Prune and almond breakfast cakes

If there’s one thing I love about Summer, it’s seasonal fruit. Forget days on the beach. Forget flowing sundresses. Biting into a ripe juicy mango or inhaling the scent of sweet pineapple while someone in the kitchen whips up a cheeky Pina Colada, is one of the most intoxicating pleasures belonging to the warmer months. And with all the stone fruit that’s around at the moment, it’s easy to hop onto the plum/nectarine wagon without batting an eyelid.

Prunes are so underrated though. Do you eat them? I love their honey sweet flavour, backed up by a tartness that gives you a subtle mouth-puckering zap. My best way to eat them is to cut them up (straight out of the fridge) over a big dollop of thick Bulgarian yoghurt with some toasted almonds for a quick breakfast. But since eating-on-the-run doesn’t always work out so well with a bowl of  yoghurt in hand… I  decided something more ‘portable’ was required. Which is how these prune and almond cakes were born.

prune and almond cakes

Ingredients
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup oatbran
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs – beaten
1 Tbs coconut oil – liquid
1/2 large banana – mashed
1 Tbs agave syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups fresh prunes – chopped

Method:
Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a muffin tin with a knob of butter.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix the eggs, vanilla, coconut oil, agave and banana.
Stir into the dry ingredients until well combined.
Fold in the prunes and spoon into the muffin tin.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until cooked through.

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A chocolate pancake as big as your face

Hi guys!

Just thought I’d grab 5 minutes to publish a quick post before Friday Fever sets in…

What do you eat on weekends?

At Food24 we like to make a ‘thing’ about sharing all our braai recipes on Fridays because we know our readers luuuurve to slap some wors on the fire and sit back with an ice cold beer or two (who doesn’t?!).  But since it’s Winter in Cape Town (STILL!), I sometimes struggle to get into the “braaing spirit”. I’d much rather have someone pour me a glass of red wine and let me slurp hot soup.

This on-going chilly weather needs to be kept at bay!!!!!

Here’s the thing… my usual breakfast of warm creamy oats is starting to reach it’s boredom peak. Don’t get me wrong, I love them and there are a million different ways to eat them, but there are also moments when a change is welcome.

I made this pancake last Sunday for breakfast after I looked out the window, saw the gloom and experienced a deep dispriting feeling in the bottom of my stomach. To combat the onset of  SAD symptoms, I made pancakes. Actually it was just one. A big one. And it left me feeling a hundred times better:)

I didn’t have any cake flour on hand. What? So I ended up winging it and used chickpea flour instead. It turned out a little nutty in flavour and the texture was deliciously light and fluffy! I’m definitely going to make this again. Who needs cake flour anyway?!

 Chocolate pancake for a gloomy day

1/3 cup chickpea flour

2 tsp cocoa

Pinch of salt

2 tsp ground flaxseed meal

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1 egg – beaten

2 Tbs olive oil

3 Tbs milk

2 Tbs agave

Mix together the chickpea flour, cocoa, salt, flaxseed, baking powder and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl. Combine the egg with the oil, milk and agave making sure that it’s all well-mixed.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients a little at a time stirring to remove any lumps, add the rest of the liquid until it forms a smooth batter.

Heat a medium-size frying pan on medium to high heat. Melt ½ Tbs butter and pour the batter into the pan. Turn down the heat. Cook  for 3 – 4 minutes or until the pancake has set slightly on the outside and bubbles begin to appear in the middle. Flip the pancake and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. Transfer to a plate and enjoy as is, or add a topping of your choice.


Tashas in Constantia, a new favourite

Hello to a new week and a new month. June is here and the winter solstice is only 16 days away. (Yes, I’m counting!!) I woke up this morning and thought, ‘Tessa what have you actually done  in the last 5 months??!’

Uh….let’s talk about that another time!

Weekend
This weekend was filled with wine, pizza, running, brunching and reading. In a nutshell- all the things I ♥ !  An added bonus was that I didn’t have to haul out my raincoat once!! Yesterday was especially beautiful. Bright, sunny and warm with a hint of winter dryness in the air.

