Although it’s 10 days to Xmas and everything/everyone around keeps reminding it, it doesn’t mean there is no time to celebrate other stuff than Xmas.
As you know, 2.5 years ago I moved to the Tulips’ Land to start a new adventure (some more info in my About me section): a PhD. It has not always been an easy path, as people in (but also out) academia might know. You have to show you’re an independent researcher, and have a good dose of curiosity and creativity to come up with interesting research questions, theories and methods to combine. Never give up in front of challenges, and sky-high competition. Feed your motivation every day. Be ready to, in jargon we say, “kill your baby” ideas and papers, and start all over again. Although this might not appear as a heavenly picture (and well, #phdlife is not always that easy), I personally think that, as far as you like what you’re doing, you can just make it. That’s what keeps me up. And I love my job, even though I face difficulties and challenges every other day. But who doesn’t?
Well, today it’s time for celebration of being happy with what you’re doing, in spite of the fact that it’s hard. ‘Cos now and then, mostly slowly, you get your rewards. For example, you manage to finally get your manuscript published in a pretty good journal. You get an extension of your contract for a few extra months to finish your PhD dissertation. And then, why not, start packing to go on Xmas holidays back to your family. Finally, take another flight to further lands.
This said, I cannot leave you without a nice recipe for (not yet Xmas) celebrations. Ofc, let’s do it in the Italian way, that is, celebrate with something sweet, like these chocolate-orange muffins with rice flour.
I’ve never baked with rice flour before this time but it’s super easy and the taste very nice. Last time I went to Italy, I bought some rice flour from a sorta all-rice shop in a restaurant near Verona that makes only rise-based food. It’s basically a lot of risotto. Simply divine. Highly recommended. So, some days ago I decided to do some experiments with this new flour: what a better combination than chocolate, orange and a little bit of cinnamon?
I think this can be good for your Xmas mood as well.
Chocolate-orange muffins with rice flour
Ingredients (6 muffins)
100 gr sugar + 8 gr (1 bag) of vanilla sugar or vanillina (for Italians)
1 orange (you will need the juice and a little bit of zest, but not much, otherwise you risk the dough becomes bitter)
125 gr natural or Greek yogurt
40 ml sunflower oil
130 gr rice flour
30 gr cacao powder
8 gr baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
In a bowl, mix the sugar, the egg and the orange zest. Add yogurt, oil and orange juice, and mix. Then, add flour, baking powder, cacao powder and cinnamon, and stir until smooth.
Put the dough on the cupcake shapes and bake in the (static) oven for 20/25 minutes at 160°/170° (depending on the oven).