Don’t you just love waffles?…
Going out for brunch is one of my favourite things to do, and I feel lucky to live in a city which boasts a thriving brunch scene. So I am very excited to introduce to you the Brunch Diaries, a series in which I visit cafes around Brisbane to not only enjoy my favourite meal of the day, but to first and foremost feature impressive & delicious brunch destinations. I hope you enjoy!
The first feature in this series is Suburban Cafe, situated in the unique suburb of West End. I hadn’t previously brunched at Suburban, but after having the pleasure to brunch there I can say with certainty that I will be back.
One of the first things that struck me as I sat down to read the seasonal all-day breakfast & lunch menu was the well balanced mix of fresh & healthy with traditional & hearty. You can find the classic Eggs Benedict, Avocado Smash, Bircher Muesli and Eggs on Toast, but you can also try something a little different and unique – what sprung out to me were the Zucchini Fritters, Braised Beef Tacos and a Pulled Pork, Caramelised Onion & Gruyere Cheese Omlette. I knew right away that I would be eating a nutritious breakfast, but importantly, that it would also be an outstanding and filling treat to indulge in.
And this is exactly Suburban’s manager Ash Caeiro’s aim: to provide fresh, clean and wholesome food that also leaves you feeling full, satisfied and happy. This was unquestionably reflected in the meal I enjoyed and my overall experience at Suburban. My Avocado Smash with Poached Eggs and Haloumi not only looked incredibly vibrant, fresh and beautiful on the plate, but it tasted incredible and I was left with a full belly and a big smile.
The cafe itself has recently undergone a renovation, a refreshed menu and boasts a beautiful moody decor with a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. The little touches like the fresh rosemary in hessian-bound vases and the green accents via the chairs and wall art made the interior-lover in me very gratified.
For me, the Avocado Smash with Poached Eggs and Haloumi ticked all the boxes: the poached eggs were perfectly runny, the avocado was ripe and creamy, the portion was generous but not excessive, the presentation was stunning, and I was left happily full. Add an almond mylk chai on the side and I’m in heaven.
One important thing I realised as I talked to Suburban Manager Ash over our breakfast was Suburban’s strong focus on their customers and on customer feedback. Something as small as remembering a long-time customer’s coffee order is a testament to both Suburban’s loyal client base and the staff’s passion to these customers. This aspect can go a long way in a busy, cafe-saturated city like Brisbane, and I can say that I truly felt welcome and look forward to returning to Suburban soon.
Suburban Cafe – with its focus on fresh, minimally-processed and delectable meals – delivered in all aspects. Given its amazing high-quality meals and modern decor, it’s incredibly underrated in Brisbane’s brunch scene and it’s certainly one to watch out for and visit.
But I have to be honest, I haven’t made homemade granola in quite a while as I fell a little bit (a lot) in love with Carman’s Toasted Mueslis. So I’ve decided to take things into my own hands again, and what is a better way to ease back on the homemade granola train than with chocolate buckwheat granola.
This chocolate granola is delicious. I wouldn’t be blogging it if it wasn’t, but it really is. My favourite thing about this granola is that when you have it with milk, the milk turns chocolate-y and sweet. Coco Pops anyone?
Aside from the nostalgia factor, this granola is packed with flavour and nutritious ingredients. The tart flavour of the goji berries cuts through the chocolate-ness wonderfully, but if you have more of a sweet tooth, feel free to add more sweetener and/or sub for a sweeter dried fruit, like sultanas or mulberries.
- 1 cup buckwheat groats
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup coconut flakes
- ¼ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup almonds, roughly chopped
- scant ¼ cup cacao powder
- pinch salt
- 1-2 tbsp date syrup (or more depending on desired level of sweetness)
- 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup goji berries (or dried cherries, cranberries, etc.)
- Preheat the oven to 170C and line a baking tray with baking paper. In a large bowl, mix together the buckwheat, oats, coconut, chopped nuts, cacao powder and salt. In a small bowl, combine the three wet ingredients. Then pour this mixture into the dry bowl and mix until the granola is evenly coated.
