>)I love beetroots, and the reason is only about 90% based on how pretty they are. I also love pancakes, and although I'm not vegan, gluten free or dairy free and am definitely not opposed to a classic stack, I do love to experiment. The flavour of these is more naturally sweet and earthy, and are nice even without any toppings (but even better if you top them with whipped coconut yoghurt and crushed pistachios).
Makes about 16 pancakes
3 tablespoons chia seeds
120ml warm water
1 large beetroot
150g oats (whizzed in food processor)
120g flour (for gluten free: use 245g oats and 25g ground almonds)
1 tsp baking powder
Honey to taste
1 tblsp coconut oil
1. Add 120ml of water to chia seeds and let it sit for 15mins until they have soaked it up.
2. Peel and boil your beetroot, you want it to be soft enough to pulp into a puree by hand, but still with enough texture to hold the shape of a rough dollop.
3.Either by hand or using a mixer, combine the rest of the ingredients, using enough honey and nutmeg to your taste. The mix should have the consistency of relatively thick American style pancakes.
4. Fry like you would a normal pancake in your choice of oil (coconut is my favourite).
5. Top with whipped yogurt, crushed pistachios and even more honey.
This recipe is based on one I used to make at an old job in a bakery in Sydney, they used loads of different types of flour and taught me that spelt, which is naturally much sweeter than wheat, is perfect for making scones light and fluffy.
For the scone (makes 6)
200g spelt flour
1 healthy pinch salt
30g light brown caster sugar
6g baking powder
130g double cream
100g fresh cranberries
50g white chocolate chips
For the glaze
4 heaped tblsp orange marmelade
2 tblsp orange juice
1. In a stand mixer blend your dry ingredients so they're well mixed.
2. Add the double cream at once and mix it quickly in - this is the fat in place of butter in most scone recipes, and as with rubbing that in, you don't want to over work it in or else the end result with be tough.
3. With the mixer on a slow speed trickle your milk in gradually until the dough has roughly come together in a ball, again without overdoing the mixing.
4. Add in your fruit and chocolate, mixing in with a few pulses to stop overworking the dough. If there's still fruit that hasn't been mixed in then you can always add it in with your hands during the shaping process.
5. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and press down into a rough circle about an inch and a half thick. I like to use my hands because it allows me to be more delicate, and the key to scones is to avoid contact with the dough as much as possible, but if you're more comfortable with a rolling pin then just make sure you try and get it even as soon as you can. Place in the fridge and leave to rest for at least 20minutes.
6. Select your cutter size and cut out your scones, being gentle with the dough when you reshape the ends to get as many out as you can.
7. Place on a baking tray and egg wash with one egg yolk mixed with a pinch of salt and a drop of milk. (I made small ones as part of the trio of desserts for my supper club, and this recipe gave me a yield of 10).
8. Bake on 180C for about 15-16mins (11mins for smaller size), until they're nicely coloured and have a hollow sound when you tap their base.
9. Place the scones on a wire rack and while they're cooling put the glaze ingredients into a pan and stir until it reaches a thick (just on the edge of viscous) consistency. Paint the scones with a pastry brush and leave to cool.
10. The glaze should set so the scones are sticky to the touch, and for the best enjoyment eat them just before they come to room temperature. (Not straight out the oven because they need to rest for a little while to become truly soft and fluffy inside).
Eggs are essential to any breakfast and I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy the perfect runny yolk. I am partial to a good poached egg, and for a while always assumed baked eggs would be dry and a little scorched on top. But that doesn't have to be the case at all - with the right timing and a little drizzle of oil you can easily get that gorgeous creamy yolk that makes the morning so worthwhile.
For the pesto (enough for 6 portions)
60g Parmesan (for my supper club event I used a vegetarian alternative from here so I only had to make one batch - if you do use this, you may need a little more seasoning to taste but it is a great alternative)
200ml olive oil
3 red chillies (de-seeded if you're not into spice)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly crushed with the back of your knife
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves (if you buy a packet from the supermarket this tends to be the right amount)
Salt and pepper to taste
For the garnish
3 spring onions
2 red chillies sliced into rings
A few coriander leaves
And of course - 6 eggs!
