buckwheat granola + breakfast oats for one

granola

Hello – right off the bat – I missed you guys. But now my chapter is in (fucking, yeah!) and I can return to my little corner of the internet newly reinvigorated and ready to fill your screens with marvellous things. Ready?

I’ve had several little realisations lately – like that my favourite colour is yellow, not blue – or that the metal circle on the side of my toast tongs is a magnet (genius, by the way) – or that to make the perfect French press coffee you need to plunge straight away – or that granola is almost infinitely tastier and better in every dimension when you make it with buckwheat, not oats.

Madness, you say? Maybe, but the right kind of crazy, I assure you. Making granola on buckwheat requires a teensy bit more prep (soaking), and a longer, slower cooking time, but it’s absolutely, assuredly worth it. The buckwheat absorbs a lot of liquid during soaking which then evaporates in the oven, leaving crunchy crunchy deliciousness. It’s also fragrant and tasty in a way you could never achieve with oats. I’m not saying I’ll never make granola with oats again, but this buckwheat version is going to be in very frequent rotation (bonus: it’s totally gluten free!).

Now that I’m back on campus and the working year has commenced, breakfast suddenly becomes a very important part of my day. I’ve been doing lots of breakfasts in jars – make them the night before (or even days before), and in the morning you’ve already made a good choice (go you!). I can grab it out of the fridge and take it to uni if I’m in a rush, or eat it at home. Easy peasy. Soaked oats, birchers, chia puddings have all been getting a good work over in my mason jar. Here I’ve got the simplest, most basic version of soaked oats I make. Treat it as a base to use whatever fruit or toppings you have around. Berries, granola, cacao nibs, stewed plums, and almonds all make regular appearances. But spiced stewed apples or pears would also be freakin’ delicious. Make it your own, lovelies!

raw buckwheat tight
buckwheat-granola-split
mix-ins
easy breakfast
layered oats + granola
buckwheat granola
stripey stripes
buckwheat granola feast

buckwheat granola

makes ~2-3 cups

recipe notes

  • this recipe has a long cooking/prep time, but – before you run away – it’s mostly inactive – which means you can have a cup of tea and watch a movie/read a book/be awesome while the granola’s doing its thing
  • really make sure you give the buckwheat a good rinse after the first soak to get rid of the slimy coating it develops
  • if you’re not into seeds or cranberries, feel free to substitute – i’m a lazy cook, so seeds appeal to me because hey, no chopping
  • if your granola still seems too wet after 1.5 hrs, keep checking every 10 minutes or so until it seems dry enough, bearing in mind that it will crisp up as it cools

ingredients

  • 1 cup (200 g) raw buckwheat groats
  • scant 1/2 cup (60 g) sunflower seeds
  • scant 1/2 cup (60 g) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/3 cup (40 g) dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp (25 g) sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Place the buckwheat in a bowl, cover with filtered water and soak for 1 hour. After 1 hour, drain, rinse well, and cover the buckwheat with fresh water and let soak for another 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 120 C (250 F) (no fan). Line a baking tray with baking paper. Line a strainer with cheesecloth and drain the buckwheat, rinsing again. Let the buckwheat sit and drain for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Once the buckwheat has drained, add it to the other ingredients, stirring thoroughly to coat. Tip the granola onto your baking tray and with wet hands, work it into as flat a layer as possible. Place in the oven for 1.5 hours. When cooked, the granola should be lightly golden and not feel completely wet to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. It should form little granola sheets as it cools. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 weeks (though mine never lasts that long).

breakfast oats for one

serves one

recipe notes

  • as I mentioned above, this recipe is a completely blank slate – do with it what you will – fruit, toppings, flavourings can all be customised to your whim. in this version I’ve topped mine with 2/3 c frozen blueberries and a decent handful of buckwheat granola.

ingredients

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c milk of your choice (almond, cashew, soy, whatever) or even water
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • optional: berries (even frozen – they defrost by the morning); stewed plums, apples, granola, nuts, seeds, cacao nibs, ad infinitum.

