Top Shelf: RT’s Blueberry Muffins

May 12, 2019 by Timothy MacDonald

Top Shelf: by Chef Tim MacDonald

While on board my last vessel, I developed a unique relationship with the owner, RT.

Three years ago, we started breakfast with a massive buffet. Years later, like the battle of Stalingrad, there were only two items left standing on the last trip in February: fruit and his ubiquitous favorite, the blueberry muffin.

The cannot-do-without, I’ll-take-it-to-the-moon-in-a-plastic-box muffin. If marooned on a desert island with the choice of Miranda Kerr or the muffin, he would take the muffin, hands down.

No other food-related item has created such a stir. My stand-in chef for nine months could not replicate it, so in a classic prima donna tantrum, simply refused to bake a muffin for the boss.

The secret lies within. It’s more of a batter than a cake – looser. And the trick is oil, which keeps it moist. But the real key is double fruit. So much fruit that sometimes the batter cannot support it.

It’s an easy answer for stews when those uninvited guests turn up early for breakfast and they are not set up.

The recipe is owned by the queen of Australian cuisine circa the 1990s, the one and only Stephanie Alexander. What’s so good about it? There is no better answer than to bake it and find out.


  • 250 grams blueberries
  • 220 grams plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 125 grams caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice

Crumble mixture

  • 200 grams plain flour
  • 120 grams butter
  • 6 tablespoons flaked almonds
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar


Simply mix quickly, don’t overwork, and top with crumble mixture.

Makes 6 large or 10 small muffins.

Tim MacDonald ( has more than 20 years experience as a chef. He was named Concours de Chefs winner for Yachts over 160 feet at the 2011 Antigua Charter Yacht Show. His recipes are designed for the owner and guests. Comments are welcome below.