#11 A Simplicious Challenge: Four Muggin Variations

The Simplicious Challenge: I’m cooking all 306 recipes from Sarah Wilson’s book Simplicious, to see the impact it has on the way I buy, cook, consume and waste food. Read the first post here, if you missed it.

Thank-you for bearing with me on my tardy Simplicious post. September was quite frantic, and to be honest, October was even worse. I now have a one month ‘break’ before my final university subject over the summer – and then I’m free!

Last month, I made the last of the four delightful muggins from Simplicious. In fact, I’m starting to get down to the ‘lasts’ – I also made the last of the six toasties earlier this month. It’s hard to pick a favourite muggin – but I think I’d have to go with the chocolate, ginger and pear muggin. We don’t generally have dessert in our house, but if we do, it’s often a muggin! My husband also likes them now and again after a big bike ride.

The beauty of the muggins is that the ingredients are fairly interchangeable. Once I’d finished trying them all I started experimenting with some variations, using leftover bits and pieces that I had – which is exactly the point. Sarah’s muggins follow a fairly simple ‘formula’, so it’s easy to swap in different flavours using what you have. A tip to avoid the exploding muggin: I use a large ramekin (pictured); and I also measure the baking powder exactly, using a 1/4 tsp measuring spoon. I find that if I guestimate with a regular teaspoon, it erupts like a volcano in the microwave.

With Sarah’s (and her trusty EA Jo’s) permission, I’m sharing my four variations here, each with no added sweetener.


Four Simplicious Muggin Variations

  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • PLUS, variation ingredients below

Nutty-Choc Banana Bread Muggin:

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cacao or cocoa
  • 1/3 banana, mashed, plus extra slices to serve
  • 1 tsp crunchy peanut butter, plus extra to serve

Apple and Pecan Teacake:

  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1/4 apple, finely diced, plus an extra 1/4, sliced to serve
  • 1 tbsp chopped pecans, plus extra to serve

Carroty Walnut Cake:

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp finely grated carrot
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped walnuts, plus extra to serve
  • Yoghurt or cream cheese, to serve

Ginger Mojito:

  • 1/8-1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • Zest and juice of half a lime
  • 1 tsp finely chopped mint
  • Yoghurt, to serve

1. Simply combine the ingredients together in a large mug or ramekin, and microwave for two minutes. Easy!

The food:

During September and October I made 27 recipes:

