Apple and Blueberry Baked Oats

One of my new favourite breakfasts, when time allows, is baked oats. With some very fresh mornings this Winter, a nice warm breakfast really hits the spot. Porridge is a breakfast that always goes down a treat in our house, but it’s nice to have something a bit different, yet still have the same, if not more, nutritional properties as a hearty bowl of porridge.

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It took me quite a while to be completely happy with this recipe as I was really wanting something that has a creaminess, almost like custard, which meant playing around with the ratio of oats to eggs/milk, but we got there. I would describe this dish as a mixture between porridge and bread and butter pudding, with a generous spice profile.

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As far as a breakfast goes, this is a very nutritious option. Obviously, being made from rolled oats, it has all the nutritional benefits of a bowl of porridge – low GI carbohydrate and a good source of soluble fibre, providing a sustained energy release, increased satiety and improved digestive health. The addition of eggs and seeds provides a quality source of protein and essential amino acids as well as a dose of healthy fats and a range of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, choline and B vitamins. The apple and blueberries also provide a good source of fibre, especially when the skin is left on the apple, antioxidants and vitamins and minerals.

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Baked oats can be prepared the night before to allow the oats to further soak up some of the liquid and save some time in the morning, or it can all be made in the morning. I prefer to do it the night before, which allows the flavours of the spice and zest to infuse well and 30 minutes of soaking time is taken care of while you sleep! This is also a breakfast that could be made in advance and then portions reheat when ready to eat.

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The kids LOVE this brekky and, after being slightly hesitant initially, they now have generous serves and second helpings most times I’ve made it. We serve it with some thick Greek style yoghurt and if you wanted some additional sweetness, you could serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

Serves 4-6

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 tbs linseeds
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3-4 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large apple, sliced
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • Thick Greek style yoghurt, to serve

Method:

The night before:

  1. Place oats, linseeds, spices and zest into a medium sized bowl and mix to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, maple syrup and vanilla to combine. Pour into the bowl with the oats and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavours to infuse.Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, cover and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavours to infuse.
  3. In the morning, preheat the oven to 180°C. While the oven is heating, line a large baking dish with baking paper or grease with butter or coconut oil.
  4. Remove the oats from the fridge and pour into the prepared dish. Add the blueberries and gently fold them into the oat mixture. Scatter the apple over the top, pressing some pieces further down into the mixture.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the oats are golden on top and the mixture is firm when pressed lightly on top.
  6. Serve portions with a dollop of thick yoghurt.
  7. Store leftovers, if there are any, in an airtight container in the fridge and reheat when needed or enjoy cold.

 

Sourdough Bread – how I make it

I have been making my own sourdough bread for almost 3 years now and it really makes ordinary bread seem quite inferior. This loaf below was the very first loaf I made:

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Over these past few years, I have had dozens of requests for my sourdough recipe, so here it is. There are plenty of sourdough recipes out there and confusing as to where to start as the world of sourdough can be a bit daunting, but why not take this time of isolation to do something that is a little time consuming and make your own delicious creations. The whole process takes about a day and a half but the actual hands on time is very limited.

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Making sourdough had always been on my to do list, but I didn’t know where to start, how to make a starter, would it work, would it not. This was all until one of my clients gave me some of her starter and I had no choice, I had to keep it alive, so I did. I fed it and I used it and I fed it some more and it is still going strong. Making your own starter will take about 1 week and here is a straight forward way to make your own starter with some helpful pics to guide you.

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Sourdough is a science. You will need a set of kitchen scales as you will find that all the recipes use grams of water, which is not commonly seen when cooking, but don’t be tempted to guess or use millilitres. The proportion of water to flour is important, especially when making and feeding your starter. It needs to be the same. The pictures below are of a starter that has just been fed (top two) and one that has been fed and allowed to become active over a few hours (bottom two). Note the bubbles in the active starter, this indicates that the starter is ready to be used.IMG_8583IMG_8584IMG_85825r90j

 

Feeding and storing your starter:

If you are baking loaves regularly, keep your starter at room temperature and feed it daily by adding equal parts flour and water. I usually add 15g of each. Once it is bubbling nicely it is ready to be used. Another way to test its readiness is to place a small spoonful into a glass of water and if it floats, you’re good to go.

