Breakfast, Lunchbox, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw

Milf Muffins – with chocolate chips

I wasn’t going to call them vuffins (vegan muffins) or millet n’ teff muffins. Maybe Milf muffins have been invented before, but I ain’t brave enough to Google the phrase.

Check out this recipe’s armament: chickpeas, teff, raspberries, millet, psyllium, olive oil and almond milk. A balistically good way to foxtrot some goodness into your system. Lots of anti-aging allies in there too. In theory these muffins don’t keep longer than two days. In practice, they won’t keep longer than two minutes.

I made them on TV3 tonight, with Lucy Kennedy and Martin King. Tune into The Seven O’Clock Show, to catch a playback of the demo, and I’ll join you in your kitchen!


milf muffins the virtuous tart
the dry ingredients:

up to 1 cup (100–140g) coconut sugar or jaggery powder (or whatever darn sugar you fancy)
1/2 cup (75g) teff flour
1/2 cup (55g) sorghum (sweet millet) flour
1/2 cup (55g) chickpea flour (brown rice flour will also work in this instance)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1–2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
palmful of dried mulberries and / or a generous palmful of dark chocolate chips

For the plant-based ‘buttermilk’:
1 1/2 cups (375ml) almond or other plant milk
1/2 cup (125ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons psyllium husks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F. Line a 12-mould muffin or fairy cake tin with cupcake cases.

To make the ‘buttermilk’, whisk the plant milk, olive oil, psyllium and vanilla with a fork, then leave to rest while you get jiggy with the other ingredients.

In a food processor (or with a whisk and tenacity), blend all the dry ingredients except the mulberries together so that the baking powder is distributed evenly. If you have potato flour loitering in your pantry, you can replace half the sorghum with it. Very nice.

Add the plant ‘buttermilk’ and beat or purée until smooth. Avoid tasting the batter – wet chickpea flour tastes and smells like cat’s pee. The cooked result is awesome though, so do persist! Stir in the dried mulberries and / or chocolate chips.

Divide the dough between the 12 cupcake cases and bake for 28 minutes. When the muffins spring back to the touch, they’re ready. Remove from the oven, turn the muffins out of the tray and let them cool on a wire rack.

These are best eaten within 1-2 days, but I doubt that’s going to be a burden.


milf muffin the virtuous tart


From The Virtuous Tart cookbook, on sale on Amazon and all good bookstores across Ireland and the UK.


Taking the hell out of healthy.

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Bread, Breakfast, Lunchbox, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

Vegan Banana Bread

Coconut blossom sugar is a great sub for anyone looking to keep blood sugars a little more subdued. We’re not looking at a health food here – just a less evil variety of sweetener than that bad white bitch. This new exotic sugar is tastier than white sugar, and sufficiently pretentious to earn bragging rights with that annoying athletic dude in your office.

True disciples carry little dinky pouches of coconut sugar around in their hemp-woven tote bags, to sprinkle into beverages and conversations during the day. Let’s all blame Gwynnie (a favourite hobby of my husband’s).

Coconut sugar’s unique minerally taste comes from its modest stash of, erm, minerals. There’s a snifter of potassium, iron and zinc in there, causing great pandemonium among the glitterati in LA.

Aside from its titillating nutritional profile, this is one very tasty sugar with an equally spectacular price tag. So the fantastical fairy tale ends there I’m afraid. Gram for gram, it’s more expensive than quinoa hand-harvested-by-Justin-Bieber.


vegan buckwheat banana bread



2016 Banana Bread (egg-free, vegan, gluten-free)

When my nippers hound me for something trashy, I like to make this banana bread and drizzle dark chocolate over the top. The result is comically hypnotic. That’s because bananas and buckwheat go magically well together. They are the Amy and Brian of the breakfast table. One is naturally sweet, the other robust and burly. Add to this, coconut sugar’s spell, and you’ve got yourself a new BF.

And look, if the coconut sugar is a step too far, you can use fine rapadura sugar or muscovado. I won’t mind. Much.


100g extra virgin coconut oil (for vegans) or ghee, room temperature
160g coconut sugar
350g or 4 bananas, mashed
Pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon psyllium husks, soaked with 3 tablespoons plant milk (an egg replacer)
4 tablespoons natural soya yoghurt or any plant-based milk
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
200g buckwheat flour or brown rice flour (220g sprouted spelt flour is spanking delicious. Regular spelt flour will require only 180grams. Wholegrain flours can have very different levels of absorbency)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dusting of oats, to top (optional)


Fire up your oven to 180C.

Then beat the fat with the sugar. Add the mashed bananas, salt flakes, gooey pysllium ‘egg’, soya yoghurt or milk, and the vanilla extract. That’s your glue.

Tumble in the remaining ingredients (flour and raising agent). Top with thinly sliced banana if you have any leftover. Scrape into a large 25cm loaf tin, lined with non-stick parchment. Dust with oat flakes if you have some. Bake at 180 degrees for 60-70 minutes, until it doesn’t wobble in the centre. This banana bread doesn’t overcook too quickly, so relax if you left in in 10 minutes overtime.

Remove from the oven and let it settle for 5 minutes before ejecting from its tin and letting it to cool on a wire rack. This bread keeps really well all week in a bread basket, covered with parchment. When it gets old, a scrape of butter helps keep each slice moist.



In other news …

Very psyched that Jamie Oliver tweeted my flapjack recipe as part of his “10 Healthy Snacks to Kickstart 2016”. You can check his list out here:


Breakfast, Lunchbox, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

Xmas-Laced Energy Balls

No need to straddle a packet of biscuits to nurse that stinking hangover.

When these energy balls are programmed into your festive calendar, you’ll jumpstart your battery faster than immediately.

I made them on TV3’s Seven O’Clock Show tonight, so you can watch the demo here with the inimitable Lucy Kennedy (love her wicked humour).


1 1/2 cups (225g) sticky Medjool dates, stones removed

1 cup (140g) walnuts (Lidl have great ones)

1/4 cup (20–25g) raw cacao or cocoa powder

3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

1 teaspoon spirulina powder (optional)

Pinch sea salt flakes

4 drops of culinary-grade orange oil (or zest from 1 unwaxed orange)

3 tablespoons goji berries, very finely chopped (optional jolliness)


Pulse all the ingredients except the gojies in a food processor, and not a blender. Whizz until the nuts clump together in a large dough ball. One minute should be about right. Taste and decide if it needs more orange oil to mask the taste of spirulina.

Make 20 golf ball-sized truffles or 30–40 smaller ones by rolling some dough between your palms. Place on a non-stick tray and chill until relatively firm. Once set (about 30 minutes), you can trying rolling them in the bright red goji berry dust. Raw cacao powder or desiccated coconut work well too, but the racy colour of gojies is freakishly festive. So I like these.

I pop some lolli sticks into the energy balls at this stage, so my nippers can enjoy them too.

Store in the fridge and grab on the run. And highfive my 13 year old neighbour Chitra, for sparking the inspiration for this recipe!


xmas laced energy balls


Photography by Joanne Murphy

An adaptation from The Virtuous Tart, Irish Cookbook of the Year 2015