Cookery teacher reveals how to cur out processed sugar

The easy swaps to make to cut refined sugar: Cookery teacher reveals how to enjoy cheesecakes and brownies the healthy way by using dates, maple syrup and cacao powder

  • Justine Murphy, a cookery teacher shared her  top tips on cutting sugar at home
  • Revealed using coconut sugar, dates and maple syrup cuts out refined sugar use
  • She shares three indulgent refined sugar-free recipes exclusively with FEMAIL 

Many Brits will have seen their sugar consumption skyrocket over the last year as thousands working from home reach for a biscuit or chocolate as comfort.

But now a new book has revealed the recipes that cut out sugar without sacrificing the delicious taste of their favourite treats such as cake, brownies and pizza.

Speaking to FEMAIL, Justine Murphy, a London-based private chef turned cookery teacher has revealed her top tips on cutting sugar in home cooking, as well as sharing exclusive recipes from The mymuybueno Cookbook.  

‘The best way to cut down on sugar is by swapping over from refined processed sugars like white granulated and caster sugar to natural sugars instead. Your palate starts to adjust very quickly, and you crave far less sweet in general,’ she explained.

Justine Murphy, a London-based private chef turned cookery teacher has revealed her top tips on cutting sugar in home cooking, as well as sharing exclusive recipes from The mymuybueno Cookbook.

‘Coconut sugar is perfect for bakes, and I use palm sugar for savoury cooking as well as pure maple syrup, and brown rice syrup in raw desserts and as toppings. 

‘These digest slower and provide nutritional value, unlike refined/processed sugars, therefore being a much healthier option,’ she added.

 1. Swap processed/refined sugar for coconut sugar in baking, jams and to sweeten hot drinks. 

2. Use pure maple syrup when making chocolate, pancakes and caramels as well as a great topping.

 3. Using palm sugar for chutneys and Asian cooking 

4. Brown rice syrup in cheesecakes and granola.

 5. Using medjool dates to make sweet delicious caramels. 

6. Swapping chocolate for cacao powder or paste.

Justine, who worked as a private chef on superyachts before setting up her cookery school added focusing on good quality ingredients is key to being healthy. 

‘Using good quality fresh ingredients and by keeping it simple, allowing them to do the talking.

‘My recipes are easy to follow and they work, making them achievable as well as delicious to be in better control of nourishing your body with good food and finding balance.  

‘Good food evokes happiness, by the taste and enjoyment it provides when eating it and also the benefits of the ingredients themselves, as they nourish your body and make you feel good, provide you energy and elevate your mood and mindset. 

‘I left London to go and work as a private chef on superyachts, to see the world, and also to find my happiness, after many adversities both in childhood that followed into my early adult years too,’ she said. 

‘Finding my happiness through surrounding myself with good people, and having a healthy relationship with good food, led to my vision for my company mymuybueno, which is all about food and people driven by my cookery school and chef agency, and never comprising on my core values. 

‘Sharing my journey within my book, and all my recipes, I wanted to make something that is really special, a book for good living that could benefit and inspire others through my food and values, and to be accessible and achievable in our busy lives too.

‘My cookbook is all about eating well, feeding yourself and the people around you well too, and recognising how that extends past food and into your life. The people you surround yourself with and how you tackle your day, to enhance and lead a better and healthier quality of life by making a few simple changes.

Here, she shares some of her favourite recipes exclusively with FEMAIL… 



I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tweaked my brownie recipe over the years, to perfect the version below. At least a hundred, if not more. It’s been absolutely worth it to create a brownie as good, if not better than my 2011 original. The chia provides the right amount of ‘squidge’ and the almonds make it more fudgy than cakey. It’s the best of all brownie worlds.


For the chia-egg

1 tbsp chia seeds

3 tbsp warm water

Dry Ingredients

200g plain flour, sifted

50g ground almonds

300g coconut sugar

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, sifted


60g cacao powder, sifted

Pinch of Himalayan salt

Wet Ingredients

100ml almond milk

130g coconut oil, melted

For the topping

2 tbsp chopped walnuts, pistachios, pecans or cacao nibs


Preheat the oven to 180°c and lightly grease a 20cm square or rectangular tin with melted coconut oil. Line the base with parchment paper.

Place the chia seeds in a bowl with the warm water, mix well then leave to one side for 10 minutes to thicken up. Stir once in this time to ensure the dry seeds on top have taken on the water below.

