Category Archives: breakfast

Vegan Hot Cross Buns

 

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Vegan Hot Cross Buns; moist with grated apple, warm with gentle spices, and sweet with dried cranberries, these are worth every minute of work. Get baking, there’s less than a month till Easter!

It just wouldn’t be Easter without Hot Cross Buns. Maybe this is something very specific to the UK but here you know Christmas is over when the mince pies are replaced with Hot Cross Buns even though Easter is still 3 months away! That being said, this is not a complaint as I love the ever changing seasons, and what better way to celebrate than with food that reminds you that warmer weather is on the way.

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This is my second Hot Cross Bun recipe on the blog. Without eggs, these are slightly lighter and more justifiably a breakfast food, and potentially slightly better for you! For me, this was all about making sure I still had a way to eat a tasty, delicious, and fresh Hot Cross Bun in time for Easter!

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My Hot Cross Buns are heavier with fruit than normal. As well as the traditional mixed peel and sultanas, I’ve added grated apple and dried cranberries for a nice sweet and sour hit. The apples tend to melt away here, but they keep the buns deliciously moist and sweet.

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These don’t need any topping apart from a light scraping of dairy free butter, and perhaps a smidge of honey or golden syrup if you eat these for elevenses. Personally, this is one of my breakfast treats, but that doesn’t mean I can’t eat them at 11, and again at 4, and again after dinner!

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Vegan Crepe Pancakes

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Fabulously simple, it’s hard to believe these are vegan. These are still as light and moreish as their eggy counterparts, just a teeny bit better for you.

I love pancakes, and every year I like to focus on bringing a new pancake recipe to the blog. This year, however, you’re being treated to two new recipes – both vegan! Although I’ve always been keen to experiment with more vegan recipes, I will admit that I have another personal reason for now giving it a wholehearted go (but that is a story for another time). Safe to say for now that finding a way to make great vegan pancakes has been a big part of my happiness in the last few months. The approaching Pancake Day (next Tuesday 28th Feb!!) is just a great excuse to share them!

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I will admit that I was very sceptical of vegan crepes working. I just couldn’t understand how they could hold together without an egg… let alone how they could be as light yet crispy as a ‘normal’ pancake. But these really are, and they honestly use the simplest of ingredients; flour, baking powder, non dairy milk and oil. That’s it. Unless you count the lemon and sugar toppings of course!

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I’ve said it before that I think baking powder is the secret to amazing vegan baking, and here it is no exception. The purpose of the baking powder here isn’t really to ‘rise’ the pancake, but to give it a light texture from all the air bubbles – much like an egg does. The only thing then that you’re missing is the fat. Ever so important in baking, this is such a key step to cracking vegan recipes. So don’t be put off by the oil content. It may sound a lot, but trust me when I say it’s needed to help bind the pancakes together, and to give them flavour.

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So here it is… my last pancake recipe for Pancake Day 2017. I personally don’t think these need anything other than a light sprinkle of sugar followed by a generous squeeze of lemon. But maybe that’s because I’m old school! Go mental with these and top them however you like – chocolate sauce and banana, ice cream and caramelised oranges… the combinations are delicious and endless!

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Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

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Pecan Cinnamon Rolls – a soft, chewy, sweet and light bun filled with chopped pecan nuts and cinnamon. Delicious and really easy to make at home, you’ll be making these bakery-perfect in no time.

One of my aims for last year was to continue to expand my bread making skills. Suffice to say that by the time Summer came, I had gotten a bit lazy. Apart from the odd focaccia and pizza base, I hadn’t made bread in quite a while, and then I saw these in a bakery whilst walking around our town centre. Well, how could I not be tempted to try and recreate them at home?!

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I’ve only once made anything similar – these Christmas Chelsea Buns – so although I was familiar with the concept of making an enriched dough, I’m by no means an expert. The end result should be a dough that is richer and sweeter than normal bread, softer and more buttery, and lighter from lots of tiny airholes. However complicated that might sound to achieve you really don’t need bread making experience to get these perfect. The main thing is just to knead until your arms hurt. And then knead some more!

