Banana and Blueberry Granola Bars

The boat is currently moored in a nice secluded woody area, surrounded by humungous trees and fields of horses. It also appears to be a bit of a black hole, connection wise. No internet, no phone signal. Just me and my mind. It’s been both good and bad. I don’t like feeling disconnected. But I also know that this current world is full of too much information. My brain feels like a matrix of words and news sometimes, forever buzzing and processing all the information we have access to. Social media has made switching off and being present much harder. Anxiety levels are on the rise in everybody, because life has turned into one big popularity contest.

It scares me a lot, how much this world now relies on constant sources of information and technology. We’ve forgotten how to appreciate the simple things in life, like the birds singing their songs, fresh from their migration back to the UK, fields of yellow popping up as the warmer weather arrives, the crisp morning air. We need to revel in the marvel that is this beautiful planet. Put down that screen and look outside, and around you. Breathe life.

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Bananagranolabar

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These bars are a great energy source, a vital addition to any lunchbox and a great snack for that afternoon stroll through the countryside. They’re also free of all the rubbish that you get in store bought bars.

Ever so slightly adapted from this fantastic one

Banana and Blueberry Granola Bars (v) (gf)

Makes 8-10 bars

INGREDIENTS

2 very ripe bananas
3 tablespoons almond butter (homemade or you can use pre-bought, I love this one)
80ml date syrup
Large handful blueberries
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon hemp protein powder (I used this one)
200g gluten free rolled oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
Handful cacao nibs
Handful pumpkin seeds

METHOD

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180 C

Line a baking tray with baking paper, and then grease it with coconut oil / EVOO

In a food processor, combine bananas, almond butter, coconut oil, date syrup, half of the blueberries, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix until completely combined and you have a thick paste mixture.

In a frying pan, gently toast the nuts and seeds for 3-5 minutes, until slightly brown. Leave to cool. Once cooled, roughly chop the nuts.

In a large bowl, mix the oats, hemp powder, chia seeds, coconut, cacao nibs, the rest of the blueberries and toasted nut/seeds.

Stir the banana paste mix into the oat mix and combine.

Pour mix into your lined tray. Push down with a spatula to ensure mixture is evenly packed.

Bake for 30-40 mins, until lightly golden. These bars are quite soft, if you wish for them to be slightly crunchier, then bake for 10-15 more mins, but keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!

Leave to cool for 10 mins, then tip onto wire rack and let cool completely.

These will keep (in a sealed tub) for around a week.

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Like these granola bars? Try these ones too:

Bad Ass Breakfast Bars from Happy Hearted Kitchen

Chilli Peanut Butter Granola Bars from Planet Veggie

Oaty No-Bake Bars from BakingQueen74

Smoked Chilli Energy Bars from Tin and Thyme

Peanut and Chocolate Chunk Cookies

The sun is still shining in the West Country. Parks are rammed with passed out sun worshippers. Beer gardens are brimming with smiley cider faces. I’m going to leave it on that note and join those smiley, cider drinking, sun worshippers. Enjoy this weeks recipe friends!

Cookies are always a good idea. A must have lunch box addition. The best rucksack snack. Mid morning bite. Cookies are my favourite.

I’m really into nut flours at the moment. Yes, they are slightly more expensive than regular flour. But they provide much more flavour and protein to a recipe. Plus it means these little gems are gluten free!

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Peanut and Chocolate Chunk Cookies (gf) (df)

Makes 6-8 Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

100g peanut flour (I used Sukrin)
Handful GF rolled oats
40g unrefined Muscavado sugar (can be light or dark)
100g dairy free 80% dark chocolate (crushed into small chunks)
2 eggs
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon date syrup (sub with maple syrup if you don’t have date)
2 tablespoons almond milk – if needed

METHOD

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180 C

In a bowl, mix flour, oats, baking powder, sugar and chocolate chunks.

Whisk together the eggs and the date syrup, for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Mix wet with dry, add a touch of milk if needed.

Chill cookie mix in fridge for 1 hour

Remove dough from fridge. Mould into balls and place on a lined baking tray, press down on the cookies to form circles about ½ inch thick.

Bake for 10-12 mins. Leave to cool fully before enjoying.

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Sukrin kindly donated the flour for this recipe. Opinions are all mine.

Wild Garlic Scones

I know I say this a lot, but seriously where has this week gone? Time is going by at an alarming rate at the minute, I want to grab it by the reigns and pull it back, ever so slightly, to a gentle trot. My weeks are all blurring into one and it’s gonna be half way through the year in no time.

