Niamh Doherty

Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

A Baked Oatmeal for Autumn

In Baking, Breakfast on October 3, 2010 at 22:01

I know, I know – I haven’t posted for almost two months; things have been utterly hectic. After flitting about aimlessly all summer, August hit, and suddenly the following eight weekends were packed solid. Although I enjoyed every minute of my holidaying, socialising and time-with-friends spending, I could feel autumn beckoning and couldn’t wait for October, with its promise of a weekend spent in my deeply unsexy but oh-so-comfy flannel jammies, sleeping late under piles of woolly blankets, eating warm, leisurely breakfasts, and happily pottering about the house. Finally, autumn is here, with its crunchy, burnt orange leaves underfoot, cooler mornings which necessitate the digging out of winter coats from the back of the wardrobe, and cravings for pies, stews, and the warmth of pumpkin-pie spiced baked goods. Saturday morning, with its grey skies and torrential rain, provided a guilt-free opportunity for some pyjama-clad stoveside pottering, and a bowl of this delicious baked oatmeal made for the perfect autumnal breakfast.

I love porridge on winter mornings, but had never thought of baking it until I saw a recent post on one of my favourite food blogs, Joy the Baker. Any of the recipes I’ve tried from her site have been delicious, so I couldn’t wait to try her take on Baked Oatmeal. Porridge oats are mixed with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, bound with egg, milk and melted butter, and baked until golden brown and fragrant. It takes five minutes to throw together, and a mere 25 minutes to bake – giving you plenty of time to pop out for the papers, take a shower, or snuggle your still-in-bed other half. The texture is somewhere between a giant oatmeal cookie, a flapjack, and a cake…and utterly compelling. Not only is this dish perfect for weekends, but it keeps well, making a great weekday breakfast after a quick spin in the microwave – just knowing that this is waiting for me in the kitchen is enough to get me out of bed on a Monday morning. I love this equally with ice-cold milk, chopped pecans and dried cranberries; sweet blackberry coulis and natural yoghurt; and with warm milk and raisins scattered over the top. Next time, I’m going to top it with creme fraiche and cinnamon-breathed applesauce – the perfect autumnal waker-upper.

Baked Oatmeal (from Joy the Baker)

Serves 4 greedy people


1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup milk (any fat content is fine)

1/4 cup melted butter

1 large egg

splash of vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celcius.

2. Whisk together the oats, sugar, cinnamon and baking powder in a bowl.  Whisk together the milk, butter, egg and vanilla extract (for ease of addition, and to avoid any early-morning kitchen mishaps, I mix the wet ingredients up in a jug as opposed to a bowl).  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. 

3. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch pie dish.  Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly firm to the touch. If the oatmeal wobbles when you shake the dish slightly, give it another few minutes in the oven.

4. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 5 minutes before spooning it into serving bowls.  Top with whatever takes your fancy, and enjoy! 

Blueberry Scones with a Cinnamon Sugar Topping

In Baking, Breakfast on August 7, 2010 at 17:21

This is a lovely recipe for a lazy Sunday morning – you probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already, so just buy some fresh or frozen berries this evening and leisurely throw these together in the morning for a delicious breakfast with a cup of good coffee. To make life even easier, you can rub in the butter the night before , and add the baking powder, milk, eggs and berries the next morning. Voila! Delicious, freshly-baked scones with very little effort.

I made two-thirds of this recipe because I didn’t want to end up eating 20 scones by myself, and although the dough was quite sticky, the scones turned out perfectly. I don’t have a scone cutter so I used a tumbler instead. Next time, I’m going to use an ice-cream scoop for perfect bite-size scones. The recipe stipulates painting the scones with an egg-wash glaze to help the sugar to stick to their tops, but I skipped this step as the sugar stuck easily to the tacky dough. If you feel that the scones do need an egg wash, however, simply beat an egg and brush onto their tops before dipping them into the fragrant sugar. The topping caramelises in the oven to give these scones a delicious crunch. Not only are these fabulous for breakfast, but they are great at teatime, and would be perfect for a coffee morning.

Blueberry Scones with a Cinnamon Sugar Topping (based on a recipe for Sweet White Scones from The Ballymaloe Cookery Course, by Darina Allen)

Makes 18-20 scones using a 7.5cm (3in) cutter


900g plain white flour

pinch of salt

50g caster sugar

3 heaped tsp baking powder

175g butter

3 organic eggs

425ml milk, to mix

110g blueberries

For the Topping:

1 tsp cinnamon mixed with 50g granulated sugar


1. Prehat the oven to 250 degrees Celcius. Sieve all the dry ingredients in a wide, large bowl. Cut the butter into cubes, toss in the flour and rub in the butter. Add the berries, stir, and make a well in the centre of the mixture.

2. Whisk the eggs into the milk, add to the dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board.

3. Knead lightly, just enough to shape the dough into a round. Roll out to about 2.5cm (1in) thick and cut into scones. Dip the tops in the cinnamon sugar.

4. Put on a baking sheet (no need  to grease) and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and cool slightly, before slathering in butter and devouring.