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The end result is definitely worth the effort – a soft, chewy, ever-so-slightly sticky bun, with layers of sweet cinnamon and chunks of crunchy pecans throughout. Surprisingly not too sweet, but sweet enough to have alongside a strong coffee – Perfect for a mid-morning treat. As you can prove them overnight in the fridge, you can treat yourself to some freshly baked goods for a late breakfast, ideal on a lazy day.

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The buns get their classic shine from a little drizzle of sweet, sticky, maple syrup. It just begs to be put with warm spices like cinnamon, and used sparingly, the flavour doesn’t overtake the rest. It just makes for an irresistible bun, where eating them one at a time is certainly not an option!

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Fruit Scones

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Light, crumbly, fruit scones – packed full of sultanas, these scones only need a light spread of jam and a teaspoon of your favourite jam to achieve perfection. This reliable Delia recipe has been a family favourite for many years and never fails to delight.

So, I’m going to put it out there – my favourite time of the day to eat a scone is for breakfast. Now, I know what you’re all thinking. That is more than a little bit strange! In Britain, scones are a traditional afternoon tea treat. However, many moons ago my mother, who comes from Belgium, thought she would try and learn to make scones (she’s an absolute expert, and I have to admit hers always come out better than mine!). Her trusty Delia book did not give any indication of when these should be eaten, and so she made them for breakfast. And although it may not be conventional, it’s no more odd than eating a croissant and jam before 9am!

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You can of course still eat these at tea time – I tend to make mine as ‘mini’ scones, so you get to feel naughty and eat more than one – but I really consider them an any time of day treat. And as these scones have a generous amount of sultanas in them, you can kid yourself into thinking they count as one of your 5 a day!

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Now there may be many of you who are wondering what is a scone? And is it pronounced ‘skon’ or ‘scone’ (like cone with an ‘s’ at the front). Although I can’t answer the debate on pronunciation, I can explain what a scone is! Technically, it is a type of dough enriched with eggs and butter, where you start as if you were making pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour and sugar to make crumbs. The effect creates a crumbly half bread, half pastry product – crumbly and light, a good scone should melt away in your mouth, and provide a buttery texture and taste which is perfect for lashings of jam on top.

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Traditionally scones are served with jam and clotted cream – however our dairy free version comes with a nice bit of dairy free butter. Unfortunately I think clotted cream is just one of life’s pleasures we may have to go without, but there are other upsides – no cream means you can definitely have at least 1 more scone!

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No Knead Raspberry Breakfast Bread

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A deliciously fruity, warm bread – ideal for a weekend breakfast in bed on a cold, crisp morning. Stuffed with goodness from wholewheat flour, oats, and seeds, it will keep you going all morning long. 

So we’ve just got back from the most amazing holiday in Australia. It is definitely fair to say that we’re having a big case of the holiday blues… Coming from a wonderfully pleasant 30 degrees, blue skies and sunshine, the endless grey and drizzle back home has certainly been a bit of a shock to the senses! That being said, the trees have exploded with colour all around us whilst we’ve been away, and the leaves on the floor are just begging to be kicked around in childish delight. There are definitely upsides to an autumn at home.

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Another upside to this part of autumn is that we are in full on autumn/winter food mode. Think stews, casseroles, roast lunches, pies…. the list goes on. I think this bread fits into this category perfectly; warming and cosy, but cheery. This bread just screams to be eaten in bed – or at least pyjamas. It’s made for a lazy morning, perhaps pouring over the papers in bed with a coffee on a day when there’s no where to be. That’s my kind of weekend day!

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I’ve used raspberries as per the original recipe – they also happen to be my favourite fruit, so I’ll use them every chance I get – but you could use any kind of berries. I think mixed frozen berries would work particularly well, and they are a lot cheaper than fresh which is always a bonus!

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I’ve also included a super simple recipe for Honey Butter (think just honey… and butter). Of course you could just spread a little dairy free butter on, but it works brilliantly with the honey and it adds a little touch of luxuriousness . I think it needs a bit of sweetness to combat the wholewheat flour and seeds savoury flavours, and it really helps emphasise the raspberries.

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Banana Bread

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Warning: Not for those who don’t like bananas! A really simple recipe for Banana Bread, ideal for a breakfast treat or snack any time of the day. A great way to use up any old bananas!

