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.

Baked Doughnuts (attempt 2)

As promised in my last post, I gave the baked doughnuts another go last weekend. This time I used a different recipe that I had found online and thought it would be better to master a basic ring doughnut before I attempted the filled doughnut again. I’d also seen online, people mentioning that they had used their air fryer to bake their doughnuts. An excuse for me to use it again (I also attempted kale crisps in it last weekend. Did not go well for me. The kale blew up into the element and started to burn. Thinking about it, it might have been because I used shredded kale (leftovers from last weekends smoothies) rather than kale pieces. Might consider trying again at a later date). Back to the doughnuts. I used this recipe that I’d found online for making the doughnuts and this recipe for guidance on baking in an air fryer. Due to the unsuccessfulness of my last attempt at these, I decided I would do half a batch which was easy as it didn’t have any egg in it (if I can’t easily halve the amount of egg in a recipe, I’ll always make the full batch). So, for this attempt I decided to use my stand mixer to make the kneading easier (I always struggle with this when doing it by hand. Always takes me three times as long). As we are going through our cold spell at the moment in the UK, I didn’t feel it was warm enough to prove the dough out on the side so used the oven technique instead (Turn oven on full. When heated, turn off and put dough in to prove).¬† Instead of cutting the doughnuts and placing them on some greaseproof paper, I placed them in my doughnut moulds. As I managed to get 7 doughnuts out of the dough and I only have four ring moulds, I used the stated method for the remaining three. I set my air fryer to 160C (only needs 3 minutes to warm up!) and cooked the doughnuts in batches for 5 -7 minutes until golden brown. Whilst still warm, I brushed with the melted butter and rolled in the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Voil√†, cinnamon ring doughnuts.

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Verdict: After I proved the doughnuts, I noticed they had a crust on the outside. This was due to putting them in the oven. Next time, I need to leave them out in a warm place. The doughnuts hadn’t puffed up as much as the doughnuts shown on the recipes website. However, they did look like those on the ‘baking in an air fryer’ website which I guess is a good thing. The doughnuts had a close, bread like texture which was a bit disappointing (not as bad as attempt one mind). Personally, I liked the cinnamon flavour however Mr W wasn’t as keen (hence, leftover doughnuts are currently in the freezer waiting for me to eat them. Normally I can rely on Mr W to finish my bakes). His opinion being that doughnuts should either be iced (think The Simpsons) or filled with something sweet. So, I have found a third recipe on the Lakeland website which is for use with the mould kit I bought. It gives suggestions for ring and filled doughnuts. This will be used for attempt three with Mr W providing suggestions for fillings and toppings.

 

Smoothies. For those interested in smoothie recipes. This weekend I have been having strawberry, banana and spinach smoothies. I have been blending a handful of frozen strawberries, half a frozen banana, and two handfuls of spinach with some low fat natural yoghurt and water. Personally, I prefer using spinach to kale as it’s not as bitty when blended. I might try last weekends recipe with spinach instead of kale.

 

Mexican night. A few months ago, my sister and I went to a Mexican Street Food cookery class (I mentioned it in one of my previous posts). This weekend we finally got round to cooking what we learnt for our other halves. My sister took on the corn salsa, guacamole, radish pickle and tomato salsa. I took on the chipotle chicken, black bean tostadas (with feta and coriander garnish) and green rice. We did learn how to make our own tortillas but I decided to buy these in instead. It went down a storm with the favourite dishes being the chipotle chicken and black bean tostadas. Below is a picture of our efforts. Used it as an excuse to make up some sangria (I know it’s not Mexican but goes better with a meal than a shot of tequila). Now we just need to decide on our next cuisine type.

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