Tag Archives: breakfast

Homemade Granola with Sunflower Seeds

1 Jul

As promised, I have finally got around to posting more photos and a recipe inspired by our recent trip to Vejer de la Frontera.

My lasting memory of Vejer will be the fields and fields of sunflowers that you can see wherever you go. I made “The Washer Up” stop the car on numerous occasions so that I could jump out like a mad woman and take some photos.

Their unpretentious lanky beauty and smiley faces spread a joy that is so infectious you just have to get amongst them. I wanted to share that with you.

My other lasting memory will be of the gorgeous breakfasts we ate every morning at the hotel we stayed in, Casa La Siesta. It started off with granola with yoghurt and fruit….

Followed by homemade bread with tomato and avocado…..

Maybe just a little piece of  banana bread….

And then a lie down to recover, it’s so difficult to say no when it’s all there in front of you!

I knew my first Vejer inspired recipe when I came home would have to be something with sunflower seeds. Just so I could post all my sunflower pictures. Either the sunflower seed bread crackers(above) we had at Castilleria (one of our two favourite restaurants in Vejer) or making my own granola. The granola won, I had to get back to being gluten-free after overdosing on holiday and also because it uses sunflower oil as well as the seeds.

If you have never made your own granola before (like me), you will be surprised at how easy it is and how much better it tastes than the store-bought stuff. It is also much better for you, no refined sugar just honey and maple syrup (or miel de cana) for sweetness. Adapt it to suit your taste by using whatever nuts, seeds and dried fruit you like.

Homemade Granola with Sunflowers Seeds Recipe

Makes a lot, gluten-free, vegetarian. Adapted from Ottolenghi The Cookbook

  • 60 gr hazelnuts
  • 40 gr brazil nuts
  • 40 gr walnuts
  • 300 gr rolled oats
  • 60 gr flaked almonds
  • 60 gr sunflower seeds (unsalted)
  • 100 gr dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 60 gr dried cranberries
  • 60 gr moscatel raisins

For the Syrup

  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 120 ml maple syrup or miel de cana
  • 120 ml honey

Preheat the oven to 140 C. Roughly chop the nuts and put in a large bowl with the seeds and oats. Mix well.

Mix the syrup ingredients together in a small pan and stir over a low heat until warmed through. Pour this over the seeds, nuts and oats and stir well with a wooden spoon until evenly coated.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the granola over it evenly. It should be in a layer no more than 1cm thick. Use two baking sheets if necessary.

Bake for 40 minutes, turning and mixing the granola 2 or 3 times. It should be a dark honey colour when it’s ready. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly. Don’t worry if it’s soft it will be crunchy when it cools.

Stir the dried fruit through the granola while it is still warm (not hot). Leave to cool completely on the tray and then transfer to an airtight container. Try not to eat it all off of the tray. It should keep for up to 2 weeks.

I kept some of the granola back without mixing it with the fruit because I want to use it as a crumble topping for a Fig & Almond Granola Crumble. I will be posting the recipe soon. In the meantime enjoy your granola mixed with yoghurt or sprinkled on top of some fresh fruit for breakfast.

Imagine that you are back in your favourite hotel….

Hasta Luego….

We’ve Been Away…..

12 Jun

Eating, drinking and sleeping……

In Vejer de la Frontera….

We stayed here….

Ate breakfast here…

Went to the beach…

Had sundowners here…

And after dinner drinks at the hotel here…

I will be posting  more photos and recipes inspired by our trip to Vejer in the coming weeks…..Hasta luego xx

Desert Island Banana and Coconut Breakfast Muffins

14 Mar

This is the perfect pick me up after all this rain. I wanted something tropical to remind me of the sun that seems to have disappeared for good. Banana and coconut, such a classic combination that takes me back to Caribbean holidays when I was younger. One holiday to Antigua in particular springs to mind. I had the amazing banana bread for breakfast every day for three weeks, it was that good. I’ve never found a banana bread to match it since. That might be something to do with waking up to a view of the turquoise sea and pinky white sandy beach though, it makes everything taste better.

So if muffins grew on palm trees this is what they would taste like. Banana, coconut & honey. So, go with me on this one and imagine yourself stranded on a desert island and all you have to eat are muffins that grow on trees. It wouldn’t be so bad would it? And if the rain is throwing your fantasy off just imagine it’s a tropical thunder-storm, they only last for an hour and it means you can shelter in the bar with an over-garnished tacky cocktail. Or is that just me? Oh yes, this desert island has a bar and a hammock. Well, it’s my fantasy I can have what I like…..

