Portable Breakfasts

This month, Mr W and I spent a few days in Cambridge to celebrate our two year wedding anniversary (the time has flew by). Usually, we would book into a B&B but this time we were room only which meant finding somewhere to eat. Mr W did a little research and found some good reviews for a little cafe tucked away in the centre. Although the breakfast menu was a little limited (only about four options and the closest to a cooked breakfast was toast) Mr W was happy to try it. Boy we were glad. We enjoyed it that much that we went for breakfast again the next day. As Mr W put it, you don’t want to finish a holiday going somewhere new for breakfast and potentially be disappointed when we can go back to somewhere we really enjoyed.

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Mr W decided on the fruit compote, natural yogurt and granola whilst I tried the apple bircher muesli. Although I have made my own takes on bircher at home, I’ve never bought one and was intrigued as to what the consistency was going to be like. I’ve followed recipes where these has been way too much liquid (think an island of oats surrounded by a sea of milk) or quite dry. For me, this one had the moist texture I like when I make it. It was a combination of oats, grated apple, raisins, cinnamon and topped with some fresh fruit. Mr W’s was strawberry compote layered with banana, natural yogurt and topped with a soft, flapjack like granola. I think it was the flapjack granola that sealed the deal for Mr W. For those ever in Cambridge, head to Stickybeaks Cafe (for this breakfast), the Pint Shop (try the homemade scotch egg), the Free Press (quirky little pub), Jack’s Gelato (always room for ice cream) and Meat and Bread (amazing sandwiches and tasty sounding brownies).

When we got home, I made my version of the yogurt and fruit jam jar breakfast. First up I mashed some fresh strawberries with some honey, chia seeds and cinnamon. This was to get a soft compote like texture which still had some structure to it to prevent it seeping into the yogurt. So, I put a layer of the strawberry compote in the bottom of two jam jars , topped this with a layer of sliced banana and then a layer of natural yogurt. I then repeated the layering so that there were two layers of each. I then topped with some Graze strawberry yogurt protein topper. This has a mix of small toasted oats, freeze dried strawberries and crispy yogurt balls. I did the layering the night before and stored in the fridge overnight. In the morning I then added the protein topper so that it still retained it’s crunch. You could always top it with shop bought or homemade granola or use a different fruit for the compote. I can imagine stewed apples would be nice for autumn. My version got the thumbs up from Mr W.

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The serving of the bircher and yogurt pots in jam jars got me thinking that I could make similar things for breakfast to take to work. Recently I seem to be rushing in the morning and don’t get t enjoy my breakfast. My thoughts were that I could prepare the breakfast the night before and divide into two jam jars and that would be two day’s of breakfasts sorted. So, over the last two weeks I have had a portable jam jar breakfast for eight mornings and have tried three different recipes. My favourite (the one I repeated) was one that I found in a Madeline Shaw cookbook that I adapted slightly. When I initially saw it, it reminded me of the one I had in Cambridge. In the recipe, the amount of oats stated is a little too much for me. I also made some slight changes the second time by not adding any honey or maple syrup as I found it sweet enough and adding some raisins to the bottom of each jar. So, the night before I mixed 100g oats with a grated apple, 250ml almond milk, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and some vanilla (I use a vanilla grinder as it gives the flecks of vanilla that I love). Get two jam jars or containers and add a spoonful of raisins to the bottom of each and divide the oat mixture between the two jars and keep in the fridge. The following morning I topped the bircher with some natural yogurt, blueberries and some Graze vanilla sunflower seeds (beware, these are addictive). Although it didn’t look as pretty by the time I transported in to work, it still tasted yummy. I kept the other jar in the fridge for 2 days before eating and it was still fine.