You only need to keep about 1/4 cup of starter at any one time unless you are planning on making multiple loaves at once. Sourdough bakeries will keep litres on hand but this is not at all needed for the home baker. If you are storing your starter at room temperature and feeding regularly, you will need to discard some starter each time you feed it, unless you are baking a loaf. Discarding half will be adequate.

If you only bake one loaf per week, you can store your starter in the fridge in a glass jar. It will then need the time to warm back to room temperature and be fed before using it and then fed again before placing back into the fridge. You may find if you store the starter the fridge that after a few days a vinegary smelling liquid forms on top. This is normal, just pour this off and feed the starter again.

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Over the years I have made an array of loaves, including, wholegrain, wholemeal spelt, fig and walnut, fruit sourdough, olive sourdough, but my regular go to is a wholemeal loaf, detailed below.

Enjoy xx.

Pre-ferment/Levain

  • 50g wholemeal flour
  • 50g water
  • 30g starter that has been recently fed and is active (bubbly)

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to combine, cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 8+ hours. The picture below is what the levain should look like after 8 hours, smooth, sticky and starting to bubble.

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Bulk Ferment

  • 300g wholemeal flour
  • 200g white baker’s flour
  • 375g water
  • 15g salt
  1. Add all ingredients to the levain, which has been sitting for at least 8 hours and is now starting to bubble. Mix well, cover and leave to sit for 1 hour.
  2. After one hour, use a wet hand to loosen the dough from the bowl and grab the right side of the dough and fold it into the middle, then fold the left side into the middle, the top side into the middle and the bottom side into the middle. Lift the whole loaf and flip it over. Cover the bowl and leave to sit for another 2 hours. To see a video of how this fold it to be carried out, there is a video with the whole sourdough process on my instagram account @whatspruecooking.
  3. Over the next 2 hours, every 30 minutes, repeat the same fold.

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Shaping the dough

  1. After 2 hours, scoop the dough from the bowl and place onto a lightly floured surface. Grab one side of the dough and fold it into the middle, work your way around the dough until you have formed a rough ball then flip the loaf over.
  2. With floured hands, cup the dough where it meets the bench and turn the loaf to form a nice ball shape. The dough may start to slightly stick to the bench here, this is ok as the aim is to create some surface tension, which is essential to shaping the dough.
  3. Place the bowl upside down over the shaped loaf and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. While the dough is resting, prepare your brotformen (sourdough proving basket – see picture below) by sprinkling it with plenty of flour, getting into all the grooves. If you don’t have a brotformen, line a medium sized bowl with a tea towel and sprinkle and rub at least 1/4 cup of flour into it.IMG_00C2FDE24295-1
  5. To carry out the final shaping, flour your hands, scoop the dough and flip it back over. Repeat the same fold as in step 4 and 5, except when you are turning the loaf to form the ball make sure there is not too much flour where you are working as the formation of surface tension is essential for keeping the shape of the dough and sealing it.
  6. Once you have formed a nice tight ball, invert the dough into the prepared proving basket (ie. the side of the dough that was on the bench when you are forming the ball is now facing up).
  7. Cover the dough with cling wrap and place in the fridge overnight or for at least 6-8 hours.

