Christmas Orange & Popcorn Granola

A few years ago I was browsing through a free magazine that had popped through the door and came across this lovely recipe from Café Boscanova in Bournemouth.  I thought what a fantastic idea to add popcorn to granola!   So I’ve been making it ever since. It’s a lovely granola with a hint of orange and spice and the popcorn really makes it feel festive and fun.

You can go to town on the popcorn, plain is best to add into the oats mix as it gets coated with the lovely flavours of the oil and spices, but you can add any flavour at the end. Why not try some of the amazing different flavours around at the moment. My current favourite is Joe and Seph’s mince pie flavour or the toffee apple and cinnamon, or the coconut and chia seed – the list goes on.  You can personalise each bowl depending on your families favourites!

Christmas orange and popcorn granola

popcorn-1

  • 300g rolled oats
  • 50g coconut flakes
  • 40g plain popcorn
  • 100g dates – chopped into quarters (you want to keep some big chunky bits)
  • Grated zest of one orange
  • 2 tablespoons mixed spice
  • 50g cashew nuts or other nuts (or leave out for a nut free version)
  • 3 tablespoons rapeseed or sunflower oil
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • juice of one orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • Couple of handfuls of plain (or flavoured) popcorn

Method

  • Mix the oats, coconut, 40g popcorn, dates, nuts, spice and zest together.
  • In a small saucepan gently heat the oil, butter, sugar, orange juice, honey and vanilla – until the sugar is dissolved. Then add this to the dry mix and stir it all well.
  • Spread the mixture onto a baking tray and bake 180c/350f/Gas 4 – for 15 minutes.
  • Take it out of the oven and add the cranberries.
  • Let it cool (it will harden as it cools) and then add a few handfuls of popcorn to the mix.

 

 

 

 

Freekeh Apple Bowl

I’ve only recently started cooking with Freekeh which is a grain very similar to bulgur wheat. It has a nutty taste and also a high protein content which makes it perfect for breakfast. After discovering the delights of brown rice porridge I thought using Freekeh in the same way might work well – and it does.

You can eat this dish hot or cold.  I made it up the night before and then gave it a quick blast in the microwave to add some warmth.

Freekeh Apple Bowl (makes two portions)

freekeh-2

  • 50g Freekeh (dry weight) cooked (wash well, bring to the boil and simmer for 20mins under tender, then drain)
  • 50g sultanas or raisins
  • 25g hazelnuts – crushed
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 100g stewed apple (cooking apples are best) + a bit extra if you want to dollop some on top before eating

Mix everything together in a bowl – I mixed everything whilst the freekeh was still warm to help infuse the flavours.  You can pop it in the fridge for the next day and eat it cold or warm it up.  Or of course eat it as soon as it’s made.

Worth adding another dollop of hot stewed apple on the top and some yoghurt before eating.

freekeh-1

Vanilla Latte Porridge

This mornings dog walk was freezing and I got home needing coffee and hot food. So why not combine the two?  Hence my new favourite porridge – vanilla latte style. I tried to keep as close as possible to the style of latte I would usually order – which is a skinny latte. Personally I prefer cows milk in coffee, but whatever milk you normally have should work just as well.

I did prefer the porridge with some sugar (which I don’t normally have in coffee) – I think it needs something to give it a sweet hint and I do believe that the best match is brown sugar – can’t beat a bit of demerara.

Vanilla Latte Porridge

vanilla-latte-porridge

  • 50g oats
  • 250 ml milk
  • 50ml espresso ( I used an espresso shot from my coffee maker which is a perfect 50ml,  but you could use 50ml of strong black instant coffee.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Brown sugar – depending on taste. I used 2 teaspoons in the porridge and then an extra sprinkle on top.
  • Some crushed almonds to top. (I used 4)

Put the oats and milk in a pan and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and add the vanilla essence and the espresso.  Simmer for 5 minutes or so until the porridge reaches your preferred consistency.  Add sugar and mix in whilst still on the heat.

Serve with some sugar sprinkled on top and some crushed almonds.

