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feel good food that's good for you

carrot and coconut muffinsI hope you don’t mind but this post will be a bit of a quickie. You see, I need to go and pack. And these tender little beauties are going in the hand luggage.

Some of you reading this may  be packing too, Perhaps you are jetting off to some island to laze around and sip rum punch, or maybe you and your family will be threading your way through the queues in some exciting theme park. I however am packing to go to London. Not to shop (although I will definitely squeeze a bit of that in) or go to the theatre. No, I am down to attend my second Food Blogger Connect, and I am SO excited. Last year I was scared-excited. This year I am just excited-excited. Which is the same thing, but with less nervous sweating. Not a good mental image in a food blog, but I like to tell the truth.

Any of you who were kindly reading me last October may recall a rather long post reviewing my weekend at FBC. It was beyond my rather pedestrian imagination. And this year promises to be even better. To wit, we are getting to press the flesh with Mr American in Paris himself, the wonderful David Lebovitz. There is the chance of winning a 15 minute one-to-one chat with David about how to improve one’s blog. Which sounds terrifying but probably a game-changer for the lucky winner.

Another highlight will be seeing fellow FBC alumni Ren Behan and Karen Burns-Booth on the podium sharing a panel discussion with Sarah Cook of BBC Good Food magazine on how to get published in magazines (I will be taking  furious notes: Why didn’t I do shorthand!). I adore these bloggers as people and as wonderfully good examples of how to run a compelling, must-read blog. And of course, there will be -ahem – serious and academically-rigourous attention paid to the art of eating. I have lost count of the number of folks and companies lined up to help us expand our waistlines. But I am especially looking forward to sampling from Ren’s pop-up Polish Kitchen. Her website is already making me want to book a second holiday to Krakow.

So, the muffins. Which I will sneak into my miniscule Easyjet handluggage, along with a little tub of my butternut squash and almond dip and some homemade pitta chips. Anything to avoid getting hungry enough to buy one of the airline’s extortionate ‘snack packs’ (full of cr*p and more cr*p). I just hope my little healthy snack pack doesn’t get confiscated!

By the time you read this I will have said goodbye to friends old and new and be on my way to meet Mr A for his birthday lunch. Another London food adventure awaits! Back up the stairs to add another pair of stretchy trousers to the bag…

What foods do you pack to avoid airline/train/service station ‘food’? carrot and coconut muffins

Carrot and Coconut Muffins

This is a riff on an old recipe of mine, Carrot and Marmalade Cake

This is an easy and delicious way of making a sweet treat healthy. Perfect for trips, picnics, brownbags and handbags. I make this recipe as muffins mostly, but it happens to make a fine ‘plain’ cake too. The decoration is all on the inside…

NB. Trade the coconut for plump raisins or, what the heck, put them both in.

100g self-raising flour*
125g wholemeal self-raising flour*
1 ½ tsp baking powder
100ml (3 ½ oz) rapeseed or coconut oil
100g coconut palm sugar OR other raw sugar, whizzed in food processor
2 eggs OR vegan egg replacer (such as Orgran)
200g carrots, finely grated
1 ripe banana, peeled and thoroughly mashed
50ml fresh orange juice (one orange), plus zest if liked (I do)
4 heaped tbsp best quality dark/tawny Seville orange marmalade (the nippier the better, IMO)

50g desiccated coconut, plus extra for sprinkling on top

*If you don’t have self-raising flour, just add an extra one and one-quarter teaspoon of baking powder (total) to the flour mixture.

Oil a 12-hole muffin tin (I tend to make them smaller and use an extra 6). You could also line the holes with squares of baking paper (so they look like the muffins you get in coffee shops) or regular muffin tin liners. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Sift together the flours with the baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Stir in any bran that remains in the sieve from the wholemeal flour.

In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs with electric beaters or stand mixer until light and fluffy, then whisk in the oil and sugar until thickened and leaves a trail when the beater is lifted. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Fold the wet mixture into the flour until the flour just disappears, and no more. Mixing any more may give you a tough muffin. Which sounds like an insult, or perhaps a strange compliment: “She’s one tough muffin!”

Fill each muffin hole evenly and bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until well-risen and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If you want to add coconut to the top, do this about halfway through the baking so as not to burn the delicate coconut, but just give it a lovely toasty tinge of gold. Let the muffins cool in the tin on a wire rack and eat immediately. Or store for a few days in an airtight container. You could always go a bit fancy and extra-sweet by spreading over your favourite cream cheese frosting, or one such as this vegan one from food.com; or a classic cream cheese one from cook.uk. I like to keep them ‘plain’ for my nutrition classes and serve with fresh fruit.

Makes 12-18 muffins or two small cakes (I don’t think this would be as good if made as a big fat cake).

