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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Vegan, Gluten Free Breakfast Muffins

It only seems right to start this blog with a healthy, low cal recipe suitable for vegans and coeliacs.

So, we've perfected the muffin that contains no flour, sugar, butter or eggs. We varied this a few times to make sure we got a good texture.

Jess: On telling friends, and my Mum, about the ingredients I was met with disbelief that it would actually taste like a muffin. But it does. It looks like one too. Despite being such a healthy recipe, it took me a while to get my head around not feeling guilty eating a muffin, because I've always associated them with being overly indulgent treats. But this recipe really is good for you, it keeps you full for hours and definitely stops the need for a snack to get you through the morning. This could also be great for diabetic people too, as oat bran, flaxseed and cinnamon all have links to stabilising blood sugar levels.

The basic recipe for this is one we found online, but it was a bit plain and (although still tasty) so we decided to experiment with this and make it generally much more appealing and wonderful. The basic recipe is as follows:

Basic Flaxseed Muffin:

1 egg
3 tbsp flaxseed
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tbsp oil

Mix in a mug and microwave for one minute.

The benefit of a recipe this simple (and microwaveable!) is that you can make as many as you want very quickly, so changing a little bit of the recipe at a time was not a problem. First things first, we veganised (yes, it's now a verb) the recipe by substituting half a banana for the egg (Tom: soon I hope to do a general post about vegan baking - watch this space!) We found that this didn't rise so well, so we added some milk (almond - but that's just personal preference) to make it a bit more of a batter, which solved that problem. Then we tried adding oat bran to the muffins to stop them from being quite so stodgy. Finally (the fun bit!) we added lots of combination of spices, vanilla, maple syrup, nut and blueberries till we found what we think is the best recipe!

However, probably while you're making this you'll think "hmmm, this would definitely benefit from just a pinch of.....", or you may even decide you hate cinnamon and blueberries (which would leave you with a very sad and empty life) and want to scrap our recipe and start again from the basic recipe in which case YOU CAN! You officially have our permission to make whatever muffin you think will be best. All we ask is you take a couple of photos and tell us your ideas at or post them in a comment below. We want to hear your improvements!

If you haven't cooked using flaxseed before, it's available in health food shops (Jess: I got mine from the Eighth Day Vegetarian shop in Manchester) but Sainsbury's do sometimes sell it too. It's high in fibre so introduce it into your diet slowly and maybe start with 2 tbsp oat bran to 1 tbsp flax if your gut is sensitive. It's a great ingredient to use though, lots of protein and omega-3 fatty acids and its low-carb so good for the dieters. Oat bran is also low carb and full of fibre, adding to the health benefits of these muffins.

This recipe is best made in a regular coffee mug. Any will do.

1/2 banana
1/2 tbsp oil (use whichever type you prefer, olive oil works fine in my experience)
1/2 tbsp milk (again, whichever type you want. Skimmed, full fat, almond, soy...whatever. Water would probably work here too)
2 tbsp milled flaxseed
1 tbsp oat bran (gluten free if needed)
1 tsp baking powder
1-2 tsp cinnamon

Firstly, mash the banana in the mug. Once mashed, it will have a similar consistency to beaten egg.

 Add the oil and milk to the banana and mix. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix.

 We made this recipe with a few blueberries too, but anything would go in here (eg. other berries, dried fruits, chocolate chips...). Once all mixed together, put the mug in the microwave and cook on full power for 1-2 minutes. Jess: I have a 700W microwave so it took me about 2 mins 20 to be fully cooked, but check after a minute if you're lucky enough to not be living in student accommodation with a microwave from the 18th century.

Would you like some eyes with that muffin? Sorry, no can do.

And there you have it. A muffin with no flour, sugar, butter or eggs. If you prefer to use eggs, just substitute the banana for an egg. You don't have to use cinnamon, use anything you wish to flavour it. Vanilla essence also works nicely. We love cinnamon so as you will soon notice, we put bucket loads of it in absolutely everything, but you don't have to.

Using the above recipe (with regular skimmed milk, and a few blueberries), this muffin contains about 210kcal. Completely guilt free and a great filling start to the day.

Enjoy and let us know how it goes!

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