Recipe: Opies’ Pickled Walnut and Pancetta Savoury Muffins

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Opies.  

The first time I came across a pickled walnut was at my Aunty Phips’ house. We used to visit her for boxing day lunch, always well welcomed and well fed. I remember standing in the kitchen at the Ercol table, Midwinter Roselle plates laden with exciting seasonal food, and beside the bowl of pickled walnuts, my mum wielding a pickle fork and exclaiming, ‘They are very special!’ as I screwed my face up and looked on.

Once I got over the idea that they would be anything like a nut, and embraced the soft, sweet and tangy flavour of the pickled green walnut, there was no going back. They’ve been a regular on my shopping list ever since.

When Opies’ asked me if I’d come up with a new recipe for their pickled walnuts, I said yes please and thank you with great enthusiasm and gusto. I knew what I’d make… muffins.

I once won Gold at the local village show for my honey and bacon muffins and I’ve never looked back.

Welcome out of the oven, pickled walnut topped beauties. Yes, I am still the muffin boss!

Pickled walnuts are not just for Christmas, you can pick them up any time of year from the major super markets (Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Waitrose, Asda etc) or bulk order online (whilst arranging your next cocktail cherry consignment).

The walnuts are picked from the tree whilst they are still green and before any shell has formed. Opies’ preserve them in a special secret recipe of spiced malt vinegar. They say it takes a lot of effort and is a real labour of love, but they also say that Mary Berry would prefer a pickled walnut to a chocolate, so I am with them all the way.

Pickle power!

Here is my recipe for Opies’ Pickled Walnut and Pancetta Savoury Muffins. Easily  adapted, quick to make and tasty to eat.

Ingredients (makes 12):

250g Self Raising Flour
200ml Low Fat Natural Yoghurt
1 Large Egg
4 tbsp Olive Oil
Opies’ Pickled Walnuts – 2 for filling, more for topping!
120g Pancetta (or smoked bacon lardons)
80g Cheddar Cheese

Instructions:

Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C/170˚C (fan)

Fry the Pancetta in a little of the olive oil until crispy (save the frying oil for later)

Chop 2 pickled walnuts into small squares and do the same with the cheddar cheese.

Put the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the pickled walnuts, cooked pancetta and cheddar.

In a jug, mix together the olive oil (including the bit you fried the pancetta in), yoghurt and egg. Pour into the mixing bowl and stir everything together.

Lightly grease a 12 hole muffin tin and spoon in the mixture evenly. Add sliced pickled walnuts to the top of each muffin.

Put in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and after a couple of minutes remove from the tin and place on a cooling rack.

Eat them while they are hot or leave them to cool. Eat them like a muffin or treat like a scone and add butter.

The pickled walnut topper, whilst looking quite decadent, does also add a lovely chewy crispy tang and is well worth the addition in my honest opinion.

For me, the combination of the salty smoky pancetta with the sweet smack of Opies’ pickled walnuts is an absolute winner, I hope you’ll agree!

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Opies’.

As always, my opinions are my own (and my ability to eat pickled products something that I am honing in hope of eating competition opportunities – hit me up!)