Almond, Chia and Sour Cherry Granola

Cherry Almond Chia Granola

Designed as both breakfast and snack this Almond, Chia and Sour Cherry Granola is excellent with plain yogurt swirled with a bit of vanilla and some fresh berries, or just eaten by the hand-full. I’ve given bags of this to my pregnant friends as ‘Emergency Mama Snacks’.

Full of chewy sour cherries, roasted almonds and warm with vanilla, cinnamon, orange & maple. Toasted oats are extra crispy with roasted chia, and the coconut oil adds a textural richness that reminds me (a little bit) of chocolate crackles as a kid.

It’s easy to make; melt, mix and bung it in the oven, and store it in a jar.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of Coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1x grated orange rind
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 50 grm dried sour cherries, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • pinch of sea salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C.
  2. Gently melt the coconut oil in a saucepan, along with the cinnamon, maple syrup, vanilla paste and orange rind.
  3. Take off the heat and stir in the oats, chia, almonds & salt until everything is nicely coated.
  4. Spread the mixture evenly onto 2 baking dishes lined with baking paper and cook for 15 mins, then stir in the cherries and return to the oven for another 10 mins.
  5. Allow to cool, then store in a jar or container with a lid.

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Best Hot Cross Buns ever. Slightly non-traditional, these Hot Cross Buns have a deliciously spiced brioche style bun with vanilla soaked raisins, dried sour-cherries, cinnamon glaze & icing.

I think we should eat Hot Cross Buns throughout the year. We can get rid of the crosses altogether and just called them spiced buns if you want. My cousin, a baker from London, came to stay over easter. We ate many excellent baked things, one of the best were these Hot Cross Buns. We didn’t bother with the dough crosses, but piped icing at the end, on top of the sticky cinnamon glaze. We helped each of the kids ice their own design on a bun, a swirl, some dots. Some of their design requests got a bit out of hand, like a Brachiosaurus or something, but we managed to talk that one into a nice simple volcano.

This dough is based on a recipe from the Model Bakery Cookbook, then modified. You have to start this one the day before, to give the dough time to develop and have a nice relax in the fridge over night. I don’t have a worthy mixer, so this recipe is for hand kneading, using the ‘slap & fold’ method because its a pretty wet dough. The recipe makes 12 buns which will be gone straight away so if you need more, you might want to double it.

Sponge:

  • 75g unbleached all purpose flour
  • 60 ml water
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast

Dough:

  • 165ml whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 435g bread flour, as needed
  • 50g sugar
  • 85g unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 50g sultanas
  • 50g dried sour cherries, chopped
  • zest of an orange or lemon

Cinnamon Glaze

  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 50ml water
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon

Icing:

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons of water as needed

Method:

To make the sponge (start the day before baking)

  1. Combine flour water & yeast in a small bowl
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and leave somewhere warm until bubbles appear, (about 1.5 hours)

To make the dough:

  1. Put raisins and cherries in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 10 mins, then drain off the water, and stir in the vanilla paste, spices & citrus rind and set aside.
  2. Stir the sponge, milk, eggs yeast and salt in a large bowl until the sponge dissolves.
  3. Stir in 365g of the flour to make a shaggy dough, cover with a cloth and let stand for about 20 mins.
  4. Sprinkle 1 tbs of the sugar over the dough in the bowl, with floured hands, pull up about a third of the dough and stretch it over the dough, flip the dough over and repeat again and continue until the sugar is worked in.
  5. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead, adding more flour as necessary, for about 8 mins until supple.
  6. Dot the dough with a tbs of the butter and continue kneading until the butter is absorbed. The dough will be sticky but don’t add too much of the flour. Repeat with the remaining butter, kneading until the dough is smooth and shiny.
  7. Work in the dried fruit, peel & spice mix. Keep folding the dough until its all incorporated.
  8. Shape the dough into a thick rectangle and cover well with plastic wrap, or put into a sealed container. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or up to 24 hours before using. The dough will look puffy but not doubled.
  9. When ready to bake, remove from the fridge, shape into 12 buns, ensuring the fruit is tucked into the dough, and the tops are smooth. Place side by side in a greased baking dish, cover with a cloth and allow to prove for a further 1-2 hours. (they will grow and be lovely and soft).
  10. Preheat oven to 180.
  11.  Bake for 15-20 mins, then paint/pour the cinnamon glaze onto the hot buns when they come out of the oven.

To make the glaze:

  1. While the buns are cooking, prepare glaze by combining sugar, cinnamon and water in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar, set aside.

To make the icing (if using)

  1. Combine icing sugar with enough water to get the right consistency for piping or drizzling. Drizzle or pipe onto the cooled buns.

Orange and Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

For some reason I’ve ended up with an excess of pumpkin and sweet potato. I ordered them online and only saw how bloody huge they were when they arrived. My kids don’t even like pumpkin. Never mind. So far I’ve roasted the pumpkin and worked it into a Pumpkin & Tomato soup, Pumpkin Pancakes, Roast Pumpkin for salads and now Orange and Pumpkin Muffins. (All of these things were happily eaten by the kids, except the salad) These recipes all use lovely fresh roasted pumpkin, not ‘a can of pumpkin puree’. I got a Japanese Pumpkin, cut it into slices and roasted it with the skin on. You can eat the skin, but for these I just cut the skin off when it had cooled down.

