Apricots are one of the few fruits that I rarely fancy, I think I’ve bitten into too many unripe ones and been put off, an unripe apricot is really horrible! However with the British apricot season well underway and with our wonderful hot summer, there are some lovely juicy ones on offer and I bought a big bag this week which needed using up before they went over so I started baking with them.
They work brilliantly in this loaf, which is an updated version of my old Retro bran loaf. The pairing with cardamom adds a great floral hint. Do use ripe apricots as they add moisture to the bake, although you could use up any unripe ones too.
Apricot Bran Loaf
- 100g All Bran (I used Kellogg’s but there are other varieties out there!)
- 70g soft brown sugar
- 8 cardamom pods, crushed and ground in a pestle and mortar
- 160g SR flour or 160g plain flour and 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- 50g raisins
- 3 ripe apricots, roughly diced (keep skin on)
- 250ml Almond milk
- Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
- Mix all the ingredients, apart from the flour, together in a bowl and leave to soak for 30-60 minutes. Then add the flour and mix well. It should be like a very thick cake mix, add a drop more milk if its too thick and paste like and difficult to stir.
- Pour into the tin and cook for around 40 – 50 minutes at 170c/Gas 3/325f. Leave it in the tin to cool and then turn out and enjoy.
It’s great with spread and jam (apricot!) or marmalade or nut butter with some fresh apricot slices, or with some thick coconut yoghurt.
My latest supply of one of my favourite peanut butters (Manilife) arrived yesterday and so peanut butter had to be part of my brekkie today (although I had already eaten a fair few spoonfuls from the jar within seconds of it arriving.) With a packet of flatbreads languishing in the bread bin, this simple P&J tortilla was envisaged, made and eaten within 5 minutes. If you love peanut butter and jam, you’ll love this. I used raspberries and raspberry jam, but you could use strawberries with strawberry jam, blueberries etc., anything would be lovely.
Possibly not the healthiest of breakfasts due to the high sugar content of the jam, but it was worth it and in my defence I had walked the dog. You could of course use a low sugar jam or make your own chia seed jam, but for now, the original stuff did the job beautifully.
P&J brekkie Tortilla
- 1 flour tortilla (large)
- 1 tablespoon of your favourite peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons Raspberry Jam
- Handful of fresh raspberries
- Yoghurt (I used coconut)
Heat a frying pan (no oil required) – and when it’s hot, add the tortilla. After a minute, take the tortilla out of the pan and put it on a plate cold side down. Spread your peanut butter over the hot side, and then spread the jam on top and top with some raspberries. Fold the tortilla in half over the filling. Put this back in the pan (heat on) and dry fry for a minute on both sides – the tortilla will start to brown.
Cut in half and serve with some more fruit and yoghurt.
This was inspired by an Yotam Ottolenghi barley and orange pudding. I thought it had breakfast written all over it, so I played around and made it more breakfast than pudding. The barley does take a while to cook, so it’s worth making it the day before and then just warming it up in a pan with an additional glug of milk to soften it up again.
This has a much more ‘bitey’ texture than normal oat porridge, in fact it probably isn’t really a porridge at all, but the cooking and serving is similar so I think I can get away with it. It also has more protein than oat porridge, and that has to be a good thing.
Barley & Orange porridge (makes two portions)
- 125g pearl barley
- 700ml coconut milk (or other milk of choice)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- One orange
- Plus toppings of choice
In a saucepan put the barley, sugar, vanilla pod (scrap out the seeds and add these and then add the remaining pod as well), milk and the grated zest of the orange. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 50-60 minutes. Keep checking in case you need to add a bit more milk. The barley should keep some of its bite.
Then either eat straight away and add your toppings, or cool and put in the fridge overnight. Remember to take out the vanilla pods before eating.
Melt a bit of coconut oil (or other oil) into a small pan and add some orange segments and a bit of brown sugar. Heat for a couple of minutes to soften and caramelise the orange.
Other toppings include:- cacao nibs, chocolate coconut yoghurt (truly lovely with this), sesame seeds work well too.
I like using both chia seeds and oats in my overnight soakings, a mix of protein and carbs. I find the consistency can become a little more solid, much like the old Irish tradition of porridge slabs kept in drawers! It’s like eating a soft flapjack and I love this consistency especially with some maple syrup and yoghurt spooned on top before eating. This is another healthy way to have chocolate for breakfast.
Blueberry Choc Chioaty
- 100g Blueberries
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons oats
- juice of one orange
- 1 teaspoon raw cacao powder (if you want a stronger cacao hit then add a bit more)
- 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
Mix together and put in the fridge overnight. Top with yoghurt and maple syrup or some chocolate sprinkles!
As the weather turns autumnal this is the perfect earthy overnight oats breakfast. Beetroot is in season and I am currently harvesting a big bunch each week on the allotment. I’ve tried a few different breakfast dishes with beetroot and I love it. This has become a favourite because it’s so quick and looks such a lovely shade of red!
I find it’s best if you process the beetroot in a food processor – peel and chop and then process until it looks like couscous (a few seconds). You can also finely grate it for this dish if you don’t have a food processor.
Coco beet overnight oats (serves one)
- 50g raw beetroot – either processed in a food processor or finely grated
- 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut
- 40g oats
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 20g sultanas
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
- 50g flaked coconut
- 150ml coconut milk
Layer up the beetroot, coconut, oats, cardamom, sultanas and seeds. Then add the coconut milk and leave overnight in the fridge.
You can play around with your seeds and dried fruit – personally I love the taste of sultanas with this dish, but dried cranberries, raisins or goji berries would work well. The hemp seeds give a nice subtle crunch, or you can use pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Pistachio nuts also go very well with beetroot. Just layer up as you fancy. The key ingredients are the beetroot and coconut – the mix of earthiness and sweetness is perfect.
We’re coming back into Rhubarb season (for forced rhubarb) and my allotment rhubarb is starting to come back to life. In anticipation I’m trying to clear my freezer of the batches I froze at the end of last season. I adore rhubarb, it’s so versatile and quick and easy to cook. Of course you can’t beat the old favourite that is rhubarb crumble, so here is my healthy breakfast version of overnight oats.
Rhubarb Crumble Overnight Oats (makes 2 portions)
- 300g stewed rhubarb
- 200ml almond milk
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 100g oats
- Yoghurt to serve
Topping (makes two portions – although it’s very moreish)
- Around 10 hazelnuts or almonds (or other nuts of choice)
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
- 2 teaspoons demerara sugar
- Blend 1/2 the stewed rhubarb with the almond milk, spices and maple syrup. Add this to 100g oats and then stir through the rest of the rhubarb. Put in the fridge overnight.
- To make the topping – crush the nuts and seeds in a pestle and mortar and stir through the sugar.
To serve – layer up with yoghurt and sprinkle the topping on top.
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
- 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.
- 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.
Mix through some crushed pistachios or sultanas (or both). Also good with some coconut flakes.