Gluten-Free Plantain and Chia Flapjacks

Gluten-Free Plantain and Chia Flapjacks

Plantains – available all day, every day

Plantain is a staple in Nigeria. Technically plantains are a banana variety, but most people refer to the dessert (sweet) bananas as ‘bananas’ and the starchy bananas as ‘plantains’.  Bananas and plantains do not have seasons, like most other fruit, but are available all year round. As mentioned in my previous post, First Month in Lagos, Nigeria, plantains are more starchy than ordinary bananas and I am yet to see plantains served in desserts. They are normally served as a savoury snack. 

Our Plantain Stockist

We buy plantains and bananas from one of the street vendors close to our compound. At this specific stall they are sold in bunches that have about 8 – 10 plantains attached and 10 – 15 bananas attached to each stalk. Unfortunately with Lagos’s climate, the plantains and bananas turn dark after only a few days. Normally, I give some to our driver and to the neighbour, but for some reason we still can’t eat them all before they turn black and mouldy. 

Gluten-Free Plantain and Chia Flapjacks

For the sweet tooth, too

Plantains are really large compared to dessert bananas – 2 to 3 times the size. We really like frying or baking the plantains while they are still green or starting to turn yellow, but we can only consume so many plantains in 3 days! 😉 

Everyone knows you can prepare all kinds of delicious bakes and snacks with ordinary sweet bananas (dessert bananas, as some people call it), but have you ever heard of anyone preparing sweet bakes with plantains? I started to experiment with plantains and with snacks you can make using these very ripe plantains in. I left the plantains until they became black and almost mouldy. It might sound gross, but when the skin of the plantains are already black and mouldy, the flesh still remains firm and totally edible. The less green the plantains become, the less starchy, and the sweeter they become. These black plantains are now perfect for sweet bakes. Using the plantains whilst still green all till they become black and mouldy, makes it easier to buy a bunch of plantains without worry. You know you can use them while they are in all stages of ripening. A.k.a. NO WASTAGE!

Gluten-Free Plantain and Chia Flapjacks

Healthy Flapjacks

What a bonus to make a batch of flapjacks that are not only delicious and simple to make, but also free from gluten and added sugar. If you skip the butter and whipped cream as garnish and you also have a Paleo, dairy free breakfast. You can only gain from making these flapjacks. 😀 

Gluten-Free Plantain and Chia Flapjacks

Gluten-Free Plantain and Chia Flapjacks

These flapjacks are just as quick and easy to make as the Gluten-Free Pink Flapjacks that we made a few months ago. If you have not given these pink flapjacks a try, now is your chance. If you forgot about Mother’s Day last weekend, you can still make up for it this weekend. Your mom will love these pretty pink flapjacks!

The chia seeds bring a little crunch element to the dish. These little seeds still pop in your mouth the day after they have been made, so feel free to whip up a big batch and pop them in your lunchbox the following day.

Gluten-Free Plantain and Chia Flapjacks

I serve these flapjacks with whipped cream, toasted almond and a drizzle of honey. Or as is as a healthy snack. Delicious!

Gluten-Free Plantain and Chia Flapjacks

Gluten-Free Plantain and Chia Flapjacks

Yield: ± 16 small flapjacks

Ingredients

  • 1 Extremely Ripe Plantain
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter (melted)
  • ¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Dash of Nutmeg
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
  • Honey - Optional
  • Toasted Almond Flakes - Optional
  • Whipped Cream - Optional

Instructions

  1. In a small blender, combine the plantain, eggs, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add the chia seeds and mix with a spoon until the seeds are distributed evenly.
  3. Pour equal circles of the batter on a non-stick pan without any additional butter / non-stick spray. If you use a good quality non-stick pan the flapjacks should not stick.
  4. The size of the flapjacks is entirely up to your liking.
  5. Once little bubbles start to form, carefully turn the flapjacks over. Bake the flapjack for an additional 15 - 20 seconds and remove from the pan.
  6. Serve immediately while still hot or refrigerate and serve as a snack the following day.
  7. You can served the flapjacks with honey, toasted almonds and a dollop of whipped cream if you would like.
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http://kreatery.co.za/gluten-free-plantain-and-chia-flapjacks/

Roasted Pumpkin, Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Rocket Salad

Roasted Pumpkin, Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Rocket Salad

The Pumpkin turns into a Prince

The combination of pumpkin and sun-dried tomato is really remarkable. The cream cheese brings in a creamy element, the rocket contributes to the freshness, earthiness, and peppery element of the salad. The toasted almonds adds a crunch, and the heat of the chilly flakes lifts the whole dish.

