Archive for the ‘Snack’ Category

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

I love autumn mornings; especially at dawn when it’s foggy and quiet with daylight just filtering in.
It feels familiar, like the cold dry harmattan mornings from my childhood.

This is also my favourite time to bake, the world is perfect in that still solitary moment when I get to do what I absolutely love.

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

I rarely plan ahead for breakfast, I reckon a lot of people don’t, not in the way we plan dinner.
For breakfast, I usually go with whatever I can whip up quickly, dry cereal and nut milk most of the time, or coffee and pastries when running errands or traveling.

But on those special weekend mornings, I do plan ahead for breakfast.

I take a few days and decide what to make, sifting through cookbooks and collected recipes for that perfect something… a cake perhaps or waffles, socca or these delightful orange poppy seed muffins.

I knew I’d love these muffins for a lazy weekend breakfast, they are those kind of muffins… the kind that doesn’t require a lot of effort, smell heavenly while they bake and taste divine.

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins Orange Poppy Seed Muffins
Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

They’re subtly tangy from an infusion of orange juice and zest, moist from mashed bananas and flecked with toasted poppy seeds for added crunch and texture, with hints of warming spices.

It’s the kind of muffin that makes breakfast special, I love it when the house awakens to the smell of these muffins baking.

They’re a treat with freshly brewed coffee… homemade lattes are the best!

And on those lazy, lazy Saturdays of rain and gloom… I curl up under the covers and read a good magazine from cover to cover and while away the morning.

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins Orange Poppy Seed Muffins
Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Lemon Olive Oil Cake Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Lemon Olive Oil Cake

I’ve neglected this space for far too long; in that time I’ve had éclairs in Paris, coffee in Amsterdam and an amazing lunch in London.
It’s been an active couple of weeks; exhausting but in a good way, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m back now, and just like last year I’m battling a cold again.
I have plans for soup this weekend, black-eyed peas stewed in a brothy sauce with lots of harissa and cumin and topped with fried sage – I can almost taste it!

But I’ll like to share this lemon olive oil cake with you before I move on to that – I’ve had this post prepped and ready for weeks, waiting for words to go with it. It feels surreal to be staring at it again after all this time.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

This cake saved me this summer, not in that critical and dramatic way one usually gets saved, but I made it a few times over summer and it felt like a little victory every time it came out perfectly. It made life deliciously easy.

It’s one of those cakes that looks like a bit of work, but it really isn’t – it’s a breeze to make and it turns out spectacular every time!

I collected a few teas during my vacation, I stayed across the street from the oldest tea house in Paris.

I knew I’d need lots of tea to get me through the damp grey autumn and winter months ahead; I had these intoxicating images of cold rainy afternoons curled up with aromatic cups of tea with generous slices of this cake.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

I try to use mild and fruity olive oils that taste smooth for this cake, and Meyer lemons if I can find them, although I’m beginning to love the bold flavours of regular lemons.

I love the sweet lemony flavours. It’s the perfect everyday cake for breakfast or afternoon tea, and light enough as a refreshing dessert (after a heavy meal) with whipped cream and fruit.

This is one of my favourite cakes just because it’s simple, rustic and delectable with wonderful crumb and texture.
We’ve been collecting a list of cakes for our would-be café for years and this definitely makes the cut.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Lemon Olive Oil Cake


Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit

Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit
Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit

There’s a cute paradise of a nut shop in my neighbourhood that sells all manner of tasty nuts and dried fruits, they have these magical saffron and lime roasted cashews that are out-of-this-world delicious, and okra chips so addictive I’m slightly obsessed with them.

I noticed they had rose petals the other day so I got some, unsure of what I was going to make with them… I loved the delicate floral scent and the alluring petals.

Perhaps it’s because I bought them at the store where I’d gone to get nuts for granola, but the first thing they went into was this rose petal granola with dried fruit.

Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit
Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit

The rose petals adds a tinge of sparkle to this otherwise modest granola, I love the essence it adds to it, the subtle notes of the rose enlivens the granola – it smells wonderful, the faint aroma of roses is quite lovely especially in the mornings.

This isn’t my first dalliance with floral flavours in granola; you’d recall this lavender granola, which to this day remains one of my favourite granola ever!

I know the title says ‘rose petals’ and I’ve gone on and on about roses… but omit the petals if you can’t find them, it’s still a very good granola without the roses or feel free to experiment with other flavours, that’s the beauty and flexibility in granola making.

Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit

It’s rounded off with rosewater, cardamom and a dash of nutmeg, which reminded me of a rosewater and cardamom cocktail I had a while back, I wanted to impact a little bit of that sweet, warm flavour into the granola.

I love experimenting with granola and discovering new recipes as evident by my expertly curated ‘granola board of inspiration

Another trick I’ve learned recently is that if you like your granola to clump up, don’t stir while it’s baking and when you take it out of the oven, add your dried fruit and other ingredient (if using) and press it down firmly into the baking pan, let the granola cool completely, then break into pieces before serving or storage.

Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit
Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit


Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit

Cornmeal Muffins

Cornmeal Muffins

There’s something wistful about the start of September.

It’s filled with subtle changes; the days get shorter and there’s a moodiness in the air, the leaves start turning and there’s an early morning chill signaling summer’s inevitable end.

I’ve always loved this time of year; it feels contemplative as we shift focus from hazy summer days to the drearier days ahead.

There’s also a lightness to this time of year, bursts of perfect sunshiny days reminding us that summer isn’t quite over.

Cornmeal Muffins

Cornmeal Muffins

This is the time we ease back into the kitchen; roasting vegetables, baking and cooking decadent porridges again.

We fired up the oven this evening, slow roasting okra with hatch peppers and heirloom tomatoes.

I save cornmeal muffins for this time of the year; they’re summery and breezy, easy to whip up on cooler evenings when turning on the oven doesn’t feel stifling.

Aromatic flavours wafts through my tiny kitchen as it bakes and makes my heart happy.

Cornmeal Muffins Cornmeal Muffins
Cornmeal Muffins

These muffins are sweet, with hints of nutmeg and cardamom for warmth and topped with a sprinkle of pearl sugar to boost the cornmeal’s nutty crunchiness.

They’re just right for evenings around here, these delicate muffins, served warm with a pot of tea and a good book.

It’s perfect for lingering as darkness falls… as the sounds of the seagulls filter away and the 9 O’Clock Gun goes off in the distance.

There’s a touch of lightness and warmth to these muffins that is a little like this time of year.

Cornmeal Muffins

Cornmeal Muffins

Oven Baked Marmite Cashews

Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey

I’ve probably told the ‘marmite story’ a million times, of how my sister was anaemic when we were kids and marmite was one of the foods her doctor had recommended… It’s the story of how the dark spread came into my life.

I don’t recall liking marmite that much as a child; my mom would spread it thinly on toast and we’d eat it like it was medicine.

Years later when I tried marmite again, it tasted salty and savoury and bitter, and a little like nostalgia.
It grew on me halfway through the jar; I liked the salty savouriness, the yeasty, deep umami flavours reminiscent of reduced vegetable stock (vegetable demi-glace).

Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey

We’re steadily eating our way through the few jars of marmite we got last year, it’s mostly my mom, she likes a dab in her morning Milo or hot chocolate.

I was over the moon when I discovered marmite snacks, we can’t get them here unfortunately so that just means I have to be creative.

I’ve been making marmite-y nuts for a while now, these nuts are so tasty even marmite haters love them, marmite adds an extra depth of saltiness and savouriness to the roasted nuts.

And these oven baked marmite cashews spectacular, by far my favourite marmite nuts; the cashews turn out creamy and buttery, and salty and that addictive umami taste – It’s so hard to stop eating them!

Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey

Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey


Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey


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