Healthy and delicious snacks: Apple & Cinnamon Muffins recipe.

Busy? Hungry? Fighting the temptation to have an unhealthy, quick fix?  Apple and Cinnamon muffins to the rescue.

These delicious little muffins contain only 140 calories and 8 grams of fat so yes, they are still a little bit naughty but not as naughty as that packet of crisps or that chocolate bar that you find yourself reaching for.

Quick and easy to make, Apple and Cinnamon Muffins can be enjoyed breakfast, dinner and tea and will be much more satisfying than the sat-fat-alicious treats you normally divulge in.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup of whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of apple sauce (odd, but makes the muffins moist)

There were several more ingredients but they are unnecessary to the recipe and a little more expensive. When you’re pinching your pocket until next pay day like me, it doesn’t help when you want a cheap healthy snack and have to fork out more to make your own than it would be to just simply buy them.

Follow these 4 easy steps to make your own:

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C

2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and oil until smooth. Stir in applesauce and sugar. Combine both mixtures.

4. Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin cups. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool on a wire rack.
Done! Thank me later when you notice your pants starting to fit better.
John Elsworth

Chocolatey protein bars

If you’re a bit of an exercise nut or perhaps you feel your arms resemble twigs somewhat and you should do something about it, well then this recipe is for you. Protein powder forms the basis of this treat; as with trying to keep fit protein supports muscle growth and repair.

My boyfriend came up with this recipe for himself as he tried drinking protein powder but wasn’t too keen on the taste. Instead of giving up on the stuff, he persevered; trying and testing different ways he could take the powder. He has tried cakes and brownies in the past but has found these protein bars to be the most flavoursome. These protein bars are derived from a simple flap jack recipe with a couple of beneficial alterations.


500g oats
200g bran flakes
250g golden syrup
200g butter
100g protein powder
200g melted chocolate

You may think putting protein powder with these other fatty ingredients may cancel out the overall positive effects. But in fact you are gaining added protein from the oats, bran flakes and butter. Also the butter provides you with essential fats… admittedly the rest is all for good taste. For building muscle in general an increased intake of calories is needed.

So, to start get your oats and bran flakes and give them a quick blits in a processor.


Then melt your chocolate, add this and all of the other remaining ingredients and give it a good mix. You should have a very sticky and rather tough mixture.


Get your baking tray out and pour in the mixture. This recipe does not require baking, rather just storing in your fridge for an overnight period. In this time your protein bars will gain structure.


Having been patient you are now ready to cut your protein mix into bars and eat.

Do you have any fitness treats? Let us know through Facebook , follow us on Twitter or get in touch with us at!


By Karen Coe

Vegan Banana Bread

Veganism and vegetarianism have always raised a curiosity within me and I always feel a bit of admiration for those who choose to discard meat and its counterparts. I have many friends who are either vegan or vegetarian and they have their own reasons for the change in their lifestyle, whether it’s regarding the ethical issues of the meat eating culture; the treatment of livestock; the process of how the meat is obtained or even health issues it causes.

So you’re probably thinking that it is quite hard to source and eat the usual delicious tasty, treats without any trace of meat or dairy? Well thankfully that is not the case. During the past decade veganism has become more of a prominent way of living in our culture, you only have to walk down the aisles of your local supermarket and you will instantly see many meat and dairy substitutes.

Some of the nicest meals and baked goods I have tried have been from either vegetarian or vegan recipes, and due to having close friends and family who are vegan I feel I understand a little better about this lifestyle choice and I greatly enjoy substituting meat for two or three of my meals a week, after all why not right?

So as I started to think of what I wanted to bake over the weekend I decided I wanted to prove to myself and to my vegan flat-mate that I could bake her something that would A) edible (probably the most important point) B) that it would be both simple and tasty.
So upon taking the challenge I decided to bake a vegan take on one of my favourites, banana bread.

This recipe was so easy and tasty that both my vegan flat mate and the rest of the motley crew enjoyed them greatly, they certainly didn’t last very long.
The really nice thing about this recipe is you can’t tell that it has been made without milk or butter; in fact I would say it tastes even better! So why don’t you give it a go yourself.

