Berries


oatmeal-pudding-and-ambrosia

I agree, that subject is way too long. It’s the middle of my Week of Breakfasts and I decided to go big. This was the first recipe that caught Alexander’s eye and sparked this little event. As a child I never cared for oatmeal breakfasts, I always found the texture gross and the whole business rather tasteless. This dislike grew by leaps and bounds in high school res where we got it for breakfast almost daily.

Luckily for oats Alexander recently restored my faith in it by preparing delicious bowls of warm oatmeal with pecans and fresh berries. I’m sure I would have been a much more agreeable youth if berries were as readily available in South Africa as they are here in the States. I am really enjoying have it with breakfast daily.

Today’s breakfast takes a while to prepare, but you can make the oats the night before (if using ramekins) and reheat it the next morning in a pan of gently simmering water. I will give the recipe for the oatmeal here and create a different entry for the ambrosia.

For the oatmeal pudding you need to take out:

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup water

2 cups whole milk

3 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

And for the vanilla sauce:

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:

Butter four ramekins and set aside.

Toast the oats in a heavy saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the deepend a little in color and become fragrant.  Pour in the water, followed by the other ingredients for the oats.  Bring it to a boil, cover and lower heat to a bare simmer, cooking for another 5 minutes until it is soft and thick. Divide the mixture equally between the ramekins, cover with a single piece of foil and let it sit at room temperature until it firms in the ramekins, about 10-15 minutes.

While this is happening, prepare the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a saucepan and cooking over medium heat until it is reduced to about a 3/4 cup.

Next, run a knife around the inside of the ramekins, turn upside down on plates and give a light shake to release the pudding. Spoon the warm sauce over the each and serve, accompanied by the ambrosia. You can also just serve the pudding in the dish. I did not use ramekins, as I was not going to heat it up again, so I just used little glass dishes.

oatmeal-pudding-and-berries

Serving both dishes at ones did not turn out to be too much. The oatmeal pudding was rich and creamy with a delightful taste of ginger. Taking bites of the fresh ambrosia in between helped to balance the rich and creaminess of the oatmeal. It also tasted great taken with bites of pudding. A winner.

This recipe is from A Real American Breakfast by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bil Jamison. It yields enough to serve 4 to 5 people.

berry-ambrosia1

I’ve never made ambrosia and I think I’ve probably never had it as well. I think. According to A Real American Breakfast, it is a Southern holiday dessert, but makes for a nice breakfast at any time of the year. The recipe used orange slices, but suggested strawberries too, so I decided to go with that. Because I did not have quite enough strawberries I rounded up the figure with some black berries.

For breakfast ambrosia you should find:

2 pounds berries, thickly sliced

confectioner’s sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup fresh orange juice

coconut water from a fresh coconut, brandy, orange curacao or sweet white wine (optional)

Preparing the ambrosia:

Arrange a layer of berries at the bottom of a bowl, sprinkle with some sugar and cover with a little coconut. Add another layer, using the black berries this time and also sprinkle some sugar and cover with coconut. Continue in alternating layers until there you’ve used all the berries. Pour some coconut water (or any of the alcoholic options) and the orange juice over the fruit, sprinkle with some sugar and cover with a generous layer of coconut. Refrigerate the ambrosia before serving, but not for too long, only about an hour.

I ended up halving the recipe and serving it in individual little glasses, showing off the layers of berries and coconut. It looked really pretty. A pleasant accompanied to breakfast and certainly something to keep in mind for a festive event.

berry-ambrosia2

This recipe is from A Real American Breakfast by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bil Jamison. It yields enough to serve 6 people.

pancakes-and-sauce31

We start out the week with something simple. Buttermilk pancakes accompanied by a sauce of blue, black and red berries. I used to always mess up pancakes really badly. The reason for this lies in the word pancake. In South Africa a pancake is more like a crepe, in North America it’s what we in SA call a flapjack. For years I would grab pancake recipes online, try to make large thin pancakes, only to burn it and completely ruin breakfast. I discovered my mistake one morning last year and since things have been going a lot better.

This breakfast recipe includes two steps, first I’ll prepare the berry sauce and then the pancakes, serving them together while both are still warm.

For the sauce gather:

3 cups blueberries

2-4 tablespoons sugar

fresh lemon juice to taste

And for the pancakes collect:

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 large egg, separated

1 and 3/4- 2 cups buttermilk

To prepare the sauce, combine the berries, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, the sugar should be melted and the fruit soft. Taste, add more sugar if needed, making sure it is also melted before removing from the heat. Stir in a couple of drops of lemon juice to taste and set aside. The sauce should be kept warm.

For the pancakes, stir the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl, scrape in the melted butter and stir until the butter disappears into the dry ingredients. Set aside. Beat the egg white until soft peaks appear and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk with 1 and 3/4 cups buttermilk until it becomes frothy. When ready, pour it in with the dry ingredients and butter mixture and combine well (but take care not to over mix). If the batter seems difficult to pour, add a little more buttermilk. Finally, fold the egg white into the batter.

pancakes-and-berry-sauce41

Heat a skillet, grease with some oil and cook the pancakes like you would any other pancake. When the pancakes are done, serve with the warm berry sauce.

I found the recipe extremely easy, even though it seems like there are more steps than usual. The batter was light and airy, resulting in nice fluffy pancakes. Adding the cornmeal gave it a nice crunch, without being overwhelmingly crunchy. The sauce was excellent. I ended up using only about 2 tablespoons of sugar and added a teeny bit of lemon juice to balance out the flavors. Using a variety of berries made for a slightly more colorful sauce and the black and red berries added a little more texture too. It’s the ideal recipe for a romantic surprise breakfast in bed.

pancakes-and-sauce2

This recipe is from A Real American Breakfast by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bil Jamison. It yields enough to serve 4 people.

* Thanks like always to X for the pictures.

I found out last night that today would be Alexander’s dad’s last day of radiation therapy. He started just before we arrived and left the house early each morning for his sessions, returning a little tired every time, but always trying to stay positive and take it in his stride. To celebrate his final session I decided to try my hand at clafouti again. The first time I made it was for an HHDD challenge and it came out a bit of wreck I think. Why I decided to make something I thought I was no good at for a special occasion I don’t know, I’m weird that way.

Luckily for me (and the other people at the breakfast table) it came out fine. A cake crust-like texture on top with the center the consistency of custard. I found the recipe at allrecipes.com and followed it exactly, only reading some of the suggestions afterwards. Again, I am weird that way. One person suggested adding more flour to the batter to ensure that the clafouti’s crust is nice and cake like and also do not fall after baking, which is what happened to mine, but just a little. But only when using fruit that’s more moist, like blueberries, if using cherries you’d probably be fine using the amount of flour used in the recipe.

So to make blueberry clafoutis you need to take out:

1 cup fresh blueberries (I added a couple of blackberries too)

3 eggs and 1 yolk at room temperature

1 cup white sugar

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour

a pinch of salt

And the process:

Heat the oven to 350F and grease an 8*8 inch baking dish. Arrange the berries in the dish and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk until light and foamy, add the sugar and mix until the mixture starts thickening. One-by-one, add the milk, vanilla and flour, and salt, stirring between additions. Whisk until the mixture is light. Pour over the berries and bake in the center of the oven for about 45 minutes.

Let the clafouti cool slightly, dust with confectionar’s sugar, cut and serve right away for breakfast, or tea. Ours we enjoyed with some fresh strawberries on the side and plain yogurt. I think it was the perfect breakfast for a celebration!