These delicious little fantasy muffins are made with wholemeal flour and olive oil rather than butter. So you can eat as many as you like. In fantasy world that is…..

Desert Island Banana & Coconut Breakfast Muffins

makes 12, vegetarian

  • 250 gr self-raising wholemeal flour
  • 175 gr brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • a pinch of salt
  • 100 ml milk (I used goat’s milk)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 ripe bananas, quartered lengthways and chopped
  • 50 gr toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 50 gr desiccated coconut
  • about 12 tsp honey (a squeezy bottle is easiest)

Preheat oven to 180 C. Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl, mix in the sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg and make a well in the centre. Mix together the egg, milk & oil in a jug and pour into the well in the flour. Mix together with a wooden spoon until just incorporated. Don’t over mix or your muffins will be tough. Then carefully fold in the banana, walnuts & coconut.

Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases and spoon (or use and ice cream scoop) the mixture into the paper cases about 2/3 full.  Make a hole in the top of the muffins with the back of a teaspoon and squeeze in about a teaspoon of honey (see photo above) don’t worry if it overflows.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown & cooked. Remove from the muffin tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.

You could add whatever you like to these muffins, some dates would be nice and follow on from the palm tree theme. Or maybe some chopped apples would be good with the cinnamon & nutmeg.

Just keep the fantasy going by imagining yourself on that tropical beach somewhere. You know what, I think the sun might be coming out!  That’s the power of positive thinking for you. I’d better take the dog out before it starts raining again……

Lavender, Lemon and Honey Soft Oat Bars

9 Mar

We have a beautiful lavender on our roof terrace. I sometimes pick some to use as table settings. I wrap 3 or 4 stems with natural garden raffia and put it on a white serviette.

I store these in a draw with the serviettes so they always smell nice. After a while they do dry out, which isn’t a problem, but it got me thinking about cooking with lavender. When we had the restaurant we had a lamb dish on the menu with Lavender, Honey and Garlic. It always sold really well for an unusual dish.

I saw a recipe for Lavender and Lemon Pound Cake on Kitchen Operas which caught my eye. It looked beautiful and I have a huge bowl of lemons on my kitchen table. This was definitely the direction I wanted to go in but I didn’t feel like making a cake. The Washer Up likes to take sweet things to work to share with the others so when I saw a recipe for Honey Lavender Oatmeal Squares at The Bee & the Fruit in the Kitchen I decided to combine the lemon into that recipe and see how it turned out.

Lavender, Lemon & Honey Oat Bars

makes 9 – 12 mini bars/squares, vegetarian, sugar-free. Adapted from The Bee & The Fruit in the Kitchen & Tartelette

  • 75 gr wholemeal flour
  • 60 gr rolled oats
  • 50 gr almonds, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried lavender buds (make sure they are untreated)
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 55ml greek yogurt
  • 115 gr honey
  • the zest of 1 lemon (washed)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • a few drops of almond extract (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

Preheat oven to 180C and line a small baking tin with baking paper. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a jug and pour into the dry ingredients. Mix together well with a wooden spoon. Tip the mixture into the lined baking tin and pat it down so it is even. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until lightly golden and leave to cool on a wire rack before cutting into 9 or 12 mini bars.

As you can see there is no butter or sugar in this recipe. The sweetness comes from the honey which makes this a healthy, not overly sweet, treat. The lemon & lavender work really well together as a flavour and aroma combination making these perfect for a grab & go breakfast or a mid afternoon pick me up snack.


The Washer Up said he prefers his snacks with sugar in but the other guys weren’t complaining. It’s funny to think of a group of builders snacking on healthy Lavender & Lemon Oat Bars with their afternoon cup of tea………….

These oat bars are featured in a sweet treats round up hosted by Lisa at Sweet as Sugar Cookies. Just click on the Sweets for a Saturday badge above and have a look around at some of the most delicious sweet things posted this week.

New Year’s Day Brunch: Eggs Tex Mex with chilli cheese sauce

1 Jan

This is a Tex Mex twist on Eggs Florentine, my favourite brunch dish, which is a toasted english muffin topped with wilted spinach, two eggs and a hollandaise sauce. In this recipe the hollandaise is replaced by an amazing chilli cheese sauce I made last night as a dip for nachos. Hot cheese & chilli- it doesn’t get better than that. Forget those scary, bright orange, chemical cheese dips you can buy, this is made with real cheese and real chilli and it’s really addictive….