Banana Bread is such a good recipe to have up your sleeve. I don’t know about you, but at the end of the week we always have a few bananas left in our fruit bowl, abandoned as the week goes on due to their ever growing brown spots. This recipe is one of my favourites as you have to use old overripe blackened bananas – they have a much stronger banana flavour and of course are much sweeter, which is just perfect for Banana Bread. I much prefer bananas on the green side for eating, so I find this recipe transforms your bin worthy bananas into something utterly delicious; a moist, dense cake where the banana flavour is the star, compliment by crunchy walnuts scattered throughout.

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As mentioned, the main reason for using old, blackened bananas is the sugar content. The blacker the bananas, the sweeter and more mashable they are, which is ideal for this recipe. The recipe actually has a relatively low added sugar content, because the natural sugars in the banana make up for it big time. If you don’t have ripe enough bananas for this recipe you can cheat and speed up their ageing process by baking them, skin on, in the oven for about 10 minutes until black all over and very squidgey.

I’ve made this banana bread very simply, with ingredients you almost certainly have in your cupboard. Unusually for me there are no surprising ingredients, no long list of spices, no twist on a classic. Instead this is as pure a Banana Bread recipe as you can get – the only addition being walnuts (as I think every great Banana Bread has to have texture!). You could use any nuts you like, pecans would also work well.

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I really enjoyed eating this as a breakfast treat, just cold and thickly sliced. It felt naughty, but everyone needs a treat every now and then… as I seem to tell myself every weekend!

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Cinnamon & Banana French Toast

IMG_0921Golden, soft yet crispy cinnamon french toast, topped with banana and served with a drizzle of maple syrup. This is a breakfast favourite I can promise you will keep coming back to.

French toast (or, honestly, eggy bread as it is called in my house) is one of my favourite breakfasts. I’ll tell you a naughty secret… I don’t just eat it on the weekends! If I feel like I need a pick-me-up breakfast on a weekday, this is my go to recipe as it can always put a smile on my face.

I eat french toast in several ways (try vanilla and blueberry with a sprinkle of icing sugar, or chocolate spread and strawberries) but this has to be my favourite. Despite drenching it in maple syrup, it tends to be a little less sweet than the other types, so you can try to convince yourself it’s better for you.

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Maple syrup is on the pricey side, but trust me when I say do not substitute it for honey or sugar. I used Waitrose Maple Syrup No.2 which has a stronger flavour – I prefer this to the lighter, less strong kinds as I find I tend to use a lot less which, for a breakfast recipe, is probably a good thing. Do make sure you buy pure maple syrup – not maple flavoured syrup, which is not real maple syrup, overly sweet and not maple-y at all.

This is a very simple recipe, requiring only a few ingredients. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes from when you start to getting it in your mouth, which for any breakfast recipe is a winning factor. I hope you enjoy!

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Cinnamon & Raisin Bagels

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A denser than normal bread with a crisp and chewy crust. Flavoured with cinnamon and stuffed with raisins, these are perfect just lightly buttered and topped with cinnamon sugar.

Bagels have been a very recent discovery for me. I often don’t bother to check the ingredients on baked goods, presuming they have butter or milk in them, but recently found New York Bakery Company’s bagels are dairy free! And so the last few weeks have been bagel filled whilst I’ve been trying different toppings, and it seems that everyone has their favourite combination. After experimenting with everything from eggs, jams and marmalades, peanut butter and chocolate spread, I have settled on my favourite…. Cinnamon and Raisin Bagels lightly buttered with a cinnamon sugar topping.

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These freshly bakes bagels are so much better than the shop bought variety; more crusty and chewy on the outside, much less dense in the middle. They were perfect just reheated in the oven for a few minutes, split open and then buttered. If you, like me, have no problem with something sweet occasionally for breakfast, sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon and sugar on top too. I love cinnamon so am generous with the cinnamon – Although there is quite a lot in the dough already, it only gives a gentle flavour once the bagels have been baked so I like to ramp it up.