1. Start by blitzing down the kale in your food processor, you might need to do this is a couple of batches so it all fits in!
2. Next add the almonds and garlic and blitz down until the nuts are a really fine powder and the garlic is mixed evenly throughout the kale leaves.
3. Before you add the Parmesan break it up into chunks to help your food processor along, or you can grate it straight in.
4. Finally add your oil, chillies, herbs and seasoning and blitz until it's a smooth consistency with no lumps. You might need to add a little water here if it's not blending down easily enough.
5. To make the baked eggs spoon a tablespoon of pesto into the bottom of each of the ramekins and smooth it out so you get a nice even layer. Crack an egg on top of the pesto, and then spoon a few more dollops around the yolk and spread it out as much as you can without disturbing the egg too much. I find a teaspoon is best for this and about five small dollops spreads out quite nicely in the oven so your yolk gets a nice pesto halo!
6. Drizzle the top of the yolk with a little more oil, to stop it browning off in the oven, (I like to use chilli oil, but normal olive oil is perfectly fine). Bake for 10-11 minutes at 165C - this will cook the egg white but leaving your yolk lovely and runny.
7. When you've taken them out the oven garnish with the fresh spring onion, coriander and chilli and serve with a nice chunk of bread (sourdough or Irish soda bread works well), corn fritters or grilled halloumi - anything that you can dip into the yellowy goodness!
I love nut butters - not only are they great just spread on some toast, or pancakes or waffles (what wouldn't you put Nutella on??), but they're perfect for baking with too. This batch I've got plans for my breakfast banana pancakes, and a tart I'm trying out for a new dessert for an upcoming menu!
For the butter
200g walnuts (soaked and dried if you have time)
2tbsp vanilla extract
4tsp coconut oil
4tsp brown damerara sugar
A couple of pinches rock salt
Splash of water
1. Soaking the walnuts and then drying them out is ideal, it makes the finished product much creamier. However, to really make the most of this you need to soak them for about 10 hours and then dry out for the same amount of time - not ideal if you've just decided to get creative on your day off. So if you haven't prepared for that, don't worry - you can still make a lovely butter by processing nuts straight from the bag.
2. Put your walnuts into the blender and give them a few pulses just to break them up before adding your vanilla. Now get ready to have a noisy blender going for at least 15 minutes, while the nuts and vanilla get ground in together, releasing all the natural creamy oils hidden underneath their hard shells.
3.After about 15 minutes it will have become a blended mass, but still with a bit of a coarse texture (not as smooth as butter just yet). If you need scrape down the side the of your blender, and then add in your coconut oil and a couple of splashes of water just to loosen it. The amount of water you need will depend on the quality of the nuts - really fresh, organic nuts shouldn't need so much.
4. Once its come together (another 5 mins blending) into a smoother consistency, add in your brown sugar and a couple of pinches of rock salt. If you don't have rock salt, it's best not to substitute in table salt because you won't get that satisfying crunch against the sweet base. Blend again for another 5 minutes.
5. (Optional) I've found if I put it in the fridge to rest for an hour or two at this stage and then re-blend for 5 minutes it really helps it get to the shiny smooth texture you want from a nut butter. If you're going to use it straight in baking or a smoothie though this isn't necessary!
6. If you have an old jam jar, you can store it in that (it can be easily piped in to keep it neat) or just a Tupperware will be fine too.
A great idea for nut butters is to pair them with super easy and really tasty banana pancakes - made from just one large banana and two eggs, with a dollop of walnut butter to help bring it together. Mix well and fry off like you would any pancake! Top with honey or sugar, or if you're feeling fancy caramelise some walnuts for an extra crunch.
Macarons have a reputation for being super tricky, and they can be - but once you've cracked them you can play about with the flavours and make some really delicious combinations. So here's my take on a new batch of breakfast inspired versions of the french fancies. When I'm making bigger batches I tend to use Italian meringue because its more stable and more reliable, but I've found it does give the finished product a slightly heavier texture . I'll post another recipe using the French method soon so you can all try the difference for yourself!
