fig, hazelnut + cocoa granola spiked with espresso

I have a torrid love-hate affair with coffee. Love the taste, loathe the after-effects: racing heart, sweaty palms, inability to sit still. It’s never agreed with me, despite my love for everything coffee. It marries beautifully with cocoa, cardamom and vanilla, to say the least. It’s the epitome of social catch-ups. It makes sleepless nights (and the unavoidable morning to follow) that much more bearable. I watch my Italian family knock back espresso’s like water, while I slip slowly on my chamomile tea, because Italians think you’re a martian if you ask for decaf. But luckily, in the safety of my kitchen walls, away from confused barista’s glances, I can use decaf freely, and it works a treat.

granola jar

I mentioned espresso pairs so well with cocoa, and this is key in this recipe. With both having a rich and earthy flavour, they play off each other wonderfully. You can’t taste the espresso explicitly as it more so lends an intensity to the overall chocolate flavour, and the figs lend the sweetness that roasted, dried fruit brings. The hazelnuts and nut butter give it a Nutella-esque feel, while also giving you a great hit of protein and good fats. A little goes a long way with this batch, so top a handful with fresh fruit, creamy yoghurt and your favourite milk to give you a deliciously naughty but nutritious breakfast (or midnight snack).


fig, hazelnut + cocoa granola spiked with espresso – vegan, gluten-free (if using certified oats) – loosely adapted from the kitchn

you’ll need…

  • 120g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1.5 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat groats
  • 1/2 cups finely chopped dried figs
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (70% cocoa content – sub cacao nibs or omit if you don’t have)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp dark cocoa (I use Cacao Barry Brute – sub 2 tsp regular cocoa if you don’t have)
  • 2 tblsp hazelnut butter (or almond butter)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 fresh espresso shots (60ml – I use 2x decaf pods – if you prefer a less intense bitterness, use only 1x30ml shot)

here’s what you do…

  1. Preheat oven to 160C (fan-forced). Place hazelnuts, oats, buckwheat, figs, pepitas, chia and choc chips in a large bowl, stirring to combine.
  2. Place remaining ingredients into a small saucepan and heat on medium, stirring just until mixture comes together. Pour contents of pan into the bowl of oat mixture, stirring to coat thoroughly.
  3. Spread mixture onto a lined baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until mixture starts to dry out slightly and brown up. Allow to cool on the tray before storing in an airtight container.

Note: I’m not a fan of super sweet granola, preferring to add sweetness in the form of fruit (this pairs wonderfully with fresh strawberries and banana). If you prefer it sweeter, up the maple syrup content during prep, tasting as you go.

cinnamon, maple + yoghurt pannacotta with roasted banana

I guess I’ve always been a bit of a rule breaker; drinking red wine with fish, making u-turns at the traffic lights, mixing recycling with the non-recycling. Yeah, I’m wild like that. And it only gets wilder with my obsession of eating dessert for breakfast (see exhibit A). I’m all for blurring the lines between what is and isn’t suitable to eat in the morning. A chocolate cupcake for breakfast? Surely not. A chocolate muffin? Satisfying chocoholics in an acceptable manner since the dawn of time.

IMG_1177 (1)Now, when you think pannacotta, you may think it’s what wobbly, cream-laden dreams are made of. And while that is certainly true, and may it forever and always be so, let me introduce to you an alternative, most acceptable manner in which to devour pannacotta in the mornings; with thick, creamy yoghurt. This breakfast-cum-dessert is so simple to whip up, and you can rest assured knowing you’ve got your morning meal sorted for a couple of days ahead. Plus, it’s a fabulous probiotic-boost for your gut. Feel free to play around with the spices and even the toppings; we’ve made vanilla and berry versions before, and even chai-spiced treats. Granola pairs with them wonderfully, lending that crunchy texture to juxtapose with the soft yoghurt. Who said you can’t have sweet, creamy jelly for breakfast? I suppose I’m *wild* like that.


cinnamon, maple + yoghurt pannacotta with roasted banana – pannacotta adapted from – gluten free, serves 4

you’ll need…

  • 1 cup full cream milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (if you have more of a sweet tooth, or are making this as dessert, increase to 1/3 cup)
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnnamon
  • 3 tsp powdered gelatine
  • 500g plain, greek yoghurt, at room temperature
  • 2 large, ripe bananas (or 3-4 small ones)
  • 2-3 tbsp coconut or rapadura sugar
  • 1/3 cup flaked almonds, toasted

here’s what you do…

  1. Heat the milk, maple syrup and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the maple dissolves.
  2. Place 1/4 cup of boiling water in a ramekin or small dish, sprinkle over gelatin and mix until gelatine has dissolved. Add to the milk mixture and mix well, then leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
  3. Combine the milk and gelatine mix with the yoghurt in a large bowl, whisking thoroughly. Place into 4 ramekins or greased dariole moulds and chill for 4 hours, or overnight.
  4. When ready to serve, preheat oven to 200C (180C fan forced). Cut bananas lengthways, leaving skin on, and sprinkle over sugar, ensuring a nice even layer. Place on baking tray and roast until tender and sugar has melted/caramelised, about 10 or so minutes (depending on size/ripeness of banana). Slip off their skins and discard.
  5. Serve pannacotta with roasted banana and flaked almonds.