Crunchy Nutty Granola

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You may have noticed that for the last few months I have been super quiet and if you pop on over to my second blog, Being Mrs D  you will see I have been quite busy! We moved to Brisbane, Australia at the end of August and since then everything has been a little bit crazy. I’ll let you in on some of the reasons I haven’t been blogging over the next couple of weeks. One of them reasons being I haven’t had any of my kitchenware as it was in a shipping container for weeks! I knew this was coming as it was the same when we moved from Switzerland to Singapore last year but I forgot how difficult it is! As I am sure you can imagine, the move has kept me very busy so in between trips to Thailand, Brisbane, a visit from the in laws and a trip back home for my very good friends wedding. There hasn’t been much Sipping, Chomping and Chewing that I’ve had time to write about.

 

This simple recipe for Granola came about because I refused to pay the ridiculous prices the supermarkets in Singapore get away with charging for the smallest box. So with a trip to Ikea for some storage jars, I pretty much had everything else I needed to make up a batch. For basic granola, all you need is oats, a sweetener and some kind of oil to bind the whole thing together and after experimenting a little, I found the best mix to be honey and virgin coconut oil. Although the oil has a deliciously coconutty smell, the flavour doesn’t come through once it’s all mixed in so don’t worry if you’re not a fan. The addition of nuts adds some crunch to the texture which wakes up those taste buds first thing in the morning. It’s delicious served with fresh fruit and yogurt!

 

All you’ll need:

2 Cups of Rolled Oats

1 Cup of Mixed Chopped Nuts of your choice – I’ve used peanut and almond this week

1 Cup of Mixed Seeds of your choice – this week I have used just sunflower seeds whilst my pantry is still not quite fully stocked!

1/2 Cup Dried Fruit such as Raisins, Blueberries or Cranberries

A pinch of salt

1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

1/4 Cup of Honey

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients except for the dried fruit in a bowl. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, over a low heat, mix the oil, honey and vanilla extract until well combined. Pour the wet mixture over the dry and mix until well coated. Place on a baking tray in your preheated oven and cook for ten minutes, give the mixture a stir so that the paler oats are now on the top and cook for a further ten minutes. Mix again and pop back in the oven. Now keep an eye on it for the last ten minutes as depending on your oven, it may need pulling out sooner than the ten minutes if the sugar gets too hot. Leave to cool, stir through the dried fruit and store in an airtight jar.

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It gets the Pug approval!

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Fresh Mango and Chia Seed Overnight Oats

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SCC Granola with pool in the backgroundIt makes my husband laugh when I announce at roughly 9pm that I’m going to make breakfast. I think at first he thought I was going a bit nutty or just being plain daft but he soon realised what I was doing when he was preparing his the next morning and me? I just grabbed a spoon along with my oats out the fridge and I was good to go.

SCC Mango Chia Oats Close Up

Overnight oats have developed from Swiss Birchermüesli which contained apples, lemon juice, sweet evaporated milk and honey all mixed in with the oats. Although that’s uncomplicated, the recipe I’m about to give you is even quicker and easier to make. All you need is a 1/2 cup measure each of oats, milk or juice and natural yogurt, this will make your basic oats to which you can add any of your favorite breakfast fruits, nuts and seeds. Any toppings that you want to stay crunchy will need to be added right before serving. The addition of chia seeds the night before not only adds some texture to the oats but they have many, many health benefits. My favourite is how extra filling they make a dish. I take part in a Latin Fitness class two mornings a week which, prior to starting my day with these oats, I would be ravenous by the time the class was over. I am happy to say that is a thing of the past.  Once wet, the seeds get a kind of jelly coating around them this is the part that along with helping to fight blood sugar spikes, keeps your hunger pangs away.

By following this recipe you can also make it in a lunch box for a healthy, yummy grab and go breakfast.

SCC Breakfast on Balcony

 

To make one portion you will need:

 

  • 1/2 Cup of Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 Cup of Fat Free of Low Fat Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1/4 Fresh Mango, chopped. I normally freeze the mango in portion sized pots and just allow it to defrost, stirred into the oats over night.
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds, either black or white will do

 

Mix together all of your ingredients and leave in the fridge, covered, overnight. Before you tuck in, top with nuts or seeds, whatever you fancy. I love it with granola but it’s also yummy on it’s own!  That’s it, Done!