Baking the dough

  1. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature, 30-45 minutes.
  2. Place a large crockpot, with a lid, that will fit your loaf in it into the oven and heat the oven to 240°C.
  3. Flip the dough out of the proving basket and onto a piece of baking paper. The top of the dough should be covered with flour from the proving basket. Using a sharp knife, score the top of the dough. This will allow the steam to escape and for the loaf to rise. Without scoring the dough, the loaf will blow out the side while baking. The score can be 2 lines down the centre of the loaf, a square or a criss cross pattern – there’s no wrong or right.
  4. Carefully remove the crockpot from the oven and take the lid off. Lift and lower the dough and baking paper into the pot and replace the lid. Return the pot to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  5. After 25-30 minutes, remove the lid from the crockpot and if the loaf has risen nicely then return to the oven, without the lid, lower the oven temperature to 220°C and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until the loaf has a nice golden brown colour. If the loaf has not yet risen, return the lid to the pot and cook for a further 5 minutes before removing the lid.
  6. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 1 hour before slice, if you can resist it. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped.
  7. Enjoy with a generous slather of butter!IMG_2819

Timeline for baking a loaf:

To bake a loaf on Saturday:

  • Thursday night – take your starter out of the fridge and feed it.
  • Friday morning – Make your pre-ferment or levain and leave to sit for 8+ hours.
  • Friday afternoon/evening – Do your bulk ferment, folding the loaf every 30-40 minutes for 3 hours.
  • Friday night – Place the loaf into a proving basket/tea towel lined bowl and allow to prove in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Saturday morning – remove the loaf from the fridge and allow 45 minutes for it to come to room temperature and bake the loaf.

When I am making my sourdough loaves, I will usually do the bulk ferment between 6-9pm. This has often resulted in me giving the loaves a couple of folds and then once the kids are in bed, sitting on the couch with a cup of tea or glass of wine or folding the washing and then 2 hours later realising I haven’t folded it again. In these instances, the bread has still worked and is still tasty but isn’t as amazing as one that has been given all the TLC a loaf of sourdough needs.

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Slow Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

What a crazy time it is that we are all living in….Coronavirus, halting our lives, forcing us to stay home and slow down. An inconvenience or a blessing in disguise?img_5773-e1496487456421

We have been self-isolating for two weeks now, leaving the house to go to the shops, to exercise or go to work. The kids haven’t ventured out of our suburb in two weeks and were actually shocked when I bought home some Easter eggs from the supermarket the other day as they haven’t come shopping with me since before all the easter stock was front and centre!IMG_7766

With a little more time on our hands, I’ve been trying to think up recipes that I can share that are delicious and suitable for working from home lunches or dinners, which don’t take too long to prepare, yet are not suitable for taking to work. This slow roasted tomato bruschetta is exactly that. It requires about 5-10 minutes hands on time, yet requires time in the oven to roast – perfect to be put on mid morning and roast away while you get back to work.

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Our garden has been producing tomatoes in abundance over the past 6 or so weeks. Elise loves to eat the cherry tomatoes as they are and I have been making Passata with the larger ones, but we are still over flowing with cherry tomatoes, so this is a great dish to use up a chunk of tomatoes if you have an excess. We’ve had it a couple of times now and it is really makes a traditional bruschetta look quite inferior. The kids have enjoyed it too.

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Hope you’re all surviving this weird and wonderful time. Remember to sit back and embrace the extra time you have as it won’t last forever.

Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

Makes 4 slices

  • 400g cherry tomatoes, some halved
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
  • Zest of 1/2 a lemon, coarsely grated
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • 1 large handful of basil leaves
  • Feta, to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 140°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the tomatoes into a bowl and add the thyme, lemon zest, oil, balsamic vinegar and a good grind of salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
  3. Place onto baking tray and slow roast for 45-50 minutes.
  4. Once roasted, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Toast the bread and drizzle with olive oil. Top each slice with 1/4 of the tomato mixture. Top with some torn basil leaves and crumbled feta.
  6. Serve as is or with a poached egg.

Carrot Cake Overnight Oats with Honey and Cinnamon Yoghurt

Happy New Year. Apologies for my lack of regularity with recipes here in the past few months. I am going to make an effort to post a little more regularly this year, so stay tuned for some delicious recipes.

