Healthy muffins and a clever twist on a fish pie will keep the family on track for nutritious eating, writes DOMINI KEMP
Good muffins are a cinch to make at home. More often than not, commercial varieties are so full of cheap vegetable oils that you should stay far away from them, despite the fact that they are sometimes pitched as a healthy alternative to breakfast.
I liked this recipe as it didn’t contain inordinate amounts of sugar or sunflower oil and I reckon you could replace the light muscovado sugar with either coconut sugar or some agave.
I made them with self-raising flour and the addition of some bicarbonate of soda. This gives them a nice lift and as long as you don’t over-mix the batter, you’ll be guaranteed good results.
You barely want to mix the ingredients together; otherwise you end up with a poor, dry texture. A cursory mix is all you need to do (count to 10) and as long as you don’t have a massive beach of sand on the base of your bowl, it’s fine. Less really is more when it comes to mixing a muffin batter.
I have given up buying muffin cases in the supermarket as they are a bit mean in size. Instead, I cut out small squares of baking paper and push these into the tins to form my own cases.
This mixture produces eight good-sized muffins, which were really lovely to eat and very satisfying. They were also still quite edible after two days – though maybe a little dry.
The baked spuds are a short-cut fish pie, which saves you the bother of preparing a bechamel sauce and making too much of an effort, but you still get some fish and greens into the children.
I’ve seen frozen fish mixes in some supermarkets, which are a handy way to get this supper on the table in a hurry.
I baked the spuds the day before I made these, so they could be finished in flash. Feel free to leave out the cabbage entirely and just use peas. This isn’t the most gourmet recipe in the world, but it’s easy and good for reluctant fish-eaters.
175g self-raising flour
140g light muscovado sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
90ml sunflower oil
Zest and juice of 1 orange
175g stoned prunes, roughly chopped
85g walnuts, roughly chopped
A couple of teaspoons of sunflower or mixed seeds for the topping
Preheat an oven to 200 degrees/gas 6. Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly (flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda). I would go so far as to say that you should whisk them so they are really well dispersed.
Mix the wet ingredients together (egg, buttermilk, vanilla extract, sunflower oil, orange zest and juice). Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold in. After you count to five, add the prunes and walnuts. Count to five again and then spoon into muffin cases. Bake for 15 minutes, then top with some seeds and bake for another few minutes. A skewer should come out clean.