Last weekend in Paris the weather was gorgeous once again, so we spent a long and lazy afternoon in the park. The typical french picnic that springs to mind may be delicious, but is definitely not healthy, and it is bound to leave you feeling full and uncomfortable, so I have been working on things that you can make ahead and are easy to transport, but still yummy, fresh and nutritious.
This particular picnic, we ate lettuce wraps stuffed with sundried tomato hummus and lots of thinly sliced raw veg, lots of sweet french strawberries, and these coconut cherry spelt muffins. One of my friends out in France can't eat gluten, and seeing as she is my chief guinea pig at the moment, this adds a little challenge every time I cook. I baked my carrot and walnut cake with buckwheat flour to make it gluten-free, but wanted to make something a bit lighter and more airy this time.
These muffins use spelt flour, which technically is not gluten-free, but it is much easier on the digestive system than regular wheat flour, and apart from severe cases, lots of gluten-free people can eat spelt. This is because the gluten is held together by very weak bonds, making it easier to digest and less likely to trigger reactions. It also has more nutritional benefits than regular wheat flour, containing lots of complex carbohydrates, and more than double the amounts of protein and fibre.
Coconuts are the most incredible food - almost every single part of a coconut palm can be used in medicine, cooking or as a beauty product. Coconut oil is full of healthy fats which are an amazing energy source as they are easily burned, and it has antiviral and antibacterial properties. I keep a jar in the bathroom as well as the kitchen, because it is such a silky moisturiser, and better than any make up remover I have ever tried.
As I mentionned in my post for brownie ice cream with hot chocolate sauce, all opinions are my own and I only recommend Nakd because I am genuinely a huge fan of their products. This time I used their Cherry Infused Raisins, which I will admit I thought sounded bizarre and pretty synthetic, but they are absolutely delicious and made of all natural ingredients! They swell up while the muffins cook, so that when they come out the oven they are fat and fruity - the same effect as blueberries in baking. If you can't get hold of Nakd raisins you could also use normal raisins or fresh/dried cherries.
(makes 8 muffins)
3 mashed ripe bananas
1 cup of unsweetened coconut shreds
2 cups of spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 bags of Nakd Cherry Infused Raisins
1/2 cup of coconut oil
1 flax egg
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Mix the mashed bananas, coconut oil and flax egg thoroughly in a big bowl, then sift in the flour and baking powder. Stir through the raisins and coconut, then spoon into muffin cases in a muffin tray.
Bake for 35 minutes, checking them after about 20. They are ready when the tops are golden brown and you can put a knife into the centre of the muffin and it comes out clean.