Rachel’s recipes: Skinny strawberry, basil & lemon muffins – gluten and fat free

These are the lightest muffins EVER! Now normally when I see words like “fat free” and “gluten free” I recoil in horror wondering if there is actually any taste and texture left, but these little cakes deliver. Yes if you want to be pedantic you can argue the nuts have oil in them – but its “good oil” packed with vitamin E and other good things. The secret is in using zucchini puree as the base to give the cakes body. It is one of those veggies that like celery pretty much consumes more calories to chew than it contributes! I calculated that a full size muffin comes in at a positively holy 120 calories which if you are not au fait with these things compares to standard muffins that average 250-350 calories each one.

I usually make them as just lemon (adding the juice of one lemon and the zest) with poppy seeds but this time I added strawberries, kept the lemon zest and added some basil which really makes them stand out. On the second day they are a little more moist and don’t stick to the cupcake wrappers as much…if you can control yourselves. They also freeze perfectly so are worth making a batch of and using as breakfast on the run material.

Time & Timing

Apart from making the zucchini puree all you need to do is mix everything together. I can make them in approximately 15 minutes but the first time I would allow 30 minutes plus cooking time of 15-20 mins.

Ingredients, Makes 12 regular size cup cake size muffins

  • 2 Eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Small bunch of basil roughly chopped (optional)
  • 150g rice flour (a mix of cornflour “Amidon” and regular flour would work just fine) if you want GF
  • 50g Ground Almonds (Blitz up whole almonds until a rough powder, hazelnuts and walnuts would also work)
  • 200g Strawberries (small ones that are not watery, cut into small pieces)
  • 200g Zucchini puree
  • 80g Fructose
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 0.5tsp bicarbonate of soda

Gadgets & Gizmos

A mixing bowl, a muffin tin, cup cake cases. Would also work as one large cake.

How To

Chop the strawberries into cubes. Zest the lemon. Roughly chop a small handful of basil leaves.

Peel the zucchini and cut into rough cubes and blitz in a food processor until you have a puree.

If making your own ground almonds, blitz in the food processor BEFORE the zucchini as you want it dry for the almonds.

Mix all remaining ingredients together VERY lightly until just incorporated (otherwise the muffins will be tough and chewy)

Spoon evenly into the cup cake cases

Bake at 180C for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Liquid Refreshment

A good cup of tea or some elderflower cordial.

Improvisations & Substitutions

Raspberry and mint, apple and cinnamon, blueberry and orange, rhubarb & ginger…all of these flavor combinations work well inside the basic mix. Ground walnuts or hazelnuts would also work instead of the almonds.

By Rachel Sargent, guest writer

chef / patron at The London Street Atelier, facebook.com/thelondonstreetatelierNr5

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