Chilli Cheese Dip/Sauce

adapted from a recipe by The Homesick Texan

makes a big soup bowl full, vegetarian

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (you should use Jalapenos adjust quantities to suit your taste)
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 cup milk (I used goat’s milk)
  • about 300 gr grated cheese (I used a cured Manchego. Monterey Jack, Cheddar & Red Leicester would be good or a mix)
  • a small handful of chopped coriander
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • 150 ml sour cream or creme fraiche
  • the juice of half a lime
  • salt & balck pepper

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium low heat, add the onions & chillis and cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Whisk the cornflour into the milk and then whisk it into the onions. Cook for a few minutes until it thickens, whisking all the time. Then stir in the coriander & tomatoes.

Turn the heat down to low and slowly add the cheese a heaped tablespoon at a time, stirring to melt the cheese before adding the next spoonful. When all the cheese has been added & melted in, add the sour cream, season with salt & pepper and stir in the lime juice.

Pour it into a bowl and serve with nachos, tortilla chips or raw veggie crudites for dipping.Try to resist eating straight from the bowl with a spoon!

 If you have any left you will definitely find loads of uses for it. In fact you will be designing  dishes especially for it. When I woke up this morning I already knew what we were having for brunch today. I think I must have been dreaming about it, it really is that good….

 Eggs Tex Mex Recipe

serves 2, vegetarian

  • 2 english muffins, sliced in half through the middle
  • 1 bag fresh spinach (about 25ogr) picked and washed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • a knob of butter & 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt & black pepper
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • some chilli cheese sauce (see recipe above) about 200 ml maybe more!

Melt the butter and a splash of olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat, add the garlic, cook for 1 minute then add the spinach, season with salt, pepper & nutmeg and put the lid on. Meanwhile reheat (if cold) the cheese sauce over a low heat in a small pan stirring occasionally. Toast/grill the muffins. In a large frying pan heat 1 or 2 tbsp olive oil over a medium heat then carefully crack in the eggs (1 in each corner) and cover with a lid. Stir the spinach, when it has wilted, remove from the heat and replace the lid to keep warm. Cook the eggs until just set, about 3 minutes.

Butter the muffins halves, top with the wilted spinach and the 2 eggs then pour over the chilli cheese sauce…

Garnish with coriander or parsley leaves and devour greedily…..

“When life hands you lemons…”

30 Dec

“…..Make Lemon Curd”

It was mandarins, now its lemons. They are everywhere, people are giving them away. That’s how we came to have a huge bag full. The lemons obviously like the rain..

I would usually make lemonade but it’s not really the weather for it. I’m sure it won’t be long before the sun comes out again but until then its going to be lemon curd. The mandarin jam is nearly finished so I need something else to spread on my morning panettone. The second panettone I made came out the same as the first (a bit like a giant teacake). It tastes great but the electric went off half way through cooking it again so it didn’t rise very much. I’m not making it anymore I’m obviously jinxed Panettone-wise. And anyway, as my friend Tara said “that’s why people buy them”! I wouldn’t usually agree but on this occasion I admit defeat. Luckily they are all reduced now in the sale after Christmas…

Lemon Curd Recipe

makes about 1 & 1/2 jars (double it to make 3 jars, obviously!) I only had 2 jars, vegetarian

  • grated zest & juice of 3 small lemons
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 gr caster sugar
  • 115 gr room temperature unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Lightly whisk the eggs in a medium saucepan, add the rest of the ingredients and put on a medium high heat. Whisk continuously until thickened about 5 – 8 minutes. Lower the heat to minimum and simmer, whisking for another minute. Remove from the heat and pour into hot sterilized jars (just put them through the dishwasher or fill with boiling water from the kettle and tip out). Seal immediately, leave to cool then store in the fridge.

Serve on hot toasted bread (or panettone). They’re reduced at the moment!!

Enjoy….

    

Shakshuka – eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce

20 Dec

Shakshuka is an Israeli dish perfect for a spicy Sunday Brunch. It is all cooked in one pan so less washing up and you don’t have to worry about poaching the eggs because they cook in the tomato sauce. This dish is really simple and shouldn’t be as delicious as it is…

Shakshuka Recipe

serves 2 vegetarian

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chilli chopped
  •  1/2 red onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2- 3/4 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 75 ml veg stock or water
  •  salt & black pepper
  •  4 eggs
  • 5o gr feta cheese
  •  a handful of chopped coriander or parsley plus some leaves for garnish
  • warm bread (I used a rustic baguette but pita or flatbread would be nice)

Heat the oil in a large- ish frying pan over a medium high heat and cook the onions & chilli for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally until softened. Add the garlic, cumin & paprika and cook & stir for 2 more minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and stock/water, reduce the heat slightly and simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened and reduced.(About 8 – 10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.

