There are pancakes and then there are souffle pancakes! These aren’t the enormous Japanese style souffle pancakes (I’m not together enough in the mornings to make them) but they are gorgeously fluffy, pillow-like pancakes made by whipping the egg whites into a meringue before folding […]
I might have mentioned this before but my family doesn’t eat Christmas dinner (we have it on Christmas Eve instead) but we do enjoy a Christmas day brunch before the present opening begins. And this is the perfect recipe to kick off the big day. It’s rich and crunchy and full of classic gingerbread flavours – absolutely delicious served with thick creamy Greek yoghurt and fruit.
The beauty of homemade granola is that it’s so easy to adapt it to you own tastes. Potty for pumpkin seeds? Pile them in. Fan of figs? Go ahead! Crazy about cashews? Well you get the idea. Use whatever dried fruit, nuts and seeds you like (I’ve opted for sultanas, hazelnuts and pecans) but try to keep to a ratio of 2/3 fruit to 1/3 nuts and seeds. I also think that it’s better not to bake the fruit as it tends to make it a bit too chewy, I think it’s better to add it at the end.
150g nuts, dried fruit and seeds (see note above)
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp crystalised ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp sea salt
Preheat your oven to 170°c and line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or baking parchment.
Toss together the oats with the nuts, seeds and crystalised ginger (keep back any fruit that you’re using) in a large mixing bowl.
Gently warm the maple syrup, sugar, oil, spices and salt so that they are all nicely melted together but not too hot (or the sugar will burn). Pour this mixture over the oaty blend and stir well, so that everything is nicely coated.
Spread this out on the prepared baking sheet, pressing it down slightly. Bake the granola for 20 minutes, turning it half way through.
Once the granola is baked scatter the fruit over it and then leave it to cool completely before breaking up the clusters a little and storing in an air-tight container.
You could put this in a pretty jar and give it as a lovely edible Christmas gift!
I am pretty certain that I could eat my body weight in nut butters (sometimes straight from the jar). The problem is that so many of them are made with palm oil. I do try really, really hard not to buy products that use palm oil, which means that a lot of them are off the market to me, including Nutella (sob!). I do sort of miss the days when we lived in the US and I could just pick up a jar of peanut butter from Trader Joes confident in the fact that it was made with just one ingredient – nuts.
There really isn’t anything else you need to put in peanut butter unless you want to twiddle with the flavours a bit. Which is exactly what I’ve done here, adding a dash of cinnamon to the almond butter and some cocoa to the hazelnuts.
You may want to turn off your food processor intermittently whilst you make the nut butters to prevent it from getting too warm.
makes 1 jar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
Toast the nuts for 10 minutes at 180°c, keeping them separate. Place the hazelnuts in a clean tea towel and rub them to loosen and remove some of the skin but don’t worry if some of it is a bit stubborn.
When the nuts have cooled a bit place the almonds into the bowl of a food processor and blitz them at full speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at regular intervals and keep blitzing until the nuts release their oil and transform into a thick smooth paste. Add the cinnamon and blend it in. That’s the almond butter done, set it aside and clean out the food processor so that you can start the hazelnut butter.
Do the same thing with the hazelnuts as you did with the almonds, blitzing them in the food processor until they are reduced to a thick smooth paste. Add the sugar and the cocoa powder and blend them with the hazelnut paste.
Transfer the two spreads to a clean jar, swirling or layering them as you like.
How does this look for a summer brunch!? Golden fluffy pancakes that will help you on your way to your five-a-day? Yes please! I’m a sucker for anything that involves dill so these are a winner for me. They make a pretty hearty breakfast but have got lots of light summer flavours.
You can use whatever type of squash is in season, I actually wanted yellow courgettes but I think I was a bit early for them so I had to settle for a green one. You can also top them with whatever you like. We enjoyed them with gravadlax (mmmm, more dill) but smoked or even poached fish would also be nice .
1 medium yellow or green courgette/squash
200g plain flour
2 tbsp baking powder
salt and pepper
30g butter (melted)
2 tbsp finely chopped dill
oil for frying
poached eggs, gravadlax, sour cream to serve
Grate the squash and then wrap it up in a clean tea towel and give it a good squeeze to remove some of the excess moisture. Set aside.
Place the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and whisk them together. In a seperate jug beat together the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Gradually mix the wet into the dry to leave you with a thick smooth batter.
Add the grated squash and the chopped dill and mix through, ensuring that everything is well combined.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan and pour the batter into the pan to create the pancakes, make them as big or small as you like (although smaller ones are easier to flip!). When little bubbles start to form around the edges of the pancakes they should be ready to turn over. Cook until both sidea are golden brown and serve topped with cured or smoked fish, poached eggs or a little sour cream.