In a 400 mL glass jar (with a screw top lid – mason jars are perfect), combine the oats, chia seeds and salt. Give in a quick mix, then stir in the milk/water and lemon juice. Top with some fruit, granola or your toppings of choice. Seal the jar and leave in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, it’s ideal to let the jar sit for 5-10 minutes at room temperature, but not necessary. Enjoy!

christmas spice mix + spiced pear tart

christmas-spiced pear tart
christmas spice mix

Friends, I feel I’ve let you down. It’s only 9 days (!) until Christmas, and not one festive recipe has graced these pages! I blame it on our weather (one hardly feels like baking in this heat), and on the fact that I really struggled to find something I feel is original and inspiring enough for me to share with you all. So I started thinking about my favourite things about Christmas – what food would I have at the ‘perfect’ Christmas lunch? what would it smell like? And I realised that my favourite thing about festive eating is the flavour and combination of christmas spices.

Here is my secret weapon: Christmas spice mix. A potent blend of coriander seeds (yes, you read that correctly!), cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, clove and cardamom. Once sniff (or taste) and I’m instantly transported to a land full of garlands, baubles and carols. Coriander plays a really important role in this spice mix – so don’t think you can leave it out – it’s citrus and floral notes pull all the other spices into line, providing the perfect foundation from which you can pick out the warmth of cinnamon, the sharpness of the clove, the sweetness of the allspice.

This spice mix also makes a perfect gift – incorporated into baking, stirred into porridge (hey – even blended with a banana smoothie) – I guarantee that it will be able to recall a little feeling of Christmas throughout rest of the year. I made a triple batch of the recipe below and stored some in bottles for friends and family.

Lastly, pears and this spice mix make the best of friends. This tart is simple to make, with a no-roll dough (based off a recipe from Greek Kitchen Stories) filled with almonds and oats. The combination of Christmas spices, pear, and a nutty crust is delicious and soul-warming. It’s not fussy, but rather robust, and can be made in advance, then baked off when needed. Perfect for a busy festive season, no? (It would be blissful topped with your favourite ice-cream, or vanilla cashew cream).

I hope these last days of the silly season are greeting you with happiness and many festivities. X

p.s. The last photo should give you some insight into my oh so fancy set up for shooting photos…

christmas spices
a lot of christmas spice
pear
about time for the oven
spiced pear tart
happy accident

christmas spice mix

makes about 1/3 cup

recipe notes

  • If you don’t have ground spices, you can grind them using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.
  • Spice mixes are best within 1-2 months of mixing, but if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark spot, should retain most of the flavour for a longer period.
  • This spice can be used in making gingerbread, apple pie, porridge, or as a delicious addition to smoothies or hot chocolates.

ingredients

  • 4 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground green cardamom seed

Combine all the spices in a small bowl and stir to combine. Store in an airtight glass jar and keep in a cool, dark place.

spiced pear tart

serves 6-8

recipe notes

  • If you don’t have a 35 x 13 cm rectangular tart tin, use an 8″ circular tart tin and use the proportions of ingredients in the original crust recipe, and use only 2 pears.
  • This recipe would also work lovely with apples.

for the crust

  • 1.5 cups (150 g) quick or rolled oats
  • 1 cup (100 g) almond meal
  • 3 tbsp corn flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup or honey

for the filling

  • 3 ripe, but firm pears – peeled, cored and sliced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp panela or raw sugar
  • 2 tsp christmas spice mix
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk

In a large bowl, combine oats, almond meal, cornflour, and salt. Create a well in the centre, and mix in the coconut oil and sweetener. Use your hands to rub the mixture until a loose dough forms (it will be very crumbly). Wrap the dough in aluminium foil or cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (this will help the dough be less crumbly).

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 150 C (300 F). In a large bowl, toss the pear slices with the lemon juice, sugar and spice mix, then set aside. Once the dough is chilled, remove from the fridge and press evenly into a 13 x 35 cm fluted tart tin. Bake the crust in the oven for 10 minutes.

