Topped with toasted almonds, this muffin provides a moisture burst of blueberries encased in a light cocoa and vanilla bean soda bread.

Managing high cholesterol doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy occasional home made sweet treats, provided I avoid saturated fats. A 30 minute morning walk enjoying the quiet natural surrounds provides an extra boost to my daily health. This soda bread muffin is made using fat free strained greek style yoghurt and the goodness of extra virgin olive oil, with the addition of fresh local free range eggs. It looks even better lightly dusted with icing sugar and served on my grandmother’s Paragon bone china, with autumn roses “Iceberg” and the fragrant miniature rose “Cecille Brunner”, freshly picked from our garden.

Cocoa and blueberry soda bread muffins

Sifted dry ingredients

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wet ingredients placed in the centre

Blueberries added to evenly mixed soda bread batter

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flaked almonds top batter in muffin cases

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Finished with sifted icing sugar and fresh flowers, ready for afternoon tea

INGREDIENTS

Makes 12 muffins

2 cups self-raising flour

2 tbsp 70% cocoa powder

1 tsp bicarb of soda

125g raw caster sugar

1 cup fat free strained plain greek style yoghurt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or seeds of 1 vanilla bean pod

2 large fresh free-range eggs

150g blueberries, fresh or frozen

METHOD

Sift together dry ingredients into a deep mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and place measured wet ingredients; then mix them well to combine. Gently fold into dry ingredients to make a light batter. Add a little reduced fat milk if needed to loosen the mixture slightly. Lastly, gently fold in the blueberries. If you have a couple of tablespoons of chocolate nibs handy, fold them in as an extra treat!

Scoop mixture into a muffin baking tray lined with individual muffin cases. Top each with a sprinkle of flaked almonds.

Oven bake on the centre shelf at 170C (fan assisted) for approximately 30-35 minutes. Test the centre with a skewer that should come out clean when ready. Cool in the tray for 5 minuted then place each muffin on a wire rack.

To serve, dust with a light drift of sifted icing sugar, garnish with fresh flowers and bring out your prettiest plates. A cup of your favourite tea is the perfect accompaniment.