Strawberry Chia Overnight Oats

If you’ve read the 3rd post ever put up on this blog then you’ll know how obsessed I am with oats. I go CRAZY for them. Baked, stovetop, overnight, I am not picky. You can catch me eating oats on any given day of the year, I will never get tired of them.


I uploaded a Q & A video on my YouTube this week, and one of the questions I was asked was what my go-to  school breakfast was. *Drum roll please* it’s these oats! These are easily prepared on a Sunday morning and portioned out for the rest of the week on Monday morning. Done. You don’t have to worry about breakfast for the rest of the week! The nutritional value of this breakfast is insane, and it will leave you feeling energised and ready to take on the week with a smile on your face. Pair this with my recipe for Salted Caramel Iced Coffee and you will have a winning breakfast on your hands.


Strawberry Chia Overnight Oats                                                                    makes 4 servings

Ingredients

2 cups of steel cut oats

½ cup chia seeds

1 cup plain Greek yoghurt

1 cup milk of your choice: full fat, almond or coconut work perfectly

¼ cup honey

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ cup chopped strawberries plus 2 tbsp of a milk of your choice

Method

  1. Add all the ingredients except the strawberries to a large bowl and stir well to incorporate. Leave in the fridge at least 4 hours or overnight
  2. Add the strawberries to a food processor with the milk and pulse until completely puréed. Stir the puréed strawberries into the oats and mix well. Portion 4 servings into different jars/lunchboxes. Can serve immediately or keep sealed in the fridge for a week at the most. Serve with extra Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, nuts or chia seeds.

Advertisements

Cinnamon Vanilla Bread Pudding with Crème Anglais

Bread and pudding don’t even sound like they should be in the same sentence.

This has to be one of my favourite flavour combinations. Coupled with balsamic + honey and blue cheese + sweet chilli. Another thing that this dish combines is the ability to be both a dessert and a breakfast item. That is to say, any leftovers can be consumed at 9 pm whilst drinking hot chocolate and watching Game of Thrones. Yes.


To be honest with you, I used to be one of those people who thought that bread pudding was one of those things that should have never been invented. That was before I actually had bread pudding. It’s terribly easy, requires literally no effort, and it’s basically a French toast casserole. That’s the easiest way for me to put it. And the great thing about it is that it can be easily manipulated as long as the core ingredients (bread, eggs and salt) remain the same.

I would recommend using a rich eggy bread, such as challah or brioche bread, because it drastically improves the flavour. Any other types of bread would still work, but I would strongly recommend either one of those two. This recipe also works really well if your bread is stale. If your bread is fresh, you can cut it into cubes and leave in a baking tray overnight, out in the open. Or, for a quicker method, preheat your oven to 180º/350ºF and bake the bread cubes for about 10 minutes, or until hard. I also like to leave my bread chunks to absorb the egg mixture for about 30 minutes to obtain maximum flavour. You can add in extras like chocolate chips, raisins or nuts to the mixture, it’s all about what you want.For anyone who’s unfamiliar with crème anglaise, the first thing you need to know is that it literally translates to ‘English cream’ from French. It’s similar to custard, but less thinner and it isn’t a sickly yellow colour like the packet variety tends to be. It also has a much more delicate and rich flavour than the yucky storebought stuff. I stole the recipe for the crème anglaise from Seasons and Suppers because she’s got the right idea. And she’s Canadian. That’s a definite guarantee that she can be trusted and that this will change your life.



Cinnamon Vanilla Bread Pudding with Crème Anglais

Ingredients

For the bread pudding: 

4 cups challah bread, or any other bread of your choosing, cut into 1 inch cubes

3 eggs

½ cup castor sugar

¾ cup milk

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla essence

a pinch of salt

½ cup sliced almonds (optional)

For the crème anglaise: 

½ cup fresh cream

½ cup full cream milk

½ tsp vanilla essence

3 tbsp sugar

3 egg yolks

Make the bread pudding:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Stir until the egg yolks are fully incorporated. Then add the bread cubes and stir with a wooden spoon, making sure to coat each bread piece fully. If you like, you could add in raisins, chocolate chips or nuts at this stage. Once each piece is coated, let soak for about 20 minutes before baking. This step is optional, you can bake the bread pudding straight after combining, but soaking the bread will give a more intense flavour.  Meanwhile, start on the crème anglaise.

