Thursday, 15 May 2014

Mum's Toasted Muesli

Autumn is well and truly upon us! Leaves are turning shades of red, brown, orange and yellow and eventually falling to their demise to create a lovely crunch as you walk along (it's one of my little joys in life). Even at almost 24, I still have to resist the urge to jump into piles of leaves that have been so neatly swept up. 

I love all varying degrees (was that a pun? pardon me for that). But I have a soft spot for autumn. Scarfs, beanies, big coats, jeans, boots, knits (you get the idea there), soups, stews, tea, coffee, (anything that warms the soul). And most importantly, the days a getting colder, which gives one more reason to snuggle.

However, Autumn inevitably leads to winter. With this season just around the corner I've decided to wrap myself in a scarf, take my macbook, head to a local cafe, grab a coffee and pump out another delightful post for you guys.

There is, however, a few down falls to the colder months...

I like to exercise in the morning. Usually I'm out and back before my boy Steve even wakes up. Whether it be running, walking or kettle belling, I find it's best to kick start your day with a bit of vigorous activity. But colder mornings don't give me much motivation to leave the warmth and comfort of my bed to go and run around for half an hour. Not to mention, it is still incredibly dark when I want to go running. Being a Melbournite, and a lover of TV crime, my mind tends to play tricks on me, creating the illusion that some serial killer is going to make me it's next victim...a bit dramatic I know.

With these two downfalls of the colder weather, I'll often talk myself out of exercise altogether. And when this is the case I still like to maintain a healthy breakfast. This muesli is my Mum's recipe but I may have changed some of the quantities to suit my taste. Whenever I go home, I almost always clean out her entire jar (sorry Mum). It's full of all things healthy, sugar and oil free, easy to make and is deliciously crunchy and nutty with greek yoghurt and stewed apple.

Have it with banana, strawberry, pear, apricot and I'm sure it'll will soon become a regular dish on your breakfast menu.

4 cups Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Pepitas
1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
1 cup Almonds, roughly chopped
3/4 cup Flaked or Shredded Coconut
1/4 cup Honey
1/4 cup Maple Syrup 

To make the muesli...
Preheat oven to 180°C and line two trays with baking paper. 

Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Gently warm the honey and maple syrup in a saucepan. Add to dry ingredients and mix together. 

Divide the muesli between the two trays and bake at 10 minutes intervals for 30 minutes. Giving the muesli a small toss with each interval (this will ensure an even baking). Allow to cool before serving. 

For something different...
  • Substitute 1 cup of Rolled oats for 1 cup of buck wheat. The toasted buckwheat gives an added crunch. 
  • Once the muesli is toasted, add some dried fruit - apricots, sultanas, apple, cranberries
  • Change the nuts - Mum has used hazelnuts in the past. As I am not a hazelnut lover I tend to stick with almonds. But use any nut you fancy. 
There really is no limit with this recipe.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Rosemary and Pear Upside-down Cake

WOW! It's been three months, three LONG months since my last post. Apologies to my loyal followers but there are a few perfectly good explanations for my absence;

My boyfriend Steve and I moved in together. Some of you might ask, 'What does this have to do with baking delicious treats and blogging about them?' Well, it all started when we needed to hook up the internet to our new place. 

Long story short, it took 3 weeks and 6 or 7, rather angry, phone calls before Telstra even had our new account processed. Then another 2 weeks before the phone line was connected. Then ANOTHER week before the phone line was ready for a wifi internet connection. TALK ABOUT frustrating. 

So, 6 weeks without internet connection and only 1GB of data download on my phone doesn't leave much room to upload photos and create a new blog post. 

You would think moving in with my boyfriend would be cause enough to bake more. And you're right it is. But poor Steve doesn't have an adventurous palette (sorry darling), which somewhat limits my creative mind. Mostly he likes anything chocolate, as do I. But even a chocoholic such as myself needs variety. And unless I bake something that Steve will eat, I have to eat it all...which is not good for my figure. 

If I'm going to be completely honest my main reason for my 'long service leave' would have to be lack of inspiration. However, my new job at Adriano Zumbo's in Melbourne has kick started me back into gear and helped me to create this recipe. 

Rosemary seems like an unlikely ingredient to put into a cake but I'm telling you it really works. My sister used to make rosemary and raisin cookies and I've long wanted to expand this idea into other baked goods. 

I've always loved upside-down cakes. Caramelised fruit on top of a fluffy cake....I'm licking my lips at the thought. Don't be scared of the idea of pairing herbs with fruit. Otherwise, you'll be missing out on some serious taste bud dancing.  

1-2 Pears, peeled and sliced
60g Butter
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 Sprigs Rosemary
190g Butter, softened
1 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon Rosemary
2 cups Plain Flour
4 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 cup Almond Meal
1 cup Almond Milk

To make the cake...
Preheat oven to 180°C and grease and line a 25cm round cake tin.

For the topping, melt together the butter, brown sugar and rosemary in a saucepan and pour into prepared tin. Place the pear slices in a circular pattern in the bottom of the cake tin. Set aside. 

In an electric mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until pale in colour. Beat in eggs one at a time until well combined. Add dry ingredients and milk and beat with electric mixer until just combined. Pour mixture over pear topping. 

Bake for approximately 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. You may need to place foil over the cake if the top is browning too quickly. Allow to sit in the cake tin for 5 minutes before turning out. Serve immediately with cream or ice cream, or greek yoghurt.