Remove the crust and turn the oven up to 175 C (350 F). Arrange the pear slices inside the crust, and return to the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, open the oven and pour the coconut milk over the pears. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes, until the the pears and edges of the crust are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin. Carefully remove from the tin, slice and enjoy. Can be stored at room temperature for 2 days.

blackberry + spelt mini loaves

blackberry + spelt mini loafs

How you know you’re on holidays: You type ‘loafs’ in the title of this post, and stare at it for a good 30 seconds before realising that it’s wrong. Then having to check the dictionary just to make sure you got it right. Phew.

It’s been a big year, friends. HUGE, really. And boy, am I glad to be on holidays. That being said, I’m still going through the awkwardness of those first few days – figuring out what I’m going to do each day, trying as best I can not to set enormous list of goals, slowly relaxing and letting things go. I’m sure most people can relate. Here however, is a short précis of what I’ve got in mind: yoga. walks. beach. day trips. food. books. And Christmas (holy cow – only two weeks away!).

I made these little loaves over the weekend when I visited a friend – perfect for tea or coffee time in the afternoon. It was magic to get lost in conversation for a few hours. The loaves are soft, moist and utterly yum. There’s a slightly nutty flavour from the spelt flours, which plays off really well against the tart berryness of the blackberries. They are quick and easy to make, and if you don’t have a mini loaf tin, can be made in a muffin tin I’m sure (making 12 muffins).

If you’re not into blackberries (or don’t have any around), feel free to substitute with your favourite berry (raspberries or blueberries in particular) or even apple, pear or peach would work nicely. This recipe is more than versatile – shape it to your whim, lovelies.

My holiday brain is struggling with what else can be said – just take my word for it – they’re pretty great.

loafin' around
tea time?
mini loaf
gone

blackberry + spelt mini loaves

makes 8 mini loaves or 12 muffins

recipe notes

  • As I note above, these can be made in your standard muffin tin, and should yield 12. You will have to adjust your baking time (perhaps 20 minutes instead of 25).
  • Substitute for your favourite berry or fruit if you prefer.
  • Also – feel free to run wild with your favourite add ins – lemon zest, seeds and nuts would all work great.
  • To make one flax egg, combine 1 tbsp flaxseed (linseed) meal with 2 tbsp boiling water. Whisk with a fork and set aside for 10-15 minutes before using.

ingredients

  • 1 cup (160 g) wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 cup (130 g) light spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (90 g) organic panela sugar (evaporated cane juice)
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted (plus extra for greasing)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup frozen blackberries

Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F) – no fan. Prepare flax eggs. Using some extra coconut oil, grease your tin.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, salt, baking powder. Add the sugar to the flour mixture and whisk to combine. In a medium bowl, whisk together flax eggs, coconut milk, coconut oil, vanilla and applesauce. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, and stir until just combined. Spoon batter evenly into prepared mini loaf tin, and gently press blackberries into the batter. Bake for 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean and the loaves are a light golden brown.

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then gently remove mini loaves from the tin with a spatula. Can be refrigerated for 3-4 days.

basic chocolate cake + simple raspberry sauce

basic chocolate cake
simple raspberry sauce

This is a recipe that everyone should have tucked into their back pocket, their notebook, or bookmarks folder. A basic, solid chocolate cake recipe. A ‘no-fail’ recipe. Something that works, that can be built upon; dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion. It’s not flashy or fancy. It’s not highly sweet. It’s the sort of cake that loves being slathered in sauces and yoghurts and ice-creams. It likes a few blackberries tucked in beside it, or a drizzle of maple syrup over the top.

Things have finally begun to slow down around here: classes have finished, and tutoring is done for the year; our German lessons have finished and the exam is done. A big, long, sigh of relief. We’re both settling back into our own research, and I’m finally starting to think about Christmas, and am having some lovely and exciting ideas. On the food front, I’ve been trying to be kinder to myself. When I’m stressed or anxious, the first thing I do is become incredibly rigid and restrictive with what I’m eating, which really, is the last thing my body or mind needs at that point. That being said, I’ve been avoiding most sugar after reading this book, and this cake is the product of the desire to make a cake without the syrups or substitutes I would normally use. (A little aside: I highly recommend David Gillespie’s Big Fat Lies: an excellent collection of the latest research surrounding sugar, health, and the debate over saturated vs polyunsaturated fats. Eye-opening stuff, peeps.)