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Overnight oats or Bircher muesli is a great way to start your day and a nice change from an ordinary muesli or granola and great for those who love porridge in the Winter – kind of like a Summer porridge. I absolutely love a good carrot cake and the combination of spices that are used in a carrot cake are delicious, hence, I have been meaning to create this recipe for months. Currently, we have carrots growing in the garden and I have had a little bit more time with school holidays and the Christmas break, so it seemed like a good time. And a great recipe to be the first addition to my blog for 2020 and this decade.

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Oats are one of the best ways that you can start the day. They are a filling, low GI carbohydrate source, which means they will cause a lower spike in blood sugar level, leaving you feeling more satiated than something with a higher glycemic index. They also are a great source of soluble fibre, which has been shown to assist with improving cholesterol as well as being important for digestive health.

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Our kids LOVE Bircher muesli. Whenever I have made a batch, it is always the breakfast of choice over their usual faves. The carrot cake flavours were also well received, although Mark did comment that there was too much carrot, but I feel that if he couldn’t see the carrot it would not have bothered him in the slightest.

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Ordinarily, for our breakfasts, we would just have my homemade natural, Greek style yoghurt, but I thought that I would flavour the yoghurt for this with some honey and cinnamon, to make it a bit reminiscent of the cream cheese icing that often accompanies a carrot cake. If you wanted to take this one step further, you could add some cream cheese to this yoghurt. And if you wanted to make it even more carrot cake like, you could soak it in half pineapple juice to mimic the pineapple that is commonly added to a carrot cake.

Enjoy xx.

Ingredients:

Serves 6

  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 60g raisins, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and grated
  • 3 cups water

Toppings:

  • 2 cups thick Greek style yoghurt
  • 1 tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes, toasted
  • 1/4 cup pepitas, toasted

Method:

  1. The night before, prepare the oats by placing the oats, spices, raisins, grated carrot and apple into a medium sized bowl that can be covered, or a container with a lid. Stir to evenly mix the carrot, apple and spices through the oats.
  2. Add the 3 cups of water and stir again to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. To toast the nuts and seeds, preheat the oven to 200°C and place the walnuts onto a baking tray. Place into the oven for 10 minutes. Once 5 minutes has lapsed, add the pepitas and flaked coconut. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Place into a container to be used in the morning.
  4. In the morning, prepare the honey cinnamon yoghurt by placing the yoghurt, honey and cinnamon into a bowl and mixing well to combine.
  5. Serve desired portion (1/2-2/3 cup is usually adequate) of soaked oats into a bowl, top with a couple of dollops of yoghurt and a sprinkle of the walnut mix.

Almond and Pecan Granola

Granola has been on my list of things to experiment with for age and I have finally got there.

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Ever since I started making my own muesli bars and having them as a snack crumbled over yoghurt, I have seen the need for homemade granola in my life. Even though the muesli bars, when crumbled are essentially granola, I needed a more nutritionally sound version, which didn’t have chocolate and butter as ingredients, so it could be a healthy, family friendly breakfast option.

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Claire (2 and a half) has always been a bit funny with breakfast and especially so since the arrival of her little sister Elise, 3 weeks ago. I am yet to find a fool proof breakfast that she will happily eat most days without a 30-40 minute nagging and bribing ordeal. I am hoping that this granola is a solution, as she enjoys my muesli bars with yoghurt. Fingers crossed!!

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The key ingredients to a granola are:

Oats – old fashioned rolled oats. These provide a low GI source of carbohydrates and soluble fibre.

Nuts/Seeds – these can be any type of nut or seed that you have on hand. Today I have used almonds, pecans, peptitas, sunflower seeds and buckwheat groats. Nuts and seeds provide a good source of protein to help to keep you full.

Fats/oil – Fats and oils help the granola to clump together and contributes, along with the sweetener, to the caramelisation. I have used coconut oil this time, but I am keen to try olive oil at a later date. You could also use butter, but the oils will make the granola more crispy.