For the macaron (24 macarons)
150g ground almond
150g icing sugar
65g egg white
45g egg white
150g granulated sugar
100ml strongly brewed Earl Grey tea (I used 10g of Atkinsons loose leaf Earl Grey and brewed it for at least an hour before using)
For the filling
130g white chocolate
Splash of water
1. Brew your tea! Do this as early as you can so it has time to make a really strong liquor, stronger than you'd ever want to drink. If you're using tea bags use at least three for 100mls of water and give them a stir every now and again.
2. Start by sieving together the ground almonds and icing sugar. This is time consuming and annoying and, full disclosure, I never normally sieve anything when baking BUT for macarons it's irritatingly essential. For this quantity you're looking at maybe 20mins of constant sieving to get it all done, but there's no way around it so stick on Netflix and use the time to make your mind up about Stephen Avery or Amanda Knox.
3. Get your caramel on. For this you need your granulated sugar and brewed tea in a pan and set it on the hob. You want to bring the mixture to at least 117 degrees C (but no more than 121 degrees C). This can take from 10-15minutes depending on what heat your hob is on and how powerful it is. I quite like to get it on a high heat and watch it closely, but this is a risky strategy because it can go over very quickly. If you're unsure keep it on a mid-heat and check it frequently (but you've more freedom to bob off to the loo).
4. When your caramel is nearly done (at 112/113 degrees C) start whisking 65g of egg whites until they form soft peaks. Once you've hit that magic 117 degrees C, keep the whisk going and trickle the caramel very slowly into the bowl. Keep it whisking even after all the caramel is in until the bowl feels cool to the touch (FYI this is the Italian method of making meringue).
NOTE: If you're just making regular macarons, not tea ones, your caramel should not be this dark brown - if it is you've heated it far too high and it will make them hard and brittle.
5. While waiting for your meringue to cool down get started on the filling. The key to nut butters is very simply the processing time. If you blend the cashews for long enough their natural oils will be released and this is what makes it creamy and glossy. So, very simply blend your nuts for 10 minutes, you might need to pause your processor to scrape down the sides or loosen up any mixture that's got stuck on the base. Add a splash of water to loosen it and blend with a few pomegranate seeds, before adding the melted white chocolate. Make sure you blend the water in first before adding the chocolate or else TERRRIBLE things will happen (well maybe not terrible, but if you want claggy lumpy chocolate then be my guest). I'm also a child and like pink things so added a little splash of food colouring, but if you're a grown up then this is totally optional. Leave it to stiffen a little in the fridge so it's easier to work with.
6. Mix the remaining 45g of egg white into your carefully sifted almond/icing sugar blend.
7. Now fold your glossy meringue into the almond mixture, and make sure its thoroughly blended. Because the Italian meringue has already been cooked (with the hot caramel) you can afford to be a bit rougher than you can with French - the air shouldn't get knocked out too easily!
8. Now load it into a piping bag and pipe your little dollops onto baking parchment. For more uniform macarons you can draw around something to ensure they're all the same size. You can use a silicone mat if you choose, but I find them slightly more difficult to work with. If you're using parchment though use a few little blobs of the mixture underneath to glue it to the baking tray and keep it perfectly flat in the oven. If your piping is a little uneven then just dab your finger in a little water and pat down any bumps (I actually quite like the bumps because it makes it a little bit more rustic). Now you want to leave them to dry for as long as you can, until you can touch it without disturbing the shape with your finger - this is usually about an hour. If you have used water to even out the shape then this may take a bit longer, and you can find that patches of the macaron will burst out in the wet places in the oven.
9. In a 165 degrees C oven they should be about 20-25 minutes, but larger macarons will obviously take longer. Once they're ready, which you can tell by the shell being hard and the feet around the outer edge, leave them on the hot tray for a further 10 minutes out of the oven to ensure the centre is cooked all the way through. When you take them off the parchment you want to make sure they have a nice flat bottom and don't rip in half.
10. Once cool fill with your cashew butter and a few whole pomegranate seeds and enjoy! I used a pallet knife but a piping bag would work just as well. Just make sure you don't press it too hard and break the bottom of the marcaron and end up filling the shell.
This is pretty nutty recipe so if you're not a huge fan of nuts, you can always fill with just a general white chocolate ganache using double cream.