Monday, 28 August 2017

Tropical Flavored All-Bran Muffins

These are delicious, moist bran muffins made with a variety of tropical flavors that remind me of my childhood in the Caribbean (Tamarind, dates, oranges, lemons). There is no added sugar other than that from the dates. The dates also help provide the moistness and additional fiber as well. They do require some preparation but are well worth the effort. They freeze well, and also defrost and reheat to their original state in the microwave.
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups Kellogg's® All-Bran® Original cereal
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 3/4 cups half and half
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup yogurt
2 teaspoon orange extract
12 large Medjool dates finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon tamarind paste or concentrate (available from Asian stores or Amazon)

1.      Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nuts (if using) and salt. Set aside.
2.      Finely chop the dates and mix in with the half and half. Let stand for 20 minutes so that the dates can soften.
3.      Zest and juice the lemon. Place this in a small bowl and mix in the tamarind concentrate and orange extract.
4.      Pour the date and half and half mixture over the all-bran cereal.  Let stand about 2 minutes or until cereal softens.
5.      In the meantime, beat the yogurt, egg and oil well until thick and creamy looking.  Add the lemon mixture and make sure it’s mixed in. Add this mixture to the all bran and half and half, then add all to the flour mixture, stirring only until combined. Portion evenly into twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin pan cups (I use the foil lined, jumbo sized ones from Reynolds).
6.       Bake at 400° F about 20 minutes or until golden brown. A cake tester inserted should come out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Oat Blueberry Breakfast or Tea Wedges

These are hearty wedges that will keep you feeling full for a while! The texture and density is a cross between and English Scone and a Caribbean Rock Cake or Jamaican "Bullah"! The dough is messy and yukky to work with, and does get your hands dirty. It's best to have all ingredients measured and placed in little saucers and bowls so as not to have to keep washing your hands to avoid getting soft dough over everything else. When you are making it and have your hands almost elbow deep in soft dough, you will wonder why you're even making it. However when you have taken them out of the oven, and spread a split wedge with jam, clotted cream or cheese of your'll understand why you bothered! 

7 ozs whole wheat flour
1 oz oatmeal, oat bran or oat flour
2 tablespoons Old Fashioned Oats
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
2 ozs butter, diced up
1 oz white sugar
1 oz brown sugar
3 ozs blueberries, washed and dried on a paper towel
1 oz dried cranberries
4 tablespoons Greek style yogurt
4 fluid ozs half and half
Additional flour in a small bowl to use during the kneading process
1.      Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Mix the flour, oat preparation you have opted to use (meal, bran or flour), salt, spice, baking soda and powder into a large bowl. Rub in butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2.      Mix the sugars and dried cranberries into the half and half. Add the blueberries to the dry mixture. Add the liquid along with the yogurt to the dry mixture. Mix to form a soft dough.
3.      Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead for a while until smooth and forms a ball. Roll the dough in the 2 tablespoons oats, making sure that the oats stick well to the surface, and shape the dough into an 8 inch round on the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cut deeply into the round to divide into 6 wedges.
4.      Bake this for about 25-30 minutes until raised and nicely browned. Cool on a rack and cut fully into wedges when cool. Split open and serve with jam and cheese of your choice.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Seeded Oatcakes

Yes! I am nuts about the combination of oats and seeds! These cookies/crackers/biscuits....whatever you want to call them make a nice snack any time of day. They are crisp and crunchy, and go well with tea or coffee. Eaten with jam and cheese of your choice, they are really delicious!

1 cup Oats
1 cup oatmeal or oat bran
1 Cup Flour
2 tablespoons flax meal
½ tsp Salt
½ Cup Crisco or other vegetable shortening
¼ tsp Baking Soda
½ Cup Brown Sugar
¼ Cup plus tablespoons water
2 tablespoons oats
2 tablespoons sesame, chia or hemp seeds
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the 2 tablespoons oats, and seeds in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix the larger quantities of oats, oatmeal or bran, flour, and salt in a large bowl
  4. Rub shortening into dry ingredients until it looks like coarse bread crumbs.
  5. Dissolve sugar and baking soda in boiling water
  6. Add liquid mixture to dry, and shape into a dough ball (add more wet or dry mixture to bring the dough together). Press to flatten. Top the dough ball with the mixed seeds and oats and roll the dough out to be about ¼ inch thick.
  7. Cut into squares.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown. They should be dry to touch. Turn off oven and return cookies to oven with the door slightly ajar so that the cookies can finish drying out. Store in an airtight container.  

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Tres Leches Baked Oatmeal

This is not a very sweet baked oatmeal but is very dense, very heavy with good "stick to the ribs" qualities that keeps you feeling full! It is packed with oats in various forms (flakes, meal and bran). It’s sweet enough for me, especially with fruit but for those who like it sweeter, it can be topped with your favorite stewed fruit,  maple syrup or additional spoonfuls of dulce de leche. Dulce de leche is a caramelized condensed milk with a delightful flavor. It is not used to excess here so as to be overwhelming. 

2 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 cup Scottish oatmeal
1 cup oat bran
1/2 cup flax meal
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup dry, shredded coconut
6 ozs dried Medjool dates, halved
1/2 cup walnut halves
 ½  teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
2 cups milk
1 3/4 cups half and half
1 can (14 fl oz) La Lecherea Dulce de Leche

1.      In a large bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon, oatmeal, oat bran, flax meal, baking powder, and salt. 
2.      Mix the milk, brown sugar, dulce de leche and half and half in a saucepan. Bring to just under simmer, stirring constantly until the dulce de leche is mixed in with the milk. Allow to cool.   
3.      Heavily grease a 8x8x2 inch baking tin or Pyrex dish (If I’m using Pyrex, I put about 1-2 tablespoons of butter in the dish, microwave to melt, then swirl around to coat the bottom and sides just like you would do when making a bread pudding).  
4.      Whisk the eggs, and add the lukewarm milk mixture to this.
5.      Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to distribute the solids evenly. Decorate the top with date halves and walnut halves. Refrigerate for a few hours (6 hours at least) or overnight for the dry ingredients to absorb the wet mixture. Prior to baking, pour an additional 1/4 cup of half and half over the top of the oatmeal and poke holes in the mixture with a skewer to aid absorption of the liquid.

6.      Bake in a water bath for 1 hour and twenty to thirty minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until the center is set, firm to the touch, has a golden color, and a cake tester inserted comes out relatively clean (I use a food thermometer to make sure that the center temperature is 164 degrees Fahrenheit or just above).