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.
I am living in post-holiday denial. Our bags are unpacked, the washing is done, the fridge has been replenished. But I am still humming the holiday rhythm of lazy coffees, lunches with a view and no housework. A reality check tomorrow is inevitable. Until then, we shall have nachos and chocolate ice cream for dinner and pretend we have spent the day by the beach.
1 small onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 red capsicum, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
smoked paprika, to taste
1tb chipotle in adobo sauce (don’t fret if you don’t have this)*
1 tin chopped/crushed tomatoes
1 tin kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1 tin refried beans
Saute the onion in some olive oil until soft. Add the garlic, capsicum, celery and paprika and continue cooking until soft and fragrant. Add the adobo chilli sauce if you have it. Add the tinned tomatoes, fill the empty tin with water and add that too. Add the beans and stir well. Season to taste and cook while stirring over a simmer until it thickens slightly.
Serves 6 with whatever trimmings you like.
I like our nachos spooned over sweet potato chips, baked tortilla pieces or decent bought corn chips. A light scattering of cheese, melted, and topped with guacamole, home made tomato salsa and some thick yoghurt is perfect. The nacho mix freezes well and makes the easiest, quickest meal in a flash.
*tinned chipotles chilis come in a rich, smoky sauce. This adobo sauce has much less heat than the chili but still imparts the fantastic spiced, smoky flavour of the chipotle. I use half chopped chipotle and half sauce to give the heat and flavour I like but adjust this as you wish.
I first made this “ice cream” years ago for children I used to babysit. It is simply frozen bananas blended to a creamy iced treat. When I began working as a chef, I used to use this recipe (and it is barely that) or a cashew ice cream to garnish vegan or dairy-free desserts.
Despite the humble ingredients, the finished product is very rich and one scoop is more than satisfying.
Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
2 large bananas, sliced and frozen
1-2 tablespoons cacao
1 tb tahini or nut butter of your choice – optional
vanilla, cinnamon, chilli – optional and to your taste
Simply throw everything into a blender or processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Serves 4.
*I try to keep 2 or 3 sliced, frozen bananas in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. They are then ready to add to smoothies or blend into ice cream. In the photo, I have sprinkled some nuts and coconut – quite unnecessary garnishes and my ineffective attempt to make brown food look slightly better.
The recipes on this blog truly reflect how I like to cook and eat at home. Simple, one pan creations that don’t require half the day in the kitchen or leave you with a pile of pots to wash when you would rather be sitting on the lounge with a glass of wine cup of tea.
This is in such contrast to my years working as a chef. In a commercial kitchen, you spend hours preparing individual components for dishes, stacking the resulting dirty trays and pots in the sink for the kitchen hand to wash. So while I have NOT brought that workload into my home kitchen, there are certainly some chef habits that just make my life easier. So each week I write our menu, shopping and prep lists and spend some time organising my mise en place.
At home, my mise equates to having a few things in the fridge that will help bulk out leftovers or turn a tin of tuna into a lovely lunch. Each Sunday night I try to make a loaf of buckwheat zucchini bread, a robust salad and a lovely sauce or puree to get me through the week.
Here I share the simple salad I made this week. Caramelised cauliflower dressed with the easiest satay sauce. Make double the amount of satay sauce and keep some in the fridge. Toss it through rice noodles with some chicken or tofu and mushrooms or use it as a dipping sauce for sweet potato chips.
1/3 c coconut cream
1/4 c peanut butter (or a mix of any nut or seed butter)
1 tb soy sauce
1 tb rice malt syrup or honey
1/2 lemon, juice of (or the juice of a lime)
3 garlic cloves, roasted and crushed to a paste*
Heat the coconut cream and whisk in the remaining ingredients. Adjust the salt, sweetness and acidity to your liking and maybe add some chilli if that suits you. *I roast the unpeeled garlic cloves with the cauliflower.
Roast cauliflower satay salad
1 cauliflower, sliced or broken into florets
1 carrot, grated
1/4 spanish onion, finely sliced
1/4 bunch coriander, chopped
satay sauce from above recipe
OPTIONAL: toasted coconut, almonds or crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, chickpeas.
While the cauliflower is cooling, mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add the cauliflower and toss well.