“I don’t want to think that someone has been fiddling with the food on my plate for three hours,” says Inge Watrobski of Kassia & Figg (021 788 3337), a bakery and coffee shop. Instead she believes cooking should be informal and fun. Here are her recipes for a scrumptious brunch
For the granola:
- 1kg rolled oats
- 500g desiccated coconut
- 250g ground almonds
- 250g flaked almonds
- 250g sesame seeds
- 500g honey
- 250ml sunflower oil
- 2 cups whole hazelnuts
- 2 cups shelled pistachios
- 100g preserved strawberries, chopped
For the poached plums:
- 6–8 just ripe plums, keep the stone in (allow one plum per person)
- 1½ litres boiling water
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 10cm length of lemon grass, bashed and bruised with a rolling pin
- 3 star anise
- thumb of fresh ginger, peeled
- Greek yogurt
To make the granola:
1. Mix the rolled oats, coconut, almonds, and sesame seeds together. Gently heat the honey and sunflower oil. Add to the dry ingredients and stir to coat. The mix should be moist but not sloppy.
2. Lay on one or two baking trays lined with baking parchment and bake in a low oven (120–140°C) for 1–2 hours, turning over the mix regularly to ensure it is evenly baked and golden.
3. Whilst the granola is baking, toast the hazelnuts and shelled pistachios. Skin them by rubbing off the flaky bits with a tea towel, then set aside to cool.
4. Take the granola out when it is as browned as you like it. Mix in the hazelnuts, pistachios and strawberries and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container until needed.
To make the poached plums:
1. Wash the plums and make a small nick in the top of each one, then place in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over them. As soon as you see the skins start to peel away, remove the plums with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of cold water. Finish peeling them by hand. (Reserve the hot water and the skins to add colour to the poaching syrup.)
2. Now make the poaching syrup: put 1¼ litres of the coloured water, plus the plum skins into a clean pan. Add the sugar, lemon grass, star anise and the ginger. Heat slowly until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil.
3. Remove from the heat and gently add the plums. Return to the heat and bring to the boil again. As soon as it boils, remove from the heat and cover with a greaseproof paper lid. Once cooled to room temperature, remove the plums using a slotted spoon and refrigerate them. (You can halve the plums if you wish, removing the stone, but I usually serve them whole.)
4. Return the syrup to the heat, bring to the boil a third time, then simmer until it thickens to a thin syrup. Strain into a clean bowl, reserving the star anise to decorate. Cool, then pour over the plums and refrigerate until needed.
Place a serving of granola in a bowl, add a dollop of Greek yoghurt, then top with a poached plum and a drizzle of the plum syrup.
Cook’s tip: Granola keeps well in an airtight container, so make a large batch and store it. You can vary the types of nuts used as well as the dried fruit. Try cashews, cut preserved peel and figs or almonds and dried apricots.
The granola recipe makes 3kg; the plum recipe serves 6 – 8.