I met Sierra for a long run through the vineyards in Constantia. According to her Garmin we covered 11 miles (which after a quick calculation, equates to 17.7km). A delicious breakfast was inhaled consumed soon afterwards at Tashas. It was my first visit to the Cape Town branch but I’ve eaten at the one in Gateway twice.

My thoughts? Love it !

Tashas in Constantia

We got there at peak Sunday brunch hour so not surprisingly the place was heaving. Heady wafts of coffee and intoxicating smells of baked goods emerging from the kitchen had me telepathically thanking Sierra for the post-run breakfast suggestion! We were seated outside which was perfect as we were able to catch some sunny rays and merge  into the bustling, chatty atmosphere. Plus it offered great opportunity for people-watching!

We ordered drinks from our friendly and highly competent waiter who displayed a great sense of hospitality and provided top-notch service throughout the meal. I normally would’ve slammed him with a coffee order but the thought of freshly squeezed orange juice made my thirst-quenching glands (are there even such things??!) tingle! I’m so glad I ordered this because it was amazing!!!! Anything citrus for me in winter = heaven!

Now, if you’ve been to Tashas, you’ll know that the menu is rather extensive! And if you’re as indecisive as me…well, you’re in for a pretty tough time because there are so many amazing sounding dishes from which to make your choice. After going back and forth, and back and forth and back again, I finally decided upon the Breakfast Royale from the ‘Healthy appetite’ section – 2 poached eggs on asparagus spears, topped with a light lemon sauce, served with crispy Pama ham (optional) and a choice of health bread or polenta toast.

I was really happy with this choice. It totally hit the spot! My eggs were poached to perfection (for me) although I noticed they serve very small eggs! Hmmmm…  They were enveloped in a sauce that was smooth and velvety and very ‘light and lemon’- staying true to the menu description. The eggs were perched atop a layer of blanched asparagus spears and some salty and crisp Pama ham which provided a nice meaty contrast. I chose the polenta toast which was the base of the dish. The texture was spot on being creamy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The only disappointment was that the polenta itself was rather under-seasoned so I had to hike it up with a lot of salt!

Sierra had this which looked phenomenal and came in a gorgeous copper pan. (I really admire their presentation!)

Sierra’s husband, Lennie – who met us at Tashas, had a version of the ‘classic’ breakfast which also looked deliciously appetizing.

I will definitely be making a plan to go back to try a few of their lunch options!


Banana Coconut Granola

I must admit that when I make a batch of granola I find myself having to dig really deep for some sort of restraint because I could nibble on it All. Day. Long.  In fact I had some this morning for breakfast…and then a handful 2 hours later…oh, and I might have grabbed a little more to gnaw on while I was sipping tea…  ok fine, I’m eating some right now! Aaaaaaaaaaah! Will someone please take this stuff away from me?!!!

Let’s move onto the recipe.

(Just so that we are clear- I wouldn’t exactly call this granola ‘healthy’. The high percentage of fat in the coconut and nuts, as well as the sugar in the banana and honey make it rather high-calorie, so you may want to go easy (says me!!!).

Banana Coconut Granola

Ingredients

6 cups of rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)

1 cup of pecan nuts

1 cup of almonds

1 cup of desiccated coconut

1 cup of coconut shards

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

pinch of salt

1/2 cup of honey

¼ cup of oil

1 banana, mashed

½ cup of coconut milk

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1 cup of dried  banana chips

½ cup of cranberries or raisins.

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Combine the oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, desiccated coconut and salt in a large bowl. Melt the honey in a saucepan and add the coconut milk, oil, vanilla and mashed banana. Pour the wet mixture into the oats making sure that everything is coated. Spread onto a large baking tray and bake for 45mins to an hour, checking every 20 mins and loosening the ‘clusters’. While the granola is baking, toast the nuts and coconut shards in a pan on the stove-top.

Once the granola is cooked and crunchy and has cooled slightly, add the nuts, coconut shards and cranberries. Mix it all up and tuck in store in an airtight container.

xxx