Make the crème anglaise:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Add the milk, cream and vanilla essence to a medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat until it comes to a low boil, then take the saucepan off the heat. Make sure it doesn’t come to full boil because if it’s too hot, then you will cook the eggs and end up with scrambled eggs instead of crème anglaise.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until combined. Bit by bit, whisk small amounts of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture until you’ve added about half the milk mixture. Then, pour the egg mixture from the bowl into saucepan and whisk over low heat until slightly thickened and the sauce just coats the back of your wooden spoon. When thickened, transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure that the plastic wrap is right on the surface of the crème anglaise so that it doesn’t form a skin. Chill whilst you bake the bread pudding.
  4. Grease a medium deep dish baking pan with BUTTER, not any of that non-stick spray. We’re not here to help you cut calories. Then sprinkle the bottom of your greased pan with about 2 tbsp of brown sugar. This step isn’t necessary but whilst baking, the sugar caramelises at the bottom, giving your bread pudding a crispy bottom.
  5. Carefully layer the soaked bread cubes in the greased baking pan, and pour any leftover egg mixture over the top. This will bake into a lovely custard in the oven and the dish just becomes that much more rich. At this stage, you can sprinkle chopped almonds, chocolate chips or even sugar over the bread pudding mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or when you pull the bread apart with a fork, no liquid seeps out.
  6. Serve warm or cold with crème anglaise, melted ice cream or dusted with icing sugar.


 

How to Get The Best Saturday Morning Pancakes

Everybody loves pancakes.

I have never met anybody who said they didn’t and was telling the truth. The words hate and pancakes do not even belong in the same sentence. And I owe it to my love of pancakes to write up this post for anybody who’s looking to take their pancake game from 0-100 without surmising a huge amount of effort. Of course, we’ll be looking to science to give us the most trustworthy methods of pancake preparation, so get your spatulas and aprons ready.

What do we want from pancakes?

This is the first question that you ALWAYS have to ask before you go hunting in the fridge. The perfect Saturday morning pancakes are: light in colour and weight, have a fluffy texture and are as thick as Shaniqua.

Right, so now that we know what we want, how do we achieve this? Tout d’abord we have to use the right ingredients, and no perfect pancake is made without buttermilk. Buttermilk a.k.a. lacto (really Zimbabwe?) is the magic ingredient that makes the texture that much fluffier. You can take it one step further by  including ricotta in the mixture. Ricotta is just an extra step but you can still yield a batch of hella delicious pancakes without it. But trust me, it is so worth it. And since I learnt how to make my own ricotta, I’ve been putting in everything from my scrambled eggs to my pizzas and most notably, these Red Velvet Ricotta Buttermilk Pancakes. It’s just 3 ingredients, milk, lemon juice and salt. Go forth and produce my children, this is golden. 

 One of the keys to getting uber fluffy pancakes is to NOT OVERMIX THE BATTER. PLEASE HEED MY CAPITALISED WORDS. One of the principal proteins in flour is gluten. Now when flour is dry and in its natural state, gluten molecules are just chilling being antisocial pricks. They do not like each other and tend to stick on their own. And they’re happy to remain that way until you add something that makes it a little wet, think water, milk or melted butter. Now this makes the gluten molecules excited, and they start to link to each other, forming a tight structure. Now this is what we want, because once we add the leavening agent (think baking powder/bicarbonate of soda), bubbles will be produced that will make our pancake rise (Yay), but we still want out pancake to retain its shape. So we do need that gluten structure. Now, the more you mix, the tighter that gluten structure becomes. And the tighter it becomes, the tougher and chewier your pancakes become. Big no no. Solution: mix your batter JUST until the wet and dry ingredients are combined, who cares if there are lumps? Not me.

lumpy space princess

We want thick pancakes. So we’re going to add all the baking powder! Wrong. We are not going to do that. As much as we want those pancakes to be as thick as possible, we don’t want to compromise taste in this endeavour. I would only add about 3 tsp of baking powder for every cup of flour you add, at the most. Using self raising flour can also help give you a boost here.

