So, living in Italy, well, about that … let’s say the distance to the nearest Whole Foods or Planet Organic is also a good indication of how distant my current diet is from what I used to eat in London. Hummus and kale chips, green smoothies and the odd raw cheesecake have been replaced with weekly trips to get a huge gelato, lots of pasta (and all made from white flour) and a fair amount of fritto misto (deep fried fish and seafood) … all of which is typically preceded by copious amounts of Mozzarella and Prosciutto. While I am in foodie heaven I have been feeling a little, gulp, guilty, about all these indulgences. So this weekend I set out to come up with a healthier muffin recipe using less fat (and less saturated fat) and with a bit more staying power.
Oats are not only glutenfree (check the labelling though as they might not be 100% gluten-free depending on the facility where they are produced) and are one of the few foods that actively reduce cholesterol. Also, thanks to years of eating Porridge for breakfast, I know that oats have great staying power (a bowl of Porridge used to be the only thing that would keep me full till lunch) – very useful considering I typically don’t eat lunch until around 2pm these days.
I tweaked a number of recipes I came across and came up with the one below, yielding slightly less airy (but no less delicious) muffins than your typical muffin. So delicious in fact that we finished 5 between the two of us in less than a day (so much for thinking these would become our breakfast for the best part of this week).
I can see these quickly becoming a staple in our kitchen as I don’t think we will ever run out of key ingredients for these muffins:
- Rome is far too warm for Porridge at the moment so my carefully imported stockpile of jumbo oats has patiently been waiting for its time to shine;
- We have 5 litres of new season olive oil which just calls for more olive-oil based baking (and I can’t just make these brownies again and again – although Ale and his colleagues wouldn’t mind); and
- Ale and I are going through mandarines like it is no-one’s business – as in, we are devouring about 4kg a week (and its only 2 of us, and we are out at work all day) … what can I say, they are in season and taste heavenly … so we always have some at home which just scream to be zested into something.
Oh and those poppy seeds? Totally optional but I have an abundance of poppy seeds in my pantry and love the little crunch they give these muffins.
Mandarin Oatflour Olive Oil Muffins
Ingredients (makes 6 medium muffins)
150g oats, ground to a coarse flour
2 tbsp wholemeal spelt flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp poppy seeds
Zest of 1 mandarine
50ml olive oil (ca. 1.5 tbsp)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and lightly grease a muffin tin big enough to hold 6 medium muffins.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl, whisking together with a spoon. In a second bowl, whisk together the olive oil, buttermilk and egg.
3. Pour the wet mix over the dry ingredients and carefully mix the two together using a fork. Don’t worry if there are still a few lumps, these will disappear in the oven.
4. Distribute the batter between the muffin tins and bake for ca. 18-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.