Sweetness – the natural sweetener or sugar adds to the crispiness and caramelisation of the granola. I have opted for natural sweetness so have used dates soaked in boiling water combined with freshly squeezed orange juice, maple syrup and coconut oil. I love the natural sweetness that dates soaked in boiling water gives – its something that I use often when baking as well. Other options for sweetness include honey, brown sugar and rice malt syrup.

Flavour – this includes spices, salt and vanilla, which are all added in small amounts, but together complement and enhance the flavour of the base ingredients. Dried fruit can also be added to granola, but is best added at the end, once the granola is out of the oven. I have opted for no dried fruit in this batch.

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Enjoy xx.

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded or flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat groats
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 50g dates, chopped
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Chop the dates and place into a small bowl, add boiling water and set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. Place oats, nuts, seeds and coconut into large bowl and mix to combine.
  4. Mix cinnamon, ginger and salt in a small bowl and add to oat mixture once combined and stir well.
  5. Once the dates have sat for 10 minutes, add the orange juice and maple syrup and using a stick mixer, blend until smooth. Place this mixture into a small saucepan along with the coconut oil and vanilla and heat over medium heat until boiling, stirring occasionally.
  6. Pour oil mixture into the oats and stir well, ensuring that the dry mix is thoroughly coated.
  7. Spread out onto prepared baking tray and bake for ~30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the tray in the oven after 20-25 minutes to allow the granola to cook evenly.
  8. Once cooked, allow the granola to cool completely before placing into a container. If you want large clusters, then the less handling the better.
  9. Serve with yoghurt and fruit for a delicious breakfast or snack.

 

Homemade Yoghurt

Yoghurt is a staple in our house, and most weeks we will go through 2-3kg between the four of us, which becomes costly, spending at least $15 per week on yoghurt alone. So, late last year, I decided to purchase a yoghurt maker, it was around $50 and to make 1kg costs about $1.50 plus electricity, so it has already paid itself off.

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The yoghurt maker I bought was this one from Little Green Workshops, a company based in Queensland. A yoghurt maker is pretty much just a temperature controlled vessel, and is designed to keep the yoghurt at a set temperature for the culture to develop for a period of time. You could do this without a yoghurt maker and use an oven or similar, but a yoghurt maker is much easier.

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The ingredients are simple, milk and starter culture. You can use any type of milk you like, but so far I have only used full cream milk, but from what I have read, coconut milk makes a really good coconut yoghurt if you have issues with dairy or are vegan. You can buy starter culture or you can use a bought yoghurt that contains culture or use some of the previous batch, which is what I do. I have a designated jar that I put ~1/2 a cup of yoghurt into as soon as it is made and store it in the fridge for the next batch. This minimises any contamination from spoons being dipped in and out of the tub.

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Getting a nice thick yoghurt can take a bit of practise. A lot of recipes will say to add in 1/2 cup of milk powder per batch to thicken it up, which works, but I prefer the taste without the milk powder (as do the kids). Another option is to strain the yoghurt through a tea towel or muslin. This allows the whey to strain out, leaving a thicker yoghurt, which is how Greek style yoghurt is made. I usually only strain it for 5-10 minutes, but if you want a really thick yoghurt, strain it for longer. I have used the strained whey in bread and it makes no difference to the loaf, just adds a bit more protein.

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Each batch I make is ~2kg. I will divide this into 2 x 1kg tubs, one which is left as natural yoghurt for cooking and for the kids, and then the other tub has some flavour added to it. The flavour can be anything you like, but my go to flavours are raspberry, apple and cinnamon, mixed berry or vanilla bean.

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If you have considered purchasing a yoghurt maker, I highly recommend it, you will not only save money, you will also realise how easy it is to make yoghurt just as you like it.

Enjoy xx.

