Tag Archives: oatmeal

Oatmeal, rye and wheat bread on a lazy weekend

Accra food

A street sign I passed the other day, heading to the tailor.  Fufu is a popular Ghanaian staple food prepared with plantain and cassava or yam, eaten with soup or sauce. Not dissimilar to sadza or ugali, though those are usually made with maize. Banku is another starchy Ghanaian dish, a mix of fermented corn and cassava dough.  Ghanaian food is tasty, though I find fufu rather on the gloopy side.

A three-day weekend, and no plans…. Friends invited me to the Volta region, but road safety is bad enough here that several hours in holiday traffic was not tempting. No, I do have plans: be home alone, do laundry, read, browse Ravelry, start packing for upcoming work trip, plan holiday knitting, and take stock of my fridge shelf. One thrill after the next, I know. Work is really busy and it is lovely to switch off, to not worry about the clock, and to do some leisurely bread baking.  I had oatmeal for breakfast, and 12 grammes of fresh yeast lurking in a small box, so this bread is being thrown together in an ad hoc way. Time to empty out anything that might spoil or that the the ants might get into while I am away. The next trip is a chance to get exotic things like affordable cheese and celery, sundried tomatoes, biscotti and yes: fresh yeast. There is generally a wishlist from friends as well, so suitcase space for the return trip will be well used.

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This makes a nice sandwich bread, in the Kneippbrød style. Matpakkebrød, as Norwegians would say: “packed lunch bread”, sturdy bread for open-faced sandwiches wrapped in paper. Often one slice with salted butter, Norvegia cheese and a slice of red bell pepper, and one slice with brunost (brown goast cheese) – mmmmmm.

Oatmeal, rye and wheat bread  (3 loaves)

12 grammes fresh yeast (or 6gr dry yeast)
1 litre water
1000 gram plain wheat flour
150 grammes wholewheat flour
150 grammes  coarse rye flour
100 grammes quick cooking oatmeal
1.5 tsp sugar
Last: 25 grammes salt

Crumble the yeast into lukewarm water and stir. Add the rest except salt and stir well: thus will be a shaggy moist dough. If you do not have rye flour, no worries: just use same weight in wholewheat flour. I just figured it was time to break into my precious bag of Norwegian rye flour. After ten minutes, sprinkle salt over dough, then fold dough over itself with a sturdy wooden spoon. Cover and leave to rest in the bowl for an hour (I use a  plastic shower cap to cover the bowl). In a cool kitchen you might need more time.

After an hour, fold the dough again: Using a wooden spoon or a strong spatula, lift and stretch, folding dough over itself, going around the bowl. You’ll see the gluten developing, and the dough becoming more elastic. Leave to rest another hour or so. I am not a great kneader, so seeing how time and higher hydration make up for some of that always makes me happy.

Divide dough into two or three parts, depending on the size of your loaf tins. Line loaf tins with baking parchment. It’s quite a high hydration dough, I did not shape it or tighten edges. Tip dough into loaf tins, and let them rise for the last time, covered with a damp tea towel. The dough should double: at 30C  in Accra, about 40 minutes. Heat the oven to 230C. Bake them on lower shelf for 40 minutes or so, depending on your oven. I baked all three loaves at once.

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This was dinner, with the last episodes of “Alias Grace”, which was excellent.  Next time I I must remember to slash the dough right before it goes into the oven, to avoid cracks on side. Baked loaves freeze well (I cut the loaves in two, so I can pull out a half loaf at a time from the freezer bags.)

 

 

 

 

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Banana oatmeal pancakes

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In honour of Shrove Tuesday, which is on February 13th this year: pancakes!  These were also a pre-travel, clear out fridge cooking effort (not much of an effort, really). I must confess, I do not particularly like bananas, but will eat them in banana bread and pancakes.  Freshly made pancakes with jam? Excellent start to the day! It really should be fastelavnsboller, Norwegian Shrovetide buns filled with whipped cream, but given the massive cost of whipping cream in Accra, this is close enough!