  • Lemon Syrup and Poppy Seed Muggin (p 288): The final muggin, which didn’t disappoint! I topped mine with a few stray blueberries.
  • Buttered Blueberry and Blood Orange Soup (p 285): A very decadent and rich dessert – almost too rich for me these days! I used the zest of the blood orange instead of using an extra mandarin and served it with cinnamon.
  • Kimcheese Toastie (p 84): I’ve been adding my homemade kimchi (p 337) to everything! This toastie with kimchi, swiss cheese and apple was delicious. I also used my kimchi to make:
  • Leftovers Kimchi Soup (p 264): Made with homemade bone broth and leftover veggies. I would never have thought of adding kimchi to a soup, but it works. I used even MORE kimchi to make:
  • Crisp Bibimbap Skillet Pancake (p 250): This was so good, I made it two days in a row for lunch, with a vegetarian version on the second day. It was served with both of the following:
  • Simple ‘Gochujang’ Sauce (p 250): A spicy take on nomato sauce; and,
  • Seaweed Dukkah (p 45): I’ve been adding this to everything! I was really dubious when I made it, but it adds a lovely saltiness and crunch. I also used it to make:
  • Broccoli and Cheese Melt Toastie (p 85): Is there anything cheese can’t do? This was the final toastie, and it was another surprising success. And I didn’t even have to share it with the kids (“A broccoli sandwich? Eeewww!”)
  • Jerk Pork Shoulder Roast (p 222): No one ever has to ask me twice to cook a batch of slow-cooked pulled pork. Delicious, of course. We used the leftovers to make:
  • Pulled Pork (p 222): For the freezer. I used some in the aforementioned bibimbap. I also served the Jerk Pork Shoulder Roast with:
  • Cooked Buckwheat (p 27): This was actually the first time I’ve cooked buckwheat (as opposed to using dry groaties). It was actually much nicer than I thought it would be, even my husband didn’t mind it!
  • Two-Minute Desk Lunch Noodles (p 116): I thought this was a genius throw-together lunch, and an excellent option for work. I only wished my jar was a little bigger!
  • Sesame-Crusted Haloumi and Strawberry Salad (p 179): I’ve had similar salads to this through the IQS program and always enjoy it. We had it with a ‘side’ of lamb.
  • Okonomiyaki in a tray (p 183): I had high hopes for this one, and I have to admit I was disappointed. It was ok… but I thought perhaps the buckwheat flour wasn’t the best idea.
  • Basic Pot Au Feu (p 214): I’ve had the spring variation of this already, so I knew it would be delicious. I used the leftover broth in a risotto which was lovely. We served ours with both of the following condiments:
  • Bucha Mustard (p 336): I had high hopes for this one too! It smelled incredible. But tasted… too bitter. Perhaps I fermented it for too long?
  • Homemade Aioli (p 50): My homemade mayonnaise can be a bit hit and miss, mainly if I get a bit impatient with the oil dripping. But this time, I nailed it. We practically ate it by the spoonful.
  • Homemade Cream Cheese (p 46): So easy to make – rather than find muslin cloth and hang it, I simply lined a strainer with a clean chux and placed it over a large bowl. The final product is luscious! I used it to make:
  • Cream Cheese Frosting (p 56): This might be my new favourite thing to eat. Even just on it’s own. However, I did sacrifice some to make:
  • Pull-apart Caterpillar Birthday Cake (p 290): I made minis to save some for the freezer stash (it made 70!!), and gave mine two heads. Two kids, two heads. 😉 They were a hit with my family, even with the hidden black beans and sweet potato!
Pull-Apart Caterpillar Birthday Cake from Simplicious

Pull-Apart Caterpillar Birthday Cake from Simplicious

  • Sweet Persian Tagine with Lamb (p 224): This was so, so good. Very delicious. As suggested in the cookbook I teamed it with:
  • Moroccan Cauliflower, Chickpea and Quinoa Bake (p 238): The combination of these two dishes worked beautifully together, I highly recommend them!
  • Green Spaghetti and Meatballs (p 145): I thought this was delicious – we had it just before Halloween, so I told the kids it was ‘green monster spaghetti with eyeballs’, which actually seemed to help!
  • Beet, Beet Leaf and Apple Borscht (p 244): I found this very sweet, although this may have been because I didn’t get any beet leaves attached to my beetroot. My son thought the ‘pink soup’ was very pretty!
  • Grounding Crimson Tonic (p 351): I accidentally over-turmeric’ed this so found it a little too bitter. But I used the leftover fermented beetroot as a side to a number of meals, and used some of the tonic to make:
  • Ruby Grapefruit Tonic Bombs (p 347): Some gorgeous red gummies, which I also added raspberries to, to counteract the bitterness of the tonic a little.
  • Pretty in Pastel Pink Parsnip Pasta (p 137): I was sceptical about this one but thought it was quite nice! Next time though, I would fry off the garlic instead of including it raw.
Pretty in Pastel Pink Parsnip Pasta from Simplicious

Pretty in Pastel Pink Parsnip Pasta from Simplicious

That’s 202 recipes down, and 104 to go. Oh, so close to 100. I can’t believe Spring is nearly at a close – it still doesn’t feel like winter has ended! In November, I’ll be trying the Spring Socca Pizza, the Spring Kombucha with strawberries, and…. the Lamb Offal Meatloaf. Argh. Time to get it done…

Read the previous post here – #10: A Simplicious Challenge: Getting out of my comfort zone.

Read the next post here – #12: A Simplicious Challenge: My Ikea Moment.

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