 

SCC Granola Close in Jar

Soup of the Week: Miso with Chicken

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I love Miso Soup! Miso is so healthy I find it almost cleansing. I never realised how easy it would be to make at home. A few months ago I discovered a supermarket in the basement of a mall I frequent. It’s called Meida Ya, a large Japanese supermarket selling global products with a separate section dedicated to japanese food including dine in outlets selling freshly made sushi or, my personal favourite, Katsu Curry. I have tried a few new japanese recipes since finding this store, the difficulty is trying to find the correct products as all the writing is in japanese, sometimes with a small white tag on the back with the English product name. Mostly I just ask someone who looks like they know what they’re doing! I have found out recently that you can get all the ingredients for this recipe from the japanese section of your local large supermarket.

SCC MIso

Traditionally, Miso Soup contains tofu. Now let me tell you this, I CAN NOT stand tofu! It’s not just the texture or the taste, it’s the way it sits in the soup as if to say ‘hey! i know i look like some tasty cheesy feta, but I’ll show you!’ it tries to trick you every time into giving it another try just to make sure you don’t like it, and as soon as it hits the inside of my mouth it triggers that gag reflex, like some cold, solidified, instant custard, yuck! Well I have had enough of the tofu tricks and replaced it with poached chicken breasts (take that tofu!).

SCC Miso Close Up

Here’s the recipe for my Chicken Miso Soup!

Makes 4 large servings:

For the poached chicken

  • One Carrot
  • One Celery Stick
  • One Bay Leaf
  • 3 Black Peppercorns
  • 3 Whole Chicken Breasts

For the Miso Soup

  • 40g Dashi – dashi is a japanese stock, if you can’t get your hands on it, make sure you use some top quality chicken stock
  • 3 Pints of boiling water
  • 4 Spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 Sheet of Wakame (edible seaweed)
  • 4 Tbsp white miso paste
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp mirin

Optional

  • Cooked Edamame topped with a pinch of Maldon Salt
Edamame, another love of mine!

Edamame, another love of mine!

Start by placing the ingredients for the poached chicken in a saucepan and fill with water until the chicken is just about covered. Turn the heat on low and simmer for around 20 minutes. Next, get your water boiling in a separate saucepan, whilst this is getting up to heat, soak the wakame in cold water for a couple of minutes. Add to the pan along with the spring onions. Pop your miso paste into a small container, this needs to be watered down before adding to the main soup pan as it will stay in lumps if you don’t. Add a laddle of the stock mixture to your miso container and mix with a fork until completely combined. Slowly add this to the stock mixture whilst stirring continuously. Make sure that you keep the heat gentle, if you boil miso, the heat kills the aroma. Next add the soy sauce and mirin, and continue to stir gently. Check your chicken is cooked by cutting one chicken breast lengthways. Once it’s white the whole way through, drain the pan and cut into chunks before adding to the soup. Stir gently before pouring into bowls and enjoying with Edamame.

SCC Miso Soup Set

I’d just like to take this opportunity to apologise to any tofu lovers out there. If any of you have a recipe that you think will make me fall in love with it then please contact me to try it out.

Sausage Rolls

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I know I mention quite often about being an expat and missing certain foods at home. Despite this, my passion for food is more about just the cooking and the eating, it’s amazing how a specific smell or taste can take you back to a certain point in your life. For some reason, when I think of/smell/eat sausage rolls, it always reminds me of being at a bakery in Coleford, the small town which I grew up just outside of,  my Mum was treating my dad to some of their freshly made sausage rolls. It’s not a huge event but I remember our conversation and joining the long queue to get our goods.

I don’t make sausage rolls that much as they don’t really fit in too well with all the healthy food I’ve been trying to stick too but for a weekend lunch, soup and a sausage roll is so very comforting it’s one of my fiancé’s favourite things to have over a lazy weekend, although he did admit to me yesterday that he thinks it’s a weird combination. Please can you guys let me know whether it’s just me or is soup and a sausage roll a strange mix?!

