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It’s New Year’s Eve and in two brief hours I’ll be raising a glass and saying arriverderci to 2010.  Not a bad year, but a surprising one — but then, they always are. I could alter my expectations, but I’m cool with being surprised. It’s tempting to think of years as comfortably concluded units, as though they conclude snugly and neatly and then you turn to the next one like the next episode of Blue Heelers.  It’d be nice to think that a New Year starts completely fresh, with all idiocy from the previous 12 months forgiven (or, better yet, forgotten). Nup.

I found an unfinished blog post I started in November which opened with the line “I feel the urge to finish things up…” which is both ironic and a trifle pompous: but I at least remember why I started writing it. The year starts to feel like it’s winding up; coworkers start using Christmas as a jumping-off point for small talk; everyone starts planning parties and buying turkeys to freeze; and then the next thing you know it’s Christmas Day, you’re a bottle of wine down and halfway through telling a racy priest joke to your Catholic uncle. The New Year will soon be here! Start with a fresh slate (a what?) and step boldly forward in newly-polished shoes! Yes! Truly this will be the year I am completely in control of my life, because I had no unfinished business lingering like the ghost of 2010!

Only, of course, that’s a load of fart. So while I thought about setting myself the task of Finishing Everything That Is Unfinished before December 31 reached its end, I decided it wasn’t important enough. The things I’ve got on the go wouldn’t benefit from being hurried to a neatly-synchronous conclusion. I made cupcakes instead.

End Of Year Cupcakery

End of Year Cupcakery

Cheeerful, tasty lemon and poppyseed muffins. These are going to the party too, because if we leave them at home, they get bored and wreck up the place.

One got very nervous about its bald spot, so I put some lemon butter on it:

Looks perfectly natural!

But I’m not persuaded everybody should be doing it. Happy New Year, everyone!

Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes

Ingredients (makes 18)

45g butter
100g sugar
1/2 milk
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 2 lemons
35g poppyseeds
2 eggs
vanilla essence
pinch of salt
2 tsp bicarb soda
4 generous tsp baking powder
1 2/3 cups plain flour

Mix the milk and the juice of half a lemon together and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar; add the zest and the vanilla and stir in. Throw in the eggs and whisk, then add the poppyseeds.

Add the milk, salt and bicarb and mix lightly. Add the flour and baking powder and stir until only just combined.

Line a muffin pan with pattypans and fill. Bake at 180°C until lightly browned and springy to the touch. Ice them with lemon icing or lemon butter if they seem a little self-conscious, but they’re fine as they are.

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