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.

20170509_093148

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.

1495899241944

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!

Overnight Oats

I don’t know if many of you have heard of this quick and easy breakfast solution. It’s great if your short on time in the morning as all the preparation is done the night before. Essentially it’s porridge oats soaked overnight in some form of liquid and then the desired extras added. Once the basics are mastered, the combinations are endless meaning breakfast can get a little more exciting.
It takes a bit of trial and error to get the ratio of liquid to oats right for you. Some recipes suggest an equal amount of liquid (milk or juice) to oats, others throw yoghurt in the mix. Personally, I prefer 1 part oats to 1 part milk to 2 parts plain Greek yoghurt. You can then add any fruit, spices, nuts or seeds. These can be mixed into the bircher and left overnight or added to the mix just before eating. Sometimes when I’m mixing the oats, milk and yoghurt, I will add in a grated apple or mushed banana with a spoonful of chia seeds.
Once you get the right ratio to get a consistency that you like, you can then work on the actual amounts. I found recipes online made way too much for me to eat in the morning. I think oats are quite filling and therefore you only need a small amount. Therefore, my recipe below is what I make for myself. Adjust if you want.
Now, the reason I wanted to blog about overnight oats/bircher pots is because I finally got round to making one that sounds a bit crazy for breakfast (it has veg in it!!) but it tastes amazing. Carrot cake overnight oats.
I found a number of different recipes for this so I took some of the ingredients suggested and made my own. It really does taste like carrot cake. Yummy.
Carrot Cake Overnight Oats – 2 servings
50g porridge oats (not instant)
50ml milk (normal, soya or nut)
125g low fat Greek yoghurt
50g carrot, finely grated
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon raisins
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Sprinkle mixed spice
A few chopped walnuts
1. Mix together the oats, carrot, chia seeds, spices and raisins.
2. Add the milk, yoghurt and vanilla extract and mix together. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. Next morning, transfer half into a bowl and top with the walnuts.
This will keep in the fridge for up to three days. Adding the toppings before eating prevents them going soft. These can be heated in the microwave before eating (though I haven’t tried thus yet).
By finely grating the carrot, you can’t notice it texture wise as it is similar to the oats. Also, it’s the spice combination that makes this taste like a carrot cake.
Give it a try. I dare you ☺
image