I only made these for the first time early last summer, we had friends over for our leaving party in Geneva and I made a batch for the guys whilst they were watching the football. Gone, in, seconds, it was like they all performed a disappearing trick with them! They are so easy to make and pretty quick to cook. You can eat them cold or straight from the oven (my favourite!). All you need is some sausages and a pack of frozen puff pastry. I always throw in some additional flavours too. Here’s the recipe for the ones I made that last weekend in Geneva.

Yield: Two large sausage rolls

You will need:

  • Sausages – the type of sausage is entirely up to you but I would recommend using a standard pork sausage. No need to mess around with something that’s already great! I used 4 standard sized sausages. Skins removed.
  • 1.5 Tbsp Colmans Bramley Apple Sauce
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • Two sheets of frozen puff pastry, approx 20cm x 20cm
  • One beaten egg for washing the pastry

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

Get the pastry out of the freezer to defrost, you may want to do this the day before but here in Singapore, I buy ready rolled sheets of pastry and once I’ve taken it out of the freezer it’s ready to go in about 5 minutes! Mash together all your other ingredients except the egg. Lay your pastry on a baking sheet and place half your sausage meat mix in a line down the centre of the pastry. Brush the edges with the beaten egg. Fold over both the bottom and the top edges of the pastry and lightly press down to stick them to the egg wash, this is to encase the ends and ensure no precious filling spills out! Brush your new top and bottom edges with egg before folding each side over to cover the sausage meat. Carefully flip over and place on a baking sheet so that the pastry edges are on the underside and cannot be seen before making some gentle slits along the top with a sharp knife. Cover the top in one final layer of egg wash. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and the remaining sausage meat. Pop in the oven for about 20 minutes until cooked through and the pastry is golden. You can transfer to a cooling rack for later but they are so much better eaten right away. Simply slice each roll into 5 or 6 pieces for party finger food.

SCC Sausage Rolls Folding 1

Beetroot Hummus

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I love colourful food, it always stirs an interest and makes it so much more fun to eat. Anything seems more edible when it looks good and who doesn’t love a good dip? Experimenting with hummus is really easy, there are so many different flavours you can add to this much loved dip the options are endless. I had a couple of beetroots knocking about in my veg draw so decided to put them to good use. I couldn’t decide what to do with them at first as the colour they give off can give anything a beety twist, but as I was doing a deli board style dinner on Saturday night I decided to go for a hummus. Since purchasing a real food processor a couple of months ago (I had a small hand held thing before) I’ve been mixing together all different kinds of things, making pesto’s and sauces and soups. I keep it on the work top so it’s ready to have something thrown into it. I’m not sure whether the novelty will wear off soon but it’s been helping me make some lovely meals! Here’s the latest…

You will need:

  • 2 medium sized cooked beetroots – I bought mine raw and steamed them for about 50 minutes until soft, then allowed them to cool, topped and tailed, peeled them carefully so as not to colour myself purple and roughly chopped
  • 400g tin of chick peas (drained, rinsed and skins removed)
  • 1 Clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 100ml olive oil plus a little extra for drizzling

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz until smooth. Transfer to a serving dish and make a swirl in the top before pouring over the extra olive oil. Chill until serving. We enjoyed eating this with the Crispy Crackers I had made a day earlier and it went down a treat!

SCC Beetroot Dip with Sea Salt Crackers

SCC Beetroot Hummus Blurred Wine

Crispy Crackers

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Crackers are something we always like to have in the cupboard. They’re so versatile, you can eat them with cheese, salads, pate, soups and dips. A few  weekends ago, I really felt like baking but was begged not to bake more cakes as a large amount of chocolate and salt caramel cupcakes had been devoured over the last couple of days. I decided to give making crackers a go out of a basic flour, water, salt, sugar, oil mixture and this was the end result. I did a couple of versions. The first batch were slightly soft and the second batch were nice and crispy. The second batch went down a treat so they’ll be the ones I’m making from now on but you can easily make softer crackers by simply cooking for less time. You can give them more taste and texture by adding seeds, nuts or some Maldon Sea Salt just before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celcius

