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Spinach and Cheese Muffins

I have never made savoury muffins before, whenever I think of muffins I picture something sweet with chocolate or blueberries. Now that I am a poor student I thought I would try to make some healthy lunches to have on hand, instead of having to buy lunch during the day. I am keeping these in the freezer and then I just take one out the night before so it’s good and ready for lunch next day. It’s saving me money and making them is fun, so it’s a win-win for me. Also, when you make food yourself, you have complete control over what goes into your food. So much food you buy in the shops today is packed full of salt, preservatives and artificial colourings and flavourings. Too much salt in our diets is linked with high blood pressure, and most of the salt we consume comes from processed foods. Making your own food from scratch is an easy way to lower your salt intake, so I encourage everyone to cook more! I’m not saying these muffins are necessarily low in salt, there’s quite a bit of cheese in them, I’m just saying it for future reference. I based my muffins on a recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, and made some simple changes to make them a little bit healthier. I think one of the easiest ways to make baked goods healthier is to use whole wheat flour instead of white. In addition to doing that, I added a little less cheese and butter than the recipe called for. Spinach is a green leafy vegetable, which means it’s high in folate and several other minerals and vitamins. I used full fat cheddar cheese, which has a really strong flavour. That way, it was easy to lower the cheese content, without sacrificing the taste. Also, studies have shown that if you use so-called low fat or light products, you just end up eating more of them anyway.

These muffins were really good and they make a welcome change from a slice of bread with cheese. The only thing I will do differently next time is to add a bit more red onion. Stay tuned for more recipes on simple and healthy foods to have on hand.

Recipe (makes 12 muffins)

10 g butter

½ red onion, finely chopped

160 g white flour

200 g whole wheat flour

2 ½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

200 g cheddar cheese, grated

250 ml 1% milk

1 egg

130 g baby spinach leaves

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F)
  2. Melt the butter in a pan and fry the onion over medium heat until cooked. Set aside.
  3. Put the flour, baking powder, cayenne and cheese in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Mix the egg and milk together, then pour into the flour and beat with a handheld electric whisk until all the ingredients are well mixed.
  5. Stir in the onion and spinach with a wooden spoon until evenly dispersed. (My batter more resembled a dough, so I had to use my hands to be able to mix well)
  6. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Leave the muffins to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

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