Posts tagged mar2012
Blueberry pie breakfast cookie

Remember my chocolate chunk breakfast cookie?

…How could you forget! It was very good.

Well, for those among us who simply cannot contemplate chocolate in any form for breakfast, I now have a little fruity offering. The perfect breakfast… or brunch.  I also have a little admission to make here, when I woke up this morning  I was so busy with bits and pieces on my laptop upon waking that I didn’t actually make it out of my bedroom until just before midday when my stomach started shouting at me for food…I had no idea how late it had got! So, I doubled the recipe and had one massive cookie. It was very filling indeed. Ok so that’s my little guilty admission!

So, the photos below is for one biiiiiig ‘double’ cookie however the ingredients below are for a regular sized cookie more like the original choc chunk version…. Double it if you dare!! (p.s if you do you’ll need to microwave it for longer- mine took approx. 2 ½ mins to cook through in the middle, no dramas if it is a little soft. Also it will be too big for your hands so you'll simple need to spoon and spread it onto the plate in a neat circle). I had another thought once I made this cookie, and I’ll give it a try on another occasion but I reckon you could substitute the yoghurt for a small mashed banana for a blueberry-banana combo, this will also help to sweeten and you can reduce the maple syrup. Let me know how it works out for you if you try this.

The photos look much less ‘oaty’ than the previous chocolate cookie, I think that’s simply because I whipped the ingredients together fairly ferociously, so it had more of a cakey texture. Either way tastes good to me.  I used blueberries but you could use any berry you fancy. I advise using frozen blueberries as they will hold their shape as you push them in and they will be perfectly cooked through after 1 minute in the microwave, no need to thaw first.

One last note- I suggest you taste the batter before cooking to test for sweetness. As its for breakfast I prefer a mildly sweet cookie but you may prefer to modify this, particularly if you make it for a dessert or snack.

Well, I think I’ve just about caught up with my life now that I’m back from my holiday. It’s been a day of bits and pieces, I was so glad for the Easter bank holiday!  I still have a few things to tick of the list for today, not least dinner that is currently in the oven.  If successful that will a post for later this week…Oh the excitement!

Recipe: blueberry pie breakfast cookie

Makes one fat cookie

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup oats
  • 2 tbs buckwheat flour (other flours  would probably be fine too)
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbs ground flax/chia
  • Ground cinnamon and vanilla extract to taste (approx. ½ tsp each)
  • 1 tbs flaked almonds (or other nuts of your choice)
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 3 tbs soy yoghurt (or regular yoghurt for non-vegan)
  • Handful of frozen blueberries

Method

Mix and mash all ingredients (other than almonds and berries) together well to form a thick sticky ball of dough. Roughly flatten the ball with your palms and place on a small microwaveable plate. Push the frozen blueberries into the surface evenly across the cookie dough. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top and dust with a little extra cinnamon if desired.

Cook on full powder in the microwave for 1 minute. Press with your finger and if it springs back and there are no visibly sticky bits and the berries are fully cooked you’re done!

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Goldilocks… and her oats!

The Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks.  She went for a walk in the forest.  Pretty soon, she came upon a house.  She knocked and, when no one answered, she walked right in.

At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge. Goldilocks was hungry. 

She tasted the porridge from the first bowl. 

"This porridge is too hot!" she exclaimed.

So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.

"This porridge is too cold," she said

So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge.

"Ahhh, this porridge is just right," she said happily and she ate it all up……

Ok, well I can’t really blame her for eating the bears porridge...it would have been tempting after all (although if I was one of the bears I would have put my foot down and decided that we would not leave the house until we’d eaten all of the porridge- just in case!)

I figured today would be a fitting opportunity to re-live a little oatmeal magic. I eat a bowl of oats every day for breakfast, and often at other times of the day for a little snack to keep me going. It’s not just porridge that gives me a kick…we have the breakfast cookie, the bakewell oat tart, gorgeous granola, the simplest most versatile crumble topping, plus many of my pancake recipes such as have a hefty serving of oats!

So..i’ll get to the point. Today’s post is simply a little tribute to the humble oat to give you a little inspiration…and maybe a drool-worthy moment. Catering for all tastes and textures (as I know for many people it is the 'gloopy' texture of porridge that doesn't appeal) check out the teasers below..... I will take this opportunity to remind you that ALL these recipes are super healthy  (even when it doesn’t look that way!)

step by step: oats and soy milk- pre cooked... cooked oats with grated apple on top...apple mixed through plus toppings

This pictures above are my go-to everyday breakfast bowl. I usually eat when I get to work and keep oats, seeds, nuts and soy milk in the cupboard/fridge in the office. I then take an apple in with me each morning  and concoct this monster! If I’m feeling like a lighter breakfast I will reduce the amount of oats and keep everything else the same so once the apple is mixed through it’s simple ‘light’ oats and not so filling and heavy. I add quite a lot of soy milk so that the oats have a lovely creamy milky texture.

