It’s my 9th blog birthday (9!!), and unfortunately this year I haven’t been organised enough to bake a cake. Instead, I’m pulling something semi cake related out of my drafts – I’m ashamed to tell you how long this post has been lingering in there, so let’s just move on!
I haven’t really been talking about it here but I’m still eating paleo most of the time (ie avoiding grains, starches, legumes, refined sugars, and dairy). As you can tell by what I’ve been posting, I’m not strict on it, and tend to have one/two meals a week that’s non-paleo. Last week was a blow out because it was birthday week, but I’m back on the train. Choo choo!
I’ve been wanting to make my own granola for ages, ever since I realised that my favourite cereal at the supermarket is stupidly pricey for what is, pretty much, just fancy schmancy oats.
I mostly followed the directions I found on this webpage. It contains some good advice and different variations for granola.
With my batch, I used dried cranberries, dried dates and pepitas, which I’ve been enjoying for breakfast with some good yoghurt dolloped on top. I over baked it though – I should’ve realised that the granola would crisp up when it cooled down – so mine is a bit too crunchy. Plus, I didn’t read the instructions properly and threw the dried fruit in at the beginning of the baking time so that added to the hardness. It’s still tasty though and I can’t wait to make a better, improved batch!
2 cups old fashioned oats 1/2 cup wheat germ 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 cup maple syrup 1/8 cup golden syrup 3 tablespoons canola oil 1 tablespoon water 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup of dried fruit (I used 3/4 cup of chopped dried dates, 1/4 cup of dried cranberries and a small handful of pepitas)
Preheat oven to 135°C. Lightly oil a baking tray.
In a bowl, mix together the oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon, leaving out the dried fruit.
In a small saucepan, heat the maple syrup, golden syrup, oil and water over a low heat until almost simmering. Drizzle over the oat mixture and stir to combine.
Pour the mixture on to the baking tray, and squeeze the cereal a handful at a time to form small clumps.
Bake for 30 minutes and then stir in the dried fruit. Return to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. It will crisp up as it cools down.
So I’ve been lying low for a couple of weeks. I haven’t been in the headspace for blogging for some reason. But I’ve still been cooking – pictured is a lazy Sunday breakfast we had recently.
Part of the reason for the blog quietness is that my parents are here for a visit! They arrived last week, and I was very busy trying to get the house clean and in order before they arrived. I wasn’t entirely successful (I never am) but in the 5 days since they have been here they have done 4 loads of laundry, cooked us dinner most nights, bought groceries and taken us out for meals.
Why on earth did I ever leave home???
One weekend before my parents arrived (ie when I had ownership over my kitchen) I made us a soufflé omelette for breakfast. Along with jam, I put slices of mango in the middle (my first mango this side of the year!). When I reviewed the photos, I realised that the mango looked a bit like teeth!
The souffle omelette puffed up a lot in the oven, and even after it had been out for a while, I was pleased to see that it didn’t completely deflate. It was nice and fluffy, not too sweet, but it was quite “eggy” (surprise surprise). We enjoyed it and it was easy to make – perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast!
Adapted from Australian Table – September 2006
2 eggs, separated 1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon cream 2 teaspoons plain flour grated rind of 1/2 lemon 15g unsalted butter 2 tablespoons jam Diced fruit (if desired) icing sugar, to serve
Preheat oven to 190°C. Combine egg yolks, sugar, cream, flour and lemon rind in a bowl. Set aside.
Using an electric beater, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold yolk mixture and egg whites together using a large metal spoon.
Melt butter in a large ovenproof frying pan on low heat. Pour in egg mixture and place the frying pan in the oven. Bake omelette for 6 minutes, until risen and golden. Slide onto a heated serving plate and spread with jam. Place fruit on half of omelette (if desired) and fold omelette over. Dust with icing sugar, and cut crossways into thick slices. Serve immediately.
70 grams palm sugar 50 ml water 2 medium bananas, peeled and sliced
Mix together the flour, salt, sugar and coconut. Whisk in the milk, egg and melted butter until it all comes together.
Heat a frying pan on medium heat, melt some butter or a touch of oil. Add 1/4 cup of batter. When you start to see bubbles appearing on the surface, flip the pancake over and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Make the rest of the pancakes and keep warm.
Heat the water in a small saucepan and melt the palm sugar (you may want to grate it so it melts more quickly). Simmer until it’s darkened and thick, add the sliced bananas and gently toss through the syrup. Serve with the pancakes.
I should learn by now that I shouldn’t cook late at night. Whenever I do, I make mistakes because I’m tired. Like the time I started a caramel slice at 9:30pm on a work night and turned the grill on instead of the oven. I didn’t realise until after I had “baked” the base of the slice and had poured on the caramel. It took me a while before I figured out why the caramel was bubbling so much in the oven!
Still, pikelets are hard to screw up. Even though I made them late in the evening they turned out okay. However, the shapes were all over the place and not as round as I would’ve liked. Apparently if you drop the batter from the tip of the tablespoon, the pikelets will come out round. I’ll have to remember it for next time!
From Donna Hay Modern Classics 2.
