Rhubarb breakfast muffins

Rhubarb Breakfast Muffins
Healthy Rhubarb & Apple Muffins

Rhubarb is in season but I always struggle to know what to do with it. Apart from crumble I get a bit stuck. You can’t eat it raw (well you can but it’s very tart) and it doesn’t really lend itself to anything savoury, unless you pickle it, which I ain’t got time for. So what else can you do with it?
Well as you can see, I decided to make muffins but these are no ordinary muffins, these are my attempt at a ‘healthy’ breakfast muffin, (basically I’m bored of granola and want to eat cake for breakfast).
This was a bit of a challenge though, in my experience low calorie muffins taste like sweetened dog shit, so how do I make mine taste good with only half the sugar and no butter? To be honest I don’t know, I made this recipe up with a load of things I thought might work and to my astonishment, they actually did.
I’d heard apple sauce was a good substitute for butter so I started there and built the rest of the recipe around that. I added pecans for texture, lemon zest for freshness and a cheeky pinch of spice, before slopping it all together with a bit of rhubarb and hey presto! The healthy breakfast muffin was born. I like to eat mine in a bowl with yogurt but they’re also good for scoffing on the go, depends how late for work you are.

Rhubarb breakfast muffins
Makes 12 / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 40 mins + cooling /

You’ll need:
Muffin cases and a 12 cup muffin tin
150g plain flour
115g golden caster sugar
50g pecans, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp mixed seeds (you can buy seeds pre-mixed in packets at most supermarkets)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
Zest of a lemon
2 sticks of rhubarb (150g) halved lengthways and diced
2 medium eggs
200ml semi-skimmed milk
50g apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of mixed seeds, oats and sprinkle of sugar (optional)

Muffin Rules
Rule 1. Don’t over mix. Over mixing will produce tough muffins. 

Rule 2. Be quick! As soon as you combine the wet and dry ingredients, the chemicals in the raising agents will start to rise. Get the muffins in the oven as soon as possible to capture this rise. 
Rule 3. If using fruit, add to your dry ingredients. The flour coating will help stop the fruit from sinking.

1. Preheat your oven to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F/gas mark 5. Line 12 muffin cases in a muffin tin. Combine the flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, mixed seeds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Roughly chop the pecans and add them to the dry mixture, along with the zest of a lemon. Half the rhubarb lengthways, dice into roughy 1cm pieces and add to the dry mix.  Give it a good stir.
2. In a measuring jug, add 200ml of semi-skimmed milk, before adding two eggs, apple sauce and vanilla extract. Beat with a fork until combined.
3. Make a well in the dry mixture and pour the wet ingredients straight into it. Working quickly, mix together until just combined and spoon the thick batter evenly into the muffin cases (a heaped tbs per muffin should do it). Sprinkle each muffin with a pinch of mixed seeds and oats and pop in the oven for 15 – 18 minutes.
4. Leave to cool and serve with a dollop of fat free yogurt or enjoy on the go. Store: These muffins will last 3-4 days in an airtight container.

If you’ve had a go at making my muffins or any of my recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

V– Vegetarian   – Suitable for home freezing once baked. Wrap individually in clingfilm and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost the night before and enjoy for breakfast the next morning.

Blackberry & apple crumble

Apple & Blackberry Crumble
Apple & Blackberry Crumble
Apple & Blackberry Crumble

Okay summer, you can bugger off now, I’m ready for warming soups, hot cups of Horlix and oodles of apple crumble with silky custard. The tights are firmly back on.
I haven’t actually made a crumble since I was at school, I normally buy one from Sainsbury’s and eat the whole thing for dinner with my mum whilst watching Embarrassing Fat Bodies. What? Is that bad?
Anyway, enough about what my mum and I like to do in our private time, lets move on to crumble. I made this beaut with apples from my friend’s mum’s garden (thanks Annie), it went down an absolute treat with Jamie’s mates. His friend Glen even said it was one of the nicest crumbles he’d ever had, so I suggest you listen to Jamie’s friend Glen and try it for yourself. It’s Autumn now people, we can stop sucking in and let it all hang out. Ready? On three. One… Two… Three… Aaahhhhhhhhhhhh… That’s better, so grab a spoon and join me and my mummy on the sofa with a bowl of hot, sticky, fruity goodness. Bliss.