Sweetened (only slightly) with some organic apple sauce, the cake itself is moist and fudgy, with a robust, solid crumb. A basic chocolate cake recipe, and especially a basically unsweetened one like this, gives you the opportunity to go crazy with the accompaniments. Here I went for a simple, delicious raspberry sauce (that is equally as good over some coconut yoghurt, or cashew cream – you get the idea, right?). But really, the possibilities are endless and only restricted by what you have in the cupboard. A date and tahini sauce. Blackberries and vanilla cashew cream. Macerated strawberries. Roasted strawberries. Blueberry compote.

So, go forth and eat cake! (And make this cake your own.) X

P.S. molly, ily is now on Facebook. Aside from blog posts, I’m also sharing links to articles, photos and other things I find interesting (and you might too!).

P.P.S. Totally not food related, but my incredibly talented friend Reana (of Reana Louise), made me a dress, and I’m wearing it over on her blog. (Please excuse the bad hair day, ha).

serious chocolate cake
basic chocolate cake + a simple raspberry sauce
cake time

basic chocolate cake

makes one 8 inch cake
adapted from 101 cookbooks

recipe notes

  • This is not a sweet cake – if you would like it sweeter, try adding 1/4 cup of your preferred sweetener. If you are using a liquid sweetener, decrease the amount of applesauce by the amount of liquid sweetener you add.
  • If raspberry sauce isn’t your thing, check out the body of this post for lots more serving suggestions.
  • To make one flax egg, combine 1 tbsp flaxseed (linseed) meal with 2 tbsp boiling water. Whisk with a fork and set aside for 10-15 minutes before using.

ingredients

  • 2 cups (310 g) wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup (65 g) light spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup (50 g) cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1 cup (250 ml) light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup (250 ml) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F) – no fan. Line the bottom of an 8 inch (20 cm) springform tin with baking paper, and lightly oil the sides. Prepare flax eggs.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa, baking powder. In a medium bowl, whisk together flax eggs, coconut milk, coconut oil, vanilla and applesauce. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out just clean.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, before removing the tin and cooling completely. Serve at room temperature, smothered in raspberry sauce. The cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

simple raspberry sauce

makes about 1.5 cups

recipe notes

  • This sauce is delicious over almost anything (yoghurt, icecream, granola, porridge).

ingredients

  • 150 g (1.5 cups) frozen raspberries
  • 70 g (5 large) medjool dates, pitted
  • juice of half a lemon

Using a large knife, roughly mince the dates. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine dates, lemon juice and 1/2 cup of water. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture vigorously while it heats – the dates will breakdown and form a thick, caramel coloured sauce. Add the raspberries and another cup or so of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Once the berries are starting to break down, remove the pan from the heat and using an immersion blender or normal blender, blend the sauce to until smooth. It should be thick but still pourable. Add more water until your desired thickness is reached. Store in glass jar in the fridge for 4-5 days.

hand food: pumpkin + chickpea samosas and pear pies

samosas and pear pies (made from a wholewheat-spelt pastry)

A few weeks ago, my parents and brother moved house. In and of itself, this isn’t a strange or rare occurrence in our family – we’re definitely gypsies. Moving house is a stressful time, as I’m sure we can all relate to. Your stuff is everywhere, your plates and cooking tools packed away, and you stand around an empty house feeling a bit overwhelmed but excited. Moving into the new house is just as stressful, but equally exciting: finding everything its place, heck, finding you a space!

I’d been helping out here and there, packing boxes and taking things to the new house the week before they moved. But, I decided that for moving day itself, a bit of extra help was needed. The last thing you should be doing during a stressful life event is chowing down on whatever is most convenient, but usually the least of what your body actually needs. I wanted to bring food for moving day that was filling, wholesome, delicious and convenient to eat. Here’s where hand food comes into play. Food that’s easy to transport, eat and enjoy. No cutlery and no plates required. Perfect for a busy day of coordinating removalists, and unpacking boxes. But, you know, equally perfect for picnics, parties, and road trips. Crowd pleasers.