It’s been glorious in the South West this last week, blue skies and sunny days. Fields of green everywhere. Longer evenings, filled with music, friends and food outdoors. The kinda week you want to put in a bottle and keep forever. Long walks and fresh air make me the happiest. This life we lead on the water is a good one.

Spring is so refreshing, to see the end of the long winter. New life in the fields, lambs bounding around each other. Fresh vegetation blossoming and sprouting, ready for another British summer. Wild garlic taking over the woodlands, like an army surging over land.

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Wild garlic is taking over my home county right now. Wafting its smell through the wind. On a run earlier this week, we stopped and foraged a big bag of it. What followed was two days of wild-garlic-in-everythannnggg-meals. From pesto, to infused oils and then to these scones. These scones are packing a punch full of flavour, perfect lunch addition or afternoon snack. Keep those vampires away. nb these scones are not recommended before a hot date – just saying.

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Wild Garlic Scones (v)

Makes 6-8 scones

INGREDIENTS:

170g organic rye flour
40g organic wholemeal flour
100ml almond milk
5 wild garlic leaves (washed and patted dry)
5 tablespoons coconut oil
Handful of rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of sea salt

 

METHOD

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180 C

In a bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and salt/pepper. Mix to combine.

Roughly chop the garlic leaves and add them into a food processor along with the dry ingredients.

Add the coconut oil to the mix and pulse for 30 seconds.

With the motor running, slowly pour in your milk. The mix should start to form a dough. Add a touch more milk if necessary.

Scoop out dough and place on a floured surface. Pat down into a firm circle shape, about 1-1.5 inch thick.

Using a knife, cut the dough into even pieces.

Place scones on a lined baking tray, spread apart slightly.

Bake for 15-20 mins, until they start to brown at the edges. Remove from oven and leave to cool. Spread with pesto, coconut oil or any other tasty treats.

Wild garlic Scones

Wild Garlic Scones

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Tahini Brownies

Today’s post is sponsored by awe. Awe at my surroundings. Awe at my loved ones. Awe at nature. But mainly awe at the human body. It is such a great and powerful thing, and I think it deserves a round of applause.

I was out running today (something I have unexpectedly become quite attached to) and this wave of emotion came over me. There I was, jogging along, without stopping, for some time. These limbs were rotating and bending a long, without complaint. The human body is an amazing thing, and what it can accomplish is even more inspiring. For possibly the first time ever, I felt proud of my body, and it’s capability. It’s willingness to keep going, keeping my legs moving, arms swinging, heart beating.

I want to do a marathon this year. Something which is pretty ambitious (super ambitious for me!) but I really want to do one. I’m starting to get into running a lot more, and would like to set myself a goal, an aim of achievement! I applied to the NY Marathon, but unfortunately didn’t get a place. My Mum on the other hand, got one. WOOHOOOO, go mumma! I encouraged her to sign up with me, so feel a little bad I won’t be running along side her. I will, however, be cheering my heart out from the sidelines. Plus, I’m not going to complain about a holiday to New York now, am I?

Tahini Brownies

These brownies are a great post-run treat. They’re gluten free, are low in sugar, and have no dairy, just some eggs for protein.  Perfect to get some fuel in you after that soul boosting run.

Tahini Brownies

INGREDIENTS:

250g organic dark chocolate (dairy free)
150g ground almonds
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 + 2 tablespoons tahini
2 large eggs
2 heaped tablespoons organic cocoa powder
1 tablespoon date syrup (use maple if you don’t have date)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Pinch of sea salt

Optional: Cacao nibs / dried cranberries / flaked almonds

METHOD

In a pan, melt the chocolate, tahini and coconut, stirring well to combine. Set aside

In a bowl, beat the eggs for 5 mins, until they start to become fluffy. Add in the vanilla, date syrup, cocoa powder and salt. Beat well.

Fold in melted choc mixture.

Fold in ground almonds, and if using, nibs/almonds/cranberries

Pour into a lined baking tray. Dollop the tahini around the mix, and using a knife, swirl it throughout the tray.

Bake for 20- 25 mins. Bake at 350F or 170C!

Once cooked, leave to cool and, for best results, refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

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Tahini Brownie

Sugar Free Blood Orange Cake

I seem to have been a little presumptuous with the weather in my last post. Winter seems to be back with a bang. There was a thick frost again this morning. All those poor little snowdrops getting all confused, they’d been so excited to see the sunlight, only for it to smack them in the face with an icy frost. My tulips that were starting to bulb seemed to have hit the pause button, teasing me with an inch of their green stalks. Hovering above the soil in their pot, waiting for definite confirmation that spring is in fact, definitely on its way, and not just being a big old tease that is the British weather sometimes.

