Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins and Montreal Fashion

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins (Delicious but Not Health Food)

5 cups flour (unbleached or whole wheat pastry flour or a mix of the two)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup canola oil or melted margarine (I sometimes combine the two)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
egg replacer to = 4 eggs (I use Ener-G brand)
3/4 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup soy milk or more as needed
zest from two lemons (reserve the juice to make a glaze)

Combine the first four dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a large bowl combine the sugar and the liquid ingredients except the soy milk. When using egg replacer the best method is to mix the powder with the water and add to the liquid ingredients. Combine the liquid and the dry ingredients, mixing until the flour is blended in. It will be very dry and you will need to add the soy milk to moisten it at this point. The batter is thick like cookie dough. Drop large spoonfuls of batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake the muffins at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. I usually get 24-27 muffins from this recipe.

A note on margarine. By now you are aware that hydrogenation is unhealthy and so are probably avoiding solid margarines for this reason. The original recipe called for Fleishman's soft margarine. Many margarines are not actually vegan as they contain whey powder. I use Earth Balance which makes both soft margarines and cold pressed sticks. They are great for spreading on toast and for baking and cooking.

Fashion is art and entertainment; style is what you want to develop for yourself. As I sat in a Starbucks on Rue St Catherine, what might be the most fabulous clothes shopping street in North America, I hoped to make memorable the moving style show that continued beyond my sight in both directions. The early October afternoon, air crisp but comfortably warm to my personal thermometer, had inspired most of these Montrealers to don coats and scarves, sometimes gloves and hats. Knowing that I heat up when traversing city blocks for hours of happy browsing ( and some spending I have to admit) I had my favourite multi-coloured hoodie tied around my hips, the scarf I wore was pure whimsy not warmth and my hat was still in my suitcase back at the hotel. The crowd on the street was working people as well as shoppers, but although there were plenty of black bags and trench coats, black tights and heels, it was still a more colourful scene than will be found in downtown Vancouver year round. Vancouver is a clean modern city set against mountains and greenery no other Canadian city can rival, but the head to toe black wardrobe of the West Coast Urbanites makes me want to randomly spray paint people as I pass. They are anonymous, they blend in, they all look alike. All well, all the better to focus on and appreciate those beautiful mountains. I do hope that Vancouver doesn't embrace the new and questionable black makeup, yes lipstick included, that was featured in this month's Vogue.

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