Pronto Pumpkin Pie Oats

I’ve harvested all my squashes from the allotment and now have the lovely task of finding different ways to eat them.  You can’t beat the taste of pumpkin pie, that gorgeous aroma of spices with the sweetness of maple syrup and I love the addition of pecans.

This is a quick way of getting that pumpkin pie taste for brekkie – takes about 15 minutes from start to finish.  The texture is softer than granola (I’m working on a granola version!) but with all the taste.  You can use pumpkins or squashes for this – I used Crown Prince Squash, butternut works well too.

Delicious on its own or with yoghurt.  If you can wait a few extra minutes before eating it, it starts to stick together and smell even better.  Still good the following day too.

Pronto Pumpkin Pie Oats (enough for two portions)

pronto-pumpkin-pie-oats

  • 100g fresh pumpkin or squash peeled and diced into small cubes
  • 3 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 60g oats
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 30g pecan  nuts roughly chopped

Heat 2 teaspoons coconut oil in a frying pan, add the cubed pumpkin and stir fry for 8-10 minutes, you want the cubes to get really soft but not falling apart.  Keep tossing it to ensure none of the pieces brown too much.  Tip out of the pan and keep to one side.

Add another teaspoon of coconut oil to the pan and add the oats stir fry for 4-5 minutes. Then add in the spices and the cooked pumpkin and toss well together over the heat for another minute.  Turn off the heat and add the maple syrup and mix everything together. Finally add the pecans.  Ready!

Wait a few minutes or eat warm – or keep for later if you can.

 

 

 

 

Oaty Coaty Strawberries

Strawberries always remind me of the heat of summer and for some reason I rarely fancy them once the weather turns. But this morning I found a punnet in the fridge and didn’t fancy them cold so made this very quick oaty brekkie to give a bit of warmth.

I’ve been frying up my oats a lot recently, it’s such a quick and easy way to have some hot oats when you don’t fancy porridge.

Oaty Coaty Strawberries (serves one)

oaty-coaty-strawberries

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • Handful of oats (around 30g)
  • Handful of strawberries – sliced in half
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom or cinnamon

Heat the coconut oil in a small pan, add the oats and fry for 2-3 minutes.  Add the honey, spice of choice and strawberries and fry for another couple of minutes. Toss to coat the strawberries with the oats.

Lovely served on top of yoghurt.

Orange spice chia bowl

Autumn means warm spices, I love the aroma of cloves and nutmeg and of course cinnamon at this time of year (0r indeed any time of year to be honest).  The blend with oranges is lovely and the addition of some honey spice nuts definitely gets into the autumn spirit.

I made the chia mix first thing in the morning before I went out with the dog and then fried the nuts at the last minute before serving so they were warm and sticky. Seriously good when eaten with a tired dog at your feet.

Orange spice chia bowl

orange-spice-chia

  • 1 orange – peeled
  • 1 tablespoon natural yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Mix of almonds and walnuts (or other nuts) – I used around 5 almonds and 2 walnuts for one portion)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • More mixed spice
  • More natural yoghurt to serve

In a blender blitz the orange, tablespoon of yoghurt and a teaspoon of mixed spice (or add more if you want more of a spice hit).

Put the orange blend in a bowl and add the chia seeds.  Leave for at least an hour or overnight to allow the chia seeds to soak up the juice.

For the nut topping – chop the nuts and dry fry them for a couple of minutes in a small pan. Add the honey and spice and stir fry for another minute or two.

Layer up your bowl with the orange chia mix, natural yoghurt and the spiced nuts.

 

Beetroot and Coconut Bircher

The beetroot season is in full swing and with our summer continuing I still prefer my oats to be cold.  This is a lovely rich bircher in both taste and colour.  The recipe makes enough for around 3 portions.  Do play around with the additions of nuts and extras, but the beetroot, coconut water and maple syrup with the oats are the core essentials of this dish.

beet-and-coconut-bircher

Beetroot & Coconut Bircher

  • 2ooml coconut water
  • 100g raw beetroot (about one medium beetroot)
  • 100g oats
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • 50g Hazelnuts – slightly bashed
  • 50g sultanas
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs

Blend the beetroot and coconut water in a blender and put the mixture into a bowl.  Add the oats and maple syrup and mix in.  Add the other ingredients and leave in the fridge overnight.

