I like Jamie Oliver's recipe and I like Rose Elliot's recipe... but which is better?!
Today’s blog post for Sweet Potato, Cheese & Chilli Muffins was inspired by both and as both are a frequent source of reference for me, I take my hat off to each of them for being the innovative and inspiring food crusaders that they are. Nevertheless, I still think Primal Plate can legitimately take credit for these incredibly tasty, savoury muffins. Let me explain.
I first made Rose Elliot’s Cheese & Sun-Blush Tomato Muffins, featured in her book Vegetarian Supercook, about ten years ago, then last week I was watching Jamie’s Super Food programme on Channel 4 and was again reminded how useful Rose Elliot’s original recipe was for a low-carb, gluten-free lifestyle because it didn’t contain wheat flour. On the other hand, I really liked Jamie’s idea for Sweet Potato Muffins with a chilli ‘kick’, but cannot agree that wheat, or any other grain qualifies as super food.
“Cutting-edge research, for example, has revealed that consumption of modern wheat [the only sort of wheat most people are likely to encounter in their entire lifetime] is the first step in triggering autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.” says Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly. And, “Wheat raises blood sugar higher than nearly all other foods, including table sugar and many candy bars”.
And for those who think that a gluten-free diet is the answer he advises: “The few foods that increase blood sugar higher than even wheat include rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca starch and potato flour—the most common ingredients used in gluten-free foods, which leads to weight gain, diabetes, cataracts, arthritis, cancer, dementia, heart disease and growing belly fat. This is why many celiac patients who say goodbye to wheat but turn to gluten-free foods become fat and diabetic. Gluten-free foods as they are currently manufactured are very poor substitutes for wheat flour.” For more information visit the Wheat Belly Blog. And, here's a list of recommended alternative flours for baking.
You live and learn! Perhaps it was the tapioca flour in my Primal Naan Bread, which we ate four times in quick succession whilst I was developing the recipe that caused me to gain two pounds in weight in one week (thankfully now lost again)! As with previous health warnings on this food blog, the message is this: Anyone who consumes gluten-free foods, including my gluten-free naan, and/or other baked goods made with healthier sugar/flour substitutes, should still regard them as an occasional indulgence.
Anyway, I digress because there are no bad things listed in the ingredients for these quick, easy-to-make, gluten-free Sweet Potato Cheese & Chilli Muffins. Going back to Rose’s and Jamie’s recipes, the only jar of sun-blush tomatoes that I had in my food cupboard had a sell-by date of 2013 (must have a clear-out!) so I decided to substitute the missing tomatoes with Jamie’s idea for sweet potato and chilli - albeit not weight for weight. Both their recipes included cottage cheese (in massively varying amounts) but to be honest, by the time I’ve changed everything around to make my recipe Primal (grain-free) and/or added or subtracted ingredients and amounts for a different flavour or texture, I always end up forewarning my family that it is by no means certain the end result will be something good for us to eat! On this occasion, I knew about half-way through the cooking time we had a definite ‘winner for dinner’ by the way my muffins were rising admirably to the challenge. High-five me!
Light, puffy and protein-packed these Sweet Potato, Cheese & Chilli Muffins truly are a super delicious super-food for you to enjoy at any time. Two muffins per person served with a bowl of hot soup makes for a simple but filling lunch or supper. Eat them for breakfast and they’ll keep you going until lunchtime. Perfect for picnics (a bit of an obsession of mine as a wedding photographer’s assistant that often needs to pack up healthy food for Sarah and I to eat on-the-move) or as a nutritious snack, they’re sustaining, easy to transport and can be eaten one-handed (important for all busy multi-taskers).
Taking the best from Jamie and Rose, I reckon I’ve trumped both with this muffin recipe. Cook up a batch this weekend and see if you don't agree!
Sweet Potato, Cheese & Chilli Muffins
Ingredients (Makes 9)
225g sweet potato (approximately 190g peeled weight)
2 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
2 fresh red chillies, 1 finely chopped, 1 finely sliced
5 large organic free-range eggs, lightly beaten
250g cottage cheese (can be low-fat if you prefer)
100g ground almonds
50g coconut flour
50g vegetarian parmesan-style cheese, finely grated
1 tsp baking powder
60ml milk (or water)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
Preheat the oven to Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas mark 4.
Line a muffin tin with 9 medium-sized (cup-cake sized) paper cases.
Peel the sweet potato and coarsely grate into a large bowl. Add the cottage cheese to the bowl with all but 15g of the grated ‘parmesan’ cheese, the chopped chilli and chives, coconut flour, ground almonds, baking powder, beaten eggs and milk.
Mix together with a fork until everything is nicely combined then season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Evenly divide the mixture between the muffin cases (about 105 grams per muffin) - spooning it into the cases until they’re three-quarters full. Scatter each muffin with the reserved cheese, then sprinkle over the sunflower seeds and arrange 2-3 thin slivers of chilli on top.
Bake for 35 minutes or until set, risen & golden brown.
Served warm = totally yum!
Everyone will enjoy these savoury muffins straight from the oven - just allow them to cool down for about 5 minutes before serving. They’re also surprisingly good cold and will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container stored in the fridge.
Unfortunately, no one seems to sell non-stick baking parchment muffin liners. I certainly don’t fancy spraying the inside of my paper cases with commercial non-stick baking spray (processed oils are not good to eat) but you can make your own non-stick cases by cutting out 12½cm (5 inch) squares of parchment paper and pressing them down into your muffin mould with the aid of a small measuring cup. You can also buy non-stick silicon muffin moulds.
On this occasion I simply opted for baking my muffins in greaseproof paper cases and eating them directly out of their cases with a spoon - using it to scrape off the last crumbs of muffin that were frustratingly ‘glued' to the paper.
Carbohydrate 9g Protein 14g - per muffin