I made a double batch of the best vegan pastry recipe I’ve ever come across: Perfect Vegan Pie Crust from Food52. I made a wholewheat-spelt blend pastry this time, and I went from there. After seeing Laura’s (from The First Mess) strawberry hand pies a couple months back, I decided something similar was definitely on the cards. Instead of strawberries, I opted for the adorably blushing corella pears that had been languishing in my fruit bowl. Now what to do with the other half of the dough? I wanted something savoury – super savoury – and samosas it was!

Now, I know most vegetarians and vegans have had the experience of turning up to a function, cocktail party or other event and being served an oily, greasy lump of pastry stuffed with equally unsatisfying filling. Not these samosas my friends. When Adam tried a samosa, the first thing he asked was that I make the filling again and we eat it with rice like a normal curry. I know I’m probably biased, but that’s how delicious this filling is, truly. The pumpkin almost melts around the chickpeas, and the spices are flavourful without being overpowering.

I arrived for moving day, my bag stuffed with pies and samosas, eager to help in more ways than just moving boxes around. I gave everything a quick reheat in the oven (thought they’re equally fine cold or at room temperature), served them up onto a platter (pulled from a box I’d just unpacked) and watched them disappear. No plates, no forks, and no fuss.

corella pears
pear filling (all the cinnamon)
pumpkin & chickpea filling
pumpkin & chickpea samosa filling
slightly overfull pear pies
workspace
crimped
samosas in progress
pear hand pie
pear pies
pumpkin & chickpea samosa
samosas

Pear Hand Pies

makes about 15

Recipe notes

  • For the pastry, I used 2/3 wholewheat flour, 1/3 wholegrain spelt.
  • Don’t be tempted to overfill – I always remove filling as I’m folding them over – you don’t want your pastry to rip.

Ingredients

  • 1 quantity vegan pie crust
  • 3 medium corella pears, peeled, cored and diced
  • juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground clove
  • pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 180 C (355 F) without fan. In a bowl, combine pears with lemon juice, syrup and spices. Stir to combine. Roll out the dough to 0.5 cm (1/4 inch) thick, and using a cookie cutter approximately 4 inches in diameter, cut out circles of pastry and place on a tray. Repeat rolling and cutting until all the dough is used. Spoon a small amount of filling into the centre of each circle (you’ll be able to tell if you’ve overfilled – just remove some and continue). Fold the circle in half, and seal by crimping the edges with a fork. Repeat for remaining pies.

Brush the tops of the pies with the juices that have collected in the bottom of the filling bowl. With a small sharp knife, poke a little hole in the top (this lets steam out during baking). Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until cooked and lightly golden. Cooled thoroughly, they should keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Pumpkin and Chickpea Samosas

makes about 15

Recipe notes

  • See notes above regarding pastry and filling
  • You can prepare these in advance and freeze them, unbaked, until required. Thaw thoroughly first before baking.

Ingredients

  • 1 quantity vegan pie crust
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 250 g pumpkin (peeled and deseeded weight), cut in a small dice
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cooked chickpes (tinned is fine)
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 180 C (355 F) without fan. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and fry gently until fragrant. Add the onion and garlic, cooking for 5-10 minutes, until translucent and soft. Add the pumpkin, the rest of the spices and cook, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft. You may like to add a couple of dashes of water, so the mixture doesn’t stick to the pan. Add the chickpeas and parsley, cooking for a further few minutes. Season to taste. Remove filling from heat and allow to come to room temperature.

