Tag Archives: oatmeal

Banana oatmeal pancakes


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).


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


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

Oatmeal bread with cracked wheat


It is 15 September, and schools started today after the summer. Waiting for the bus, I was passed by parents with immaculately dressed children, pulling shiny new trolley backpacks. It is still warm, but summer clothes are on the wane, at least in our neighbourhood. Women are wearing more black, definitely less pastels, but with tiny chic sweaters, or little scarves draped against the morning chill (19C). There was also a small bus strike today, so things are back to normal. The next strike, announced for 1 October, will be more noticeable – unless the weather forecast is really bad, in which case the strike may be postponed. Always an adventure!

Anyway, back to bread. I had great intentions of reviving my sourdough starter this weekend, but Sunday arrived, with no progress. My sourdough starter has been abandoned in the fridge since mid-August. We got home late after trying a new pizzeria (Pizzeria Ostiense, with piazzaioli who used to work at Da Remo in Testaccio – excellent thin Roman pizza both places) and I simply forgot….. So I made Nigella’s Ricotta Hotcakes for Sunday breakfast, and baked this loaf instead, slightly impromptu.

September oatmeal bread with cracked wheat

50 grammes oatmeal
50 grammes cracked wheat
50 grammes golden flax seeds
150 ml boiling water

300 grammes white wheat flour (I used 00)
140 grammes whole wheat flour
60 grammes rye flour
(Alternately, just use 200 grammes wholewheat flour)
2 tsp dry yeast (10 grammes or so)
400 grammes water
8 grammes salt

Pour boiling water over the cracked wheat, oatmeal and flax seeds. I use golden flax seeds, but regular brown ones would be great here too. Soak for an hour or so. Alternately soak this all the night before in cold water, if you are a bit more organized. I was not.

Now, add dried yeast and salt and water. Mix well, then add salt. Leave to rest ten minutes, then fold dough. Leave to rise for an hour or two, depending on your kitchen temperature. It is 27C here midday, so it was quick. Fold again, and shape dough. Move it to a banneton, covered (I used baking parchment in the banneton, with a plastic shower cap to cover it. Leave to rise for 1-2 hours, until it has risen nicely.
Pre-heat oven to 230C. Slash the top of the dough, 4-5 cuts, and lift the dough over to a shallow baking tin. It is a sticky dough. Bake 45 min or so, uncovered, until the loaf looks golden brown and done. Remove from oven and cool before slicing.


Notes: This was proofed a bit too long, as I had to wait for the washing machine to finish before turning the oven on. Oh, the joys of Roman electricity…. It is like rock, paper, scissors, but with washing machine, dishwasher, oven, iron ….. And the electric kettle trumps everything. Two of anything, and the fuse blows. We are used to running everything in sequence. Still, the bread was tasty, though not the prettiest loaf, and very good for sandwiches. I might try this again in small loaf tins. And I WILL feed my starter soon!