I prefer variations on a porridge theme for breakfast in winter. But as variety is so important, I like to have a jar of this delicious granola on hand. This batch is a crunchy mix of buckwheat, quinoa flakes, nuts and seeds, sweetened with pureed dates and enriched with some tahini. As with all my recipes, most of the ingredients can be swapped for tastes you might prefer or half-packets of things you wish to use up.
buckwheat & quinoa granola
300g buckwheat, raw
150g quinoa flakes
150g nuts (I used a mix of walnuts and brazil nuts)
25g olive oil
25g tahini (or a mild nut butter)
pinch each of salt and cinnamon
Mix the buckwheat, quinoa, seeds and nuts together. Add the salt and cinnamon. Process the dates, water, olive oil and tahini until smooth. Add 1/3 of the dry mix to the processor and pulse a couple of times until roughly incorporated. Empty the date mix from the processor onto the remaining dry mix and stir until entirely mixed through. Distribute over 2 baking trays and bake in a 150’C oven for 30-40 minutes until golden and toasted. Allow to cool completely.
Kitchen tips: we like this granola with yoghurt and fruit and it is sweet enough for us. If you have a sweeter tooth, you could always add a dash of honey or maple syrup to the date puree.
Warm, soft-centred chocolate pudding is a luscious treat – especially on the grey, grizzly days we have been having this week. My husband makes a gorgeous chocolate pudding at every restaurant he works at and it is one of my favourite desserts. However, I don’t fancy consuming white flour and sugar just to tickle my fancy for pudding. I like to think that my sweet treats can support my nutritional health as well taste gorgeous. So this recipe uses cooked quinoa (yes, trust me!) in place of flour which makes this recipe one of my few gluten-free recipes made without nuts. The quinoa adds an earthy flavour which sits well with the rich cacao and hints of coffee, cinnamon and vanilla. As an added bonus, quinoa provides protein, fibre, iron and magnesium – so you can have your cake and eat it too. Deceptively rich, you would not guess that the pudding contains just over 2 teaspoons of sugar per serve.
I particularly like this mix poured over bananas and baked, although it is delicious made with soft, ripe pears. The bananas do add to this dessert’s comfort factor and, to gild the lily, marry well with a dark chocolate sauce.
chocolate quinoa pudding
1/4c melted butter, olive oil or coconut oil
1c cooked quinoa (from 1/3c raw)
2/3c rice malt syrup or maple syrup
1/2c raw cacao powder
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp instant coffee or finely ground coffee (optional)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 soft ripe pears, peeled, cored, quartered or 3 large bananas, sliced thickly
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Arrange your choice of fruit in a small, shallow oven-proof dish and pour over the pudding batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 175’C until the edges are cooked but the centre is still a little soft. Allow to cool slightly before serving with chocolate sauce or cream or both. Serves 8.
Notes: for a simple chocolate sauce, heat 1/2c cream and pour over 100g of chopped 70% chocolate. Stir until smooth.
I do a bake of some sort every couple of weeks. I love the simplicity of a “one bowl & bake” dinner and the resulting ready-made lunch for the next day. Pasta and rice are obvious choices for this dish but I used quinoa for our dinner last week. You could just as easily use brown rice, freekeh or couscous. Don’t have ricotta? Use sour cream or cream cheese instead. Some bacon, anchovies or chorizo sauteed with the mushrooms would be delicious if you choose. Like most of my recipes, this one is so easily adapted to what you have in your fridge or cupboard so make this meal work for you.
mushroom ricotta quinoa bake
2c cooked quinoa (from about 1c raw)
300g button mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 sprigs lemon thyme (or chopped parsley or basil)
1 zucchini, grated
2 big handfuls kale or spinach
1c frozen peas
handful of olives
about 1/3c grated parmesan (or cheddar)
salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 180’c. Saute the mushrooms on high heat in some olive oil until golden and cooked through. Add the garlic, thyme and zucchini and cook until aromatic. Season well. Throw in the spinach and peas and stir over the heat until the spinach is wilted and peas are hot. Tip this mushroom mix into a large bowl and add the cooked quinoa and the olives. Leave to cool a little and adjust the seasoning. Whisk the ricotta and eggs together and add to the quinoa mixture. Mix until combined. Place mix into a 20cm baking dish, sprinkle with 2 pinches of parmesan and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the remaining parmesan and crisp green salad. We enjoyed this bake all warm and cheesy for dinner and then the next day with hot smoked salmon and a lemon mustard vinaigrette.