 

Quick Pear Crunch

I’ve been staring at my bowl of pears all week and they are still as solid as a rock, despite being moved next to the bananas. So instead of prodding them in hopeful anticipation each morning, I decided this morning to take control and soften them by heat.

It was lovely, soft pear that still held it’s shape and was coated in lovely oaty bits.  So if you have some pears that are waiting to ripen, don’t wait – do this!

quick-pear-crunch-1

Quick Pear Crunch (serves one)

  • 1 unripe pear – cored and diced (keep the skin on)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of oats
  • 1 tablespoon of dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon of flaked almonds
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup

Method

  • Heat the oil in a small frying pan and then add the diced pear.  Cook gently for 3-4 minutes until the pear feels softer.
  • Add the oats and toss well to coat the pears.  Keep cooking and tossing for another 3 minutes or so, until the oats start to brown.
  • Add the cranberries and almonds and toss a couple of times. Then turn the heat off.
  • Add the maple syrup and toss everything together.
  • Leave it to cool.  I prefer mine quite cool, it gives the oats and syrup time to stick everything together a little bit. But I did nibble some bits whilst it was still hot and it was lovely.

Nice served with yoghurt and even a little more maple syrup if you’re feeling decadent.

quick-pear-crunch-2

Peach Melba Bowl

Peaches are at their best at the moment, lovely and ripe. The peach melba combo of peaches, raspberries and vanilla is a classic and can definitely be reproduced for breakfast. Just the use of the 3 classic ingredients plus oats and yoghurt can produce this lovely bowl – which is a bit of a cross between overnight oats, bircher and a smoothie bowl.

Peach Melba Bowl

Peach Melba Bowl

  • 2 peaches – stoned and cut into chunks
  • 3 tablespoons natural yoghurt
  • 1 vanilla pod – seeds scrapped out
  • 100g fresh raspberries – roughly chopped
  • 60g Oats

Blend the peaches, yoghurt and the seeds from the vanilla pod in a blender. Put this mixture into a bowl and stir through the oats and chopped raspberries. Put in the fridge overnight.

This is enough for two portions – although my breakfast bowl tomorrow will be quite small judging by the amount of extra spoonfuls I was having today.

To serve

Top with raspberries, peach slices, yoghurt and honey

 

Beetroot Brekkie Halva

I came up with this recipe after tasting some delicious carrot halva at a local Indian restaurant.  I played around with carrots and then I thought of trying it out with beetroot (I had another glut and was trying to find things to do with the tons of beetroot I had available!)

I love this for breakfast with oat cakes and pear – it really does go well with pears.  I will admit my favourite way of eating it is on a digestive biscuit spread with a little butter.  It also goes well with yoghurt.

You can omit the sugar as this dish is sweet without the need for added sugar, but I like the extra sugary sweetness this brings.  The pistachios add a little more texture. I also sometimes add sultanas too.

This recipe makes enough for around 4-6 portions.

Beetroot Brekkie Halva

Beetroot halva

  • 300g finely grated raw beetroot
  • 300ml coconut milk (from a can)
  • 15ml (1 tablespoon) coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom (around 10 pods crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar – I use coconut palm sugar.

Method

  • Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan, then add the beetroot and mix well to coat it in the oil for around 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the coconut milk, bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes
  • After 20 minutes add the sugar and cardamom.
  • Continue to simmer for another 20-30 minutes – you want all the liquid to be absorbed.  Keep an eye on it and once the liquid is very much reduced keep stirring it to ensure it doesn’t stick.

Leave to cool.  It will keep in the fridge for a few days.

To serve

Mix through some crushed pistachios or sultanas (or both).  Also good with some coconut flakes.