Blueberry and Oat Muffins

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I’ve become quite a fan of the blueberry over the last 18 months, mainly because we have a permanent stash in the fridge: they are one of Lentil’s favourite fruits along with grapes (fresh or dried). I can’t recall how the blueberry craving started. I suspect they appealed as they are small, soft, don’t have any pips or stones, don’t require peeling and are therefore convenient and an unlikely choking hazard!

As one of the original superfoods, blueberries have many additional benefits.  They are a good source of vitamin K, manganese, dietary fibre and vitamin C.  These perennial plants are also recommended for their anti-inflammatory properties and, (believe it or not!), are apparently one of the richest sources of proanthocyanidins, which can decrease free radicals linked to wrinkles!!  So not just good for the kiddies!

If, like me, you were horrified to realise your memory isn’t as good as it used to be post-kids you’ll be delighted to hear that, according to the World’s Healthiest Foods, studies indicate regular blueberry consumption is also great for your memory!

Here is a healthy mini muffin recipe packed full of these little blue berries, or if you prefer to drink your fruit check out our blueberry smoothie recipe here.  xx

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Makes 12 mini muffins

The what:

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100g blueberries

170g wholemeal flour

1 vanilla pod (or you can use 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence)

30g oats (plus a few extra for sprinkling on top)

1 egg

75ml buttermilk

60ml milk

55g unsalted butter

1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

mini cupcake cases

The how:

Preheat oven to 200 (180 fan) and place the cupcake cases in a mini cupcake baking tray

Melt the unsalted butter in a small saute pan and set aside to cool.

Mix the wholemeal flour, bicarbonate of soda, oats and vanilla in a large bowl. Next make a well in the centre of the bowl and add the buttermilk, milk, egg and butter to the well and stir quickly with a fork to combine.  Add the blueberries and fold in the flour mixture, mixing until well combined.

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Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes.  Insert a cocktail stick into the centre to ensure they are cooked.  The cocktail stick should come out clean.

Place on a rack to cool and then let the kids tuck in!

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Couscous muffins and quinoa “cakes”

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Whilst browsing my Twitter feed this week, I came across an interesting little recipe for quinoa bites from Organix and thought I’d give it a go. You’ll find the recipe at https://www.organix.com/food-planner-recipes/recipes/quinoa-bites.  Despite the growing popularity for this pseudocereal (particularly as a low gulten, wheat-free alternative), it isn’t something I’ve ever used before myself, although I have eaten it.  This made me even more curious to try out these little bites.

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They were quite easy to make and have passed the Lentil test, although we’ve renamed them “quinoa cakes”.  We’ve had a few birthdays recently, which Lentil now “gets” and as a result anything with “cake” in the name seems to go down a treat! A collective of birthdays has also meant listening to Lentil sing “happy birthday” at least four times a day such that I can’t get the tune out of my head…..

I’ve also been meaning to create a healthy little snack with couscous for a while.  I thought a cheesy couscous ball would pass the Lentil taste test.  But my couscous balls have become mini muffins as despite going into the oven as perfect almost equally sized spheres they came out anything but perfectly rounded!

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Makes 30 mini muffins, so good for parties or you can freeze some.

The what:

160g couscous

4 medium eggs, lightly beaten

1 large onion, finely chopped

70g Parmesan, grated

30g mozzarella, grated

2 tsp sage, finely chopped

large handful (approx 1tbsp) parsley, finely chopped

The how:

Pre-heat oven to 200 (180 fan).

For the couscous follow instructions on the pack.  Generally, this involves putting the couscous into a large bowl, adding about 200ml boiling water, mixing and covering for 5 minutes).  Then leave it to cool.

Add all the other ingredients to the cooled couscous and mix well.  Cover a baking tray with parchment/baking paper, mold your couscous balls / muffins and place on the paper.  Cook in the oven for 20 minutes until golden.

Enjoy!