One of my favourite combinations is pear and cardamom, I love the sweet spicy hit that comes from the cardamom, there isn’t a flavour quite like it. This month I’ve been trying to find some low fat brekkies that fill me up. This usually means oats will be featuring somewhere.
I’ve talked before about my frustration with pears – either they are too hard or over ripe, so I tend to cook them rather than wait for them to overripen again. I often dice and lightly fry pears to add to yoghurt or porridge, which helps to soften them up. Cooking them in this loaf works a treat too.
Pear and Cardamom Oat Loaf
I large pear – diced with skin on. Choose ripe or unripe.
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3 ripe bananas – mashed
Put everything into a bowl and mix well together. Line a small loaf tin with baking paper. Push the mixture into the tin. Cook for 20 minutes at 200c/Gas 6
That’s it – very simple. Leave it in the tin to cool and then it’s ready to slice and eat. It’s lovely with some peanut butter, extra fruit or some yoghurt.
This week saw my first pickings of rhubarb at the allotment and a definite sign of spring. I’ve got 4 big plants on my plot so the challenge begins again of finding different ways of eating it. This one came about because I had a rather manky looking orange to use up, and however manky oranges look, you can always squeeze out some juice.
Orange Rhubarb overnight oats (serves 1)
Juice and zest of one orange
1 stick of rhubarb – thinly sliced
1 medjool date – chopped
50-100ml plant milk (soya/oat or other milk of choice)
Date syrup (or maple syrup or other sweetener)
Sesame seeds to decorate
Put the orange juice, rhubarb and the medjool date into a pan and simmer until the rhubarb has stewed – about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and mix in the oats. Add the milk (you may want to adjust depending how thick you like your overnight oats to be – you can always add more before you eat it if it’s too thick)
Put the oat mixture into a bowl and leave overnight. Drizzle the syrup, orange zest and sesame seeds over the top.
These are little powerhouses of energy, easy to make and keep for ages in the freezer. I made some of these recently for a post run snack and they filled the gap perfectly.
I have tried very hard over the years to like fresh apricots – and they have to be pretty perfect for me to be tempted. Dried, however, I could eat all day and they blend up really well for energy balls and flapjacks. They also pair well with most nuts – but especially with almonds in my opinion.
I added in some matcha powder for the extra feel good factor – but you could add in the same amount of cocoa powder for a choc version, or just leave out the powder bit.
Apricot & Almond Snack Attacks
200g dried apricots
100g desiccated coconut
3 tablespoons chia seeds
Some water to mix
1-2 teaspoons of matcha powder or other powder of choice (maca, cocoa, cacao)
Put everything into a food processor and mix until it holds together – add enough water to ensure it sticks together, but not too much that it looks too wet. The chia seeds help to bind the mixture as it settles.
Press the mixture into a square dish (a baking tray is good) – around 8x8inch and lined with greaseproof paper. You want the mixture to be about an inch high for a chunky sized square.
Put in the fridge for around 4 hours to harden up. Then take out and cut into squares. Makes around 10 squares, depends how big or small you like them!
Store for a few days in the fridge or freeze them – they don’t take long to defrost and I have been know to eat them straight from the freezer.
The rhubarb keeps coming and so does the Tahini. Tahini is one of my favourite foods, I have it with almost everything. During the first few weeks of lockdown I couldn’t find it anywhere, so I went for almost a month without any- until my lovely bestie delivered a jar and left it outside my door. That didn’t last long! but fortunately my stocks are now replenished and I am eating it liberally again.
The combination with rhubarb really works, although be warned rhubarb and tahini blended does look a bit beige – so the decorations on top of this dish are worth it! You do need some sweetener with this – I don’t add much sugar to my stewed rhubarb so usually need to add a bit extra into whatever I’m using it with.
Enjoyed eating this today after an early dog walkies in the sunshine.
Rhubarb & Tahini overnight oats
2 tablespoons stewed rhubarb (plus extra for the topping)
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon maple syrup (or other sweetener of choice)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
200ml Milk (almond, soya or coconut work well)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Blend the rhubarb, tahini, maple syrup, milk and ginger in a blender. Pour into a bowl and add the oats. Leave overnight.
To serve – sprinkle over the sesame seeds and add the extra rhubarb on top.
I love Rhubarb and thankfully it’s growing like a Triffid on the plot again this year. I’ve eaten crumble for breakfast, made muffins and mixed it stewed through yogurt and overnight oats. But today, it became my new favourite smoothie ingredient. Be warned this is a very creamy smoothie but rhubarb and peanut butter is a fabulous combo and deserves to be decadent.
Method (makes one smoothie)
Cold stewed rhubarb – I used about 3 tablespoons
200ml of soya milk (coconut milk works great with this, in fact any milk. You might want to add more than 200ml to make it less creamy, I like mine almost mousse texture! Or thin it down with some water to make it slightly less creamy.
When in lockdown, eat heartily – is the current mantra in my household! I went out for my usual lockdown morning dog walkies, got soaked through and came home feeling cold, wet, fed up and in need of something warm, sweet and quick.
I did have crumble on my mind as i had made a lovely rhubarb crumble for my mum a few days earlier, which took ages what with having to wait 30 minutes whilst it cooked in the oven. The leftovers were great for brekkie, until i discovered the last portion had been eaten by my husband…
So – this was my urgent recreation with whatever i had in the house – and it’s pretty close to the real thing too. Probably took around 5 minutes to make and certainly hit the spot.
Almost instant brekkie crumble
(serves one hungry person – but could do two)
The fruit layer
Some fruit that will go juicy and mushy in the microwave – I used a punnet of blueberries and zapped them for a minute. Rhubarb or apple is great too as that only takes a few minutes to stew.
