Mandarin Oatflour Olive Oil Muffins

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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)
90ml buttermilk
1 egg

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.

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6 thoughts on “Mandarin Oatflour Olive Oil Muffins

  1. I rather love the idea of eating gelato and pasta every day and living in Italy is my idea of heaven! But I know health is important too and these look like a lovely healthy for those days in between pasta and ice cream 🙂

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    • I am definitely not complaining about the amazing food I am surrounded by. Although, dare I say it, I miss those London coffee shops where you can linger for hours reading the papers and drinking one flat white after another. Gulping down a scalding espresso standing at a bar is just not the same!

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