This is the first year in 4 years that I have been in the UK for the whole winter. I was not happy at the thought of that back in September. Wishing I was on a beach or in the mountains. However it has succeeded all my expectations, and I’m pretty happy we stayed put. British winters are glorious, and remind me of all the reasons why I love my country.

Plus, having a base here meant I found time to start Rough Measures. I’m so glad I did. It’s given me some focus, a bit of purpose too. I’ve met lots of new people since starting this blog, and I love hearing feedback from people about my recipes. It’s also opened up some new doors; writing reviews for websites, and working with local businesses.

I’m a big fan of buying local. We need to support our local businesses and farmers. I’ve recently teamed up with Luke Rich from Larkhall Farm Shop, to create some seasonal recipes. You can find these on display in the shop. They are having an open day this Saturday (7th March) if you are in Bath, do come down and say hello. There will be tasty treats on offer, and plenty of exciting fruit and veg to buy!

Blood-Orange-Cake

Blood oranges (or Sicilian oranges) are only in season for a short time. So get them quickly and get creative. They are slightly more tarte than their sister fruits, adding a different depth to a recipe.

I made this cake sugar-free, as I’m trying to cut right down on refined sugar for a while. However I have added maple syrup to the recipe below, to add a hint of sweetness if you desire it.

SUGAR FREE BLOOD ORANGE CAKE (V) (SF)

INGREDIENTS:

200g wholemeal self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
80ml extra virgin olive oil
7 blood oranges (+1 for slicing)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup – leave out if wanting completely sugar free
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

METHOD

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180 C

First, zest one orange, leave the zest to one side and then boil the orange in hot water for an hour. Once cooked, leave to cool.

Grease and line a round baking tin. Thinly slice 1 orange and arrange the slices on the bottom of the tin, covering as much of the tin as possible.

Add the dry ingredients to a bowl, add in the zest of the boiled orange, plus more zest if desired. I added the zest of 3 oranges in total.

In a jug, squeeze the juice out of the oranges.

Scrape the pulp out of the cooked orange and add to the jug. Add oil and whisk wet ingredients together.

Combine the wet with the dry to form a batter. Pour into tin, over the slices.

Bake for 35 mins, or until a knife comes out clean.

Leave to cool for 10 mins, then turn cake onto a wire cooling rack.

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Rye and Mixed Seed Crackers

I woke up this morning with an unusual sensation. Something felt different on the boat this morning. Then I sussed it, it was warm. There was no slight chill in the air. My nose was normal body temperature, not the cold little bump that normally takes it’s place all winter. Nope, it was definitely warm. No frost outside, no frozen solid canal, just ripples across the water, ducks paddling through it once more, happy to be over their ice skating phase.

Winter seems to be moving on, albeit slowly, but he’s on his way. Part of me is sad, I love those crisp, blue skies. I love the morning frosts, followed by clear, short winter days. But with the change in weather, comes the sign of spring, snowdrops are starting to bloom, daffodil stems are popping up left, right and centre. Even my tulips are starting to poke their heads out of their potted beds. Spring is on his merry way.

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RyeSeedCrackers

You can’t go wrong with crackers. A change up from your morning toast, something lighter for lunch, or something to keep you going on the sometimes dull February afternoons. These are so easy to make, you can add whichever seeds / nuts take your fancy. Mess around with your preference of herbs and spices. Serve them with a tasty dip, like this one. Here’s my favourite pic’n’mix cracker for now.

Rye and Mixed Seed Crackers

Makes 10-15 crackers

INGREDIENTS

100g Rye flour
50g Spelt flour
3 tablespoons ground flax
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon pine nuts
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon majoram
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Salt and pepper
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

60ml water
½ teaspoon E.V Olive oil

METHOD

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180 C

Line a large tray with baking paper.

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix with a spoon.

Knead with your hands to form a ball of dough.

On baking paper, or a non stick mat, roll out your dough into a rectangle shape, to the desired thickness – I rolled mine about ½ cm thick.

Using a knife, or pastry wheel, score lines into the dough to form crackers. Make as small / big as you like.

Bake for 20 mins, until the edges are just starting to darken. If you want your crackers extra crisper, bake for a couple of mins longer.

Leave to cool completely, before storing in an air tight container.