  The best thing about this method is that grating the apple makes the bowl of oats look huge once its mixed through and it offers plenty of sweetness without any thing needing to be added. A few raisins/seeds/nuts are the perfect finali!

I use this method in many of my variations with different toppings. Typically I go for ½ cup oats (usually porridge oats not steel cut), slightly under 1 cup soy milk- microwaved together for 90 seconds then with 1 grated apple mixed through before toppings added last.

Now, check out some more oat love below...............Mmmmmmmm!

 apple and mango oats- using thegrated apple method

 apple and mango oats- using thegrated apple method

 my favourite   chocolate granola

 my favourite chocolate granola

 oh yeah...   the breakfast cookie!

 oh yeah... the breakfast cookie!

 a very milky PB&J styled combo  (peanut butter oats with strawberry and nectarine)

 a very milky PB&J styled combo  (peanut butter oats with strawberry and nectarine)

 strawberries and almonds

 strawberries and almonds

 another breakfast cookie...coming to my blog very soon...

 another breakfast cookie...coming to my blog very soon...

 plums and nuts

 plums and nuts

the  banana choc classic  ...or go crazy with carob

the banana choc classic ...or go crazy with carob

super simple   crumble topping

super simple crumble topping

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‘Indulgent’ chocolate breakfast oats

Oats... Oats... Oats

I figured a breakfast post about one of my favourite foods ever would be the perfect subject for a post whilst I am away on my holidays. Particularly with this spring weather we are having...sunny one minute, chilly the next. It often looks lovely and warm through the window but is actually quite chilly when you get outside. (yes i have bee  caought out a few times). So we are most definitely not relegating bowls of oatmeal to the 'winter recipe' box just yet...oh no never!

On days when the sun is hidden or I am feeling a little fragile and in need of some self-indulgence upon getting out of bed, what better way than to glam up a bowl of oats to provide a ‘lets-make-everything-better’ chocolately hit… whilst still providing the fuel to power me through the morning.

Actually I haven’t felt in that frame of mind for quite some time but not one to miss out on an opportunity for a little bit of healthy indulgence, this also makes an amazing mid afternoon snack if you feel in a bit of an energy slump…or are in one of those fidgety ‘not sure what to do with myself type of moods’ (yep that’s me on a frequent basis).  For an afternoon pep me up I halve the quantities below.

So this simple little concoction provides the perfect calming influence….it’s pretty much a hug in a mug!

You don’t have to add the extra chocolate chunks if you don’t want to (are you crazy!) but I really only added a sprinkling here and if you grate the chocolate it appears as if you have a lot more than you really have…deceptive! If you use a very ripe banana (I freeze chunks of ripe banana for future use at times like this) then you probably shouldn’t need any additional sweetener- but it’s up to you! This is another recipe where carob powder could also be used in place of, or mixed in with the cocoa for extra depth and sweetness and a twist on the usual taste…I tentitively tried the carob version recently and I was very pleasantly surprised, it tatsed really good and not so dissimilar the the original cocoa version. The banana and carob flavours compliment each other really well and neither are overpowering.

Oh how I love thee oats….hmmm this inspires a little Ode to the faithful Oatmeal now that I have so many oat-based recipes…but more on all that tomorrow!

Recipe: chocolate breakfast oats

Makes 1 bowl

Ingredients

  • ½ cup rolled oats (or modify the amount depending on how hungry you are!)
  • Approx. 1 cup  soy milk or any dairy alternative
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder (or carob)
  • 1 ripe banana- mashed but a few lumps are ok
  • 2 tbs coarsely chopped hazelnuts or walnuts
  • 1 tbs dark chocolate chunks or grated chocolate
  • Sprinkling of cinnamon- optional

Method

Mix and mash together the oats, ‘milk’ cocoa powder and banana. Heat in the microwave for 90 seconds and mix through. This is the consistency I like it (thick but still liquidy) but feel free to microwave longer if preferred. Top the mixture with the nuts and chocolate chunks finishing with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

I always microwave my oats as I like the consistency this way (and the speed and reduced washing up) but I appreciate many of you like to use the stove top, so feel free to modify the method about to suit.