Oaty Hotcakes

In Breakfast on May 16, 2010 at 13:13

First off – an apology…I haven’t posted all week. I was having one of those weeks; feeling lethargic, uninspired, and too tired to cook, let alone blog about something interesting, so I didn’t. Rest assured, I’m back, feeling good, and full of inspiration and exciting plans for the blog! And to make up for a week of non-blogging, I present to you these oaty hotcakes, from Bill Granger’s Feed Me Now.

My friend Claire  makea these for breakfast almost every weekend, and now I know why. My GOD, they are good. Their crisply golden outsides hides a tenderly moist, cinnamon-y inside, all the better to smother in maple syrup. These are very quick to put together – literally mix and go – and don’t take long to cook, making them perfect for a Sunday brunch that’s quick to throw together and easy to linger over. They’re especially good for kids – of all ages and sizes! – as the oats release their energy slowly, and will keep little ones fuelled up until lunchtime. These are delicious with a fruit topping, and are therefore a good way of getting often-picky children to eat something healthy. Add in a glass of orange juice, and that’s two of their five-a-day taken care of first thing in the morning – not bad!

These hotcakes lend themselves well to all kinds of toppings – Bill suggests heating 125g of blueberries and 250ml of maple syrup in a saucepan to make a hot, fruity sauce with which to baptise your breakfast. Claire’s favourite topping is bananas and maple syrup, and this morning I topped mine with whipped cream, juicy new-season Irish strawberries, and maple syrup. Is your mouth watering yet?!

Oaty Hotcakes (taken from Feed Me Now by Bill Granger)


185g plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (I love cinnamon, so I just shook it in straight from the tin with wild abandon)

pinch of freshly-ground nutmeg

1 tbsp caster sugar

25g rolled oats

375ml buttermilk

1 medium egg, lightly beaten

35g butter, melted plus extra to grease pan.

To serve:

Toppings of your choice


1. Sift flour, baking powder, cinaamon and nutmeg together in a bowl. Stir in the sugar and oats.

2. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and pour in the buttermilk and egg. Stir until just mixed. Add in the melted butter and stir to combine.

3. Heat a large non-stick pan over a medium heat and melt a little butter in it. Add in 2 or 3 ladles of the batter at a time, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until buttles appear on the surface. Flip over, and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm in a low oven while cooking the rest. Serves 4.

Orange Breakfast Muffins

In Baking, Breakfast on May 6, 2010 at 18:55

I know, I know…it’s only Thursday, and I’m a bit ahead of myself with what is undoubtedly a weekend breakfast item. I don’t have weekend fever already; rather, I’m giving you, dear readers, a head start on your weekend plans. Buy the items listed below on Friday night – and I would suggest adding two extra oranges to your shopping list, seeing as you’re buying one already you might as well provide yourself with the wherewithal for some freshly-squeezed orange juice for breakfast – before weighing out and combining the dry ingredients, leaving you with little more to do on Saturday morning than some light stirring. Rouse your slumbering loved one with a prettily-laid breakfast tray – a pot of tea, the morning papers, delicious fruit jams and these tenderly light, fluffy, orange muffins. Surprised, touched, grateful adoration will be yours forever more.

These come courtesy of Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Bites. I’ve made these many, many times, and am always surprised at how good they are, wonder why I don’t make them more often, and, with each bite, promise to bake them on a weekly basis. That never happens, of course, but it’s nice to dream…

These are extremely easy to make – as I said, you can even weigh out and mix the dry ingredients together the night before, and all that needs to be done the next morning is juice the orange (if it doesn’t yield a full 100ml of liquid feel free to top it up with cartoned juice, it’s what I do), measure out your milk, and mix it up with the egg and cooled, melted butter, before lazily stirring the wet ingredients into the dry. As muffin mixes should be heavy, lumpy, and barely combined, it is utterly impossible to exert yourself when making these.

I love these muffins eaten as Nigella directs – that is, split when still warm and smeared, mouthful by mouthful, with butter, honey or jam; raspberry being my conserve of choice. I haven’t – surprise, surprise – tinkered with these at all, but imagine that some dried or even fresh cranberries would be a delicious addition. But don’t take it from me, try them yourself this weekend.

Orange Breakfast Muffins (taken from Nigella Bites, by Nigella Lawson)


75g butter

250g self-raising flour

25g ground almonds

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp baking powder

75g caster sugar

zest of 1 orange

100ml freshly-squeezed orange juice

100ml full-fat milk

1 egg


1. Preheat the oven to 200 Celcius/Gas Mark 6.

2. Melt the butter and set aside. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Measure the orange juice and milk, whisk in the egg, and add the cooled, melted butter.

4. Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients, mixing with a fork as you go. As above, the batter should be barely combined; the heaviest batter makes for the lightest muffin.

5. Spoon the mixture into your prepared, paper-lined muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes.

6. Remove to a wire rack to cool ever-so-slightly before falling on them with grateful greed.

Makes 12.

Alton Brown’s Granola

In Breakfast on April 19, 2010 at 22:54

When I took the plunge and moved out of home last May, my good friends Polly and David gifted me a mix CD of weekend music, some really good coffee, and a Kilner jar full of delicious granola. A couple of weeks later, the jar was empty, so I decided to find the recipe online and make more. And more. And more.  I don’t like not having this in the house, and start to fret when the large jar I store it in dips below half-full.