Apple and blackberry crumble
Serves 6 / Hands on time 30 mins / Total time 1 hr 15 /

1 tsp lemon juice
100g Demerara sugar
900g cooking apples peeled, cored and chopped
150g blackberries
¼ tsp cinnamon
180g flour
50g oats
½ tsp cinnamon
30g hazelnuts, bashed or roughly chopped
50g demerara sugar
150g cold cubed butter
Pinch of sea salt flakes
Custard to serve (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400F/gas mark 6. Peel, core and chop the apples into rough chunks. Pop them in a casserole dish (I use my lasagna one that’s around 8×6″). Sprinkle with cinnamon and give it a bit of a toss.
2. Evenly distribute the blackberries on top and cover with a layer of sugar. Give it another mix being careful so as not to squash the blackberries and put to one side.
3. If using whole hazelnuts, pour into a plastic bag and give them a bash with a rolling pin to break them up (be sure not to break them up too finely, you still want a bit of texture).
4. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, oats, crushed hazelnuts and a good pinch of salt. Mix together and add the cold cubed butter. Using your hands, rub the butter into the mix until you have breadcrumbs.
5. Sprinkle the crumb evenly on top of the fruit before baking in an oven for 35-40 minutes (or until the top is golden brown and you can see the fruit bubbling up the sides). Serve with custard.

Apple & Blackberry Crumble
Apple & Blackberry Crumble

If you’ve had a go at making my crumble or any of my recipes I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

V– Vegetarian – Suitable for home freezing before baking. Wrap the dish well in a few layers of clingfilm. Top cook from frozen, add 5 minutes to cooking time. Consume within 3 months.


Vanilla apple cake

Vanilla Apple Cake
Vanilla Apple Cake

Let me just start by saying that this cake is not the slimmers option, so if you have type two diabetes look away now. I don’t usually bake cakes but tomorrow is my dear old dads birthday. Sadly he is no longer around to eat cakes but when he was he seemed to like this one. Happy 62nd birthday Dad.

Vanilla apple cake
Serves 8 / Hands on time 15 mins / Total time 1hr 30mins + cooling / V
You’ll need: 20cm cake tin
450g brambly apples, peeled, cored and sliced
250g salted butter
250g caster sugar
3 large eggs
250g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs demerara sugar
Icing sugar for decoration
Juice of half a lemon

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4. Greece a 20cm cake tin with butter and line the bottom with baking paper. Don’t forget to greece that too.
2. Peel, roughly slice and core the apples. Pop them in a bowl, squeeze over half the lemon and put to one side.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Whisk until light and fluffy with an electric whisk. (If it starts to curdle don’t panic, just add a tablespoon of flour and continue to whisk).
4. Sift the flour into the mixture along with the salt, baking powder and vanilla extract. Fold it all together until you have a pail thick batter (I use my stand up mixer for this because I’m lazy but a wooden spoon works just as well).
5. Lastly add the apples and spoon into your tin (the mixture is very thick at this stage and there may not seem enough mixture to cover the apples but don’t worry, the apples will sink to the bottom during the bake). Smooth over the top with a wooden spoon and sprinkle over a tablespoon of Demerara sugar.
6. Pop the cake in the oven for 45 minutes. At this stage the cake will be very brown but don’t worry, it’s not burning. Take the cake out of the oven, swiftly cover the top with foil loosely before continuing to bake for 30 minutes.
7. It’s quite hard to check if this particular cake is done due to the high content of apples but carefully insert a skewer into the cake. It will inevitably come out with residue on it but taste it, if it’s apples it’s done, if it’s cake batter it needs longer. Leave the cake to rest in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack, oh and don’t forget to peel off the baking parchment off the bottom. Leave to cool.
8. Dust with icing sugar and serve with clotted cream. YUM!


If you’ve had a go at making my cake or any of my other recipes I’d love to hear about it. @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com