Roll out the dough to 0.5 cm (1/4 inch) thick, and using a cookie cutter approximately 4 inches in diameter, cut out circles of pastry and place on a tray. Repeat rolling and cutting until all the dough is used. Spoon a small amount of filling into the centre of each circle (you’ll be able to tell if you’ve overfilled – just remove some and continue). Fold the circle in half, and seal by crimping the edges with a fork. Repeat for remaining samosas. With a small sharp knife, poke a little hole in the top (this lets steam out during baking). Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until cooked and lightly golden. Cooled thoroughly, they should keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.

spelt + oat soda bread w maple-vanilla berry compote

morning snack

The morning I prepared and shot this post, I was on something like a wave of inspiration and very good vibes. Along with this post, I prepared and shot two others. It was a very good morning. I was in my little cooking-vibe, jamming away in my kitchen while Adam snoozed in bed, and coming up with some delicious results. Also the light was insane (see the last photo of this post – amazing, albeit not my usual style).

Sadly, my day did not continue so well. After a glorious morning of kitchen (and photo, I think) success, sitting down at a desk to read metaphysical philosophy (screw you, Hegel) is a big come down. Some days it’s fine, but others it most certainly is not. I struggled through for a few hours before falling into a decidedly awful existential crisis at lunch. “Why do I spend my time on something that makes me so unhappy? Why am I ruining my back sitting at a desk? What am I doing with my life?! Why can’t I cook and take photos and cook all day?” In other words, a little self-indulgent funk.

This happens every now and then, and I’m usually inconsolable and horribly grumpy for a few hours. It ain’t pretty folks. Anyway, this time I worked through it. Alternating 30 minutes of Hegel with 30 minutes of photo-editing, and I got through. Sometimes working through it is what works, other times it’s a walk, or the gym, or throwing in the towel and watching documentaries in bed for the rest of the day. No judgement.

Sitting there afterwords, in the cool and quiet almost-dusk light, my little funk seemed very far away and a little silly. And I can look at the photos from that morning, and the delicious food ready to be eaten, and it makes me really happy. Just like that. This bread, friends, is a happy-making bread. My go-to soda bread recipe (one that doesn’t taste only like bicarb soda – my number complaint of most soda breads), based off this recipe from 101 Cookbooks, that I’ve altered to make it vegan. I’m thrilled to share with you.

Straight out of the oven this bread is fragrant and soft with the crunchiest crust (although a bit tricky to slice). A few hours later the crust has softened a little, the flavours of nutty spelt and oatey oats have developed. The next morning it makes sensational toast. Especially if you slather it with some maple-vanilla berry compote. Or not (this bread is equally satisfactory when dunked in soups).

Berry compote is a condiment on regular rotation in our house. Adam has it on yoghurt, or we cut up some fresh fruit and top with granola and compote for a quick (and healthy) dessert. This time I’ve thrown in a used vanilla bean (i.e. I’ve already scraped out the seeds for another use), and it made a wonderful addition. I use any berries I have on hand, and frozen berries work just as well too. Soda bread and compote speaks to me of lazy weekends, sleepy mornings filled with tea, tranquility and some calm. Enjoy!

ready for the oven
berries
maple-vanilla berry compote
spelt and oat soda bread with maple-vanilla berry compote
spelt and oat soda bread
soda bread + berry compote
soda bread with berry compote
morning sun

Spelt and Oat Soda Bread

makes one loaf

Recipe notes

  • If you’re not making this vegan, substitute the almond milk and vinegar for 1 3/4 cups buttermilk, like in the original recipe.
  • Top with any seeds you like – I’ve used sesame and nigella here, but pumpkin, sunflower and poppy would all be lovely.
  • You can buy pre-ground oats if you like, but I just grind them for use in my coffee grinder. Whatever is easiest for you!

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups rolled oats, ground fine
  • 2 1/4 cups wholemeal spelt flour
  • 2 tsp bicarb soda
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp seeds, for top

Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F) without fan. Line an 8 cup loaf tin with baking paper. In a small bowl, mix almond milk and vinegar and set aside for 5 minutes until thick and curdled.

In a large bowl, combine ground oats, spelt flour, bicarb and salt, mixing thoroughly. Stir in almond milk mixture (reserve 1 tbsp before mixing), working until a loose dough forms, then knead until it all comes together without cracks – about 1 minute. Form the dough into a cylinder shape by rolling it a few times, then lift into the tin. With a small sharp knife, make cuts in the top of the dough – this improves both the rise and the crust you’ll get. Brush the top with the reserved almond milk and sprinkle with seeds. Bake in the middle of the oven for 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before removing and letting cool completely on a wire rack. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature (or in the fridge) it should last 2-3 days.