1 piece bread (stale is good too) – blitzed into breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons oats
sprinkle of cinnamon, ground cloves or nutmeg or any warm spices you like
1 – 2 teaspoons sugar – less or more depending how sweet you like your crumble (i go for v sweet!
Knob of non dairy spread or butter – coconut oil or other oil works too.
Melt the spread in a frying pan. Mix the breadcrumbs, spice, oats and sugar together and add to the pan. Fry for 2-4 minutes until the mix has some bite to it like crumble (i.e not too soft)
Whilst the crumble is frying – zap your fruit in the microwave – it won’t need long, maybe 30 seconds or so.
Add the crumble to the fruit and there’s your crumble. Lovely with some extra fruit on top and some yogurt and maple syrup. Or cream or ice cream – after all we’re in lock-down.
I also added a sliced banana on top of the hot blueberries before i added the crumble on top. Play around and add in anything you have handy – peanut butter, nuts, seeds…
I had a gooseberry glut this year, first time ever so after over excitedly harvesting them all at once, I had a week of gooseberry themed breakfasts. These are the top 3 – all very easy and quick and making the most of the tartness and sweetness combo that makes the gooseberry one of those ‘love it or hate it’ type of fruits.
The combo with peanut butter is fab – but be warned, the colour mix doesn’t make for pretty photos!
A large handful of gooseberries (approx. 15)
1 banana (fresh or frozen)
150ml apple juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup.
Blend it all together. The sweetness of the apple juice and maple syrup is a great foil for the tartness of the gooseberries.
Hot Gooseberry crumpet
A large handful of gooseberries
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
Melt the oil in a frying pan, add the gooseberries until they start to soften and split (about 3-5 mins). Toast a crumpet and spread with a nut butter of your choice and pile the gooseberries on top. You can swirl some maple syrup over the top for extra sweetness.
Gooseberry and peanut butter compote
A large handful of gooseberries
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
2 tablespoons peanut butter
Melt the oil in a frying pan and add the gooseberries for 2-3 mins. Then add the peanut butter and heat through until it all starts to soften.
I’ve eaten this on its own, both hot and cold. Also lovely stirred through soya or coconut yoghurt.
Oh the misaligned prune! I had a bag of prunes waiting to be used up, there were given to me by my mum who had announced that they were revolting and can I please take them away. I’ve tried a few prune recipes in the past and used them in porridge a few years ago, which was a surprise success.
For these muffins I went for the ‘hidden’ prune option and blitzed them into the milk – it meant I could use up a lot of them at once! The nuts then add the texture and the milk the slight prune taste – and of course all the added benefits of prunes…
These aren’t very sweet, so they taste good cut in half with some spread and jam, or with some fruit and yoghurt and a splash of maple or date syrup. They freeze well too.
Prune, walnut and pecan muffins
100g spelt flour (or wholemeal)
180g plain flour
100g castor sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
100g pitted prunes
250ml milk of choice (I used soya, but nut milks work well too)
100ml rapeseed oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50g walnuts (crushed into chunky pieces)
50g Pecan nuts (crushed into chunky pieces)
Mix the flours, sugar, salt and baking powder together. Mix in the nuts.
Blend the prunes with the milk. Then add the vanilla and oil and mix together. Add this to the dry mixture and mix quickly.
I went to one of my fave restaurants a couple of weeks ago (Tibbits) and was reunited with a big bowl of their very fabulous Indian Rice Pudding. I haven’t quite managed to recreate the original dish, but it got me playing around with different types of rice and spice. As we know, puddings can make delicious breakfast options too and this is wonderfully aromatic and filling as a breakfast, and it went down very well after a long run this morning.
This recipe makes 3 decent portions. Easy to make the night before and reheat. The rice still contains a bit of bite, so it’s not the sloppy rice pudding that I remember from my youth! However, I do like sloppy too – so I shall be experimenting further.
Basmati Aromatic Brekkie Pudding
100g Basmati rice (white)
400ml can of coconut milk
10 cardamom pods – seeds crushed in a pestle and mortar. (So about 1/2 teaspoon of ground)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon mixed ground spice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
1 cinnamon stick
60g sultanas (you can easily add more)
Put the rice in a saucepan, add the coconut milk and all of the other ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-30mins. Ensure the rice doesn’t stick near the end of cooking – add a bit more water or coconut milk if needed. You might want to add some more ground spice if you want more aromatics.
If you make this the night before, leave the cinnamon stick and cloves in the mixture. When you get it out the fridge in the morning the rice will have stuck together into a big clump. Add a portion (about 1/3 of the bowl) into a saucepan and add some more coconut milk. I used some from a carton for this, rather than opening another can. Or you can add water. Stir well and bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins or so, until its looking nice and creamy again.
This is lovely with some fresh mango stirred through.
My staple breakfast is peanut butter and banana on toast, I would happily eat this for every meal. This morning I had a bit more time and thought about how to improvise with the same magic three ingredients. I also felt like treating myself so this is a slightly more decadent way to eat peanut butter and banana on toast with added treat value that doesn’t take much longer than the simple original version.
P&B Toasty Crumb
2 slices of bread (I used small slices of wholemeal bread, but could easily have eaten this with large slices)
Peanut butter (or any nut butter)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon coconut oil
A few hazelnuts (I used 10) – or other nuts.
Toast both slices of bread. Whilst they are toasting, slice the banana and fry for a couple of minutes in the coconut oil. Then add the sugar and toss it through the bananas and cook for another couple of minutes to caramelize nicely.
When the bread has toasted – put one slice in a blender with the hazelnuts to make the crumbs. Spread the peanut butter on the other slice. Pour the bananas onto the peanut butter toast and sprinkle the crumbs on top. Add some yoghurt and enjoy! Simple.