Baking when you’re a struggling student

… with only leftovers in the kitchen.

Karn Chatikavanij – English lit student by day, baking enthusiast by night – shares her easy, yummy, veganisable muffin recipe. 

Durham is a cold, rainy place in the Autumn months. As a student here, I’m all too familiar with that sloth-ish feeling of wanting to stay inside all day and do bake something hearty. Unfortunately, sheltering inside often means I have a kitchen in dire need of a grocery touch-up which is obviously quite problematic if you’re wanting to bake. But of course, as every student knows: where there’s a will, there’s a way. And there’s always, always a will for some baked goods.

First, scan your kitchen very thoroughly: one of my housemates had left a couple of incredibly speckled bananas in the kitchen table drawer. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure after all. (Although, do appeal before you steal: I received an instant approval for my claim via Whatsapp.)

Once you have scraped up as many baking components as you possibly can, it is time to get creative. With my banana discovery, the last of some breakfast foods and a trickle of milk, I decided on some peanut butter and chocolate banana muffins. 25 minutes later, I was pleasantly surprised – the muffins looked gorgeous, smelt gorgeous, were gorgeous.

Here is my ad-lib recipe that was created on that miserably rainy Monday morning:

Delicious Muffins

look gorgeous, smell gorgeous, were gorgeous



  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup of clear honey
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup oats (if you have no oats, just use ½ flour and if you have no flour, use ¾ oats)
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder (if you don’t have this – I didn’t – a generous pinch of salt will do)
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • Whatever chocolate you have (spreads like Nutella work well too)

Good things to add if you have them:

  • Cinnamon (1 tsp)
  • Vanilla extract (1 tsp)
  • Brown sugar (2 tbsp)
  • 1 egg
  • Milk (1/3 cup)


  1. Measure out all your ingredients.
  2. Put them in a bowl preferably starting with the wet ingredients and folding in the dry ingredients after. Mix thoroughly until a smooth but thick paste is formed. (Although I kept a few fat chunks of banana in mine)
  3. If you have chocolate, chop it up and mix it in before spooning the mix into the muffin tin. If you have chocolate spreads, place a few dollops of it in the muffin mix as you’re spooning it into the tin so it doesn’t mix too thoroughly.
  4. Bake in the oven at 190C for 18 minutes.

Tip: if you’re lacking baking powder for that magical lift, try blasting an initial burst of hot air in the oven for 5 minutes (about 220C should do) and then a lower temperature for the remaining time (190C, or 180C if your oven is a little too enthusiastic) – this helps to build more of a dome to the muffins.

For decadence: If you have peanut butter to spare, mix an extra ¼ cup with a teaspoon of honey and warm it in the microwave on med-high for 30 seconds. Drizzle over the muffins.

As you will probably (hopefully) discover, this recipe is incredibly quick and easy. The muffins also have the added bonus of being a superb breakfast for the (supposed to be) active student because they’re big enough to hold a good burst of energy and protein yet small enough to take with you to that lecture you’re late for.


P.S. There is always a vegan version to my recipes. Here it is:


2 very ripe bananas

¼ cup of pure maple syrup/agave nectar OR ¼ cup of brown sugar

1/3 cup oats

1 tablespoon of baking powder/generous pinch of salt

¼ cup almond milk

½ cup peanut butter

Your stash of vegan chocolate (Bournville’s dark chocolate is an absolute winner in bakes – even if you’re not vegan.)

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