Reiew. Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary


Being dyslexic I have always found non-fiction, with its impossibly small and curly fonts difficult to read.  Audiobooks being really expensive to buy I had accepted that this was a genre that was mainly off-limits, apart from the occasional graphic novel.  However I’m now able to plunge in thanks to the excellent service Edinburgh City Libraries offer in downloads.

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“No sugar” breakfast muffins, and the myth of no sugar


As the world has gradully woken up to the fact that sugar is one of the worst substances on the face of the earth for your health there has been a prolifiration of no sugar baking books.  As someone who is trying to reduce her sugar intake but still have the odd sweet treat the no sugar claims have become increasingly frustraiting.

Many people will gush about how wonderful the latest no sugar baking book is, only when I open it to find that all the recipies are made with maple syrup or honey.  Let’s be clear, maple syrup and honey are sugar.  They are a less refined form of sugar.  They probably have a few trace minirals which makes it ever so slightly more nutrionally dense than refined sugars.  They are slightly sweeter so you can use less than refined sugars.  But they are sugar.  Just packaged in a different way.  Therefore if there is maple syrup or honey in your recipie, it is full of sugar.

One other, and my prefered”no sugar” alternatative is to use a home made date paste, prunes or apple puree – using the sweetness of the fruit.  However this still uses sugar.  Fruit is full of fructose, and anything ending with “ose” is sugar.  Because this sugar is wrapped in the form of fruit it also has vitimans and minerals and most importantly fiber.  Fiber will help slow down the absorbtion of the “ose” into your body, and means you are much less likely to hit a sugar high then dip.

It’s really important to be careful with what we label sugar free as it’s not just the worried well who are persuing no sugar diets, but people with medical conditions such as diabetes.  For diabetics this mislabelling could have sever consequences – so it’s important to know what really is and is not sugar.

It’s also important to recognise that if you eat plently of fruit and veg you will also be eating sugar – it’s practically impossible to be totally sugar free in your diet.  The real key is to be aware of what you are eating and do your resarech, then adjust as you see necessary.

The best “no sugar” baking book I have found is Sensationally Sugar free by Susanna Both.  Only one recipie uses honey, all the rest either stevia (a no calorie sweet alternative) or combinations of date pastes and fruit.

The only gripe I have with Booth’s otherwise excellent collection of recipies is that the technique often creates an inferior product.  The Seeded Breakfast Muffins, are made by putting all the incredients into a blender.  While this is certainly baking that works for the busy person, it’s not baking for those who enjoy the texture of cake as much as the flavour.  However it’s easy to adapt and I’ve included my adaptions for the muffins below which turns them from a breakfast muffin into more of a carrot cake muffin.

Seeded Breakfast Muffins

7.5 oz plain flour

5oz sweetcorn (frozen or canned)

5oz soft pitted prunes

20oz sunflower seeds

20oz carrots peeled and grated

8oz sultanas

8fldoz almond milk

4fld oz sunflower oil

3 eggs

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 teaspoons baking poweder

1 teaspoon cinnimon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds


1. Sive the flour spices and baking powder together in a bowl

2.  In your blender add the oil, vanilla extract, almond milk, prunes and sweetcorn.  Blend until smooth and combined.

3.  Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until intigrated.  

4.  Beat the eggs lightly and add to the mix.

5. Add the grated carrot, sultanas, sunflower seed and half the pumpkin seeds, and stir until combined.

6.  In a muffin tin, place muffin cases and spoon the mixtuer evently between all of them.

7.  Finally top with the remaining pumpkin seeds, pressing them into the mix slightly to make sure they adhear.

8.  Cook in an over at 180c/350f/Gas mark 4 for about 25mins or unti lrisen and golden brown.