- Pour the granola onto the baking tray and spread the mixture evenly. Place the granola in the oven for 10 minutes, then take it out and give it a shuffle. Pop it back in the oven for another 10 more minutes. Shuffle the granola again, and bake for a further 5-10 minutes, or until the granola is fragrant and the nuts are crunchy (but not burnt!).
- Remove the granola from the oven and let it cool completely. Once it's cool, mix in the goji berries, then transfer to a medium sized jar.
- I find that this granola stores at room temp for at least 2 weeks, but if you want to prolong shelf life be sure to store it in the fridge. Enjoy!
I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to share my basic oats recipe, considering it’s one of my breakfast staples. What ever the season, I tend to enjoy a big bowl of oats at least a few times a week. It’s akin to a big hug for your insides, nourishing your body and fuelling you for the day ahead.
Oats are a breakfast essential for me for two main reasons: I can always rely on oats to provide lots of long-lasting energy, and second, they’re goddamn delicious. So I thought it would be nice to finally share with you the recipe for my standard oats.
It goes without saying that a good bowl of oats comes down to the oats themself: they need to be thick, creamy and slightly sweet. However, the key to an amazing bowl of oats, for me, is toppings. I’m all for toppings. I would even go to say that oatmeal is 80% toppings. It’s where you can enhance the flavour, add texture and experiment with different combinations. Without fail my toppings include fruit (banana, blueberries), a hint of sweetener (coconut sugar or maple syrup), dried fruit (figs, dates or sultanas), a crunch factor (pepitas, cacao nibs or buckwheat groats) and nut butter (almond butter, tahini or peanut butter). A combination of these toppings – generously sprinkled atop of creamy, steaming oats – always guarantees a delicious bowl of oaty goodness.
This recipe will give you the perfect base for amazing oats – the toppings, however, are entirely up to you. Experiment with flavours and combinations, and don’t be afraid to add as much as you want!
My Basic (But Delicious) Oats Recipe
Makes one serving.
1/2 cup wholegrain rolled oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 mashed banana
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a small saucepan, combine the oats and cinnamon, then add the milk and water and bring to a bowl. Turn to low and add in the mashed banana and vanilla extract. Simmer for around 5 minutes, making sure to stir often until the oats become thick and creamy. Pour the oats into a bowl and add your desired toppings.
Stovetop granola is perfect for when you wake up with granola on your mind but don’t have the time or energy to make a whole batch. It’s also a great excuse to experiment with different granola flavours and types, as you don’t have to fear that you’ve made a big jar of not-so-great tasting granola.
In harmony with Christmas and the holiday season, I have put together this quick and easy Stovetop Christmas Granola. It has the all-important granola foundation of rolled oats, cinnamon and maple syrup, but I’ve added a little Christmas charm by including orange peel and dried cranberries. The vibrant reds from the cranberries and goji berries, as well as the deep green of the pepitas, make eating this granola a Christmas delight.
I hope you enjoy this colourful, delicious Christmas granola, and I wish you all a happy and safe Christmas!
Stovetop Christmas Granola
1 tbsp pepitas
1 tbsp hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp shredded coconut
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp orange peel
1 tbsp dried cranberries
2 tsp goji berries
In a small fry pan on medium heat, dry toast the pepitas and almonds until fragrant and begin to brown. Reduce to a low heat and add in the oats, shredded coconut, cinnamon, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and orange peel. Stir and toss until everything is well coated and golden. Turn off the heat and mix in the dried cranberries and goji berries. Enjoy with soy or coconut yogurt, fresh fruit, plant-based milk, or sprinkle it on top of a delicious smoothie bowl.
I’m a big dessert fan, particularly of the chocolate and caramel variety, but sometimes (most times) I’m too lazy or don’t have the time to get in the kitchen and make a delicious something. Enter dessert smoothies, the lazy man’s alternative to dessert making. I know this isn’t pecan pie, but if you’re craving something sweet and need your dessert fix, this smoothie is your friend. It’s thick and creamy, sweet and caramel-like from the maca powder and maple syrup, and considerably healthy (always a plus!). I hope you enjoy and Happy Holidays!
Pecan Pie Smoothie
Makes one serving
1 cup almond milk
1 frozen banana
small handful raw pecans
2 tsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp maca powder
tiny pinch of salt
Simply blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Enjoy!