This recipe is fairly adhoc (surprise surprise) and delivers beautiful, soft, tasty muffins. They are not enormous cakey ones, nor are they those dense dry abominations that you find in the healthy cafes. These are pretty low sugar, and use half flour, half almond meal which gives them a nice texture. Slightly spiced with orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla, these pumpkin muffins are great for autumn days with black coffee, but also a glass of milk. This recipe is too easy and perfect if you’re looking for some nice healthy treats for the kids. (not freak healthy, just regular, decent healthy)

Ingredients:

  • 115g plain flour
  • 115g almond meal
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp of ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 300g fresh roasted pumpkin ( I used Japanese Pumpkin, roasted with a bit of coconut oil until soft but not mushy)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 orange rind finely grated

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190C.
  2. In a large bowl mix the flour, almond meal, baking powder sugar, salt & spices until well combined. Add orange rind to the bowl.
  3. In a jug combine the milk, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin and puree with a handblender until nice and smooth.
  4. Pour the puree and the coconut oil into the dry ingredients and fold to combine.
  5. Scoop spoonfuls of mixture into muffin tins lined with paper cases and bake for 15- 20 mins until toasty on top and a skewer comes out clean.

Churros and Spanish Hot Chocolate

churros&chocolate

Even if I was thinking about cutting out sugar for a bit, this wouldn’t be a good time. Because a parcel from Spain has arrived with a churro making device (‘churrera’), and kilos of Spanish hot chocolate. So. What can you do.

And anyway, according to the instructions on the churro machine – they are ‘recommend as a healthy product in the Mediterranean diet’, because it’s just flour and water (conveniently overlooking the oil and sugar). I can pretty much see the writers expression as they made that statement. That look with the downturned mouth, raised shoulders, shocked, questioning eyes that says: “no? well then the world is mad!”.

Excellent Spanish logic with which I will not argue.

Alvy made these – following the recipe that came with the churro machine. There are lots of recipes, with olive oil, with egg etc but this was the simplest with just flour water and salt. We dusted them with sugar and cinnamon and they were great. The chocolate is thick and sweet – so the whole thing is pretty full on if you’re not a sweet tooth. Perfect for these days in Sydney where it’s getting cool and windy. Though, probably more perfect at 6am in Madrid on the way home from a night out, which is more traditional.

churros and spanish hot chocolate recipe

Ingredients for the churros:

  • 250grams flour
  • 250 mls water
  • pinch of salt
  • oil for frying
  • sugar & cinnamon for dusting

Instructions for the churros:

  1. Mix sugar and cinnamon together on a plate and set aside
  2. Sift flour into a mixing bowl
  3. Bring water and salt to the boil
  4. Pour water over the flour and stir for about 30 seconds for form a compact dough
  5. Pipe the churros onto some greaseproof paper (this is easier then trying to do it directly into the oil. Even with the churrera, its still a struggle to pipe the dough)
  6. Heat the oil to high. (you’ll need enough oil to cover the churros in a frying pan)
  7. Gently place the churros into the hot oil and fry until golden
  8. Drain and toss in the cinnamon sugar straight away.
  9. Eat while hot, served with hot chocolate.

Ingredients for the hot chocolate:

  • 1 cup of milk per person
  • 2 or 3 pieces of Spanish hot chocolate, such as Asturian brand ‘La Cibeles’, per person.

Instructions:

  1. Put milk and chocolate in a saucepan on medium heat
  2. Continue to stir to mix in as the chocolate begins to melt
  3. Once it comes to the boil, take off the heat and serve. It will thicken slightly as it cools.

 

 

Cinnamon Vanilla Quinoa Pancakes

Cinnamon Vanilla Quinoa Pancakes

I made these awesome gluten free Cinnamon Vanilla Quinoa Pancakes with quinoa flour for my mum.

Gluten is a great friend of mine, but considering all the bread and pasta and baked things we eat, I think it’s good to use a variety of flours, so that it’s not just wheat all the time.

These pancakes have a warm, nutty flavour. The cinnamon and vanilla help balance that quinoa taste, and they are totally delicious just warm, even with nothing on them at all.

Cinnamon Vanilla Quinoa Pancakes Recipe

Adapted from Rachel Ray. I used butter instead of oil, and also used a little bit more baking powder, vanilla & cinnamon.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa flour
  • 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2.5 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 50g melted butter, plus more for cooking
  • 1.5 tsp. vanilla paste
  • 2 eggs

Instructions:

  1. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together
  3. In a separate bowl mix all the wet ingredients together
  4. Add the wet to the dry and mix to combine
  5. Add a little butter to your hot pan and swirl around
  6. Add spoonfuls of the batter to the pan and cook for a few minutes, flip when bubbles appear over the surface and cook a further couple of mins.
  7. Eat warm