Now once your pancakes are cooked and thick, you want them to remain that way. To do this, you are going to flip the pancake once and ONCE ONLY. You are not an overexcited 5 year old, flipping it five times is just excessive. It also means that you lose some of the height that the baking powder worked very hard to give you. Shame on you.

To separate or not to separate? 

This is an issue I am still conflicted on myself, but Ill give you the gist of the situation. Legend has it that separating your eggs can help you get even thicker and fluffier pancakes. The logic works like this: you add the egg yolks with the rest of the wet ingredients and you keep the egg whites separate. You beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and then you carefully fold it in right before you cook the pancakes. This methodology makes sense to me, because the concept is similar in pavlovas and meringues, where the egg whites are beaten until stiff and this makes them appear to double in volume as you incorporate air into the protein structure. This should work with pancakes too right? Unfortunately, even after testing numerous times myself, I’m not entirely convinced that this makes a marginal difference, but I’m still going to do it anyway.

So it’s 10 am and you’ve mixed up your pancake batter and you’re starving and you’re ready to just cook and eat the pancakes and you just cannot wait to start cooking BUT –

You can wait. As much as I’m killing your vibe here, it’s essential that the batter rests before frying. And I’m sorry to disappoint you, but put the spatula away and take a time out for ten minutes. Spatula, away, now.

Even better: whilst your batter is resting, heat your pan on low heat to allow it to reach temperature. Also, take this time to preheat your oven to 100°C and start warming your plates in there. Once you’re doing cooking a pancake, stick it on one of the warm plates and let it sit in the oven. There is nothing worse than having a stack of pancakes that are all at different temperatures. You’re welcome.

Now we’ve all been told by one cookbook or another that you should turn your pancakes as soon as bubbles form. Incorrect. You’ve only had to have a couple of pancakes fall apart on your spatula before you realise that that piece of advice isn’t totally legit. Wait about a minute before you flip that bad boy over, trust me, you wouldn’t have burnt the pancake by then. Speaking of burning….

Your pan should be so hot that a drop of water instantly evaporates as soon as it touches the surface. Nothing less. The problem with this vague description is that it is possible for the pan to be too hot, and then you’ll end up with a stack of pancakes that is perfectly crispy and golden on the outside, but gooey and undercooked on the inside. And I don’t plan on giving you salmonella. My advice for fixing this would be to heat your pan on low heat for ten minutes whilst your batter is resting, just until it reaches temperature. Then to increase the heat ever so slightly to medium low whilst you’re cooking.

And you are going to use butter to fry your pancakes. No excuse. This is not a compromise, this is a must. Your heart will hate you for this but think of how happy your stomach will be.

I suggest that you start with this great recipe for Oreo Pancakes by Must Come Hungry. It rocks. 

 Or try this Citrus Dutch Oven Baby Pancake that’s already on the blogProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Now that I have bestowed unto you all my undue pancake knowledge I send you forth unto the world to go and preach the gospel. As well as making some lekker cakes of pan. If you have anything to contribute, make sure to drop a comment below!

Andy, out.

Red Velvet Ricotta Buttermilk Pancakes

THIS IS LIFE.

So I’m only slightly obsessed with red velvet, just slightly.

In the 3 winks since I purchased my first bottle of red food colouring, I’ve only made this recipe like 5 times, a batch of red velvet cookies and a cake.

  
Totally not obsessed.

So I’ve been working in my test kitchen to find out what makes the perfect batch of pancakes, and my friends, I can conclude that it consists of ricotta + buttermilk. Why? You get thick and ultra-fluffy yet light and airy pancakes. And I don’t know about you, but that sounds like heaven. For the full list of reasons, check out my next blog post.

