Spiced Apple and Fig Baked Porridge

Baked Porridge 2

 

As you may have guessed from my short-lived overnight oats series, I’m somewhat of an oat devotee. (But please don’t get me started on the difficulties of photographing your breakfast before work, on an incredibly dull English morning, that wasn’t one of my best ideas!) I’ve read about baked porridge so many times that I felt it was about time I tried it. The idea of cooking up a big batch and saving myself a job for a few mornings a week really appealed, as did the fact that it resembles a good old crumble!

Baked Porridge 1

I’m on a bit of a healthy eating, low processed sugar, kick at the moment, so I thought the place to turn, to get the basic recipe down had to be Deliciously Ella. I knew she could be trusted to not sneak in a stack of brown sugar or a slug of unnecessary maple syrup.

Baked Oatmeal 6

This baked porridge is sweetened with apples alone, Ella adds raisins to hers, but I couldn’t resist popping in a few baby figs instead. I’m not a huge pecan fan and I don’t really like crunchy bits in my porridge, so instead I added ground almonds for a bit of nutty goodness, giving it a slight frangipane vibe. (continue reading…)

Advertisements

Overnight Oats #4 – Roasted Rhubarb with Orange

Overnight Oats with Rhubarb 1

For today’s overnight oats post we’re talking rhubarb and what better accompaniment to rhubarb than orange. They play off each other so beautifully and the pink and orange colour combo is just gorgeous.

The orange, with the help of a touch of brown sugar, counteracts the tartness of the rhubarb and makes for a perfect, zingy contrast to the creamy oats. It takes a little longer to prep the night before, but keeps in the fridge for a good few days, so it’s worth a little effort.

Overnight Oats with Rhubarb 3

Overnight Oats with Roasted Rhubarb and Orange
Makes enough rhubarb for 2 servings

For the basic overnight oats recipe click here

Rhubarb ingredients:
200g (1 1/2 to 2 sticks) rhubarb
1 tbsp honey
Juice and zest of half an orange

Preheat the oven to 175C / 160C / 350F.

Slice the rhubarb into 1 inch pieces and put it in a baking tray (with sides) and pour over the honey, zest and orange juice and give it a little stir.

Cover the baking tray loosely with foil and bake the rhubarb for 20-30 minutes until soft but holding its shape.

Once cooled pop the rhubarb in a bowl in the fridge and serve over your basic overnight oats.

Overnight Oats with Rhubarb 2

Overnight Oats #3 – Roasted Strawberries

Overnight Oats and Roasted Strawberries 1

For this week’s overnight oats episode I took a note out of Tracy Shutterbean’s book and roasted some strawberries.

Roasting strawberries intensifies their flavour, adding a cheeky splash of balsamic vinegar gives them an amazing tang and maple syrup provides just the right level of stickiness.  This method is especially effective if you’ve accidentally bought a duff batch of watery flavourless strawberries, it really perks them up.

The strawberries cut through the richness of overnight oats beautifully, but I couldn’t resist adding to the richness with a little almond butter. Any excuse!

I recommend you prepare a big batch of these strawberries as there are so many uses for them, such as Tracy’s gorgeous snack idea of popping them on graham crackers topped with ricotta. Heaven!

Overnight Oats and Roasted Strawberries 2

Overnight Oats with Roasted Strawberries
Strawberries from Shutterbean

You can find the basic overnight oats recipe here

Ingredients:
450g strawberries, hulled and sliced in half lengthways
4 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 175C / 160C Fan / 350F and line a baking tray (with sides) with parchment paper.

Mix all of the ingredients except the strawberries in a small bowl. Pop the strawberries into a larger bowl and pour over the liquid. Toss the strawberries around to coat them thoroughly.

Remove the strawberries from the liquid and spread them out over the baking sheet, then dispose of the remaining liquid. Roast them for 40-45 minutes. They should stay fresh in the fridge for about a week.

Enjoy!

 

Overnight Oats #2 – Earl Grey Raisins and Almond Butter

Overnight Oats & Raisins 1

Welcome to part 2 of my overnight oats series. Now we’ve gone though the basic recipe, it’s time to start thinking about toppings.

Although this may not look like the most exciting of accompaniments, it’s the one I go back to time and time again. For one thing you don’t need to have any fresh fruit in the house, just raisins, a tea bag and a jar of nut butter.

Secondly, it tastes amazing! Overnight, the tea turns the raisins into juicy, sweet little globes that burst wonderfully in your mouth, with just a hint of citrus and tea flavour. The almond butter adds richness to the oats and provides some marvellous essential fats. It’s the perfect combination.

Go on, give it a go.

