Monday, August 25, 2014

Chunky Chocolate Granola




Granola and other cereal-based breakfast foods would have to be my most favourite thing to eat. That is, alongside grilled cheese sandwiches, chocolate, salmon sashimi, earl grey chiffon cake, double chocolate ice cream, raw chocolate milkshakes, camembert cheese with crackers accompanied with red wine, caramelised onions, and... yeah. A lot of other things. Point is, granola is one of my many favourite foods.  

 I can't say when my granola fetish began but it probably started after Dad started getting into toasted muesli for breakfast. Our pantry must have housed well over thirty types of cereal/muesli/granola over the last five years. If it has ever been on a supermarket shelf and on sale, Mum has bought it. 

As with the other granola recipe I have posted, this is another creation from Sarah B from My New Roots. Being a chocolate nut, I prefer this chunky chocolate version to the more fruity, and I suppose what could be called traditional, granola. However now that I've made both a couple of times each, I am more likely to randomly combine cereals, nuts, and sweeteners to suit what I have on hand.  E.g. the first time I made this I used walnuts, but the granola in the photos contains almonds instead. As long as you have the buckwheat groats, oats, honey and cocoa, the final product will resemble the original!

And when you thought things couldn't get any better, eating this granola with milk will turn the white goodness of soy/almond/cow into chocolate milk. Just like Coco Pops! But oh so much more delicious. 


Chunky Chocolate Buckwheat Granola (from My New Roots)
Makes 8 cups

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup buckwheat
½ cups coconut flakes
1 cup hazelnuts and/or walnuts 
¼ cup chia seeds
½ tsp fine grain sea salt
¼ cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup cocoa powder 

Directions:


1. Preheat oven to 175°C.

2. Combine oats, buckwheat, coconut flakes, chia seeds and coconut sugar in a large bowl. Roughly chop up the nuts and add them to the mix.

3. In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, melt the coconut oil. Add honey/maple syrup, vanilla, salt and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine until smooth.

4. Pour liquid ingredients over dry and fold coat.

5. Spread mixture out in an even layer on a lined baking sheet and press firmly with the back of a spatula to ensure that the mixture is compact. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, flip granola in large chunks, and place back in oven to bake for another 10 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes until toasted and fragrant. The dark colour of the granola makes it hard to tell whether or not the granola is toasted so be careful not to burn it! The nuts should taste pleasantly roasted. 

6. Serve with milk, yoghurt, fruit (sliced banana is our family's favourite cereal topping), or eat dry like trail mix. I'm not exactly sure how long this is supposed to last in an airtight container at room temperature since none of the batches have lasted longer than three days at our place. I'm guessing around two weeks?  


To quote Sarah B, "Whether you choose to eat this granola for breakfast or an afternoon snack doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you make chocolate granola a real priority in your life. Laundry can wait, emails can wait, and your hair looks just fine a little on the greasy side."

One last thing - if you see a similar chunky chocolate granola on the supermarket shelves by Carman's Kitchen, consider making this recipe first. And then try the bought product. There's no denying that Carman's Kitchen produces delicious products, especially considering it's widely available in mainstream supermarkets, but the ability to alter the sweetness etc to your own tastes in a homemade version is priceless. 

- Matilda

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pineapple Upside-Down Yoghurt Cake

When I was in my early teens, I was obsessed with a romantic comedy/crime book series by Janet Evanovich that focuses on an a female bounty hunter  called Stephanie Plum. Apart from the love triangle with two ridiculously attractive men, Stephanie was admittedly average: a white, 30-something American girl , obsessed with pop tarts and fried chicken.  However, if there was one thing that trumped even pop tarts or eating dry cereal with her hamster Rex, it was her mother’s pineapple upside-down cake.

Back in 2007, when I was first reading the books, I made a sugar- and butter-laden version that I guess would be similar to what Mrs Plum makes. This time around, I used a recipe from the one and only Green Kitchen Stories and replaced the rhubarb on the cake with pineapple for old times’ sake.

Now, as per usual, I didn’t read the recipe properly before beginning anddd didn’t have enough honey around.. So I ended up with a ginger-less and slightly-less-sweet version of this cake. But it was still beautiful. But I’ve put the original recipe below….. because I don’t really trust my impromptu version.

Enjoy!

  

Rhubarb & Almond Upside-Down Yogurt Cake (from Green Kitchen Stories)
Serves 8

"Ingredients:

4-5 stalks (1 lb / 450 g) fresh thin rhubarb (or a can of pineapple slices)
4 tbsp honey
2/3 cup water
½ inch / 1 ½ cm knob fresh ginger, grated
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
2 cups / 500 ml / 200 g almond flour
½ cup / 125 ml / 75 g buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
2-3 tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt
100 g butter
1/2 cup / 125 ml honey or maple syrup
2 organic lemons, zest
3 eggs, separated
1 cup / 250 ml full-fat yoghurt (Greek or Turkish yoghurt)

Directions:

Heat the oven to 350°F / 180°C. Trim the rhubarbs and cut into 2 inch / 5 cm pieces on an angle. Combine rhubarb, honey, water, ginger and a scraped vanilla pod in a large pot over medium low heat. Cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is tender and slightly caramelized but still intact. Pick up the rhubarb pieces to cool off and save the syrup for later. If the syrup is too thin, you can let it reduce over heat for a few minutes more. If you want more syrup, you can add some extra water and honey and let it slowly cook for a few minutes more.

Combine almond flour, buckwheat flour, baking powder, poppy seeds and sea salt in a small bowl and set aside. Place butter, honey and lemon zest in a medium size bowl and use an electric mixer to beat until creamy. Add egg yolks and continue to beat for another minute. Add the flour mixture and fold everything together.

Clean the whisking blades and beat egg whites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Slowly fold the egg whites and the yogurt into the cake mixture.

Put a baking sheet inside an 8 inch / 22 cm spring form cake pan. Arrange the rhubarb in a tight rose shaped pattern on the bottom of the pan. It will look extra beautiful if you place them in color order – with the dark red pieces furthest out and the light green ones towards the center. Carefully cover the rhubarb with cake batter. Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until dark and golden on the top and baked all way through. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes before turning it upside-down on a serving platter and removing the sides. Drizzle the rhubarb syrup on top before serving."

- Matilda