Ingredients:

Makes 2kg

  • 2L full cream milk (or other milk)
  • 1/2 cup bought yoghurt or yoghurt from a previous batch

Apple and Cinnamon Flavour (per kg)

  • 1/2 cup stewed apples
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Raspberry/Mixed Berry (per kg)

  • 1/2 cup fresh/frozen berries
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup

Vanilla Bean (per kg)

  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tbs pure maple syrup

Method:

  1. Pour milk into a large saucepan and heat over medium heat. Using a digital thermometer, bring the temperature to 88°C.
  2. Carefully pour the hot milk into a large bowl. Place the bowl into a sink full of cold water to cool the milk down. Using a digital thermometer, reduce the temperature to below 43°C.
  3. Once cooled, pour the milk into the yoghurt maker, along with 1/2 cup starter and stir gently to combine. Place the lids on the yoghurt maker, turn on and leave for 8-12 hours.
  4. Remove from the yoghurt maker and immediately scoop out ~1/2 a cup of yoghurt and place into a sterilised glass jar to use as starter for the following batch. Refrigerate starter and yoghurt.
  5. Once cool, if you would like to increase the consistency of the yoghurt, place a tea towel or muslin cloth over a colander and place the colander in a bowl. Pour the yoghurt into the cloth and allow to strain until desired consistency is reached. Place into tubs, flavour as desired and refrigerate until ready to eat.
  6. Apple and Cinnamon Flavour: Using a stick mixer, blend the stewed apples and cinnamon to a puree. Mix through the yoghurt
  7. Raspberry/Mixed Berry Flavour: Using a stick mixer, blend the berries (if using frozen, allow to defrost) and maple syrup to a coulis and mix through the yoghurt. Add more maple syrup if desired.
  8. Vanilla Bean Flavour: Place the vanilla bean paste and maple syrup into a bowl and mix well to combine, then mix through the yoghurt.

Bircher Muesli

As we all know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and making breakfast a wholesome, nourishing meal like bircher muesli is sure to keep you going.

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Many of my clients ask me what is a good alternative to porridge in Summer and I have 2 main answers 1. Natural muesli and 2. Bircher muesli, and this is because they both contain oats, which are full of fibre, vitamins and minerals and they are low glycemic index, so have less of an impact on blood sugar levels and provide a greater satisfaction than something like a flaky cereal. When making a batch, portion out the same amount of oats you would if you were making porridge – I recommend about 1/3 cup raw oats per person, which once soaked would become about 2/3 cup.

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Traditionally, a bircher muesli is made with apple juice or similar to soak overnight, but I personally think that it is too sweet made with juice and it just provides excess sugar that is not needed as you can get the flavour from spices, yoghurt and fresh fruit.

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Of late, I have been having a bit of a struggle with finding something that the kids will consistently eat well and in a timely manner for breakfast, but 3 days in and bircher is still looking good. Marks is gone literally in a couple of minutes and he asks for more, and Claire does pretty well also.

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A normal muesli can get a bit boring day in day out, so why not mix it up every now and then. Bircher takes a little bit more planning and preparation than normal muesli, but it is well worth it. And the best thing is that it can become a different breakfast with the simple substitution of different spices, nuts, fresh fruit or yoghurt that is added. My favourite topping is 1-2 dessert spoons of natural yoghurt, stewed peaches (with a little bit of rosewater added) and 1 tbs of mixed nuts and seeds. I usually toast up a combination of sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, pepitas and shredded coconut and add about 1 tbs to my bowl in the morning. These will keep well in an airtight container indefinitely.

Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

Serves 6

  • 2 cups traditional rolled oats
  • 2 apples or pears, peeled and grated
  • 1 tbs cinnamon (or mixed spice)
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • Water
  • Natural yoghurt to serve
  • Toasted nuts, seeds and shredded coconut, to serve
  • Fresh fruit, to serve

Method:

The night before:

  1. Place oats, cinnamon and sultanas into a ceramic bowl and mix to combine.
  2. Add grated apple or pear and mix. Add enough water so that it just comes to the top of the oats and mix well to combine.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. This will keep for about 4-5 days in the fridge. The apple will start to go brown, but to prevent this, you can add the juice of 1/2 a lemon into the mix.