In an electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine your dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the almond milk and melted coconut oil with the chia-egg

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and leave to mix well for around 5 minutes to ensure all the oil has been incorporated. You will be left with a shiny and very thick mixture. 

Pour this into the lined tin and press it down firmly and evenly using a silicone spatula. Sprinkle the brownie with your topping of choice, then bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven until cooked through but still a little soft in the middle. It will continue cooking from the residual heat of the tin once out the oven.

Leave the brownie to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer it to a wire rack by lifting the paper. After another 10 minutes, carefully use another wire rack to turn it upside down and gently remove the paper. Leave to cool completely (this part is very important) before cutting into squares. Enjoy.


Serves 6

Making pizza at home is very simple and once you’ve tried it, you’ll do it time and time again. It’s great to make with my boys, letting them get hands-on and choosing our own toppings.

For the bases

  • 14g dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing the foil
  • 650ml lukewarm water
  • 800g tipo 00 flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 200g semolina flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tsp Himalayan salt

For the sauce

  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Pinch of flaked sea salt
  • Grind of black pepper
  • For the toppings: 150g mozzarella Chorizo or Serrano ham Mushrooms Red bell peppers Anchovy fillets Dried chilli flakes Rocket Basil 


For the bases

In a small bowl, add the yeast, honey or maple syrup and olive oil to the lukewarm water. Mix everything together and leave for 10 minutes until the yeast starts to activate, bubble and come to life. If the water is too cold it won’t activate the yeast, if it’s too hot, it will kill it.

In a large bowl, combine the flours and salt. Make a well in the centre then pour in the liquid, gradually mixing in the flours with a wooden spoon until a mass of dough begins to form.

Turn the dough out and knead on a lightly floured work surface for about 10 minutes until soft and smooth. You can of course use a electric stand mixer and dough hook instead, which saves a lot of time.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to prove for 1 hour or until it’s doubled in size.

Punch down the proven dough well, transfer to a lightly floured surface and divide the dough into six individual balls. Working with one ball at a time, and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into your preferred pizza size. Tear off sheets of foil just bigger than each pizza. Grease the foil all over with some olive oil and liberally sprinkle with semolina flour, then place the pizza base on top. Repeat with each ball of dough.

For the sauce

Place the tinned tomatoes into a food processor with the garlic, purée and olive oil. 

Blitz until smooth then transfer to a small saucepan over a medium heat and cook for 5 minutes. 

Stir through the oregano and season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

 Add the sauce to your pizza bases, spreading it out from the centre but leaving the edge clear to create a crust.

To assemble and cook your pizza

Remove all the racks and preheat the oven to its highest temperature, usually around 240°c.

Add your mozzarella, and any other toppings you wish. 

Carefully slide the pizza with foil base onto the base of the oven.

 Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the pizzas are golden brown and the cheese is fully melted. 

Add any cold toppings, such as Serrano ham, fresh basil or rocket, after cooking. 

Repeat this process to cook each pizza then serve.




For all the chocolate orange lovers out there, you will absolutely adore this.


For the base

100g pecans

100g almonds

80g desiccated coconut

2 tbsp cacao powder

100g Medjool dates, pitted

1 tsp vanilla powder

Pinch of Himalayan salt

100g brown rice syrup or maple syrup

For the filling

400g cashews, soaked in water overnight

100g brown rice syrup or maple syrup

6 tbsp carton coconut milk

70g cacao powder

Pinch of Himalayan salt

100g cacao butter

100ml fresh orange juice

1 tsp orange extract

For the topping: 1 orange


For the base

Line a 20cm cake tin with parchment paper. In the food processor, blend the pecans and almonds into small pieces.

 Add all the other ingredients and process until well combined and sticky. 

Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the base of the tin so it’s well compacted and place in the freezer to firm up.

For the filling

Drain and rinse the cashews, discarding the soaking water, then blitz them in the processor with the syrup, coconut milk, cacao and salt.

In a saucepan, melt your cacao butter until it becomes liquid. Add this to the processor last and continue to blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

 Add the orange juice and extract and then blend again until well incorporated.

Pour the filling over the base and tap the whole tin down on the counter firmly to release any air bubbles and help to distribute it evenly in the tin.

Place the cheesecake back into the freezer and leave overnight to completely firm up. 

Remove from the freezer at least 10 minutes before you wish to serve the cheesecake, allowing it ample time to thaw and be easy to cut.

For the topping

Before serving, zest the orange directly over the cheesecake so that the oils and juice release over the cake. 

Cover it generously, being careful not to include any white pith as this is bitter.

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