If you know you’ll be under a lot of pressure to prepare a salad for Friday night’s dinner party, this is a really basic deconstructed salad to prepare, but very compelling in flavour. A bonus is that you can start prepping the day before your dinner party. Adjust the recipe according to the number of guests, there really is no wrong or right when it comes to the ingredients.

Pumpkin, ever so Versatile

Pumpkin is such a versatile vegetable that can be eaten as a gluten-free, paleo carb. The size and the variety of pumpkin does not matter. It is up to you and what you prefer. For me it was about what locally produced pumpkin I could get my hands on in Lagos. All over Lagos you see these cute little pumpkins. Now if you are a lover of all things miniature like me, these little pumpkins sold by the buckets will make you go all ‘goo goo ga ga’ and ‘look at this little cutie’ in your best baby talk. These little pumpkins vary in size. Some are small like oranges, some are larger like sweet melons.  You can see some examples of the pumpkin sizes the previous blog post – First Month in Lagos, NigeriaSometimes, but not often, you will see full-sized pumpkins the size of large watermelon. These are usually pre-cut into smaller pieces like slices of watermelon. 

Roasted Pumpkin, Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Rocket Salad

You can use any pumpkin you like for this recipe, but the one I used was a small pumpkin that was easily cut without dislocating my shoulder (still waiting for our container with our sharp knives to arrive). 😉 

Cut the pumpkin lengthwise into halves. About 2 – 3 cm slices. I prefer to keep the pumpkin in whole slices because I personally feel it looks more appealing and modern. You are welcome to cut the pumpkin to your liking. You know that the pumpkin slices are done roasting when the inside and the skin can be easily cut. And yes, you can actually eat the skin with the flesh – no need for wastage! 

Easy as Follow Your Heart

You will see that there are no measurements next to the ingredients, this is because the recipe can be adapted to the amount of guests you will be feeding. You just follow your heart and your hand! If you would like less of the sun-dried tomato pesto, you just add less. The same goes for all the other ingredients. The suggested amount is really just an estimate, you can double or half the salad as you wish. This salad (as per the photos) would be a decent size for 4 guests as a main meal, or 6 guests as a side dish.  

Hope you find so much joy in eating this salad as I did!

Roasted Pumpkin, Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Rocket Salad

Roasted Pumpkin, Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Rocket Salad

Ingredients

  • Pumpkin (Sliced to your preference)
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Rocket
  • Ready-made Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
  • Plain Cream Cheese
  • A Few Handfuls of Fresh Rocket
  • Almonds (sliced / slivered / chopped ; toasted)
  • Spring Onions (chopped)
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃.
  2. Wash and cut the pumpkin. Place the pumpkin on a sheet lined with baking paper. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Bake until the pumpkin and the skin of the pumpkin is soft and you can easily cut through it.
  3. Cool the pumpkin in the fridge. You are welcome to cook the pumpkin a day in advance.
  4. Arrange the pieces of pumpkin on a large platter.
  5. Arrange the rocket between the pumpkin pieces.
  6. Place spoonfuls of sun-dried tomato pesto and cream cheese between the pumpkin pieces.
  7. Scatter over the toasted almonds and spring onions.
  8. Add the chilli flakes according to your taste.
  9. Add salt and pepper to your taste.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://kreatery.co.za/roasted-pumpkin-sun-dried-tomato-pesto-and-rocket-salad/

First Month in Lagos, Nigeria

I’ve been in Lagos for just over a month now and it has been quite an eye-opener. From the culture and weather to the food. There is so much to tell about this vibrant, energetic city, but let me begin with some of the things I have noticed in terms of food.

1st Month in Lagos, Nigeria

Food Distribution

As some of you might not know, Lagos is the largest city in Africa, with a population of over 15 million inhabitants. With such a dense population, housing and infrastructure is high up on the list of things that require attention from the government, farming and creating a more sustainable living, not so much, in my opinion. There really is limited space for planting and growing your own vegetables. For this reason, fresh produce and meat travel quite some distance to reach the shelves of supermarkets. This contributes greatly to the food prices.

Fruit & Vegetables

A lot of fruit tastes differently and also look slightly different to what we are used to in South Africa. These include mangoes and pineapples. I have not seen locally produced baby marrow. They are all grown until they reach a bigger size. Grapes, cocktail tomatoes, rocket, broccoli and cauliflower are all imported or locally produced and low quality.

Fresh food, specifically fruit and vegetables, is not as readily available as in South Africa. The variety is also very limited compared to what you can get in South Africa. Fruits and vegetables that are not locally produced, but available at some speciality stores / delis, come at a price. If and when some fruits and vegetables are available at local supermarkets, not only does quality pay the price, but the selection of fruits and vegetables are limited. Fresh produce needs to be consumed quite quickly after you bought it as it does not stay fresh for too long, especially fresh fruits and vegetables bought at a market on the street (without refrigeration).

