I love my flat. It might only be a ‘compact’ third floor rental, but it is cosy, clean and has a beautiful view over the quiet, tree-lined streets that wind the hill to Highgate. The only major downside, and one that is particularly painful for a chef who gets to play with lots of sexy high-tech equipment at work, is the dubiously rickety and highly temperamental gas oven and hob. In the past, I have narrowly avoided streams of boiling hot soup catapulting across the room as a pan suddenly and mysteriously loses balance on the wobbly stove-top (no third-degree burns as yet, but I will keep you posted). The oven itself has a definite mind of its own. Usually, setting it to anything below the maximum of gas mark 9 is futile (think the temperature of your average airing cupboard) but every so often the beast will leap into overdrive and within a few minutes your delicious roast chicken is a blackened mess of f-ing and blinding and ‘let’s just get a bloody takeaway’.
For this reason I don’t generally bake at home. It’s too risky and seriously increases my chances of a nervous breakdown. However, this week I had a real craving for muffins so I threw caution to the wind and braved it. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so cupcakes and the like don’t generally appeal but the understated, nuttiness of these banana and toasted oat muffins is incredibly moreish. They are sweetened only with raw honey (and the banana itself) and are full of the rich, malty crunch of toasted oats and mixed seeds. I only made a half batch, any more than six muffins would have for sure been too much for my grumpy oven to handle, and they disappeared almost instantly. These are perfect as a quick breakfast, with an afternoon coffee or in my case eaten straight from the tin, sat on the kitchen floor like an ecstatic mad woman, gleefully patting the oven and congratulating it on a stellar effort…
Banana Honey and Toasted Oat Muffins
- 150g self-raising flour
- 150g wholemeal self raising flour
- 60g porridge oats, lightly toasted in the oven (plus 1 tbsp for topping)
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 very ripe bananas
- 100g raw honey
- 250ml yoghurt
- 90ml olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 50g toasted mixed seeds (plus 1 tbsp for topping)
- 2tbsp flaked almonds
Preheat your oven to 180c/fan160/gas mark 4 and prepare a muffin tin with cases.
Sift the flour and bicarb into a large bowl. Add the porridge oats and mixed seeds and stir.
Mash the banana with a fork and put in a jug with the honey, yoghurt, olive oil and eggs. Gently stir the mixture until it is evenly combined.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour over the liquid mix. Stir until combined (do not over mix). Pour the mix into muffin cases making sure each case is three-quarters full. Top with the remaining oats, seeds and almonds and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Leave for a few minutes before transferring the muffins to a rack to cool completely.
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