As usual, I am sending this over to Mark at Javelin Warrior’s Cookin’ W/Luv Made With Love Mondays. I got lucky as last week his theme was mango, but as this week’s is basil I am glad his themes are optional. I am not sticking basil in these!carrot and coconut muffinscarrot and coconut muffinscarrot and coconut muffinscarrot and coconut muffins

25 thoughts on “Carrot and Coconut Muffins

  1. narf77 says:

    How exciting! Mr Lebowitz is one of my blogging hero’s, I can only hope that you win that chat :). I love these muffins. Can’t wait to throw some into Brunhilda (my 4 oven woodburning stove that is going practically 24/7 at the moment) and serve them up with aplomb and a big mug of coffee to Steve. I might even shell a few of our precious home grown walnuts and toss some into the mix. Have an absolute BALL in the U.K. Steve comes from the U.K. I imported him to Australia, it was a good deal ;). He lived near London and worked there a lot in his youth. Can’t wait to read about it all when you get back. Best pack some extra stretchy pants if you are going to eat what Mr Lebowitz will be cooking! 😉

    1. I am lucky to live in Edinburgh, which is a short plane hop away. The conference was good and Mr Lebovitz was very entertainment but it was more about meeting up with a lovely group of like-minded people. Glad you like the recipe

      1. narf77 says:

        I don’t know why but I thought you lived in Canada! I know he lives in France so it would have just been a channel hop for you :). I am often very envious of Steve’s brother who can just hop the channel and head over to France, Italy, Germany wherever. I could only dream of being able to do that. The best we have is Bali 😉

  2. These look great, hope you enjoyed your time at FBC

    1. Hi Janice. It was good, but our mini Scottish one was not too shabby either. I hope another is planned. Let me know if you hear of anything in the works x

  3. eastofedencook says:

    Have a great trip Kellie! When traveling I try to eat what I usually eat; staying away from fast food and fried things. The Carrot Coconut Muffins sounds scrumptious, even if we make them for traveling to and from work!

    1. And fried things, and stuffed things, seem to be the only options. Best taking our own. This gets harder on double-digit hour travelling times though. I try and look out for a Chinese outlet and get broccoli tofu and rice. But even that’s not too good when an airport outlet is involved.

  4. G’day! Have a GREAT trip, true!
    Love the flavor combination of coconut and carrot…and love your photos too!
    Cheers! Joanne

    1. Cheers. Those are my Miss R’ s pretty hands in the photos. I’ve decided that until I can edit my wrinkly hands they are not being captured on film!

  5. lifestyletea says:

    okay – wow! these look deeeelicious! x

    1. Thank you Erica. They were especially good when surrounded by people buying rubbish on the plane.

  6. Oh Kellie, you are going to have a ball! Love your muffins… might try them sans wheat flour. Re the airline food… I took cashews, fruit salad and yoghurt on a recent flight. Nothing worse than that stodgy, tasteless rubbish they serve!

    1. Oh yes do. Or even just use your regular carrot muffin recipe and add in some coconut. Just a little really elevates the flavour. I am going to add powdered coconut -about 2 tbsp – next time. I’ll catch up with your happenings later in the week. Just off out to the Serpentine and then for a swim at the Lido there x

  7. johncpicardi says:

    Kellie… another must try… I LOVE your blog!!!!

    1. Thanks so much John 🙂 This was just a quickie, and I didn’t have time to do my measurement conversions, but I’m glad you like them

  8. It was great to see you there Kellie. How lucky were we to see and hear lots of interesting and successful people talk about their blogs and give us advice too. I was amazed at how much I already knew but there were elements that I will certainly be changing about my blog too. I love your muffins and how you brought them on the plane with a delicious dip & pitta crisps. So wise, when we start to travel on planes as a family, I will be doing the same thing! Enjoy the rest of your time in London x

    1. It was a great to see you too, Laura. Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I already knew, but there is always room for improvement. Lots of food for thought. Ren &Karen were especially good. So proud of them! And yes, taking your own food on journeys is a must if you care about what you eat, and more especially if you have children. It also saves loads of money. Savoury muffins are fantastic – light, neat and easy for children to eat. Chorizo and manchego corn muffins are good.

  9. Jacqueline @How to be a Gourmand says:

    “NB. Trade the coconut for plump raisins or, what the heck, put them both in” < Love it! I must say Kellie, even with a short post, you turn out the most beautiful posts. Hope you enjoyed the conference 🙂

  10. Mmmmm, these look so good! I love the idea of using marmalade in there. I must admit, I’ve held off on playing around with coconut sugar. I know it’s got tremendous benefits as a natural sugar, but I have reservations on using it after reading about how ecologically devastating it can be, and the potential for economic devastation for future generations of coconut growers. I wonder how these muffins would hold up with some local honey or some good quality maple syrup swapped in for the sweetener? Perhaps I’ll just have to give it a go and let you know!

    1. I rarely make sweet things but I admit I don’t know this backstory about the effects of harvesting. I will look into it. Right now, from a health/insulin response view it seems better in comparison than other sugars. The picture changes ad people do more studies in this area though. I also use honey – acacia as it seems to have lowest GL – so yes, give it a go. The moisture content should be fine with a straight swap. They ate pretty nice. Thanks for commenting, Katie

  11. these look great hope you enjoy the conference here great things about it

  12. Sally says:

    Travelling across France last summer, there was nothing that my vegetarian daughter could eat in the service stations. Everything contained ‘jambon’…everything! Lovely to meet up again at FBC

  13. Multicolaure says:

    Can I have one please? 🙂 ==

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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