Here's what you will need.

Here’s what you will need.

225g Plain flour (or use Self-raising flour and reduce the Baking powder to 2 heaped tsp)
3 heaped tsp Baking powder
100g Brown sugar (or caster sugar)
3 tsp Cinnamon or Mixed spice (optional)
3 large Black bananas, mashed
75g Vegetable or Sunflower oil (weight)
50g Dried fruit or nuts (optional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
2. Mash the peeled bananas with a fork. Mix well with oil and sugar.

This is the messy part!

This is the messy part!

3. Add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, and combine well.


4. Add any additional ingredients.
5. Baked in a greased and lined 2lb loaf tin for 20 minutes, before checking. Cover with foil, if the loaf cake is browning. Bake for another 40 minutes (approximately).


6. Allow to cool a little before slicing. It’s delicious freshly baked but even yummier when it goes gooey the next day!



Recipe taken from:

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By James Busby

Caramel Nibble Cookies

My baking skills were in demand today with my flat mates asking for something tasty. Cookies are quick and easy to make and you can pick up a basic chocolate chip recipe and be creative; substituting the chocolate for almost anything you fancy! Dairy Milk’s Caramel Nibbles being my major guilty pleasure, I thought I would use them in today’s recipe.

The recipe I used for my cookies was Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, which he uses in an episode of River Cottage. The full recipe can be found here:

I found the recipe really simple to follow as everything was explained in 4 easy steps. It only takes about 10 minutes to make the mixture, and less than that for them to bake.

What I used

What I used


125g unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

75g soft light brown sugar

1 medium egg, lightly beaten

2 tsp vanilla extract

150g plain flour

½ tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

100g dark or milk chocolate (or whatever filling you desire!), chopped into smallish chunks

To start pre-heat the oven to 190°C/gas 5, to allow the cookies an even bake as soon as you’re finished making the mixture.

Melt the butter, Hugh suggests doing it slowly on the hob but I just whizzed it in the microwave. While that’s being done put both sugars in a bowl and then add the melted butter. Grab a spoon and give it a quick mix.

It should look a bit like this

It should look a bit like this

Then add the egg and vanilla (I used vanilla paste instead of extract. I find the paste has a stronger flavour) again mix this in well. You should have a rather sloppy mixture at this stage.

Sift in the flour, baking powder (I substituted the baking powder for self-raising, which essentially does the same job) and salt and stir the mixture. You should see it gaining a doughier texture.

All you have left to do now is add your filling! Make sure it is chunked up and mixed in well; so that it will spread nicely throughout your dough.

Doughy mixture

Doughy mixture

Now it’s time to get your baking trays ready! Line them with greaseproof paper (or something equivalent) and then dot the mixture out evenly on the sheet. Be aware that if you make your cookies thick they will spread during the baking process. I certainly found that when making mine!

You’re now ready to bake, as I stated previously make sure you watch over them as it should only take about 8-10 minutes for them to go golden. It is not something you can really judge by touch, as they will still be soft when getting them out of the oven. You will need to leave them to cool before removing from the tray and in that time they will gain a biscuity structure.

Before bake- nicely spaced

Before bake: nicely spaced

After bake- rather merged

After bake: rather merged







Mine got rather golden rather quick, but they were not burnt! Within hours my flatmates and I managed to finish every crumb. Throughout the weekend I was forced to make another 3 batches, and with each attempt I saw my technique improve.  They made a great dunking companion for a hot drink (especially after a long stressful day). This is definitely a recipe I will return to time and time again.

My cookie mountain

My cookie mountain

Having a nice brew

Having a nice brew

Have you ever experimented with any interesting cookie fillings? let us know below or through Facebook  Twitter or email:

by Karen Coe

Paul Hollywood’s Bread

(full image credit)

(full image credit)

Paul Hollywood is becoming an increasingly well-known name within baking households, whether he be standing alongside Mary Berry in The Great British Bake Off or going it alone in his own shows. Today I decided to pick up one of his books and put his bread recipes to the test. I slaved away in the kitchen all day producing three bakes: a basic bloomer, pizza bases and some cheese and bacon rolls.