Overnight Oats & Raisins 2

Overnight Oats with Earl Grey Raisins and Almond Butter

1 serving of basic overnight oats, for recipe click here
1 earl grey tea bag (or other tea of your choice)
1 tbsp raisins
1 tsp almond butter (or any other nut butter you fancy)

In the evening, once you’ve whipped up your overnight oats and put them in the fridge, make a cup of tea, remove the tea bag and put the raisins into the cup. Cover the cup with a saucer and leave it on the work surface over night.

In the morning remove the raisins and sprinkle them over the overnight oats. Stir through the nut butter and enjoy!

Overnight Oats & Raisins 3

Overnight Oats #1 – The Basics

Overnight oats #1 1

Welcome to my new series, may I present my latest obsession, overnight oats!

Okay, as usual I’m hugely behind the food curve, (see Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding about 6 months too late!) but now I’m seriously making up for lost time.

I am a great believer that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but the best days for me start with something oaty and yoghurty. So when I discovered overnight oats I got myself into a happy food rut.

Like a perfect bowl of porridge, with the added advantage of not having to get up early in the morning to cook, you mix them up before bed and the next morning you top them with whatever you like.

In this series I’m going to show you a few of my favourite toppings and attempt to persuade you to share in my obsession!

So let’s start with the basic recipe (only 3 ingredients!!) and maybe throw on some pomegranate seeds and maple syrup.

Overnight oats #1 2

Basic Overnight Oats
Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cold water
1/2 natural yoghurt

Before bed, stir the ingredients together in a cereal bowl, cover the bowl with a plate and pop it in the fridge until morning. You’re done!

If you like your oats a little runnier throw in some more water next time.

Stay tuned for toppings!

Overnight oats #1 3

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding with Pistachio Praline

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding 1

I’m a little behind on this chia seed thing. (It is still a thing right, I haven’t missed it altogether?)

I’m not good with trends, but in my defence I bought a pack of chia seeds around 6 months ago, had no clue what to do with them and was too lazy to find out. I may have intended to adapt this granola recipe to include them, who knows, but it didn’t happen.  Until last night they were sitting, completely unloved, at the bottom of a drawer full of baking stuff.

Chia Seeds

For those of you out there who haven’t heard about these tiny, super-hyped seeds, they are apparently loaded with fibre, omega 3, calcium and protein along with lots of other nutrients and they also fight belly fat. I had to give them a go.

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding 2

Despite all of their nutritional value, the property I care about here, is their ability to produce a super creamy and decadent pudding that’s healthy but definitely doesn’t feel like a chore to eat.  When you soak the seeds in milk they become slightly jelly-like which makes for an amazing pudding. With the addition of chocolate, you’ve got yourself an amazing dessert or a cheeky little breakfast, and what’s more it’s gluten free and, if you so desire, vegan too! (continue reading…)

Chocolate Hazelnut Buns

Chocolate Hazelnut Buns 1

Pat me on the back, I have officially sorted your Christmas breakfast. Well, that is provided you like chocolate for breakfast, and given that my all time favourite breakfast cereal is cocopops, you know I do.

Chocolate Hazelnut Buns 2

Can you imagine, getting up on Christmas morning and opening your stocking as the beautiful smell of baking drifts around the house. Then sitting down to a soft, warm, chocolately breakfast bun, punctuated with the crunch of hazelnuts? Let’s make it happen!

Chocolate Hazelnut Buns 3

And best of all, you can do the preparation the night before and all you’ll have to do in the morning is pop them in the oven. I can’t imagine anything more perfect! (continue reading…)

Seeded Loaf

Seeded loaf 1

This weekend the freakishly good British summer has finally come to a very depressing end. The skies have opened and it’s time to retreat to the kitchen and crank the oven up to a blisteringly hot temperature.

Seeded loaf 2

One of the finest ways to spend a rainy Saturday morning has to be whipping up a fabulous loaf to provide you with all of your weekend sarnies and toast. There really is nothing quite like the taste of a loaf that you’ve made from scratch with your own fair hands.

Seeded loaf 3

It takes a lot of patience to make a loaf. Even if you use a stand mixer to do the kneading, like I did here (always a good option with a wet dough like this one, but kneading by hand will do the trick too) you’ll still have to wait at least an hour for the dough to rise (or 2 hours with doughs like this one) and then another hour for the loaf to prove after shaping, but I promise it’s worth it. (continue reading…)

Apricot & Date Tea Loaf

Tea Loaf

Let’s talk tea loaf. For the uninitiated, a tea loaf is a fabulously moist tea cake that gets its moisture, not from fat, but from beautifully, fragrant tea. In this case orange scented, Earl Grey tea.

Apricots

For me, tea loaf is reminiscent of one of my favourite childhood treats, malt loaf, (only without the malt, obvs!). Every Sunday evening of my childhood, almost without fail, dessert consisted of a marvellous, chunky slice of malt loaf with a delicate spreading of margarine.

