As you read this, we are most likely to be just landing in Italy.
So this is one last homage to our home and the season of Autumn. The Autumn that’s so deeply imbedded into my mind, as over the past weeks I have dreamed almost exclusively of wild mushrooms, figs, apples, walnuts, persimmons through the night, as they are so prevalent in my days.
Matt calls this one “the shake and bake”. Which makes me laugh. We aren’t exactly “Shake and Bake” people, so I’m not 100% sure how long one takes – but I am pretty sure this loaf probably takes less time to put together than a standard “Shake and Bake”. Ha.
With all of the current abundance, this breakfast loaf is one of our latest creations that has been on repeat for our morning breakfast, as we try to use up as many apples and figs as we can. And I am super happy with it – it’s so easy, delicious and so wholesome.
I often think about cakes/loaves and wonder how people a) have so much time to bake so many cakes and b) how do people eat so many cakes? Haha. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to eat cake all day, but this is more my kind of style. Something practical. A healthy breakfast. A healthy snack. Good for kids, good for everyone.
This loaf really does taste like breakfast – it’s dense, fruity and slightly sweet. It’s GF, refined-sugar-free and can be made dairy-free (see notes below recipe), and the lemon and apple create an environment where the grains are quickly soured. It’s a super healthy alternative to toast. And is all the things I always want for breakfast, combined into one.
It's got oats, almonds, psyllium husk, linseeds, fruits and nuts – which are all awesome for your digestion, cleansing and will give you heaps of energy to start your day. But aside from all that, it’s delicious. Make a loaf and cut it into thick slices, and store it in the fridge or freezer. Then you have breakfast ready made for the week. You can eat it cold or pop it in the toaster in the morning if you want it warm. It makes about 14 thick slices – so breakfast for 2 throughout the week, or for a couple of weeks if there is just one of you. It’s up to you what you want to serve it with, but it’s super great with fresh of preserved fruit, yoghurt, cream or butter. We have served it here with our preserved quinces, yoghurt and a quick spiced tea!
With this loaf, I am telling you – you will be ready for the day, and to fully embrace the Autumnal abundance around you! If you don’t have apples or figs, you could try to mix it up with something else seasonal – like carrots, zucchinis (the last of them anyway), quinces, or pears. We haven’t recipe tested it with other fruits/vegetables, but if you do, we would love you to comment below and let us know how it turned out!
Until we write from Italy. X
Autumn & collecting walnuts
The focus for us lately has been on all the trees & vines. All of the grapes on the vines are almost harvested and made into wine, the Autumn equinox has past so it’s the best time to harvest apples, quinces and pears. Walnuts are ready and drying out, the figs are slowing down (those that remain will slowly continue to ripen throughout Autumn and we will pick some each week until it gets too cold and they're done), the persimmons are picked-peeled and hung to make hoshigaki (see our book for more info on this!), and the olives are ready to harvest and jar (again, instructions in the book).
Something we have realised many people are unaware of is harvesting walnuts. If you have a tree, just pick them when they're ready (they will usually fall from the tree and the fruit skins are turning brown - that once green fruit layer, will have shrivelled a bit and cracked open). Collect them, and place them on a rack (air must be able to come up from the bottom) and then place the rack into a warm room (ideally near a fire or heater) to fully dry out. Once fully dry the nuts will keep well into the next harvest.
Makes 1 x 1.25kg loaf (14 large slices) // Time 10 minutes prep, 60-70 minutes baking
60ml (¼ cup) ghee or butter (we used ghee) *(See notes for dairy-free option)
80ml (⅓ cup) honey
60ml (¼ cup) olive oil
170g (1½ cups) freshly rolled oats
40 g (½ cup) psyllium husk
165g (1½ cups) almond meal
30g (¼ cup) flaxseeds, ground
6 ripe figs (about 300g), chopped into small chunks (1-2cm pieces)
2 apples (about 300g), grated
50g (½ cup) walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda or baking powder
½ a teaspoon organic vanilla essence
A big pinch of ground nutmeg
About 3 figs, sliced thickly.
Preheat oven to 160°C fan forced.
Melt together honey and ghee in a small pan over low heat. Set aside.
Whisk eggs well in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add all remaining ingredients, except for the figs for the topping, adding the honey and ghee combination last. Mix well.
Use your hands to almost knead the mixture and bring it together. The mixture should be a thick batter (almost like a bread dough), chunky and stick together well.
Grease a 20cm x 10cm baking tin. Collect the mixture with your hands and place in the bread tin.
Wet a large tablespoon and use it to flatten and even out the top of the loaf.
Layer the extra figs on top of the loaf.
Place in the oven and bake for 60 – 70 minutes, or until a skewer test comes out almost clean. When ready, the loaf will have turned super brown and be slightly crunchy on the outside.
Remove from the oven and loosen the edges of the loaf with a knife. Leave to cool in the baking tin for about 30 minutes.
Remove from the bread tin. Serve warm, cold, or place slices in the toaster for a quick re-heat.
Store in the fridge in an airtight container, or cut into slices and freeze.
*For a dairy-free version, replace the ghee/butter with olive oil
If the loaf tastes bitter at all, this may because your oats are a bit old/rancid.