polenta

Raspberry, blueberry, plum polenta

A lot of chefs say, ‘what grows together, goes together’ and I really do believe in this. Just think about it, summer salads of courgette ribbons, shaved runner beans and summer herbs, savoury winter tarts of beetroot, parsnip and carrot or the combination of end of summer-autumn fruits in this delicious and warming pudding made with plums, raspberries and blueberries, all of which have been growing abundantly in my garden (except the blueberries that I pick from my friend’s down the road). The fruits cooked all together make the most wonderful mix of flavours and lovely juices, whilst the polenta and almond crisp-crumble layer on top adds great texture, with the almond extract adding a marzipan like flavour, yum! Feel free to use other seasonal fruits, blackberry, pear and apple is a lovely combination, or even just apple studded with raisins or sultanas… I love quince too!

Fruit filling

250g plums, stoned weight, about 7-8 plums
120g raspberries, fresh or frozen
120g blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 tsp coconut sugar
Juice of ½ orange (40g/ ml juice)
2 strips orange zest, using a potato peeler
½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped out but do not discard the pod, add it to the fruit too!

polenta

Polenta almond crisp topping

50g polenta (fine or quick-cook)
70g ground almonds
70g brown rice flour
35g coconut sugar
¼ vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pink salt
Finely grated zest of half a lemon
70g coconut oil, melted
1 tsp almond extract

Preheat the oven to 200oC.

To make the filling, remove the stones from the plums and cut them into eight (quarter them then half each slice again!). Mix them in the dish you are using with the rest of the ingredients and leave the mix to macerate whilst you make the topping. I use a small-medium oval pie dish that is 21 x 15 x 5cm deep, but a similar size is fine.

To make the topping, mix together all of the ingredients from the polenta to the lemon zest. Add the melted coconut oil and almond extract and stir to combine and form a breadcrumb-like mix. Remove the empty vanilla pod from the fruit mix, give the mix a good stir with a wooden spoon and then scatter the crisp mix over the top of the fruit. Bake for 15 minutes until the top is golden-brown reduce the heat to …

Berry Banana Muffins

AM Berry Banana Muffins with Buckwheatie Seed Streusel

These amaranth, buckwheat, mixed berry and banana muffins are full of great things! With a spoonful of coconut yoghurt, they make a delicious breakfast (hence the AM!) with protein, fibre and a steady release of energy from these powerful pseudo-grains and seeds, as well as the banana and berries. If not for breakfast, make a batch on Sundays to pack in your lunches throughout the week, bake some for weekend brunch or tea. The oh-so-soft muffin is finished off with a crunchy buckwheat groat and seed topping, lightly spiced with cinnamon and mesquite. They’re full of flavour, texture and nourishing wholesome ingredients, what could go wrong?!

This recipe is gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free. For an egg-free vegan variation, try replacing the 2 eggs with 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp. ground flaxseeds mixed with 6 tbsp. water, stirred and left for 15 minutes), and adding 10g arrowroot to the dry ingredients. I have not tried it yet but do have a go and let me know how you get on, whichever recipe you try.

The night before, you will need three separate small bowls to soak the following

bowl 1
soak 75g whole amaranth grain
bowl 2
25 pumpkin seeds
25 sunflower seeds
10g flaxseeds/ linseeds
bowl 3
70g buckwheat groats
15g pumpkin seeds
15g sunflower seeds
15g flaxseeds/linseeds

Soak the seeds and grains in a generous amount of tepid water (enough to cover plus a bit more) and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt or sea salt.

The next day, using a fine sieve, drain all the grains and seeds, rinsing them under cold water and keeping the contents of each bowl separate.

Place the amaranth seeds in a saucepan and add 150g cold water. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a low heat until they have absorbed the water. When cooked, they should be soft with a slight bite (al dente). It will take about 10-15 minutes and in the meantime, the rest of the ingredients can be prepared. Stir the seeds occasionally, making sure that they don’t catch. Leave to cool.

Set the oven to 170oC and line a muffin tin with 12 cases.

75g whole grain buckwheat flour
1 tsp gluten-free bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt or fine sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mesquite (if you do not have mesquite powder, you …