Above- a big bowl of cocoa oats, below- a mini portion of carob oats (all tucked up in bed)

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Coconut Chocolate Slice

It’s now only a few days before Easter, and with plans and preparations already likely to be in full swing, I thought I would give you a simple recipe for a raw healthy chocolate alternative.  You can literally whip this up in minutes and store it in the fridge.

This chocolate is still super rich and decadent, but is made using only raw healthy ingredients. As with any ‘healthy’ dessert it should still be enjoyed in moderation, and since it is a very rich I found a little slice satisfied me so much more than regular dark chocolate would have done.            

I wanted to make a chocolate using coconut oil, or in actual fact using predominantly homemade coconut butter since I buy shredded coconut flakes (the raw ingredients for the butter) in bulk so it is extremely cost effective to make my own this way. Most of the other recipes I found for making raw chocolate used cacao butter instead, which may well create a slightly superior chocolate base and be less crumbly (I found the coconut butter does make it ever so slightly crumbly). However, for me the costs effectiveness and simplicity of using coconut butter along with the fact that this chocolate is still so very good lead me to decide against using cacoa butter.  I may well experiment along those lines in the future but I wanted to offer you a chocolate made using ingredients you would more typically have in your cupboard.  

For me, this chocolate does not taste overpoweringly of ‘coconut’ but then since I use coconut butter all the time I am a little immune to its taste. I would suggest that unless you have a strong dislike for anything remotely coconutty then you would love this chocolate! You can by all means use all coconut oil if that is more your thing, it will create a smoother textured chocolate without the slight grainy texture of the coconut meat content. If you go down this route I would suggest using about 1/3 less oil than the amount of butter the recipe states. You can always add more if you need to, to get a smooth spooning consistency.

You will note I have included both carob and maca powder in the ingredients list below. These ingredients are both optional but I would encourage you to include them if you have them as they create a much more complex flavour base. The carob gives a real richness to the compliment the cacoa and the maca has a ‘malty’ flavour which (depending how much you use) makes for a less bitter chocolate more of the ‘milk chocolate’ variety. If you omit the carob add a little extra sweetener or dried fruit as the carob is naturally sweet. To make this a raw chocolate you would need to use raw cacoa powder instead of regular cocoa powder, but again this is optional and cocoa could be interchanged here is preferred.

Have a happy, healthy….and chocolatey Easter!

For other super simple and versatile chocolatey recipes, check this dessert/mousse/frosting and this (soy free) frosting. Oh and not forgetting smoosh bars and these amazing fudge bites… they can be formed into any shape and they are still made on a very regular basis in this house!

Recipe: Coconut chocolate slice

Makes once very large bar (approx. 9x4 inch) so feel free to halve the ingredients to make a smaller version. 

Ingredients

  • 200g coconut butter
  • 50g coconut oil (the addition of the oil creates a less crumbly chocolate)
  • 50g raw cacao powder
  • 30g raw carob powder or more cacoa)
  • 1tbs maca powder (optional to taste)
  • 50g agave syrup (plus a tiny pinch of stevia if necessary to taste- I found it sweet enough without)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder or extract
  • Optional- fruit and chopped nuts

Method

Melt the coconut oil and butter and then mix everything together in a blender/food processor for a few minutes to achieve a thick glossy paste that is easily spoon-able.

You want to ensure that the coconut butter and oil stay warm and therefore liquidy to achieve the smoothest mixture. I used my Thermomix which has heat settings- by setting this at 37C I could maintain the right consistency as it mixed the ingredients together.

Once mixed, add some crushed nuts or dried fruit in last (if using) and briefly mix through evenly. I used coarsely ground almonds and cranberries.

Spoon the chocolate in to the bottom of a lined loaf tin (as I did) or individual moulds and pack down firmly. Store in the fridge to set for a hour. Once set this can be stored either in or out of the fridge for a couple of weeks.

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Classic Easter biscuits

Raisins, currants, sultanas… I never used to like these dried fruits until a year or so ago. Another one of the ways in which my tastes and appreciation for food has changed along with my diet.

Other food loves (from previous food hates) are… herbal teas, peanut butter and dark chocolate.  There is one thing that I still just can’t get my head around, and that’s mushrooms. It’s a shame as I have seen so many amazing and versatile recipes that use mushrooms, often as a meat substitute. I have come far though since I now enjoy mushrooms raw with a dip, but just not cooked (yeah, it’s ok I think I am odd too!)

Anyway, back to dried fruit. Namely currants. Classic Easter biscuits are reminiscent of garibaldi biscuits with a delicate crumb and the sweetness of the currants coming through. The tops are often glazed and sprinkled with a little extra sugar and the biscuits have a subtle warming spice.

