Banana Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

Makes: 12

I made these muffins a while ago and they prove once again that a good muffin – like these – are a no brainer when it comes to little boys and their lunchboxes.

Tom of course ate three off the bat and by the next day, they were all gone; only two making it to school.

No doubt there is a revolution in muffin technology I am missing out on because they are pretty simple.

Keep it to the basics however and you’ll have a hit on your hands.


1 cup wholemeal self raising flour
1 cup self raising flour
3 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp bicarb soda
3 apples, peeled and grated
1 banana
¼ cup honey (or brown sugar)
2 tbs maple syrup
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
Extra apple slices to top


  1. Preheat oven to 180c and grease a 12-hole muffin tin.
  2. Sift flours, cinnamon and bicarb soda into a bowl. Stir in the grated apple, banana and honey.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the oil, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla essence. Add into the flour mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Spoon into the muffin pan, top with apple slices and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

Apple and Sultana Muffins

Makes: 12

We went on a bit of a muffin crave a few months back.

Every Sunday, we would whip up a batch for lunches and snacks, usually doubling the recipe on account of Tom (6) hoovering six (6) of them as soon as they could be handled.

These muffins are pretty down-the-line muffins though the boys whole-heartedly helped cut and mix all the ingredients. And any recipe that the boys participate in is one to type up; because getting participation and having fun in the process is half the point.

Our craves move on and the muffin ship has sailed for the moment, though if I did a batch of these one night as a treat, I have no doubt the ship would be back in port.

Keep it simple, treat yourself and enjoy.


200gm self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
50gm wholemeal flour
100gm caster sugar
2 eggs
125ml skim milk
4 tbsp sunflower oil
2 apples, grated
100gm sultanas


  1. Heat the oven to 180c.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar.
  3. In another bowl, mix the eggs, milk and oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well and then fold in the apple and sultanas.
  4. Divide between 12 greased muffin cases and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and hand them to your Tom.

Energy Muffins

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Tasty, filling… energy.

Energy Muffins

Serves: 15 – 18

There are muffins and then there are these muffins: energy muffins.

I found them in Delicious Magazine.

They’re dense, they’re soft, they’re incredibly tasty. And they’re really filling. Have one at 10 and you won’t need lunch until 2.

Read the ingredient list and you’ll know where the energy comes from.

You should whip up a batch for the week.

Seriously good.


1 ¼ cups caster sugar
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sultanas
2 cups grated carrot
1 cup, grated apple
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Icing sugar, to dust


  1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Use paper cases to line the muffin pans or grease muffin pans.
  2. Sift sugar, flour, cinnamon and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the sultanas, carrot, apple, coconut and walnuts.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and fold until just combined; do not overmix.
  4. Spoon into muffin pans and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve dusted with icing sugar.

Warmed Red Cabbage Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Goats Cheese

Warmed Red Cabbage Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Goats Cheese

Serves: 6

This is a really great salad.

Really, really great.

The melting goat cheese, the toasted walnuts, the apple, the balsamic vinegar. It’s warm, crunchy, rich and sweet.

This is a real treat.

Serve with lamb koftas, beef or chicken kebabs, BBQed pork tenderloin.


1 small head, red cabbage, cored and sliced into strips
1 small apple, cored and sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 – 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
200gm goats cheese
½ cup walnuts, toasted
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. In a frypan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and add the garlic and cook until fragrant though not browned. Add the onion and 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and cook for a minute.
  2. Add cabbage and stir well; cook for 5 minutes or so until slightly wilted and softened though still bright coloured.
  3. Add apple, walnuts, season and stir well. Add the goats cheese and stir to gently incorporate. Taste for seasoning and add additional balsamic vinegar if it needs some acidity.
  4. Serve immediately.

Apple and Cinnamon Galette

Serves: 8

I can’t remember screwing up a dessert and so I don’t know why I don’t do them more.

(Of course, it’s possible that desserts always work no matter what, because butter, sugar, cream, chocolate in any combination and baked any which way are going to be fine!)

When I do cook dessert, I’ve gotten into the habit of doing the dessert early in the morning when I’m fresh and have plenty of time for the entrée and main.

Otherwise, if I did the dessert last, I’d probably never get to it in lieu of getting the meat and vegetables right.

What I have resolved about desserts is that simple desserts can work just as well as sophisticated desserts: whilst I’d love to make a vanilla bean mascarpone ice cream every time to accompany said 17 types of chocolate Gordon Ramsay dessert, a simple tart with some pouring cream is still bloody good.

This particular dessert is very simple and while you probably wouldn’t see it in Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant, you might find it in my bistro if I had one.

Try it. You’ll be very happy you did.


120g digestive biscuits (Milk Arrowroot etc)
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs plain flour
190g caster sugar
1kg small, sweet apples (I used Fuji, though Pink Lady or Gala would be fine)
40g unsalted butter, melted, cooled
2 tsp vanilla extract
Icing Sugar to dust
Pure (thin) cream to serve

Shortcut Pastry

1 ½ cups plain flour
125g chilled, unsalted butter, chopped


  1. For the shortcut pasty, place the flour and ¼ teaspoon salt in a food processor and whiz together. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. With the food processor running, pour 3 tablespoons iced water in through the feed tube and process until the dough forms a ball around the blade.
  2. Tip the dough onto a board and shape into a ball. Flatten the dough into a disc and tightly enclose tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for 50 minutes until dough is firm.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200c and line a pizza tray or baking tray with baking paper.
  4. In a food processor, whiz the biscuits to fine crumbs with the cinnamon, flour and 1 ½ tablespoons sugar. Set aside.
  5. Peel, halve and core the apples. Slice very thinly into half moons, ideally with a mandolin.
  6. Melt the butter in a large frypan over a medium-low heat. Ad 2/3 cup sugar (150g) and stir to combine. Add the apple and vanilla and cook for 2-3 minutes until the apple is coated and slightly softened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the pan.
  7. On a floured board, roll out the pastry into a round, 2-3mm, 28cm ring (or to fit tray); it should be 5cm longer than the end of the pizza tray (or baking tray) so that the pastry can be overlapped a small way back over the apple.
  8. Press the dough into the corners of the tray. Spread the biscuit mixture evenly over the base.
  9. Pile the apple mixture evenly over the biscuit mixture including any juices. Gently fold the overhanging dough over fruit. Sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons over the pastry rim.
  10. Bake for 35 – 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
  11. Leave to cool for 40 minutes and transfer to serving plate. Sift and dust lightly with icing sugar.