I also made a carrot bircher (another Madeline Shaw recipe) and a layered chia pudding. For me, these recipes still need a bit of tweaking, Although the carrot bircher was okay, the texture seemed a bit sloppy and it needs the addition of some raisins or nuts to give it a carrot cake vibe. The chia pudding wasn’t firm enough and by the time I got to work, the yogurt had mixed together with it. By slicing the strawberries, I seemed to make it more difficult to eat. A compote idea might work better. I have managed to find some other chia pudding recipes which I’m going to try this week. Chocolate and peanut butter…. As we are approaching summer, these jam jar breakfasts are a great replacements for hot porridge. Here’s to more flavour combinations!

Apple and cinnamon pancakes

I thought I would try a variation of my single serve pancakes. Rather than use half a mashed banana as an egg substitute, I tried apple sauce. Adding cinnamon seemed an obvious pairing. I also added some sliced apples to the top of each pancake before flipping. They made a lovely alternative to my usual pancakes.

  • 1/4 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • Sliced apples
  1. Mix dry ingredients together in a jug.
  2. Mix wet ingredients in a mug. Adding wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. Grease a frying pan and heat. Pour in batter to make pancake. Top with some sliced apples. When underside browned and bubbles form on surface, carefully flip pancake. Once browned on second side put on plate and cover to keep warm. Make more pancakes until batter used up.
  4. Serve with an optional dollop of natural yoghurt and sprinkling of ground cinnamon.

Lets try again

Now, a few weeks, my sister and I went to a cookery class at a cookery school in Wilmslow. We went after work and spent a few hours making and eating Mexican Street Food. We were part of a small group and had the opportunity to make our own corn tacos, chipotle chicken, corn salsa, guacamole and black bean tostadas. We then helped in the making of green rice, radish pickle and churros with chocolate sauce. Finally, we got to eat our tasty little feast. We both thoroughly enjoyed it and are looking into to doing another class in the future. If anybody lives in the Manchester area and enjoys cooking new foods, I strongly urge you to take a look at their website (here). Below is a snapshot of my little feast.

MexicanStreetFoodNow, to the reason for why you are probably reading this blog. What have I baked this week? Well, this bake actually started last week when I promised my colleague some of her favourite home-made cake. The one she calls ‘the cake with the yoghurt’. What it is actually called is Caramel Apple Loaf Cake. So, last Monday, I told her that I would be baking it that night and that I would bring some up to her the next day. As with most of my bakes, it took a little longer to cool than I wanted it to. I got a little impatient and decided that it was cool enough to remove from the tin and decorate. Below is a picture of the consequence of my actions.

Splat

Cue Tuesday morning when a rather upset colleague turned up at my desk expecting cake. She was hoping I would have scraped some up off the floor for her (I was tempted, it did look rather tasty) Instead, I promised her that I would bake it for her at the weekend when I would have time to let it cool. I would put aside some extra large slices just for her.

So, come Sunday morning, I went to the local supermarket to get my missing ingredients and started on making the cake. It then had the whole afternoon to cool before I decorated it (just in time for Mr W and I to have a ‘sample piece’ of course).

Moist apple cake. Crunchy walnut pieces. Gooey caramel topping. Just what you want for Autumn.

 Caramel Apple Loaf Cake

Caramel Apple Loaf Cake (8-10 slices)

175g baking margarine

175g golden caster sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

225g plain flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

4 rounded tbsp fat free Greek Yogurt

2 eating apples

50g walnuts, roughly chopped

50g dairy toffees

2tbsp milk

  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan. Grease a 2lb loaf tin and line the base and ends with a long strip of baking paper.
  2. Beat together the sugar, butter and vanilla extract until pale and then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour, cinnamon and yogurt. Peel, core and chop the apples into small chunks and add to the bowl. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon.
  3. Scrape into the tin, smooth the top and scatter the walnuts down the middle, squashing down gently. Bake on a middle shelf for 1 hour 20-30 minutes, until a skewer come out clean. Cool in the tin (important step!).
  4. To decorate, put the toffees in a small bowl with the milk. Gently heat, stirring until the toffees have melted into a smooth caramel sauce. Cool for about a minute whilst you turn out the cake. Slowly drizzle the sauce over the top of the cake. Leave for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe taken from Good Food