Every year since my early childhood, my family travels to our cottage in northern Manitoba, known simply as “the Lake”. Some of my fondest memories are of the (mis)adventures my brothers and I got ourselves into as we whiled away the long summer days of the north. Of course, things have changed a lot since then. Gone are the days when we had to jump off the front porch because the stairs had rotted away. Gone are the days when we spent hours on the neighbour’s trampoline, laughing when one of us accidentally bounced off. Gone are the days of doors that didn’t quite fit their hinges, as the cottage foundations succumbed a bit more each year to the soft muskeg below. Gone are the days of mismatched furniture, orange curtains, and peeling lino. But the memories remain and I must admit I don’t miss all the mosquitoes buzzing around my ears!
My twin and I arrived Tuesday evening, flying the illustrious Bearskins Airlines. I love flying with them. The small 20 seater, twin propeller plane is without pretension, but certainly not without it’s charm. Duck your head, seat yourself, don’t expect any flight attendants as the man who took your boarding pass also flies the plane. Flying on these planes are for me a glimpse at how flying might have been, before it became entirely commercialised. The one and a half hour journey to The Pas is a much needed respite from the neverending in-flight salespitch of the flight from Toronto to Winnipeg. There is no cock pit door and, peering down the aisle, the controls, dials and lights all call out to my curiosity. And landing takes on a different tone when you can see through the windshield the thin strip of tarmac rush towards you head-on. In short, I love these little planes that do their best to connect the isolated communities of the North.
Our first night also happened to be one of the first calm evenings in a while. My brothers and I were anxious to get out on the water and give those water skis ago. I’m always a little nervous the first time I go water skiing each year. I know it’s like riding a bike, but that little bit of doubt gnaws at me until, heart pounding, I shout “Okay, I’m ready!”. Then abruptly the tension on the tow rope increases, you feel your legs tense, and then unbelieving you find yourself on your feet as the boat speeds off. Only one question invades my mind as I hang on for dear life in the boat’s roaring wake: “crap, now what?!”
Yesterday, I was sleepily sipping my tea when my dad brightly suggested that it would be nice to have some fresh muffins for breakfast. I perked up at the thought of warm muffins, oozing honey, but hesitated at the prospect of movement — it was still pretty early and I was pretty snug on the couch with my tea. Then he asked if I would show him how; now I really sat up on the couch. My dad baking?
So a quick inspection of the fridge revealed a glorious carton of fresh blueberries and we decided on “Fresh Blueberry Muffins”. The recipe came from Blueberries & Polar Bears: Webber’s Northern Lodges Our Most Requested Recipes, a cookbook my Grandma picked up on a trip to Churchill, MB. (This cookbook is seriously awesome — there’s a chapter called “Moose, Goose, and Things That Swim”.) Considering the name of the cookbook, we took it as a doubly good sign to make the Fresh Blueberry Muffins.
The muffins were tender and not too sweet. Although, in my humble opinion, I thought they were most delicious eaten with a dollop of honey. They were easy to make and the recipe didn’t make too many — just a dozen good-sized muffins. However, the recipe instructed that the muffin cups should be well-greased. Do not skip this step! I found that the muffin cups, although they had had a little bit of non-stick spray, still clung to the muffins. That made it tricky to take the muffin cups off. Alternatively, you could do away with the muffin cups and just spray the muffin tin itself. Your call. Either way, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with these delicious Fresh Blueberry Muffins!
from Blueberries & Polar Bears
makes 12 muffins
- 1 3/4 c. flour
- 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 c. white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 c. milk
- 1/4 c. vegetable oil
- 3/4 c. blueberries
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
- Beat eggs, milk, and oil together and add to dry ingredients. Stir only until mixture is moist. Batter will be lumpy.
- Fold fresh flueberries into the batter.
- Fill WELL-GREASED (their caps, not mine) muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400F/200C for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove muffins from pans and serve warm or let cool.