

My friend Helene from Once Upon A Pine & Countryside Connection has heard my cry for egg recipes and has sent me another great recipe this time using the egg yolks which is great as I have just recently started to make merginues using the eggs white and then am left with the yolks and knowing what to do with them is always a struggle.

Hi Sara

Happy you liked the latest recipe, but your point is well taken about needing 10 people for Blueberry Baked French Toast. As you have lots of eggs at the moment, how about this great Custard Tart Recipe from chef, James Martin, a proud Yorkshire man who never fails to mention that at every possible opportunity although he has lived down south for many years. His deli in Winchester is on Countryside Connection and they have been members with us from the very beginning. When we lived in a small hamlet nearby we were often in Winchester, especially when showing visitors around and a stop at his deli was always a treat. I have used lots of his recipes over the years and always find them to be quite simple and always a success.

Now, all you need is someone to send in a recipe that will use the remaining 12 egg whites! Perhaps some easy meringues which are always easy to fall back on when left with lots of egg whites? I look forward to seeing what your readers come up with.


Custard Tart By: James Martin From: James Martin: Sweet


  • 250g ready-made sweet shortcrust pastry, (pâte sucrée)
  • 750ml whipping cream
  • 12 egg yolks
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6.

2. Roll out the pastry and line a 30cm loose-bottomed flan tin, leaving any excess pastry to hang over the edge (do not trim until after the pastry has been cooked).

3. Line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or rice. Bake for 8-10 minutes, then remove from the oven.

4. Remove the greaseproof paper and baking beans. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C/gas 2.

5. Heat the cream in a saucepan without letting it boil.

6. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and caster sugar for 3-4 minutes until pale and thick.

7. Gradually whisk the hot cream into the mixture, being careful not to let the egg yolks curdle.

8. Pour the mixture into the cooked pastry case. Sprinkle with the allspice.

9. Bake for 50 minutes or until the custard is set.

10. Remove from the oven, trim the edges carefully and allow to cool. Serve at room temperature.

So if you have any recipes using lots of eggs, egg yolks or egg whites then please send them in.

Click on the image below to visit Amazon.co.uk to find out more about this book or visit one of the Farming Friends Bookshops.

Parsnip And Apple Soup Recipe From Cally At Country Gate

I love making soup both as a light lunch in Spring and Summer or as a Winter warmer in the colder months. I was delighted when I received a recipe from Cally Smart of www.countrygate.co.uk and www.countrygategardens.co.uk

I was introduced to Cally via the Countryside Connection website. Cally runs the Country Gate relocation company which specialises in property finding in Western Wiltshire and the Mendips. Cally also has a property blog www.countrygate-blog.co.uk which provides hints and tips for househunters – or those wanting to improve their homes.

Here is Cally’s recipe.

“I have been experimenting with a range of recipes using parsnips and here is my favourite, adapted from an old Cranks recipe book for Parsnip and Apple Soup.  Cranks was a restaurant in a hippy part of London  which had great veggie food there long before it was that fashionable. I went there in the early 1980s and fell in love with the place. Now they have a restaurant in Devon and sell a range of products nationwide.

Parsnip and Apple Soup

Parsnip and Apple Soup

Parsnip and Apple Soup

Chop an onion, 2 parsnips and  a cooking apple and saute gently in 25g of butter until the onion is transparent. Add 1 pint of veg stock along with 1/2 tsp of mixed herbs and a handful of chopped fresh parsley. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer covered fpr 3o mins. Add 1 pint of milk. Allow to cool slightly before blending. Reheat to serving temperature and adjust seasoning to taste. Delicious.”

Let me know what you think of Cally’s parsnip and apple soup and I’ll let her know too.

Hugo House Quail Eggs Sent To Helene At Countryside Connection

I sent some of my Hugo House quail eggs to Helene at Countryside Connection recently as a surprise gift for all the effort she has put into making me feel welcome as a member of her rural business website.

Hugo House Quail Eggs

Hugo House Quail Eggs

Here is Helene’s response;

Thanks to your kindness, we had a fantastic lunch on Saturday! I cut out large circles from a loaf of granary bread, toasted the circles then topped each with spinach wilted in a very small amount of olive oil. Each circle was then topped with two fried quail eggs and covered lightly with a homemade cheese and mustard sauce. Alan and I loved it! Today the remaining eggs are being hard boiled to top spinach salads with crispy bacon and crumbled eggs.

I am pleased that Helene and her husband enjoyed the quail eggs as I know that they are partial to these tiny yet flavoursome eggs and delighted that Helene told me how she used the quail eggs.

