Breakfasts are a big deal in our house. Mostly, because we hardly ever have them. Breakfast for me is usually a battered banana grabbed with my ‘venti latte’ after the school drop off, and invariably on the run. A protein shake has been breakfast of choice for the man of the house of late, and a piece of toast slathered with peanut butter scoffed in his car seat on the way to school is usually what passes for a well-rounded first meal for my four-year-old. I should know better. Peanut butter, toast and cars is not a good culinary combination.
Seriously… I really should know better. I actually do know better. I am trained to know better. In fact, thanks to this training and experience I am paid real money occasionally to advise on the nutritional value of meals, the importance of whole grains, the way to construct balanced menus and ensure that meals include the necessary amounts of carbs, proteins and fresh produce. But stuff all that. I am a mother. I really really should know better.
I am admitting all this because I am hoping that others will relate to the logistic impossibility of feeding a family a three course meal and getting out of the door before half past seven. I also know that the reason my son is slumped against the wall at his football lesson (which he has been counting how many sleeps until all week), picking his nose, and gazing at the sky, is because he didn’t have a decent breakfast.
Today, though, I feel as though I have cracked it.
Fresh fruit, glass of milk and a muffin. Easy. In fact, I have now discovered it is even easier if you measure out the dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls, and lay out the muffin cases the night before. Just grate the apple into the wet ingredients while the oven heats up, mix them all together, fill the cases, and pop them into the oven while you’re in the shower. By the time you are dressed, and your brood has made it to the table, the house is filled with an aroma that should be able to entice even the pickiest of eaters. With fruit, fibre and a full belly, my wannabe Beckham is ready for the day, and (at least for the time it takes to drive to school), I get to feel like mother of the week.
Spiced Apple Muffins
2 cups plain flour (or 1 plain and 1 wholemeal if feeling virtuous)
1 TBSP baking powder
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
2/3 cup canola/corn/sunflower oil
1 cup milk
1 TBSP vanilla extract
1 grated apple (peel and all…but not the core!), 2 if they are very small. Squeeze out excess juice.
1 TBSP oatmeal to sprinkle on top
Preheat oven to 180C.
Place muffin cups (large cupcake cases) into muffin holes in tin ready to receive mixture.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. You can use a whisk to do this – just make sure everything is well combined and evenly distributed – you don’t want a clump of cinnamon or baking powder when you bite into them! In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together, as well as the grated apple until totally combined. Tip wet into dry and mix with a fork until they just combine. Do not over-mix or you will end up with a tough, bouncy muffin.
Use an ice cream scoop to measure out wet muffin mix into the cases – it limits the spillage and you can measure out mix more accurately. Fill cases to ¾ full for a lovely high topped muffin or half full for a more cupcake style version.
Sprinkle with oatmeal, bake for about 12 minutes and remove when they are puffed up, golden, and spring back when touched. Eat hot!