In the morning:

  1. Portion out about 2/3 cup of bircher muesli mix into a bowl.
  2. Top with 2 dessertspoons of yoghurt.
  3. Add fruit of your choice (I like fresh berries or stewed stone fruit).
  4. Sprinkle with ~ 1 tbs of toasted nuts, seeds and coconut.

 

 

Pancakes

Pancakes are a special breakfast in our household and they are an absolute hit!

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They are simple to prepare and can still be a healthy breakfast option if made correctly. I use wholemeal flour and don’t add any sugar to the mix and I always make sure we have them with fruit and yoghurt to make sure that the kids get some protein and fruit in to keep them going.

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The difference between thick and thin pancakes is literally the difference between using plain flour or self raising flour. This recipe makes thick, fluffy pancakes, but if you’d prefer more crepe style, thinner pancakes that you can roll, then substitute the SR flour for plain flour and add some more milk.

You can also use any fruit you wish as the topping.

Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal SR flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk

For the topping:

  • Natural yoghurt
  • 3/4 cup berries, chopped
  • 1 orange, peeled and diced
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • Maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted

Method:

  1. Sift flour and baking powder into a medium sized bowl. Make a well in the centre and add lightly beaten egg and milk. Using a whisk, stir until well combined and the mixture is smooth. Leave the mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the fruit. Chop all the fruit and mix together in a bowl. Set aside until needed.
  3. Preheat the oven to warm setting, ~50-70°C.
  4. Heat a non stick frypan over medium heat and add coconut. Cook until golden, stirring to prevent burning. Place into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Using the sam frypan, cook the pancakes. Place a ladle full of mixture into the frypan and cook for 2-3 minutes or until mixture starts to bubble. Using a spatula or egg lifter, flip the pancake and cook for a further 1-2 minutes on the other side. Place onto a plate in the oven and repeat with remaining mixture.
  6. To assemble, place pancakes onto plates, top with 1-2 dessertspoons of yoghurt, 1-2 dessertspoons of fruit, a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of coconut.

 

 

 

French Toast

My family seem to be creatures of habit when it comes to breakfast, alternating between muesli and porridge in Winter or bircher muesli in Summer and often toast for the kids afterwards. So, each week, I try to mix up our breakfast to give the kids something special and have a nice family brekky. The go to is usually pancakes, but it could also be eggs or, in this case, french toast. All of these options are winners with the kids.

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I like french toast from a nutritional perspective because it makes a piece of toast much more nourishing, adding protein and often more vitamins and minerals if fruit or veggies are added on top. I’m regularly telling clients to swap their 2 pieces of toast with vegemite at breakfast for something more balanced and filling. Suggestions often include 1 slice of toast with avocado, cheese and tomato, french toast or 2 eggs on 1 slice of toast, so at least there is some protein in the topping and something of substance to help keep them full for more than an hour. By soaking a slice of bread in egg and milk then frying it, nutritionally, it’s actually not too dissimilar to a slice of toast topped with a scrambled egg.

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French toast can be had sweet or savoury. In this case, I have opted for the sweet variety, but keeping the added and refined sugar to a minimum. For the bread, I have used a loaf of wholegrain fruit bread that I made in the bread maker, but a bought fruit loaf is fine, just look for a sourdough or wholegrain fruit loaf as it will be lower GI, which will keep you fuller for longer and your blood sugar levels more stable.

