After the interview with Ariel Cohen I was inspired by two things: firstly, Ariel suggested making improving acceptance of a new dish by making it look like a familiar dish. He gave the example of trying a chickpea burger as in introduction to vegetarian eating. Secondly, he uses dates to sweeten the food in the Free Food* kitchen. I thought of a way I could use dates and vegetables in a dish and the idea of carrot cake popped into my head. Most people know (and enjoy) carrot cake and by making this into a breakfast dish I’m able to sneak in some vegetables into breakfast. Everyone wins!
With all the debate that is going around carbohydrates, I want to say that balance is key. While I may be avoiding the addition of refined sugars in this recipe by using dates – too much of anything whether oats, dates and even carrots – can become problematic. We should eat a varied diet that does not focus heavily on any one food or group of food. This takes me back to the first South African Food Based guideline “Enjoy a variety of food”. Dietary diversity is used in nutrition research as a marker of the quality of a diet. Let’s keep eating a mix of foods!
I love a warm bowl of oats for breakfast, especially in winter. One of my fast, go-to breakfasts is a bowl of large flake oats, sprinkled with spices and once cooked, a swirl of nut butter. Large flake oats take a bit longer to cook than the instant variety but also take longer to digest, leaving you fuller for longer. Adding nuts to the breakfast increases the fat and protein content of the dish. This is not a bad thing as the presence of fat and protein in the stomach slow down the speed with which food moves through the digestive system. Slower digestion equals a slower release of energy. In practical terms, you won’t be hungry in the middle of the morning.
I tend to eat a small breakfast and so I have written the recipe for carrot cake oats as a single small portion double everything but the spices to make a larger portion. The recipe can easily be multiplied to make enough breakfast to last two to three days in the fridge once cooked.
- ½ cup (125ml) low fat milk
- Scant ¼ cup (20g) large flake oats
- ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) cinnamon
- Pinch mixed spice
- 1 date (about 10g), chopped
- ½ medium carrot (40g), grated (if you like a really thick oat consistency, do not double this amount for a bigger portion)
- 4 Pecan nut halves(10g), lightly toasted
- Place milk, oats, spices and dates in a small pan on the stove.
- Bring to the boil over moderate heat and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes until oats start becoming creamy. Cooking the oats can be done in the microwave: place all ingredients in a large flat bowl (to prevent spilling over), cook for 90 seconds, stir and cook for another 90 seconds.
- Mix in the grated carrots, top with the lightly toasted nuts and serve. Depending on consistency, some people may want some additional milk.
Let me know how you enjoyed the recipe and if you have any clever ways of including more vegetables where they aren’t expected…