Combine 2 cups plain flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 cup caster (superfine) sugar in a bowl. Combine 2 eggs, 1 12/ cups milk and 70g melted butter in another bowl, then whist into the flour mixture.
Cook 1 tablespoon of the mixture over low heat in a frying pan greased with butter for 1-2 minutes. Turn and cook for another minute or until golden.
Serve the pikelets warm with lemon and sugar or cool with jam and whipped cream. Makes 40 (apparently).
Generally for brunch on the weekends I prefer something savoury, like eggs. Alastair is a fan of the sweet brunch so sometimes I indulge him and make pancakes.
In saying that though, if I had to pick one pancake recipe to make for the rest of my life – this would be it. These are my favourite pancakes ever! It’s like eating apple porridge in a pancake. They’re not fancy, and they’re not attractive (I can never get them round because the batter is so thick!) but they taste good.
The original recipe had pecans, if you’re into that, add 1/2 cup of roughly chopped pecans to the batter.
Apple and Oat Pancakes
Adapted from a recipe in Australian Table July 2004.
1 1/2 cups rolled oats 1 1/2 cups boiling water 1 large egg, lightly beaten 1 1/3 cups plain flour 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder 1/3 cup caster sugar (use less, say 1/4 cup, if you like to drown your pancakes in syrup. I prefer less sugar.) 1 cup milk (if the batter is too thick, add more) 60g butter, melted 3 apples (I like granny smiths), cored, peeled and coarsely grated
1: Combine oats and boiling water in a bowl and stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in egg. 2: Sift flour and baking power together, then mix into oat mixture with sugar. 3: Stir in milk and melted butter, followed by apples. 4: Melt some butter in non-stick frying pan on medium heat. When warm enough, add 1/4 cup measures of batter. Cook for several minutes until bubbles start to appear on top, then turn and cook the other side for several minutes until cooked. Repeat with remaining butter. 5: Serve with butter and maple syrup.
This was dinner on a night when I had to use an avocado before it softened into mush. At the market vegie stall at the market, they tend to sell 3 avocados for $x, and so I always buy 3 avocados at a time. Even when it only saves me 40 cents or other teensy amount, I cannot resist a bulk deal. Must be my asian genes. 😉
My Bro and I have debated whether the avocado “salsa” is actually a salsa. Technically it’s not a sauce, so probably not… I call it that anyway.
With the corn fritters, I have a couple of recipes sitting in my email (whenever I find a recipe I like the look of, I email it to myself). This has been adapted from one of those recipes, and I think the original came from one of the companies who produce canned corn.
Corn Fritters Serves 4
440g can corn kernels 2 cups self raising flour 1 finely diced onion 2 eggs 2 cloves crushed garlic 2 rashers of bacon 1 ¾ cups milk 1 teaspoon paprika Salt and pepper to taste
Avocado salsa 1 ripe avocado ½ red onion ½ Lebanese cucumber Juice of ½ a lemon Olive oil Salt and pepper
To make the salsa:
Chop the avocado flesh into small chunks. Toss with the lemon juice. Finely dice the red onion and chop the cucumber into small chunks. Gently mix the avocado, onion and cucumber together, toss with a dash of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. (You may be able to see in the photo that I also diced up some red radish and threw it in there. It was good for a bit of crunch.) Set aside until the corn fritters are ready.
To make the fritters:
Heat a frying pan and cook bacon until done to your liking. Roughly chop into pieces. (If you don’t like strong tasting onion and garlic, cook them before mixing into the batter below. I never bother.) Sift all dry ingredients together. Mix together the eggs, milk, onion, bacon and garlic, then stir in the dry ingredients and mix lightly until combined. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium, spray with oil. Drop tablespoons of mixture on to the pan, allowing room for spreading. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, turning when bubbles come to the surface. Cook for another 2 minutes or until cooked. Keep fritters warm then assemble with the salsa on top.
I like to have corn fritters with a bit of chilli jam (the orange stuff in the photo) but then I am a chilli fiend!
These are very tasty, and, I do actually eat them for breakfast! Generally I make a double batch and freeze the majority after I’ve cut them into bars. If I want one in the morning I take a bar out the night before and let it defrost in the fridge.
I’m not sure if they make a healthy breakfast, but I always feel virtuous eating something with oats so I tell myself it is. And even if it’s not that healthy… well… everything’s relative and it surely wouldn’t be as bad as a danish, donut or fry up! (Not that I eat danishes or donuts for breakfast! And only the occasional fry up.)
I no longer know where I got the original recipe from (somewhere on the interwebs) and have made a couple of adaptations. Any dried fruit would work well, but I especially love the taste of the prunes in these bars.
Preheat oven to 170c. Line a 23 x 32 cm sandwich tin with baking paper.
Put the butter & honey in a small pan over medium heat & stir until butter has melted.
Toss the oats, coconut, baking powder & sesame seeds together in a large bowl. Add the prunes, peaches & currants & mix well. Add the warm honey mixture & eggs & stir to combine, then spoon evenly into cake tin.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is cooked through & the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven & allow to cool in the pan before cutting into 12 bars.