Tea Loaf 2

Yeah, yeah, I know, margarine ewww. But in my defence we were a fairly low fat household and I didn’t know any better! Besides the marg was there more as an extra layer of moisture than for flavour. I’m not ashamed people!

Tea Loaf 3

This cake, however, is so amazingly moist and sticky that you absolutely don’t need any extra butter (or marg!) on it. Although I just couldn’t resist! The moisture comes from the fact that the dried fruit is soaked, overnight, in warm tea. By the morning the fruit has doubled in size and is wonderfully sweet and juicy.

Tea Loaf 4

The softened fruit also makes this the ideal cake for all those fruit cake haters out there. I promise that they will barely even notice that there’s any dried fruit in there!

Its other advantage is how incredibly simple it is to make. Hardly any ingredients and made in one bowl, what more could you ask for?

Tea Loaf 5

Apricot & Date Tea Loaf

Ingredients:

150g dried apricots
130g dates
300ml strong hot earl grey tea
340g self raising flour
110g granulated sugar
1 heaped teaspoon ground allspice (or a mixture of nutmeg and cinnamon is also lovely)
1 beaten egg

Make the tea using 2 teabags and leave it to cool slightly. Chop each of the apricots and dates into around 3 pieces and put them all in a large mixing bowl.  Once the tea is lukewarm, pour it over the fruit, cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave it overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 180 C / 160 C fan oven / 350 F and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.

Add all the rest of the ingredients to the mixing bowl, stir well to combine and pop it into the baking tin, smoothing the top.

Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer can be inserted into the middle of the cake and is clean when removed.

Serve with or without butter, but definitely with a lovely cup of tea!

Tea Loaf 6

Honeyed Pistachio and Almond Granola

Granola 1

I’m a breakfast obsessive. As addictions go I suppose this is one of the least offensive that I could hope for. The problem is that I’m stuck in a repetitive breakfast cycle of my own creation.

Granola 2

Given the chance (which usually hinges on whether or not the grater is clean), I will happily eat the same breakfast each and every day. A whole grated apple mixed with oats, yoghurt and milled flax seeds. Prepared before I get in the shower in the morning, by the time I come out the oats have softened just enough for eating (although I’m sure they’d be nicer if left in the fridge overnight). It’s full of healthy ingredients, with the right amount of sweetness from the apple to stop it feeling like a chore to eat.

Granola 4

Sometimes though, I have to shake things up and break out of my breakfast rut and that’s where this granola recipe comes into play.

Nuts

Granola is endlessly adaptable and you can adjust the ingredients to your taste incredibly easily. Don’t like nuts? Leave them out. Fancy a bit of dried fruit? Whack some in there (after you’ve cooked the rest of the granola obviously!) Looking for a slightly healthier breakfast than cocopops? Why not add a little cocoa powder into the mix?

Coconut

For me the completely non-negotiable add ins have to be coconut (in this case in 2 forms) and almonds, it really wouldn’t be granola without them. They are 2 of my favourite flavours and both add the essential crunch with makes granola what it is. Without them what’s the point? I may as well get back in my rut!

Granola 3

Honey is also indispensable here, it’s the glue that holds the other ingredients together and sweetens the whole shebang (spelling??), so that only minimal sugar is required (and you could probably leave it out altogether and still be perfectly satisfied). For my vegan friends out there (well vegan friend anyway, you know who you are!) maple syrup will work a treat too and impart it’s beautiful mapley flavour into your breakfast situation.

I recommend lashings of yoghurt and some summery berries as accompaniments, but milk (almond milk?) would work wonders too.

Granola 5

Honeyed Pistachio and Almond Granola

I’ve gone a little American with my measurements here, it’s easier than getting the scales out and granola should be quick and simple to whip up, so please forgive me my British chums!

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup pistachios
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup coconut shreds or desiccated coconut
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
pinch of salt
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes (if you can only find untoasted, add them right at the start)

Start by preheating your oven to 175 C / 155 C fan oven / 350 F and line a large baking sheet (with slightly raised sides) with baking paper.

In a large bowl mix together the oats, nuts, seeds, coconut shreds, oil, honey and salt until thoroughly incorporated. Next add in the brown sugar and stir that thoroughly through.

Tip the whole mixture out onto the baking sheet and put it in the oven for 30 minutes, giving it a stir around every 10 minutes and keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t get too dark at the edges. Finally add in the toasted coconut, stir it through and put it back in the oven for a further 5 minutes.

Carefully tip the granola into a large bowl to cool giving it a stir every so often to breakdown any large clumps. Once completely cooled decant it into a storage jar and enjoy! It will keep for at least a week, if not longer, but good luck resisting it!

Granola 6