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Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 4 slices of wholegrain or sourdough fruit bread
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup of reduced fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Natural yoghurt to serve
  • 2 cups Mixed berries, fresh or frozen, to serve
  • Pure maple syrup to serve

Method:

  1. Cut 4 x 1.5cm slices of fruit bread.
  2. To make the egg mix, place eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl and whisk well to combine. Pour into a shallow dish big enough to fit a slice of bread.
  3. Heat a non stick frypan over medium heat.
  4. Place one slice of bread into the egg mix and allow to sit for ~ 30 seconds, turn it over and soak the other side for a further 30 seconds. The bread will be quite soggy, be careful not to over soak it as it will fall apart.
  5. Transfer the slice of bread to the hot frypan and cook for 2-3 minutes, flip and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Repeat with remaining slices.
  6. When cooked, place onto plate and top with 1-2 dessert spoons of natural yoghurt, 1/2 cup of mixed berries and a drizzle of maple syrup.

**If you want this to be less healthy and extra indulgent, once removing from the frypan, rub ~1/2 tbs of butter into the toast and sprinkle with 1 tsp cinnamon sugar (1/2 tsp castor sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon) before adding the berries and yoghurt.

Orange and Cardamom Porridge

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Porridge is a Winter staple. It warms you from the inside out, it’s filling, it’s hearty and it’s SO good for you.

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I do love porridge, but to be honest, I don’t cook it as much as I should. As far as the kids go, Mark loves it and will happily inhale a bowlful, Claire, on the other hand, much prefers muesli, yoghurt and fruit. Aaron will have a lot more porridge over Winter to help to warm him up after his morning swim in the bay – no wetsuit….crazy!!!

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Now, I don’t really like the term superfood, but if I were to select a superfood, oats would be one. They are low GI, so they keep your blood sugars stable as well as keeping you full. They are a great source of soluble fibre, which helps to keep your gut healthy, drawing more water into the gastrointestinal tract and the beta glucans (sugars found in the cell wall of plants, including oats) can help to lower cholesterol. If you have the choice between quick oats and rolled oats, choose the rolled oats, nutritionally, they’re much better for you.

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Many people love porridge as it is, but I do like to mix it up occasionally to keep it exciting. Quantity wise, I usually allocate about 1/3 cup (raw oats) per person as porridge it deceptively filling. I have used the seeds out of the cardamom pod to give the flavour, but ground cardamom will work just as well. If we have chia seeds, I will always add some of these to our porridge to give an extra source of protein, essential fatty acids (omega 3’s) and fibre.

Last night, I stewed some rhubarb with orange zest and juice, so this accompanied the porridge quite well.

Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

Serves 3

  • 1 cup traditional rolled oats
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • Zest of 1 orange, cut off in thick strips
  • Seeds of 1 cardamom pod, finely crushed or 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • Roasted slivered almonds, toasted coconut and pumpkin seeds to serve

Rhubarb

  • 1 bunch rhubarb, cut into 5cm lengths
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla bean pod or 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbs castor sugar
  • 1 tbs water

Method:

  1. To make the rhubarb, finely grate the zest of 1 orange and place into a medium saucepan with rhubarb, water, sugar, vanilla and juice.
  2. Place over medium heat and allow to boil. Stir gently. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until rhubarb is tender, ~5 minutes. NOTE: Rhubarb will cook very quickly and will turn to mush, so if you want it to hold it’s shape, keep an eye on it.
  3. Once cooked, place into an airtight container and refrigerate until needed.
  4. To make the porridge, place oats, cardamom and orange zest into a small saucepan, top with water and 3/4 cup of milk and allow to soak for 15 minutes (if you are short on time, you can cook straight away).
  5. Place saucepan over medium heat, add the chia seeds, stir and bring to the boil, stirring to prevent sticking. Reduce the heat once the porridge it hot and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add remaining milk and cook until oats are soft and at the consistency you prefer. Remove the chunks of orange zest.
  6. Divide between 3 bowls and top with rhubarb, some of the rhubarb juice, toasted almonds, sunflower seeds and coconut. Add more milk if desired