Alpaca Socks From Perilla

Early last week I received some gorgeous alpaca socks in the post from Perilla. As you can see they were carefully wrapped.

Alpaca Socks From Perilla

Alpaca Socks From Perilla

I first heard about Perilla via the Countryside Connection website for rural businesses.

I was delighted to receive my 3/4 length ribbed socks in indigo for me to gear test or welly test as I like to think about it.

3/4 Length Ribbed Alpaca Socks

3/4 Length Ribbed Alpaca Socks

Well I have indeed been able to welly test these socks as my two pigs have farrowed in the night / early hours of last week and I had the Perilla alpaca socks on. When I get a spare minute in between bottle feeding a few of the 30 piglets I am now looking after, I will be writing a review of the alpaca socks, so watch this space. In the mean time it is safe to say that if you are in need of some very comfortable, warm, soft and washable socks then head over to Perilla right now.

Quail Eggs With Toasted Sesame Salt Recipe From Countryside Connection

Helene from Countryside Connection has sent in this wonderfully simple quail egg recipe which will make a great snack or nibbles for a party.

Quail Eggs With Toasted Sesames

Quail Eggs With Toasted Sesame Salt

This recipe can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.


  • 6 ounces sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 48 quail eggs


Preheat oven to 350°F. / 180 C / Gas Mark 4.

In a baking pan spread seeds evenly and toast, stirring once halfway through toasting, until deep golden, about 12 minutes. Cool seeds and using a mortar and pestle grind with salt until coarsely ground. Sesame salt may be made 2 weeks ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.

In a saucepan cover eggs with cold water by 1 inch and bring just to a boil. Remove pan from heat and let eggs stand, covered, 7 minutes for quail eggs. Drain water from the pan and run cold water over eggs, cracking the shells against side of pan. Peel eggs.

Serve eggs with salt.

Serve as part of a buffet, appetizer or for any other group gathering.

Thanks Helene for this quail egg recipe suggestion. I look forward to trying it next time we have guests.

Countryside Connection – More Than Just A Directory Of Rural Businesses

Do you have a rural business ? If so then you may want to consider becoming a member of the Countryside Connection website.

Countryside Connection

Countryside Connection

At first glance you may think that this is just another directory of rural businesses but you would be wrong. The founder, Heléne Leichter-Saxby goes to great lengths to make sure that new members get alot of coverage and have access to a wide network of rural businesses.

Each month a newsletter goes out to all the members with features about new members and letters from current members which helps to raise your businesses profile and presence on the web. Helene also takes time to make links between members with similar rural businesses and encourages networking and correspondence between members to help forge new business relationships and networks.

In addition, Countryside Connection has just started a Featured Member listing on the home page which provides extra coverage for your rural business.

Countryside Connection currently has members whose businesses fall into the falling categories:

Bed & Breakfasts and Self-Catering,
Country Inns,
Farms, Country & Artisan Products,
Restaurants & Pubs,
Arts & Crafts,
Activities & Adventures,
Education Courses,
Wedding, Conference, Spa & Retreat Venues,
Rural Business Support,
Relocation & Restoration Services and
B&B Inns & Homes for Sale.

So if you have a rural business that fits into one of these categories then I would highly recommend that you visit the Countryside Connection website and become a member today.

Farming Friends Featured In The Countryside Connection Newsletter

Countryside Connection

Countryside Connection

Farming Friends is delighted to be featured in this month’s (February 2009) Countryside Connection Newsletter.

Countryside Connection is a North Yorkshire based community of rural businesses from all over the UK and the US, who work together to connect and promote their businesses through the Countryside Connection Website.  You will find a network of  B+B’s, pubs, hotels, craft, farms, food producers and other small rural businesses based both around the UK and the US listed on the Countryside Connection site and contributing to the monthly newsletters.

I first came across this website when Helene, the founder of Countryside Connection, emailed me having read the article in the Yorkshire post about farmingfriends. Helene had enjoyed reading the article and wrote to me with the idea of exploring ways in which we might work together.

I  have thoroughly enjoyed reading  the February edition of the Countryside Connection newsletter which not only features farmingfriends, but my husband’s vintage tractor engineer site as well as features on credit crunch vegetable boxes from farmaround, an alpacas day course in Italy and a weekend Alpaca course in the UK, alpaca slippers – I’m saving up now for some, lambing and farm life in West Wales, beautiful artwork from Maine and mention of an apple spice muffin recipe which I aim to try out with some stored apples from our orchard. I hope that this has now tempted you to pop over to the Countryside Connection and read the February 09 Newsletter.