Bread is cheap and easy to make; making a basic loaf yourself can cost around 30p which for a student like myself is a bargain not to be missed! baking it yourself can have a rather rewarding feeling and with it comes the great freshly baked smell.

Paul’s book is great for beginners as the first chapter outlines how to handle dough and throws out some useful pointers… after all his years of experience it would be stupid not to follow what he has to say.

The Bloomer
The Bloomer was the most basic of the breads I attempted. All that is needed is some strong white bread flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, water and you’re ready to go!

What I used

What I used

Paul’s instructions are really easy to follow (unless you’re like me and don’t know when to stop adding water to the mixture, but this can easily be remedied with some extra flour). Paul will suggest mixing the ingredients with your hands, which by all means go for if you want to feel like Spiderman with his web fingers…

but I found after making this loaf that using a spoon works just as well. I also had the privilege of using a mixer with dough hooks for my kneading; this makes the process a lot faster and requires less physical effort. I left the ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl with cling film over the top, so it could prove. After one and a half hours I was rather impressed by the size as what had started as my little lump of dough had almost filled the bowl! After knocking it back (taking the air out of the dough), shaping it and marking it, my dough was ready to become bread. For a first time baking bread I was really impressed with the results, I now have a nice crusty loaf, which will go nicely with some soup on a chilly day.

Blooming Brilliant!

Blooming Brilliant!

Pizza Bases
Pizza always makes a good student dinner, many times I have ordered in take out with hefty price tags… but now I feel those days are behind me as I have discovered how to do it for myself for a minimal amount. The recipe is rather similar to the bloomer, using the same ingredients in similar doses (but I would say if you have about four people to cook for maybe double what the book says). I made four bases to feed my flat, I made one of them into a side dish of garlic bread as well, and so it can be rather versatile. The main difference with this from the bloomer is of course the shape, to achieve the round shape push your palm into the ball of dough to form a roundish shape and roll it out evenly at all angles if you want the normal circular look. Mine appear to be slightly oblong to suit the shape of my trays.

Pizza toppings

Pizza toppings

I topped my pizza bases with a mixture of chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and mixed herbs along with some grated mature cheddar, then I grabbed whatever I could find in my fridge for the toppings. For the garlic bread I made a mixture of chopped garlic, butter and mixed herbs and spread generously. The results made a great Sunday night feast, I can’t say the flat mates complained; clean plates all round!

The end result

The end result

Cheese and bacon rolls
In the book Paul makes stilton and bacon rolls, but I used up the rest of my strong cheddar, which I found worked nicely also. The cheese and bacon rolls again use the same basis just with the addition of these two ingredients and some unsalted butter. It is made in a similar way also. This time I kneaded the dough by hand just for the experience, and I found it to be hard work on my little arms, it probably took me 15-20 minutes before I had a decently stretched dough.

The kneading process

The kneading process

20140223_145220It’s more rewarding doing it by hand, so I would definitely do it again, and after all that hard work you get to leave it to prove for one and a half to two hours before being faced with it again for knocking back. I shaped this one into six balls and baked. They came out nice and crusty with a soft middle and I found they make a nice breakfasty treat.


I would definitely recommend picking up this book as I was pleasantly surprised with the results of my first time bakes. There are lots of more breads to choose from, including sourdoughs and sweet breads. Paul also offers great meal suggestions as to what you can serve your breads in/alongside.

Have you ever tried making bread, please let us know how your attempts went. Send us your comments and images through Facebook   Twitter or email us:

By Karen Coe

It’s a Bitter Sweet Relationship with Lemon Meringue Pie

This book may be old but it's certainly has lot of fab recipes.

This book may be old but it’s certainly has lot of fab recipes.

This tasty number will get you guys in the mood for spring, offering a rather sweet and zingy taste that is both a great pallet cleanser after a heavy meal or as a light dessert following a green salad. Now I have honestly never made a Lemon Meringue before but I decided to be adventurous and grabbed one of my mother’s old recipe books and decided to have a go. Well to my delight I found this recipe was rather easy and was very happy with my final dessert.