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Lemon and Rosemary Donuts

Roald Dahl once said “If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of you like sunbeams and you will always look lovely” 

I woke up the other morning feeling rather negative (something that I struggle with rather a lot) but I had a little word with myself, got up and got myself to work. I was going to try to have a positive day. Be happier, not dwell on things. I got to work and had all these good intentions, then I dropped my phone on the floor. The screen smashed into lots of tiny pieces, held together only by my ‘screen protector’. I was fuming at myself, this was going to cost a lot of money to fix, money which I don’t have. Why was I so silly to drop it. Why were my hands so slippery? Why was my phone case not more grippy? All the negativity came back like a tidal wave.

I spent the rest of the day in a huff, beating myself up about something which I could not undo. It had happened and there was nothing I could do about it. But I couldn’t get out of my negative wave.

When I left work, it was a bitterly cold evening, all I could think about was getting home to the boat, lighting the wood burner and scoffing some chocolate. I passed a homeless man on the street, and stopped to give him some change. He looked at me so gratefully and said ‘Thank you, you’re the first person that’s stopped and spoke to me in hours, people don’t like to stop when it’s cold’.

There I was grumpy because I’d broken my phone which I’m so lucky to be able to have and use, and this guy was just happy I’d given him some loose change. Kinda puts things back into perspective.

Positivity and gratefulness sometimes doesn’t come naturally to me. But I like sunbeams, and I’m gonna try a lot harder to make them shine out of me.

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These donuts. Oh, these donuts. They make the sun shine out of your taste buds, of your tummy. The lemon might as well be a big round ball of sunshine. There’s no overload of sugar here. No, no. These little things are my new go to thing when I’m craving a little treat. A spreading of creamy coconut icing sets these off.

Lemon and Rosemary Donuts with Coconut Cream Icing (v)

INGREDIENTS:

150g spelt flour (any flour would work)
4 tablespoons coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
80ml almond milk
1 heaped teaspoon fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons agave (or maple syrup)
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt

For the Coconut Cream Icing
1 tin coconut milk (chilled overnight)
Zest ½ lemon

 

METHOD

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3 / 170 o C

Grease 6 non-stick donut trays very lightly with olive oil

In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients and mix into a batter.

Using a spoon or a piping bag, divide the mixture evenly between the donut trays.

Bake in the oven for 20 mins, or until a pick comes out clean. Keep a close eye on your donuts as they’re cooking, so as not to burn them.

Leave to cool for 10 mins, then tip onto a cooling rack and let them cool completely (it’s important to let them cool before you try to add the icing)

Once cool, spread coconut icing over donuts, and sprinkle over extra lemon zest.

Coconut Cream Icing

Open your tin of cooled coconut milk. scoop the thick cream off the top and into a bowl. Whisk until it forms peaks.

(Unfortunately for me, as I was whisking my cream, I ran out of power on the boat, the whisk had drained our batteries!) So mine was a bit runny, but still tasty.

 

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Beetroot and Butter Bean Hummus

WHAT A WEEK. We’ve just got back from our holiday to the alps. I am exhausted and all my muscles ache, but I am filled with gratitude, love and energy to the wonderfulness that is the mountains. They make you feel totally insignificant but powerful beyond words. Storming down slopes and open powder bowls. Hiking ridges above cliffs to access those sweet, untouched fields of the fluffy stuff. I had a permanent smile on my face. Riding with my best friends, in such a beautiful and breathtaking place. I am in awe of those mountains. The view never fails to amaze me, the great vastness of the alpine range, the views of Mont Blanc, and Lac Leman. We are blessed to be able to have spent so much time there, and that it is so accessible to us. We ate too much cheese, drank too much beer and laughed until our sides hurt.

Sometimes you just need to give yourself a break, to recharge your little mind, to laugh at your tumbles and falls, to realise that it’s gonna be alright. Whether that be from a holiday, or just a good old cuppa. Make some you time, put your feet up, give yourself a pat on the back. You’re doing good kiddo. Keep on keepin’ on.

Beetrootbeandip

A good friend of mine has been pestering me to do a beetroot recipe ever since I started Rough Measures, she has been filling my brain with all the purple related ideas. So, this one’s for you Joelle!

This dip is extremely easy, and a tasty, colourful alternative to regular hummus.

Beetroot and Butter Bean Hummus (v) (gf)

INGREDIENTS:

3 large beetroot (roasted are best, but boiled or package bought will work also)
400g butter beans (soaked and cooked or tinned)
1 garlic clove (finely diced)
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper
Dash olive oil.

Coriander (fresh and seeds) – to serve

METHOD

Add cooked beetroot, butter beans, oil and garlic to a food processor. Blend for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides.

Add the lemon juice, spices and s+p. Blend until smooth.

Serve in a bowl scattered with fresh coriander and coriander seeds.

