Category Archives: sweet n salty

Brunch. Yes.

No. I did not miss that annual food fest called Christmas. Believe me, I indulged in that fully. Everything from homemade cranberry sauce eaten straight from the warm pan to my aunt’s absolutely divine lamb curry; which feels a bit like the food is having a party in my mouth. I might even argue that the party hasn’t yet stopped; if I look at the chocolate boxes and mince pies strewn around my apartment as I sip the hot cocoa I’ve just made.

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Where was I? Oh yes, I had wanted to blog about all the wonderful things I made, and ate. I had wanted to post festive seasonal recipes and I had wanted to write about all the ongoings in my life post-India trip. The one thing I will successfully share with you is this sweet potato, spinach and bacon brunch with you: (there are far fewer things in life more important than food anyhow)….

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Ingredients:

Vegetable oil for cooking
Handful of cumin seeds
Pinch of salt
6 rashers of bacon, chopped into chunks
Handful of fresh spinach or kale
1 sweet potato, chopped and baked
2 eggs

As with other indulgent, delicious thrown-together brunch recipes, the quantities are really up to you. Just use the above as a rough guide to make enough to serve two.

Lightly fry the cumin seeds in oil. Add the chopped bacon until cooked. Add in the chopped, cooked sweet potato, and finally the spinach/kale until wilted. Serve the whole lot onto a plate, and use the same pan to fry the eggs. Perch the eggs on top and sprinkle with salt. Delicious.

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Breakfast: Bacon Granola and Butternut Pancakes

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Yes I know. This is a ‘weekend breakfast’ kind of post. These days I am both leaving the house and returning to it with the moon and stars, the weekends and the weekdays are becoming indistinguishable; as my propensity to combine hours of work-time and play-time is becoming ever more distinguishable.

Hold up. Play-time? Amidst the hectic schedule of my daily life the extent of my play-time resides in the pleasure of messing around in the kitchen with ingredients: dustings of flour, spices and sugar, smears of butter and oil, shards of grated cocoa and nuts. This isn’t a bad way to spend play-time and admittedly it’s become something of a sacred space; my kitchen, the place to which I retreat when I’m not at the gym (my other sacred space).

This week I found myself experimenting with a recipe for pumpkin pancakes at 6am on Saturday when it was so dark outdoors that it felt more like a midnight snack than a pre-work breakfast. Admittedly the bacon granola was made on a Sunday, not least because Nigel Slater wrote that it’s a Sunday kind of breakfast. It really is.

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I decided to post both of these recipes not because they were life-changingly amazing nor because I’ve added either of them to my regular repertoire of weekend breakfasts but because they were unusual and because they characterise the joy of playing with ingredients. Oh, and because I promised my fabulous foodie-friend Paraskevi that I would. I can’t wait to hear how your own version goes Skevi! :)

And with these good morning recipes, I bid you goodnight. Happy playing.

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BACON GRANOLA

Recipe from Nigel Slater

6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
40g butter
100g rolled oats
50g whole or flaked almonds
50 pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp hemp seeds
handful of dried cranberries
4 tbsp crème fraiche

Cut the bacon into small chunks and fry. Add butter to a shallow pan and tip in all ingredients except crème fraiche and bacon. Leave to warm over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally. When the oats are golden and smell warm and sweet, add in the bacon. Tip the whole lot into a bowl and stir the crème fraiche lightly through.

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH BREAKFAST PANCAKES W PECANS

135g butternut squash puree*
2 eggs
½ tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp ground ginger
3 tbsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ cup wholewheat flour
coconut oil for frying

Greek yogurt, maple syrup and pecan nuts to serve

Stir all the pancake ingredients together. Heat a tbsp of coconut oil in a pan and add a heaped tbsp. of batter. I found that in order to cook through I spread the mix out thinly. Once golden brown underneath, flip and cook the other side.

*cut in half and roast a whole butternut squash. Once cooked through til soft, wait for the squash to cool and peel off the skin. Scrape the flesh into a food processor and add 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp lemon, 2 tbsp brown sugar. Blend. Add contents to a pan and simmer gently for 20mins until the sauce thickens. Cool and store in a jar (for pancakes, or spreading on toast, or simply spooning straight into one’s mouth)!

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Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

I’ve just eaten my twelfth one. And why not. Twelve hours ago, I started breakfast with one of these teasing bites of ‘eat me now’ butter cups, I figured, why not complete the day with one.

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It was Kat’s birthday at the weekend (the same Kat that bullied …oops I mean “encouraged” me to start this blog). So, naturally, I wanted to make something to taste-test. Having seen her consume peanut butter Reeses at an impressive rate, I had an inkling of what to make when I saw this recipe for ‘dark chocolate almond butter cups’ by Sprouted Kitchen’s Sara Forte. Spot on.

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I set about, making them last night (totally underestimating how long it would take to fill those tiny cases, and being forced to drizzle spoonfuls of melted chocolate into my mouth at midnight, in the interests of ‘saving time’). Refrigerated them overnight, and the tub went straight into my handbag this morning. It may have slightly opened itself on its commute to the office.

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups, from Sprouted Kitchen

In place of the powdered sugar, I used all honey.

200g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solid
1/2 cup natural almond butter
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp powdered sugar (or an extra tbsp honey)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp fine grain salt
sea salt flakes for topping

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, over a pan of simmering water.

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Lay out the miniature cases. Spoon some chocolate into the bottom of each of the cases (how much will depend on the size of the case, but for mine I needed about half a tsp. Twist the case around so as to coat the sides with chocolate.

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Mix the almond butter, honey, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt together. Take about tsp of the mix and form a small ball in your hands. Gently press it into the centre of a case, and repeat. Once all the cases are filled, spoon some melted chocolate on top of each almond butter ball until it is completely covered. Sprinkle a flake or two of sea salt on top of each one and chill in the fridge to set.

semi filled cups

Share. Or, don’t. Just eat them. All of them. All by yourself.

Happy Birthday Kat.

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