What really made these for me was the cream cheese frosting. Gaaaaaah I could go on all day about it, cream cheese frosting is my kryptonite, I believe that there was no other frosting created equally.

But for now, enjoy the beauty that are these cakes made in a pan.

Red Velvet Ricotta Buttermilk Pancakes                                       yields 8-10 pancakes

Ingredients

Pancakes:

1 cup flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp granulated sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 cup ricotta cheese*

2 eggs, separated

¾ cup buttermilk

2 tbsp melted butter + extra for greasing the pan

½ tsp vanilla essence

2 tsp gel red food colouring

Cream cheese frosting:

4 tbsp plain cream cheese

4 tbsp butter, softened

½ tsp vanilla essence

Roughly 2 tbsp milk

1 ½ cups icing sugar

Method  

Make pancakes:

  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  2. In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, egg yolks, buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla essence and red food colouring until combined.
  3. Add the very wet, very red ingredients to the dry ingredients in the larger bowl and stir until just combined. In a cup, beat the egg whites using a handheld mixer until stiff. Carefully fold the beaten egg whites into the pancake mixture until just incorporated. STOP. DO NOT OVERMIX. It’s okay if there are a few lumps of cocoa powder lurking around; do not feel the need to squish them! 
  4. Let the batter rest at least 15 minutes. Whilst your batter is resting, heat a non stick skillet over low heat until a drop of water evaporates instantly upon contact. This is how you know the pan is hot enough. Whilst you’re waiting, this would also be a good time to preheat your oven to about 100°C/200°F and stick your plates in. You will thank me later.
  5. When the batter is rested and the pan is good to go, melt about 1 tsp of butter and drop about ¼ cup of batter into the pan, cooking until several bubbles appear on the surface of the batter. Flip, cooking for another minute before removing from heat and placing the pancake on one of those gloriously warm plates from the oven. Repeat until you’ve exhausted all your pancake butter, keeping the cooked pancakes in the warm oven.

 

Make cream cheese frosting:

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla essence and milk together until smooth. Add in the icing sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating the mixture until smooth. Serve on top of pancakes. Be careful not to pour the frosting on top of the pancakes whilst they’re still hot out the oven because the butter in the frosting will seize and you’ll end up with a gloopy mess on your hands. Serve and enjoy!

Cinnamon coffee infused granola 

If you want your kitchen to smell like a Starbucks, this is what you should make.

Granola is like the improved version of muesli. If muesli was a basket of fries, granola would be loaded with a wicked garlic cheese sauce, herbs and all the fixings. Spoiler alert.

 The thing I love most about granola is that it’s so healthy, but it doesn’t even feel like you’re eating healthy because it tastes sooooooooo good. Your colon will definitely thank you for this one. And if you’re like me, then the smell of coffee is like heaven. I’ll never forget the first time I walked into a Starbucks 5 years ago in London, and the scent of caramel and cinnamon seducing my nostrils and transporting me to another world 😍☕️

 Fun Fact: there isn’t a single Starbucks outlet on the African continent that is south of the Sahara. Which sucks for me 🙁

So, I’ll have to settle for having this cook in my oven, but I’m not complaining. This recipe is perfect for meal prep on a Sunday, and you could have it  for breakfast, or just have it as a snack. Also, it was about time I posted something healthy here 😂

Cinnamon coffee infused granola

Ingredients

4 cups rolled oats

1 cup flaked almonds

2 tbsp coconut flakes

1/2 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup honey

1 tbsp instant coffee granules or 2 tbsp filter coffee

1/4 cup canola oil

1 egg white

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160° Celsius/Measure out the oats, almonds, coconut flakes, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl and stir until the dry ingredients are fairly distributed.
  2. Add 2 tbsp of warm water to the instant coffee and stir until dissolved. Add this along with the honey, oil and egg white to the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined, taste and add more honey, coffee or cinnamon to suit your tastes.
  3. Spread the mixture in the bottom of 2 baking pans and bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven until the oats are a toasty golden brown, and the enticing aroma of coffee and cinnamon fills your kitchen. 
  4. Let cool on your counter for about 10 minutes before storing in a tightly sealed glass jar, serve with yoghurt and fresh fruit, or with milk, or just eat straight from the jar! I added chocolate chips to mine, but you could also add seeds, more nuts or grated chocolate.