I mean who doesn’t like sharp, zesty lemon topped with fluffy clouds of meringue that offers a sweet, but yet tangy kick. This desert is great for those of you who don’t’ want to indulge in stodgy, heavy desserts or if you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen slaving away.

Now this book was really old and I think it was given to my mother, I don’t think this edition is even in print anymore! But it was so delicious I definitely think you guys at home should try it.


Here's what you'll need.

Here’s what you’ll need.

• 175g (6 oz) Shortcrust Pastry made with 175g (6 oz) or you can buy readymade pastry if you are short on time.
• Finely grated rind and juice of 2 lemons.
• 100g (4 oz) granulated sugar.
• 75ml (5 level tbsp) cornflour.
• 2 eggs, separated.
• 75g (3 oz) caster sugar.
• Cream, to serve.

1. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and use to line a 20.5 cm (8 inch) flan ring or fluted flan dish. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2. Bake blind in the oven at 200◦C (400◦F) mark 6 for 10-15 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes until the base is set.

3. Put the lemon rind and juice, granulated sugar and 300ml (1/2 pint) water in a saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves.

4. Mix the cornflower to a smooth paste with 90ml (6 tbsp) water and stir into the saucepan until well blended. Bring to the boil, stirring and cook for 1 minute, until thickened.s
5. Cool slightly, then beat in the egg yolks, one at a time.

6. Pour the warm filling into the pastry case, levelling the surface. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Whisk in half the caster sugar until completely incorporated, then carefully fold in the remaining sugar.

DSCF2143 DSCF2147
7. Spoon the meringue on to the filling and spread with a pallet knife. The filling must be completely covered, but the meringue must not overlap the flan ring or removing the ring will ruin the final appearance of the pie.

Flick it up with the tip of a knife and bake in the oven at 150◦C (300◦F) mark 2 for about 35 minutes. Ease off the flan ring and serve the pie with cream.

This is what your final dessert should look like. Minus the hands.

This is what your final dessert should look like. Minus the hands.

As always please feel free to leave your comments below!

By James Busby

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Peanut M&M Muffin Cake recipe.

Whether it’s the sugar rush we get from them or the elusive feeling of love from our first bite, there’s no denying it; we are a nation obsessed with chocolate. We walk into our corner shop or into our local supermarkets and the first thing that catches our eye is the confectionery aisle. The bright colours, the temptation, the naughtiness of knowing you shouldn’t but you really should, there’s just something about chocolate that we can’t resist.

Not only that, chocolate isn’t only making us happy, it’s making the manufacturers rather happy also. Chocolate is a multi-million pound industry so as long as we’re eating it, we’re keeping the big cats milk bowl full too. I decided to check out the stats of the nations favourite chocolate bars and interpret our Top 10 into household cake recipes. Let’s start from the bottom and work our way to the top. Starting with #10 on the list: M&M’s.

Manufactured by Mars Confectionery, latest figures from indicate that those colourful little pills of chocolate raked in £66.9m by the end of 2013. Plain milk chocolate M&M’s were first introduced in 1941 by Forrest Mars. Jr, son of the founder of the Mars Company, Frank C. Mars. Not as convenient as they are today, the idea for M&M’s came during the Spanish Civil War (1936 – 1939) when Forrest saw soldiers eating chocolate pellets with a hard outer shell to stop the chocolate melting.

The rest is history. Now we have biscuit M&M’s, peanut M&M’s: America even have pretzel M&M’s! This in mind, I decided to make a classic muffin cake with a twist: I Peanut M&M’d it. Moist muffin, peanut butter cream filling with peanut butter cream icing, sprinkled with Peanut M&M’s. Here’s what you’ll need:

Muffin cake mix

  • 4 heaped tbsp of caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 heaped tbsp of self raising flour
  • A splash of milk

Peanut Butter cream

  • 4 heaped tbsp of icing sugar
  • 4 heaped tbsp of peanut butter
  • 4 heaped tbsp of butter


  • A big packet of Peanut M&M’s!

1. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 5 (190°) for half an hour.

2. Grease your cake tins with margarine, just so they’re ready to go straight into the oven once you’ve put your cake mix in them.


3. Crack your eggs into a mixing bowl and add the margarine, self raising flour and caster sugar. Whisk! This is known as the “All In One” method, so it doesn’t really matter what order you put your ingredients in.  After all of the ingredients are mixed together, add a splash of milk. I go for full fat, but you can use skimmed or semi skimmed if you like. Whisk again for a light and fluffy texture.


4. Spoon half of the mixture into one cake tin and the other half into the other. Bake for 15 minutes and check to see if the cake is rising. Little tip: stick a tooth pick into one of the layers and if the toothpick comes out clear, that means the cake mix is fully cooked. Don’t take your eye off the cake layers after this: it can burn very easily. Check again after another 5 minutes and they should be ready!


5. Once your cake is cooked through, place the cake tins on a tea towel on the side and allow a good half an hour to cool before you fill and ice the cake. They should look something like this when done.


6. Whilst your cake is cooling, it’s time to make the peanut butter cream. To do this, place your peanut butter, icing sugar and butter into a jug and mix! It’s that simple! And tastes like heaven.


7. Spoon half of the cream onto the bottom layer and proceed to put the top layer on. Make sure you do not push the cream into the cake with the knife, make sure you are spreading it upwards as this makes for a better a effect.


8. Once you have done this, repeat step 7 but on the top layer of the cake.


9. After you have done this, get your packet of peanut M&M’s and place them on however you like! I went for an M&M M in the centre and various coloured M&M’s round the edge.


10. Eat. Eat until it’s all gone. Perfect for pudding or as a tasty little treat. Serves 8 if you’re skimpy with the portion size: it lasted about two minutes in my house!

By John Elsworth

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A cake fit for a Queen


Photo:Big Gangsta Photos Taken:

The Victoria Sponge has been around for decades. It is an old favourite that is held close to all British bakers’ hearts and is a national favourite. But before I go onto how you make this classic, I will briefly give you a quick history lesson about this simple but yet  delicious sponge came to be.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

To start off where did the name come from? I guess the clue is in the name of the cake, as the Victoria in question is that of Queen Victoria who reigned over Britain for the best part of the 19th century from 1837 to 1901.

Victoria’s reign was noted by historians as being a ‘golden age for Great Britain’ the industrial revolution was in full swing, and the commonwealth was forever expanding. Some of you historians out there may now that the phrase ‘’the empire on which the sun never sets” was coined as an adage to the nations curiosity to seek and find new resources. Some of the findings have become key ingredients that we now use in our daily lives and no baker could live without the likes of sugar, cocoa, herbs, spices and coffee.

So as a result the sponge was made for the Queen by Anna, the Duchess of Bedford who was one of Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting. She made small little cakes and named them after Victoria as homage to her successful reign. Soon these cakes where served at the numerous banquets and tea parties Victoria held; it wouldn’t be long till they made their way into the nation’s hearts and homes.

Here’s what you will need!


• 225g/8oz butter or margarine, softened at room temperature
• 225g/8oz caster sugar
• 4 medium eggs
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 225g/8oz self-raising flour
• milk, to loosen

Preparation method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

2. Grease and line 2 x 18cm/7in cake tins with baking paper.
Technique: Greasing and lining cake tins .Greasing and lining cake tins.

3. Cream the butter and the sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy.

Technique: Creaming butter by hand .Creaming butter by hand.

4. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, and stir in the vanilla extract.

5. Fold in the flour using a large metal spoon, adding a little extra milk if necessary, to create a batter with a soft dropping consistency.
6. Divide the mixture between the cake tins and gently spread out with a spatula.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

8. Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes, then remove from the tin and peel off the paper. Place onto a wire rack.

9. Sandwich the cakes together with jam, lemon curd or whipped cream and berries or just enjoy on its own.

10. Grab a plate and enjoy!

By James Busby

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