Maple-Vanilla Berry Compote

makes about 1 cup

Recipe notes

  • Feel free to use whatever berries you have on hand. Here I’ve used frozen blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. But almost any berry would work!
  • Don’t be tempted to cook the compote until it’s really thick – it continues to thicken as it cools, and you want a spreadable consistency, not toffee.
  • I’m constantly finding new uses for this compote – I’d love to hear your favourites!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups of berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, red currants, blackberries)
  • 1 used vanilla pod
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the berries have mostly lost their shape and the compote has thickened. Pour into a clean glass jar. Stored in the fridge, this compote should last 1 week.

abc complete protein granola

abc granola

Maple-roasted ABC complete protein granola for the win!

I came late to my granola lovin’ ways. Here in Australia, the concept of ‘granola’ doesn’t quite exist in the same way it does elsewhere. Sure, we have muesli bars, and sugary cereal, or if you’re a health nut, muesli (usually not roasted). But nothing that really captures the same essentials as granola. (If you’re an Aussie, and reading this, and haven’t made or tried granola, please do! It cured me of all those shitty primary school muesli bars in one foul swoop.)

My general aims for a granola are: nuts that are big enough (or chopped big enough) to be picked up with your fingers (for hand to mouth snacking); a variety of nuts; good clumping factor (you don’t want everything to be separate, nor do you want enormous clumps) and a SUPER fragrant flavour.

I think, really, that this granola succeeds everytime. It’s nutty, chewy, fragrant, just-sweet-enough. I’d made a few versions of these with just almonds and cashews until, one day, a brainwave hit me: ‘Let’s add brazil nuts, and make it an ABC complete protein granola!’ Brain, sometimes you are a wonderful thing.

The combination of almonds, brazil nuts and cashews (ABC), all together provides the 8 essential amino acids (therefore, a ‘complete protein’). For those not in the wise, an essential amino acid is one the human body can’t produce by itself, so needs to source it from food. For non-vegetarians and vegetarians who eat dairy and eggs, this isn’t a problem (most animal sources are complete proteins), but if you’re vegan, soy is basically your only option. That is, of course, unless you get down and dirty with your nut mixology, like I’ve done here (variety? you betcha ya!).

ABC
abc granola ingredients
raw granola

(Not to mention all the good fats and fibre you’re getting in the granola!)

I love this served with fruit (banana is a favourite, but all berries are good – stone fruit in summer would be divine!) and almond milk, for (a quick and awesome) breakfast. Or on top of coconut yoghurt. Or over roasted fruit. Or by the handful. Any which way you want to enjoy it, this granola has got you covered.

abc complete protein granola

ABC Complete Protein Granola

makes about 4 and a half cups

Recipe notes

  • Do not copy my dumb-ass example and line your baking sheet with foil. Use baking paper. I love this granola SO much that I spent a decent ten minutes picking it off the foil. Be cool and using baking paper (I had run out, and was desperate for granola).
  • If you’re not crazy for sultanas (or raisins) you could substitute dried cranberries or dried cherries instead.
  • I eat this granola by the handful, or for breakfast (with non-dairy milk and banana slices). Whenever the mood strikes.

Ingredients

  • 2 c (200 g) rolled oats
  • 3/4 c (120 g) raw almonds
  • 3/4 c (105 g) cashews
  • 3/4 c (105 g) halved brazil nuts
  • 1/2 c (30 g) shredded coconut
  • 1/2 c (70 g) sultanas or raisins
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground (or freshly grated) nutmeg

Preheat oven to 180 C (355 F) (no fan). Combine all ingredients in a bowl, a mix thoroughly (at least 1 minute), until everything is thoroughly coated. Spread out onto a baking-paper-lined tray in an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Should keep for 2-3 weeks.