Banana oatmeal pancakes

2 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
2 small eggs
50 ml milk
1/2 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar
pinch of cinnamon
1/2  cup plain all-purpose wheat flour
butter to fry pancakes

Mix everything, beat with a fork until smooth. I had small sweet Accra bananas and small eggs, you might need more or less milk and flour depending on batter consistency. I made this the night before, and left batter in fridge so I could have pancakes when waking up with minimum effort.

Heat your frying pan, add a little butter and fry pancakes until golden and cooked through. Serve warm with jam (also very nice with Biscoff).

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Note: these were veering towards hockey puck firmness, after the batter sat in fridge overnight. Another small egg or a splash of milk might have lightened them. Very tasty though, and it made about 8-9 of these, so this will be another breakfast as well.  Last time I added sesame seeds to the pancakes, which was a good addition.

As another house move is coming up soon, my pantry is mainly in boxes or given away, but I am looking forward to unpacking in March and restocking at Relish (flax/sesame/chia seeds) and the Great Wall Supermarket (mirin, bok choi, rice noodles, soy sauce, good fresh tofu). Accra is OK for certain items, if you know here to go and can afford them. I just heard that Saagar (Indian shop in Osu) has frozen paneer, so that is also on my list. Given that it will be a shared kitchen, some discipline will needed for what can actually fit. Still, it will be nice to soon cook and not wonder which box the thyme/chili flakes/Worcester sauce/etc are stashed away in.

 

Waiting for elections, and banana granola

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What to do when the bananas in your fridge seem to multiply by the day? This month I’ve made butterscotch banana bread, banana fritters, and banana-peanut butter smoothies, but still there were twelve black bananas today. I confess, I don’t even particularly like bananas, though my husband does, and they are always in season here. So seven bananas went in the freezer (peel and all, new experiment), two are set aside for fritters, and three went in this granola. I’d seen Banana Granola at Green Kitchen Stories, which looks delightful. This is a cross between that and my normal granola. The latter is based on my mother’s 1970s recipe, thus infallible, merely updated with the ingredients we can get here.

Speaking of here: there are ten days left until Ghana has elections on 7 December. Will the National Democratic Congress (NDC) stay in power, or will there will be a shift to the New Patriotic Party (NPP)? There are banners, debates, flags on trees, and radio debates. Campaign cars drive around with loudspeakers, exhorting respective party virtues and slogans through muffled megaphones and playing music. Posters asking for peaceful elections abound, and we can only hope that is the case. In the interim, time to make granola.

Banana granola

700 grammes old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cook)
a handful of rye flakes
60 grammes untoasted sesame seeds
1 pinch sea salt
40 grammes sunflower oil
1 tsp salt
3 very ripe small bananas, peeled and mashed (about 250 grammes)
100 grammes golden syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon

After baking, I added:
A generous handful of unshelled, salted toasted pumpkin seeds
A generous handful toasted  coconut chips

Heat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. In the tray, mix oats, sesame seeds and salt. Mash bananas, mix with oil and syrup, and pour over oats. Mix well, so everything is slightly coated Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes or so, checking at at 10-15-20 minutes that it is not burning, and stirring through oatmeal so it all gets evenly toasted. Cool (if in Accra, while keeping an eye out for marauding ants) then store in an air-tight container. I am happy to report that the banana flavour in the granola is not overpowering!

Notes: I normally make granola with golden syrup and sunflower oil, maybe some mashed apple, and assorted seeds, so this one with banana felt quite moist after 15 minutes. I did not want it to burn though, so checked every five minutes. The less you stir the lumpier it gets,  if you like that, just make sure it’s evenly toasted. We keep our granola in the fridge, as the ants get into all kinds of things here. Last week, they invaded the peanut butter. We actually bought a second fridge where we now keep oatmeal, cereal, sugar, golden syrup, the precious maple syrup from our Canadian neighbours, Italian cheeses and salumi, English cheddar, blueberry jam from my mother, spare flour, etcetera…  No need to encourage the wildlife. 

Speaking of ants and other bugs: below, another bag of oatmeal, just bought, very bug-infested when opened. I know insect protein is healthy, and something we will see more of in the future, and that food waste is a shame…. but this was a little too lively to be salvaged. Urrrrgh. Flour is easier, when I find bread flour I just freeze it and sift the weevils and such out later. 

bugs in oatmeal