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Carrot and Celeriac Slaw

Yesterday I was feeling like a domestic goddess. I finished work early, got back to the boat before dark and had a sudden burst of energy. I decided I would sweep the chimney. A job that has needed doing for a while but we hadn’t quite found the time to do it yet.

I was up on the roof, chimney hat off, with my make shift chimney sweep (the joys of gaffa tape!), sweeping away. I felt rather proud of myself that I was doing a pretty grotty job. Practical goddess if you will. Once swept I knew I was going to have to go inside and clear out the fire before I could light it and warm myself up. It took me about 45 mins of sticking my arm up the fire and scooping out charred ash. After what seemed like forever, I was pretty certain I’d cleared it out completely.

So I lit a nice fire to get toasty. Then the problems started. Smoke started billowing out of the bottom vents, into the boat. Not the chimney as it should do. So what did I do? Well I opened the fire door didn’t I… let’s just say it took me a long while to get the fire alarm to stop going off.

By this point it was getting late and I was getting even colder. I felt like a practical-goddess-failure. I called SOS (my SOS being Charlie), put the kettle on and warmed my hands up over the hob.

Charlie, being the clever man that he is, managed to fix the chimney within 5 minutes, and soon the fire was roaring again.

Anyway, the moral of this story is, (in my case) stick to what you’re good at…

CeleriacSlaw

Celeriac is such a great vegetable, pretty ugly to look at, but great in all other aspects. It’s a nice winter vegetable, with an earthy flavour and can be used in anything from slaws to soups.

I’ve paired the veg with a vegan cashew ‘mayo’ to add extra vitamins and nutrients.

Carrot and Celeriac Slaw (V)

INGREDIENTS:

1 large carrot (scrubbed)
½ celeriac

Cashew ‘mayo’
Handful cashews (soaked for 1-3 hours)
1/2 cup cold water
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
Splash extra virgin olive oil
Pinch salt and pepper

METHOD

First, using a sharp knife, peel the celeriac.

Using a Julienne peeler, or a grater, grate up your carrot and celeriac. Add to a mixing bowl.

Drain and rinse your soaked cashews.

In a blender, add cashews, water, s+p and olive oil. Blitz until it forms a creamy, smooth consistency.

Add mustard and blitz for 20 more seconds

Scoop the cashew mix out of the blender and add to the veg.

Mix well and serve with salad, on a burger or as a side.

 

 

Special thanks to my ever so talented friend Josie, for the gorgeous handmade, lino print tea-towel. You can find more of her beautiful creations over here.

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Spelt Blueberry Chia Muffins

When I am stressed, I bake. When I am worried, I bake. When it’s all getting a bit too much, I bake. I don’t know if I necessarily find it therapeutic, but it seems to be my go to thing when I’m having a dark-grey-cloud-over-my-head kinda day.

I try to live in the present, the now, the very moment. However it isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially when you have spent 26 years of your life worrying. Baking somehow manages to change my thought process. The focussing on the ingredients and method is almost like some kind of meditation for me. It just manages to push those worries and fears aside for a while, to re-adjust my blurry head, pushing the dark cloud away.

We are blessed that we live on the water, just seeing the ripples and reflections through the windows, even on a grey day, can help push the negativity away. There is nothing better than cooking with a view, to whip up something magical whilst looking out over the canal and to the fields beyond.

These muffins are not anything new, just a good old classic recipe spruced up a little. Spelt is such a lovely grain to use, I much prefer it’s slightly nuttier flavour, and better depth of colour. You can find it in any good supermarket or health food store. It has a much lower gluten content than regular flour too, meaning it won’t make you feel all sluggish.

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Blueberry-Chia-Muffins

Spelt Blueberry Chia Muffins

Makes 4-6 muffins

INGREDIENTS:

150g (1 cup) whole grain spelt flour
2 free range eggs
1 overly ripe banana (mashed)
2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
Handful of blueberries (fresh or frozen will work)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
Handful of nuts (I used flaked almonds)

METHOD

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 3 / 160 C

Line a muffin tray with 6 muffin cases

Add the eggs to the mashed banana and mix well.

Pour in melted coconut oil (let it cool slightly first) and vanilla and stir to combine all wet ingredients.

Add your dry ingredients to your wet mixture and stir with a spoon until smooth.

Chuck in the blueberries and nuts, and fold them through the mixture.

Dollop spoonfuls of the muffin mixture into each muffin case, fill almost to the top.

Place in the oven and bake for approx. 20 mins, until lightly golden and a skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and place muffins on a cooling rack.

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