Crack the eggs into the sauce, try to do one in each corner. Put the lid on and cook for about 5 – 6 minutes until the yolks are just set. Baste the whites with the tomato mixture but don’t break the yolks. Replace the lid for another minute if you need to cook  the whites more. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs and crumble over the feta cheese.

 If you’re really lazy you can eat it straight out of the pan with some crusty bread. If not serve it on warmed plates with extra coriander leaves and the bread on the side.

I think this brunch could be the perfect  “hangover cure” for the holiday season. Bloody Mary anyone?!!

My First Panettone with Mandarin Jam

11 Dec

Does breakfast get any better than this..

I don’t think so. This was my first experience of making panettone and it turned out pretty well. The taste is fantastic, it could have been a little lighter but that might have something to do with the electric cutting out halfway through cooking it! It does that here when it rains heavily, very annoying when you are slightly nervous about baking your first panettone and have just spent quite a long time getting the dough to rise…

My idea is to make mini ones as gifts for Christmas but I don’t have any little baking tins and I wanted to try it out on myself first before inflicting it on other people. The Washer Up said it was like a giant tea cake and there is nothing wrong with that!

The other thing I was desperate to make was mandarin jam with the mountain of mandarins we have here. I think a gift bag of a mini panettone & mandarin jam should make most people smile on Christmas morning, don’t you?

Panettone Recipe

makes an 8 or 9 inch round cake, vegetarian

adapted from “Pickle” by Ellie Jarvis http://elliejarvis.co.uk/

  • 125gr dried mixed fruit (I used 75gr sultanas & 50 gr dried cranberries)
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • grated zest of 2 mandarins(or 1 orange)
  • 1 tbsp cointreau (or grand marnier)
  • 125 ml milk
  • 1 level tbsp active dried yeast (1 sachet)
  • 50 gr caster sugar
  • 450 gr strong white bread flour (I used plain flour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg & 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 tbsp honey (I used miel de cana)
  •  2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75 gr butter, softened

Put the dried fruit in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak while you make the dough. Heat the milk until warm, remove from the heat, add the yeast, 1 tsp of the sugar and leave to activate for about 5 minutes. (A foam will form on the top).

Into a large bowl sieve together the flour, remaining sugar and salt, make a well in the centre and add the beaten eggs, milk & yeast mixture, honey, vanilla, cointreau and softened butter. Mix it together with a wooden spoon and then use your hands to form a soft dough and mix for a few minutes. Drain the fruit and dry with kitchen roll, add it to the dough along with the zests and knead it all together until well-distributed. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead for 1 or 2 minutes. Shape in to a ball, put it back in the bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Turn the risen dough out onto a floured work surface and knead again for 1 minute. Put it in your 8 or 9 inch cake tin which has been lined with baking paper and rubbed with oil. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise  again in a warm place for 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Preheat the oven to 17o degrees, brush with beaten egg or milk and bake in the bottom third of the oven for 35 – 40 minutes until browned & risen. Leave it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn it out to cool completely on a wire rack.

Slice it like you would a loaf of bread and serve it toasted and smothered with butter & mandarin jam. ..

If you have never made jam before, this is a really good one to start with. It is easy, quick & delicious you will be so impressed with yourself that you will probably never buy jam again!

Mandarin Jam Recipe

makes 1 jam jar

  • 500 gr mandarins/ satsumas/tangerines
  • 250 gr sugar
  • the juice of 1 lemon

Wash 2 or 3 of the mandarins and zest them carefully. (you don’t want any of the white pith). Then peel all the mandarins removing as much of the pith and filaments as you can. Cut each mandarin in half around its middle and pick out any pips. (Do this over a bowl to collect any juice). Put the halves in the bowl aswell and blitz with a stick blender until you have a smoothish puree. (you can do this in a food processor).

Put the mandarin puree, zest, sugar and lemon juice in saucepan. Bring to the boil over a medium high heat then reduce the heat so it boils gently. Cook for 20-25 minutes stirring occasionally until it sets.  To check if it is set put a saucer in the freezer for a few minutes, then put a teaspoon of the hot jam onto it. Leave it to cool slightly then run your finger through the jam, if the line holds it’s set.

Pour into a hot, sterilized jar, (I pour boiling water in the clean jar and tip it out just before pouring in the jam) seal tightly, turn upside down and leave to cool. Store in the fridge when cool.

I was so pleased with how this jam turned out. The texture is perfect and it looks and tastes lovely. The perfect accompaniment to my homemade panettone!! I can’t believe I made panettone……

     
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