Cook this: Cacao, puffed quinoa & pistachio granola

I have the most ridiculous accumulation of cookbooks at home, and at one point had started to hoard magazines, as well.

When I realised how out of control it was getting, I decided to consolidate all of my favourite recipes from my magazines into smaller collections; I went out and bought a few large spiral notebooks and went through my magazines, cutting out the recipes I actually liked and thought I’d cook. I stuck them into the notebooks, and they now sit in a nice, neat little pile on my bookshelf.


I go through them every few weeks to find inspiration and ideas I’d forgotten I’d collected, and found some new breaky inspiration in one of my books last week; a Donna Hay granola recipe, using puffed quinoa, which I’ve been wanting to try adding to my breakfast oats for a while now.

I made a few changes to suit my tastes and pantry supplies, and ended up with an incredible mix, and the perfect way to enjoy a chocolatey breakfast without the extra sugar and calories – happy!

 

Ingredients: (makes 1 large jar)
– 1/4 cup cacao powder
– 1 tbsp brown sugar
– 6 tbsp water
– 2 cups puffed quinoa
– 2 cups rolled oats
– 100g pistachios, roughly chopped
– 1/4 cup chia seeds
– 1/2 cup cacao nibs
– 1 cup shredded coconut

Method:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a large oven tray with non-stick baking paper.

2. Heat the cacao (or cocoa) powder, sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat, gently mixing until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat to cool a little.

3. While that cools, combine all of the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

4. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly to coat and combine.

5. Spread the mixture over the oven tray, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, mixing it around every 5 minutes or so to ensure it cooks evenly.

6. Cool completed on the tray, and store in an airtight jar or container 2 – 3 weeks.

Cook this: coconut pandan oat & matcha chia parfait

So, last Saturday night was Oktoberfest. The man cave was transformed into a beer hall. Several batches of pretzels were baked. Several more batches of pretzels cookies, too. And schnitzels, potato salad, gravy… There was a lot to do, and while Friday night was reserved for the bulk of it, but there was still plenty left to do Saturday morning before everyone arrived.

With all that coming and my inability to work on an empty stomach, I knew I was gonna need a decent breakfast. It had been a pretty long, challenging, sleepless week, so by Friday night I was mentally and physically exhausted. With a big day ahead, I wanted to treat myself to something a little nicer than my regular overnight oats to start the day.

My usual overnight oats consists of oats, chia seeds, protein powder, almond milk and yoghurt thrown into a tub, shaken violently, and topped with whatever is in the pantry – coconut flakes, pepitas, goji berries, chocolate chips, anything goes. I also found this absolutely unreal pandan kaya custard type stuff at ARC Asian Grocers at the Preston Market that I’m loving with my morning oats at the moment. I thought I’d try to add that in with the shredded coconut (because matcha and coconut are delicious together) and seperate the chia and oats for something a bit different – takes a bit of effort, but the different layers makes it look and taste great! Actually, that’s not entirely truthful – it doesn’t take much effort at all…

For one serve:

Chia layer:
– 1 tbsp chia seeds
– ½ tsp matcha powder
– 5 tbsp milk (again, I use almond milk, but coconut milk would be perfect as well)

Combine all of the ingredients in a jar or plastic tub and shake well to combine. Set it aside for 10 minutes, going back to give it a quick stir every few minutes.

 

Oat layer:
– 1 heaped tbsp plain yoghurt
– ½ cup milk (I use almond)
– heaped ⅓ cup oats
– 1 scoop (approx 8-10g) protein powder of your choice – I really love the Amazonia vanilla for this!
– 1 tbsp shredded coconut
– 2 tbsp pandan custard

Put the yoghurt, milk and protein powder in a jar or plastic tub and shake until well combined. Add in the oats and coconut and shake again, the set aside.

Once the chia pudding has set and gelled a little, the oats should have soaked up a bit of the milk; stir the pandan custard through the oats.

To assemble, just spoon half the oats into a glass or jar, followed by half the chia, the rest of the oats and the rest of the chia on top. That simple!

Cook this: Coconut chia matcha pancakes 

While I’m a big matcha fan, husband hasn’t always been so receptive to it; why have green tea for dessert when you can have chocolate? So, Tokyo was a lot of fun for me in that I got to indulge my matcha sweet tooth, a lot. I ate matcha ice cream crepes, matcha cookies and cakes (a whole lot of which I took home with me), matcha chocolates; I even bought myself a little jar of matcha at one of the markets I visited to take home with me and experiment with. Husband’s curiosity got the better of him, and he tried a white chocolate matcha cookie; he was instantly hooked. So, I thought I’d try my hand at some coconut matcha pancakes (adapted from my buttermilk pancake recipe) for breakfast club yesterday morning…

Ingredients (makes 8 pancakes):
– 1⅓ cups self raising flour
– 2 tbsp castor sugar
¼ cup coconut (flakes, shredded, whatever)
– 2 tsp matcha powder
– 2 tbsp chia seeds
– 40g butter, melted
– 1 large egg, lightly whisked
– 1 cup coconut cream
½ cup milk (I used almond, but you can use anything)
– butter or spray oil for cooking

Putting them together:
1. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, coconut, matcha and chia) in a large tub – with the lid on, shake it well to combine (it’s just less messy than mixing it in a bowl if you’re anything like me first thing in the morning – lacking coordination and control, flour just goes everywhere).

2. Tip the flour mix into a large mixing bowl, and add in the wet ingredients (melted butter, egg, coconut cream and milk), and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. If the batter seems a little dry, add a little more milk; if it’s too watery, add a little more flour.

3. Heat a non-stick fry pan on medium heat, add a little butter or spray with cooking oil, and drop your pancake batter on – I use a ⅓ measuring cup of batter per pancake.

4. Cook for a few minutes on each side, until cooked through and golden on top.

They come out a beautiful, dense pancake, but still somehow a little fluffy inside. I used a little coconut Chobani and blueberries on top, and it was a pretty delicious breakfast! I’m going to pass it off as healthy, too, because there’s a ton of “super food” business going on in these. The other big plus is that they’re really quick to throw together, which means they don’t have to just be a special occasion/weekend breakfast option. And judging from the happy husband and empty plate, I’m tipping they’ll be making more regular appearances on our breakfast table…