Yield: About 35 crackers

  • 180g Plain Flour
  • 180g Wholegrain Bread Flour
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 75ml Olive Oil
  • 200ml Cold water
  • Your choice of toppings, here I used pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Maldon sea salt and coursely ground black pepper

Start by mixing all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Next add the olive oil and and mix using a table knife, gradually add the water until you have a ball of dough, you may not need all of the water. Cut the ball of dough into two pieces and place one on a well floured surface. Roll out the dough as thin as you can and cut into cracker sized rectangles. Transfer onto a baking sheet and brush with a little water, this will help to make the topping stick. Scatter the toppings over the top and lightly press into the crackers. Before placing in the oven for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them as when they start to brown, they will finish soon after. We like ours really golden, almost burned, but if you like yours a bit paler than just reduce the cooking time. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack, as soon as they have cooled down transfer them to an air tight container and eat within 3 – 5 days. If they last that long! This recipe is quite flexible, you can adjust the flour to use whatever you have in your kitchen cupboard.

SCC Close Up Crackers

Sea salt and cracked black pepper crackers with a spiced pumpkin soup

Delicious served with soup

Serve with hummus
Serve with hummus

Sea salt and cracked black pepper with spiced pumpkin soup

Sea salt and cracked black pepper with spiced pumpkin soup

Parmesan and Belper Knolle Crisps

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Another cheesy recipe, I just can’t get enough! A regular Saturday night for us this time of year in Geneva would be to get some cheeses from the markets and a couple of bottles of wine, sitting in front of the X Factor whilst munching our way through our goodies. There are such a wide variety of cheeses available in Geneva we were always trying new ones. It was there that I found one of my favorite cheeses. Tête de Moine is a tasty swiss cheese that has an A.O.C. so you know you are eating the real deal. If you speak french you may know that Tête de Moine means Monks head. It was originally made by monks, just our side of the rosti border . I was surprised to find that you can buy Tête in a number of places here in Singapore. I was also surprised to try a new cheese in Singapore, not just a new cheese but a new swiss cheese we had never heard of. I did a bit of research and found that Belper Knolle is made near Bern, the other side of the rosti border and Switzerland’s capital city. I found that belper should be used as a topping on pastas and risottos rather than as a table cheese. To get the flavors out, it is best thinly sliced or grated and allowed to air for a couple of minutes before crumbling over your dish. I made a pea and mint pesto the other week and it was delicious stirred through some spaghetti along with the pesto. We only used a tiny amount and the flavors really came through. I was thinking of a new way to use it rather than just sprinkled over some pasta and I decided I would make some Parmesan crisps with a little Belper Knolle. They turned out great and really tasty! Parmesan crisps can be used to top salads, soups, risottos or even eaten with dips. Here’s how I did it.

What you need to make 5 crisps…

50g Fresh grated parmesan – this won’t work with the pre-grated stuff you get in the dry goods section of the supermarket

1 Thin slice of belper knolle

SCC Parmesan and Belper Knolle SCC Uncooked Cheese Crisp

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and prepare a baking sheet by covering with grease proof paper (I used a silicone mat) and cover with parmesan shapes. Don’t stack the parmesan too thickly, it’s nice to get that webbed effect on the crisps.

SCC Close up Parmesan Crisp

Leave an inch between each shape and gently slide your tray into the oven so as to not shake the cheese and make your shapes wonky! Cook for about 5 minutes, until golden and crisp. Allow to cool and place in an airtight container with a peice of grease proof paper between each layer. You can leave out the Belper if you can’t get your hands on it or add your own herbs and spices to the parmesan before cooking. I’ve added cooked bacon lardons before and they were yummy! Another way to serve them is to mould them around the bottom of a small container or glass whilst they are still warm and serve dips in them – well that’ll save the washing up later!

SCC Uncooked Heart Crisp

SCC Bacon Heart Cooked CrispsSCC Parmesan Crisp with Soup