These classic biscuits are also classically filled with refined sugars, flours, butter and egg.

Not here! 

I wanted to play around with achieving a moist delicate and slightly chewy biscuit using unrefined sugars, whole grain GF flours and coconut oil. I made a couple of different batches and each work really well, so it would seem this is a pretty versatile recipe.

The first batch I made used my classic mix of GF flours (buckwheat, ground almonds and tapioca flour) plus polenta to give a slight crunch to the texture. The second batch used predominantly blanched almond flour that I have had some fun playing with recently. The almond flour, along with various other flours and GF ingredients came from The Real Food Source, and now I have the pleasure of my almond flour variation being featured on their blog in the run up to Easter…..please check it out here.

Recipe: Classic Easter biscuits

Makes approx. 12 biscuits (depending on size and shape of cutter)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup coconut butter - melted (if using coconut oil reduce to slightly over ¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup agave plus a pinch of stevia if necessary
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (or make your own)
  • 2 tbs ground flax or chia plus 3 tbs hot water (mix and allow to sit for 1 min)
  • 3 tbs polenta
  • 1 ½ cup GF flour mix (see above or use you own)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup currants
  • 1 tsp cinnamon and mixed spice mixed
  • Pinch salt

Method

Mix dry ingredients (except currants) together in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients together in a small bowl and then add to the dry. Add the currants last (my currants were partially blended into smaller pieces but you can keep them whole if you prefer). Bring the dough into a ball with your hands. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a little under 1cm thick. Cut into shapes and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Lightly brush the tops with soy milk and sprinkle with a little coconut sugar or rapadura if desired.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for approx. 10mins until slightly golden.

These biscuits will store in an airtight container for up to a week, there will also freeze. The biscuits are dense and chewy by nature and so do not need to retain their crisp 'freshly baked' feel.

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Peanut Satay Sauce Skewers

It’s still sunny and it has been all week! Today I sat outside at my dad’s house writing up some posts to schedule whilst I am away on holiday next week. However I didn’t sit out too long as it wasn’t the most comfortable bench in the world! I’m just hoping the weather holds next week for my family break in Cornwall…well as long as we have some sun I will be happy!

Anyway, time for food……….

Remember my little teaser from this post at the weekend? Well, the wait is over and if you hadn’t guessed it already this is my current favourite, simple, speedy, no-fuss, super yummy (all my favourite words)… peanut satay sauce.

Even before I became a fan of peanut butter I always loved peanut satay sauce. Particularly on chicken skewers in a Thai restaurant! But now I have my own. I can’t believe I haven’t made it before. To me it tasted pretty much like the real thing but with only 4 ingredients and 2 minutes of time. Yes this is another one of my 5 minutes recipes.

As it was such a lovely spring day last Saturday I fancied a simple light lunch but wasn’t in the mood for salad. So instead here we have simple grilled veggie skewers with a satay marinade and drizzle sauce. It was so good. The drizzle sauce is quite light in colour as it is simply a thinner version of the marinade, you could add extra soy sauce or maybe even a touch of molasses if you want extra colour and depth. I felt it was perfectly tasty enough without.

I think this may even become my new quick snack recipe alternative to veggie sticks and dipsthe whole meal took no more than 10 minutes, and you could easily add some carbs or lentils for a more substantial meal. Want more peanut recipes? Well, I would suggest giving this unusual but yummy soup a try…plus I might just have a PB&J granola recipe currently undergoing a few tests….nom nom nom.

Recipe: Peanut Satay sauce Skewers

Makes one ramekins worth (for roughly one serving of veggie skewers)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs soy milk
  • Approx. ½ tsp hot sauce or chipotle pepper sauce (to taste depending on what type you use)
  • Additional 1-2 tbs soy (or other) milk to thin out once the veggies have been basted in half the sauce.

Method

Mix together all the ingredients to get a fairly thick paste. Coat the veggies and feed onto skewers for grilling. Grill for up to 10 mins turning once.

Meanwhile, you should have about half the sauce remaining. Add additional soy milk until you reach a drizzle consistency. Taste and add extra soy sauce etc if required. Heat the sauce in the microwave for approx. 1 minute on 50% power (not full power as I found it burnt the sauce).

Serve along with the skewers.

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Bakewell oat-tart

So on Sunday it was Mother’s Day here in the UK. You may have noticed I gave you a little sneak preview as to the subject of today’s post….

