Harking back from an early childhood in Southern Africa, there are some food habits which I just can't shake. Early mornings high in the Maluti Mountains in Lesotho were often ice cold. Winters were incredibly harsh and on so many occasions snowfall of meters overnight led to isolation for weeks until we could make our way back down the mountain.
Early in the mornings as the world remained snow silent, I would be given a mug of hot chocolate and a rusk. I'd sip and dunk from beneath my blankets until the house warmed up, then I'd wrap my besotho blanket around me and venture out into the world.
Every now and then when I find Ouma rusks in the international isle of supermarkets - I stockpile as though a zombie apocalypse is pending.
In the mornings there's nothing I love more than a big mug of Early Grey and a rusk - I then curl up, sip my tea and dip my rusk.
Last week Andrew called me out for my rusk habit, okay it might be a problem, he told my mother via facebook that I'd demolished a box of buttermilk rusks in less than 48hrs.
One of my Aunts commented, telling me to calm myself because Ouma is so overrated. She recommended a recipe to try, and I quickly gathered the ingredients.
Breakfasts for me are a constant battle, with the puppy pouncing at me and begging for a walk, I don't have time to make protein waffles or something slightly more nutritious.
So I got thinking, wondering if there was a way I could adapt the buttermilk recipe so that these little treats could work more as a good breakfast solution.
The original recipe included:
1kg self raising flour
Pinch of salt
1tsp Baking powder
Drop of Vanilla Extract
Preheat the oven to 180c and let me tell you about how I built upon the recipe.
Building upon the original recipe, I wanted to add in nuts, grains and seeds to make breakfast rusks slightly more nutritious.
Changes and additions to the original recipe included:
Adding 200grams sunflower seeds
Adding 100grams of seeds for cereals
Adding 100grams of chai seeds
I ended up using around 750/800ml of Buttermilk in the end
Mix the dry ingredients together - adding any more seeds and grains as you feel needed.
With the dry ingredients alone I almost topped my Grandmas old mixing bowl! Be prepared for a whole lot of rusks!
Add in the butter, eggs then slowly fold in the Buttermilk. Keep mixing until it becomes a dough like texture. Once the texture is that of dough, you can knead it on a floured surface. Then on a greased baking tray, roll out golf ball sized portions of the mixture and place next to one another. The closer they are together the more rusk like they look.
Pop in the oven for 40min until a knife comes out clean.
Then gently break out the rusks and place onto a rack in the oven - turn the oven down from 180 to just under 100. Then leave the rusks in the oven for a further two hours on the low heat - check them, turn them, make sure they're nice and dry, then...
Pop the kettle on, brew up a pot of tea...
I love Earl Grey and Almond milk at the moment - the almond milk gives a nice sweetness.
Then, get ready to dunk.
Grab your rusk... hold on tight you don't want to loose it in your cup!