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Bagels on paper did not look that difficult to make – but they were certainly one of the more challenging types of bread that I have made. There are two things that made it different to normal dough; One thing is that you make a pre-ferment (sounds complicated but was actually incredibly simple), and the second is that the dough has very low hydration levels, which makes it very stiff and a good work out for your arms to knead it. I would not recommend making these as a first time bread maker, but if you’ve made any sort of bread before you will be fine.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from Richard Bertinet’s book ‘Crust’ but has been adapted to make them cinnamon and raisin flavoured. If you wanted to make plain bagels simply omit the cinnamon and raisins and reduce the honey to 20g.

With all of that being said these bagels were so delicious and worth the effort that I will definitely be doing them again. It makes me wish we held brunches at our house just to have an excuse to make them regularly!

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Hot Cross Buns

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Perfect Hot Cross Buns, spiced bread dough studded with cranberries, sultanas and apples. Perfect for an Easter Breakfast.

Easter is most certainly on its way; even at Christmas you do not see such an abundance of chocolate in the shops! As well as chocolate there are fluffy baby chicks and pastel table decorations aplenty. But nothing says Easter to me as much as the piles and piles of Hot Cross Buns sold everywhere, as these still remain one of the few foods that you can’t buy all year round.

I haven’t eaten a shop bought Hot Cross Bun for a long time, not being able to eat the butter they are usually full of, so this year I thought I would tackle making them from scratch – and what a great result! I’m not going to lie… they take quite a long time and a lot of organisation but it is so worth the effort. This recipe suggests proving the dough overnight which means that if you want to eat them for breakfast on a Sunday (before midday!), you’ll start the dough on Friday night and bake them on the Saturday. The effort is really worth it though; the dough becomes light yet chewy, and the spices have time to permeate the dough ensuring their flavour stands out against the sweet fruits. IMG_0504 These Hot Cross Buns are a mixture of the traditional and the new; more fruity than usual with cranberries, apples and sultanas, and very aromatic with orange zest and mixed spice instead of just cinnamon. You can easily play around with these flavours and add or take away as you wish – for example, add ground cardamon instead of mixed spice, or change the flavours all together and replace with chocolate, cranberry, cinnamon and ginger for a twist.

After the effort and time of baking these, serve them on a beautifully decorated table (look here for a quick and simple idea, ideal for Easter), just warmed through in the oven, split in half and lightly spread with dairy free butter. In all honesty, who could imagine a better Easter breakfast than that? It might just make you wish we could eat these all year round… IMG_0577 IMG_0519_1 Continue reading

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Blueberry Pancakes – Perfect for Pancake Day!

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Light, fluffy American style pancakes bursting with blueberries, served with lashings of maple syrup.

I love pancakes. There – I’ve said it. I love pancakes! And although I’ve done this post specifically in time for Pancake Day (Tuesday 17th Feb 2015), I really don’t believe that pancakes should be reserved for only one day of the year. These are my favourite Sunday breakfast and they also double up as a great store-cupboard dessert for when you are in need – just add a scoop of ice cream on the side.

The great thing about this recipe is that you really can substitute the fruit and flavours for anything you fancy (Try replacing the blueberries with a pinch of cinnamon and 1/2 a banana thinly sliced) – although blueberries will always be my top choice. In my opinion you just can’t beat the bursts of flavour in your mouth as you bite through a sweet, juicy blueberry.

To top off these pancakes, maple syrup is the only thing to use. Pancakes and maple syrup were made to go together, and the lack of over-sweetness in maple syrup makes it the perfect combination for breakfast. Always buy real maple syrup and never maple flavoured syrup (which is usually maple syrup flavour added to a pure sugar syrup) and buy the best you can afford. The better brands tend to be far less sweet and have a much deeper flavour. I really like Buckwud maple syrup which you can buy in most major supermarkets (and is currently save 1/3rd in Waitrose which is a great deal!).

I called these ‘American style’ pancakes as traditional American pancakes are made with plain (all-purpose) flour and bicarbonate of soda to give them the rise. These pancakes cheat slightly as they use self-raising flour which is a pre-made mix of plain flour and baking powder, but I personally don’t find it alters the taste or texture of the pancakes and makes them even simpler to make.

I hope you all have a fantastically pancake filled Pancake Day 2015!

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