Mmmmm, raspberries and almonds! I figured this was a very underused combo on my blog but I love bakewell tart so I can’t believe I haven’t attempted a healthy version before now. Plenty of time for all that, but this little oatcake certainly did the trick, and yes this is another single serving cake of the microwave variety. Oh how I do love them!

Perfect for mother’s day breakfast.

The original idea for this cake came via this recipe, when I was doing some ‘oatmeal’ research, and it simply looked too good to not to try out. I made a few tweaks to the ingredients, and the quantities simply because I wanted to make more of a single serving (though I’ll definitely be making a larger batch from now on!) I then also took the leap of faith and use the microwave to turn it into a super quick breakfast/brunch/dessert, and also because I resent having to turn the oven on for a single cake! 

It worked really well in a muffin case in a silicon muffin pan, as you can then simply peel away the paper case once cooked (you may well not even need the paper cake case). To me these had the lovely dense texture of oatmeal without the creaminess of a bowl of cooked oats (I love that too but I know some people don’t). It's really a kind of porridge cake but that doesn't sound as good as it tastes! Having not tried the oven version I was not able to compare the methods, I imagine the oven version would maybe have more of a crust on the top and simply taste more ‘baked’ so if that’s your preference go for it!

I tried this recipe on the Saturday (in preparation for Mother’s Day) and ate the first ‘cake ‘plain and then the second with a dollop of super thick melted cashew cream, oh yeah…I’d recommend going for the topping!  By Sunday I’d run out of topping…so I served them with soy yoghurt for our mid-morning brunch which was still yummy!

Recipe:  Bakewell oat-tart

Makes 2 cakes

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup oats
  • 1 tbs agave
  • ¼ cup apple puree
  • ¼ cup soy milk (or any milk alternative)
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp ground chia or flax
  • Handful of fresh or frozen raspberries (I use frozen as they don’t ‘bleed’ so much)
  • Flaked almonds for decoration (add some extra to mixture if desired)

Method:

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, adding the raspberries last so the mixture doesn’t turn totally pink, unless that’s what you are aiming for!

Spoon into two silicone cupcake/muffin cases (or anything suitable for microwaving) and cook on full power for 2 minutes, though I would advise checking after 90 seconds to see if they are ready to your desired consistency since microwaves are all different.

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Mint choc brownie (single serve)

Happy St. Patricks Day…wherever you may be celebrating!

I thought I’d do my bit by going down the green themed route with a mint choc brownie. I still had some lovely thick cashew cream in the fridge so though it would work perfectly with my little single serve brownie… a drop (literally) of food colouring, plus a tiny bit of agave is all it took. If I’d had some spirulina (or other greens powder) I would definitely have given that a go for an alternative way of making ‘green’.

I had another chaotic day of cooking and baking to prepare my various snacks for the week plus snacks for others too. So, a little single serving dessert was the perfect fit after a plate of veggies and dip for lunch.

I made this gluten free by using buckwheat and ground almonds but other GF flour combos or spelt (if not GF) would work here also. I had a couple of attempts at this as I felt the first ‘brownie’ was more cake-like that I’d have liked so I increased the yoghurt to two tablespoons and the result was much more gooey and brownie-like.

To be honest, I wasn’t the hugest fan of this cake…and for ages I couldn’t figure out why!

Then I realised… I’m simply not a big lover of mint and chocolate when it comes to cakes (or ice-cream for that matter!) hence why I’ve never created a mint choc combo on my blog before. Give me a little bit of choc orange and I’m well away…now that combo you do see a lot of… herehere and here for starters. But hey, it was ok and I’m sure many of you will give out the mint choc love on my behalf…. but that’s all good as I’m pleased I still gave the green salute.

Cheers!

Recipe: Mint choc brownie

One brownie

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs buckwheat flour
  • 1 tbs ground almonds
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs ground chia/flax
  • 2 tsp agave
  • A pinch of baking soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tbs soy yoghurt (or regular yoghurt for non vegan)
  • ½ tsp peppermint extract
  • cacoa nibs for decoration- optional

Method

Mix everything together in a small bowl. Spoon into a ramekin lined with plastic wrap so that it can be removed (or simple eat it out of the remekin). Cook in the microwave for approx. 40 seconds depending upon your microwave setting, check after 30 seconds to see if the top feels done.

Serve with a dollop of cream/yoghurt or cashew cream (the cashew cream shown here is much much thicker than in the link as I added much less water) as I did here.

I flavoured the cream with couple of drops of peppermint extract along with the green food colouring.

 First attempt- more cake like

 First attempt- more cake like

 Second attempt- more gooey!

 Second attempt- more gooey!

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