As always, I’ve meddled with this (I can’t not), and the recipe detailed below is what I usually use, substituting different types of nuts depending on what I’ve got to hand. Pecans are delicious, as are hazelnuts and whole almonds instead of the flaked nuts that Alton specifies. The original recipe is here if you’re curious; I omit the shredded coconut, finding it too throat-catchingly dry to be enjoyable straight from the packet, let alone after it’s been in the oven for an hour. The stipulated raisins could easily be replaced by dried cranberries, sour cherries or juicy sultanas. Cinnamon’s warm breath would also be welcome here. The one ingredient I urge you to include is the soft, dark, brown sugar – don’t use any vaguely-buff-coloured sweet stuff lurking at the back of your cupboard as the granola just won’t taste the same. You need the dark, treacley presence of this particular sugar to caramelise in the oven’s heat, and lend a little extra something to this breakfast treat.

This recipe makes enough to fill one large and one medium-sized Kilner jar. It’s delicious served for breakfast with seasonal fruit toppings – poached rhubarb in late winter, chopped strawberries in early summer, raspberries and blueberries tumbled over in the July heat, blackberries or faintly cinnamon-scented stewed apples in autumn – and a dollop of Greek yoghurt, refreshing with milk for a quick weekday breakfast, gives a textural crunch when sprinkled over ice-cream, and serves as a guilt-free, kitchen-pottering snack, to be eaten by the handful whenever you pass by the jar. Might I add – as Joe and I will testify – when presented in a be-ribboned jar it makes a wonderful gift, and will be gratefully welcomed by those lucky enough to warrant its bestowal.

Alton Brown’s Granola


3 cups rolled oats

1 cup flaked almonds

1 cup cashews

1/2 cup mixed seeds

1/4 cup whole hazelnuts

1/4 cup & 2 tbsps dark brown sugar

1/4 cup & 2 tbsps maple syrup

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup raisins


1. Preheat the oven to 120 Celcius/Gas Mark 1/2.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, nuts and seeds.

3. In a jug, mix together the sugar, oil, maple syrup and salt. A whisk is ideal for this as it will break up any sugary clumps.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir to combine. It will seem as though there isn’t enough of the oil mixture to coat the oats and nuts, but trust me, and keep stirring.

5. When thoroughly mixed, divide the mixture between two baking trays and pop in the oven.

6. Bake for approx one hour (or until golden), stirring the contents of the trays every 15 minutes or so to achieve a uniform light brown hue.

7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Add the raisins and mix through, before decanting to storage jars.

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes with Orange Maple Butter

In Breakfast on April 10, 2010 at 13:30

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So very important, in fact, that I often eat it more than once. Breakfast for supper is one of my favourite meals, and when I was lucky enough to work with my friend Polly, we continued the tradition begun by Catherine and I of taking our lunch break early and having a second breakfast (“It’s the best kind of breakfast!”).

This recipe comes from Bakerella, via Martha Stewart, and is perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast, or when you have friends staying. Make the orange maple butter the night before, and if you don’t use it all, it freezes beautifully. When making the flavoured butter, make sure your butter is soft, your bowl deep, and use an electric mixer – otherwise it will take ages, you will have sticky splashes of buttery goo everywhere and you will curse me, Bakerella, and Martha Stewart for suggesting such a stoopid idea.

As per usual, I fiddled with this – Bakerella and Martha stipulate tossing the berries in two teaspoons of sugar. I don’t bother – firstly, if it means I have to wash another bowl, I’m not on board; and secondly, you will be dousing these babies in maple syrup, so a little tartness is welcome here.

This recipe uses cup measurements. As most of my favourite food blogs are American and I don’t do sums – especially not in the morning – I bought a set of measuring cups. They’re easy to find (mine are from Tesco and cost about €5) and really useful. Also, for those of us who, upsettingly, don’t live near an American grocery store, a stick of butter weighs 115g. See? I’ve done all the hard work for you. All you need to do is make these!


Maple Butter –

115g soft butter

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp orange juice

Pancakes –

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt (I omit this if using salted butter)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup milk

3 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled

1 egg lightly beaten

1 punnet blueberries

Extra butter for coating the griddle

Maple syrup to serve


1. The night before, mix the softened butter, maple syrup and orange juice together in a small but deep bowl. When combined, turn it out onto wax paper, twiddle into a vaguely sausage shape, and refrigerate.

2. The next morning, whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, buttermilk, beaten egg and cooled, melted butter.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined.

4. Heat a pan and brush with melted butter. Pour on 1/4 cup of pancake mixture at a time, and drop some blueberries onto each pancake.

5. Cook until bubbles start to form, flip, and cook the other side until golden.

6. Keep warm on a baking sheet in a low oven (about 80 Celcius) until all the batter is used up.

7. Serve a stack with some of the orange maple butter on top, before drizzling over liberal amounts of maple syrup.

Serves 2-4, depending on your greed!