I know what I’m having for breakfast this week.

Citrus Dutch Oven Baby Pancake 

This idea came to me by total accident. 

  
Last Saturday, I was running errands with my boyfriend when I decided that I really wanted flowers. A huge bouquet of brightly coloured fragrant beauties. And at the same time, it was 10 am and I still hadn’t eaten breakfast. I know, I know, that’s absolutely crazy given that most of the time I can barely go for 3 hours without a snack. At this particular instant, I was craving some sort of fried batter like pancakes, or waffles- I couldn’t decide okay. Unfortunately, I didn’t get either. I went home in the grumpy, disgruntled mood that hungry teenagers often have when they don’t get what they want. 

I went to the garden in search of answers when I saw this:
And an hour later, I had this: 

  Personally, I believe that spontaneity is the spice of life. And imagination, my friends, produces some beautiful things. 

Citrus Dutch Oven Baby Pancake

Ingredients 

4 eggs

1 cup milk, either whole or 2% 

1 cup all purpose flour 

1/4 cup castor sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Method 

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, orange zest and salt in a large bowl together until you have a smooth batter 
  2. Melt the butter in a large cast iron skillet on low heat and add the pancake batter to it. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the pancake is a deep golden brown colour cooked through. Let cool for 5 minutes before topping with orange slices, powdered sugar and ice cream. 

The long wait was so totally worth it 

  
This recipe is adapted from The Recipe Girl’s Double Berry Pancake

Cocktail Pancakes with Nutella and Strawberries

“Hello, it’s me. I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to post?”

Why yes, yes I would.

But yes, after a month of eating, getting fat and hiding from the internet, I finally had the courage to come out and share with you all. So here we go, cocktail pancakes.

 I saw this idea over on I Heart Naptime and I thought it was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. And I have a multitude of ideas for what you can do with this, it’s just that in the rush of my excitement to get back to you, I didn’t get the chance to do that. But I do promise you this, it’s coming.

I think the most difficult thing about this recipe is getting the pancakes small enough. It took me NUMEROUS attempts to get them the perfect shape AND size. Also, make sure that you cook these on medium-low. I made the mistake of cooking these on high heat, and the problem is that they get beautifully golden brown on the outside, but they’re not cooked on the inside (which isn’t a problem if you like pancake batter). And if you’re absolutely terrified of raw pancake, don’t be afraid to use your spatula to flatten the pancake once you’ve flipped it over, or just omit the baking powder altogether. If you love seeing THICK pancakes, then add all the baking powder you like.

Cocktail Pancakes

Ingredients

¾ cup flour

1 tsp baking powder*

2 tbsp castor sugar

1 egg

½ cup milk

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tbsp butter

3 tbsp of Nutella (at the most)

8 strawberries

Approximately 25 toothpicks

Method

  1. Sift the dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl and stir to combine. Add the egg, milk and vanilla and mix until you have a smooth batter.
  2. Melt about ½ tbsp of butter in a hot non-stick pan and drop about HALF A TABLESPOON of batter in at a time and cook on medium-low heat until bubbles just start to form on one side and flip, cooking for another minute before removing to a plate. Halfway through the batter, melt the other half tablespoon of butter in the pan and cook the rest of the batter.
  3. Cut the strawberries into quarters. Using a butter knife, spread the Nutella on one side of all the pancakes. Grab a toothpick, and slide a pancake onto it, keeping the Nutella side facing up. Skewer a strawberry on top of the pancake, making sure it is in contact with the Nutella side of the pancake. Add another pancake on top, making sure this time that its Nutella side is facing down. Repeat until you’ve used up all the pancakes.

*If you’re scared your pancake won’t cook on the inside, or you prefer flatter pancakes, you can leave this out.

Or, you could also choose not to sandwich the kebabs if you like, I just did a mixture.