1st Month in Lagos, Nigeria

1st Month in Lagos, Nigeria

Dairy

I have not seen any fresh milk or cream. A lot of the milk is imported as long-life items. The average price for a litre of milk is R26.00. The same goes for whipping cream. All cheeses are imported and extremely expensive. Cheddar cheese averages at R320.00 per kilogram. Even processed cheese is not affordable to many. I have seen a lot of cheese that has been imported from South Africa. It is no wonder Lagos is among the most expensive cities to live in.

Supermarkets & Restaurants

I have seen three Shoprite supermarkets in two of the bigger malls in Lagos. I have also seen a few Spar and Game stores. There are many smaller independently owned grocery stores.
Debonairs, Dominos, KFC are some of the food franchises in Nigeria that South Africans know all too well. There are a few Spur, Ocean Basket, Steers, Mugg & Bean restaurants. Some other food franchises that are unknown in South Africa, but favoured in Nigeria are Chicken Republic, Mr Bigg’s and Tantalizers. Lebanese, Indian and Chinese cuisines are popular in Nigeria.

1st Month in Lagos, Nigeria

Food items that are widely available in Lagos:

  • Plantains – Plantains look like very large bananas. They are more starchy than the dessert bananas that we know. They are usually prepared like many starchy vegetable in households. Plantain chips are also very popular and quite nice.
  • Dessert Bananas – These bananas are also very affordable, but more expensive than plantains, and as you know, sweet on your palette.
  • Coconuts.
  • Mangoes – The mangoes are not the same as in South Africa. These mangoes are smaller and quite sour.
  • Pineapple – The pineapples are huge. They don’t turn yellow, but are eaten green. They are not as sweet as the yellow pineapples you get in South Africa.
  • Papaya – Like pineapple, these are also consumed while still green. The taste is not as sweet as South African papayas.
  • Limes. Limes are very reasonably priced. Lemons are not as easy to find and rather expensive compared to limes.
  • Rice – Jollof rice is king in Nigeria, like most West African countries.
  • Bread – Bread is a staple food, just like in South Africa. This is also a popular item sold by street vendors. Normally street vendors sell bread with small tubs of margarine. A lot of margarine brands do not need to be kept refrigerated, thus a great idea to sell these items together.
  • Yams – I have had yam chips which were quite flavourless.
  • Potatoes – The potatoes are mostly small with yellowy flesh.
  • Sweet potato – These are the same as in South Africa. I have not seen golden sweet potatoes.
  • Aubergine / Eggplant. These are widely available and inexpensive. The sizes range from very little (about the size of a small plum) to very large (medium-sized paw-paw)
  • Red onion – this is the locally produced onion variety in Nigeria. Brown onions are imported and more expensive.
  • Oyster mushrooms – these are locally grown and much more affordable than other mushrooms which are normally imported.
  • Catfish – to be honest, I’m not too keen to try this. But it’s a promise to try it at least once before finally making up my mind.
  • Goat – found in all supermarkets. The locals love it.
  • Basil, parsley and coriander – these are widely available and not expensive.
  • A big variety of beans.
  • All kind of flours – yam, plantain, semolina, rice, bean, cassava, etc.
  • Peanuts – very high in demand and sold by many street vendors.
  • Palm and soy bean oil – Sunflower oil is not easily accessible and is imported.

1st Month in Lagos, Nigeria

1st Month in Lagos, Nigeria

20 things that we miss about South Africa:

  1. Spontaneous trips for Aroma ice cream and coffee
  2. Spending public holidays having a braai with friends and family
  3. Fresh milk
  4. Smoothies and wraps from Kauai
  5. Variety of fresh food
  6. Winter
  7. Drinking water from the tap
  8. Friends & Family
  9. Thunderstorms on our house’s tin roof
  10. The sound of birds
  11. The taxis. Yes, you read correctly. The taxis. You have no idea what ‘unroadworthy’ is until you drive around in Lagos. Reckless driving is everyday practice, everywhere you go. Luckily you stop flinching after a while. 😉
  12. The N1 highway – in such a good condition with so many working lanes and people (mostly) obeying the road rules
  13. Woolworths & Dischem stores
  14. Dry shampoo
  15. Hazel Food Market
  16. Boerie rolls from Hokaai Butchery
  17. Shopping at the Hospice bookstore
  18. Well-maintained structures
  19. Park Run on Saturday mornings
  20. McDonald’s breakfast after an epic wedding or night out

What would you miss most about South Africa?

Here’s to one hell of an adventure that waits!

I’ll keep you updated!

xxx