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Simple pleasures

Barre instructor, digital creator and passionate foodie Rebecca Keal loves creating delicious, nourishing meals for her friends and family. She shared some simple breakfast recipes to start the day feeling good…

Rebecca spent her childhood in the Midlands, part of a family where food always took centre stage. Her gran was an incredible cook, and her mom formally trained at chef school. It’s no surprise then, that she followed in their footsteps, studying at Silwood School of Cookery in Cape Town. She went on to study film and media at UCT, before moving to London where she did her Master’s degree in marketing. She then worked in a corporate jo b but, she says, was always involved in food in a personal capacity, often catering and organising events for friends and family.

After a few years in the marketing industry, Rebecca burnt out and realised that it wasn’t for her. She started her own wellness business in the UK, offering corporate events with healthy food, yoga and barre classes, meditation and mindfulness. Shortly after the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, she and her husband moved back home to South Africa and Rebecca was drawn back into the world of food, this time opening two restaurants – Nosh in Hilcrest and Jaxx in Hilton.

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In 2021, Rebecca and husband Mark welcomed their baby girl Octavia-Rose to the world, and with the shift into motherhood, she decided to sell her restaurants and relocate. “It was sad at the same time, but it was good because we moved to the North Coast,” she says. “When Octavia was six months old, I was itching to do something and got involved in Flow The Studio, where I teach Barre and help with the marketing.”

Although she no longer works in the restaurant industry, Rebecca loves to share recipes on her Instagram page. “Cooking has always been a part of our lives. Holidays and special occasions have always revolved around food and family.”

Rebecca’s interest in wellness comes from growing up with a parent with an autoimmune disease – her dad has had Crohn’s Disease, an illness linked to digestion, for many years. “We have always been a family that looked for remedies and ways to use food to keep him healthy and thriving,” she explains. She also danced a lot as a child, and this evolved into an interest in exercise and yoga, and barre specifically.

When it comes to cooking, Rebecca loves making savoury dishes that allow her to be creative. “I’m always trying new things and having fun with food,” she says. Becoming a mother has forced her back to basics in the kitchen. “I keep things simple now, but it’s been lovely.”

Her Instagram content has evolved over the years, starting out with a focus on wellness, mindfulness, meditation and yoga, and shifting naturally to revolve around food. Since selling her restaurants, she has spent much of her energy creating content that keeps up with a constantly changing platform. Now, her followers, which are mostly local, can see her delicious creations and try her recipes for themselves – from easy one-pot meals to wholesome salads and indulgent desserts, the page is packed with foodie inspiration.

Details: @becs_keal

REBECCA’S TOP TIPS

1. MAKE TIME
One of the biggest challenges for people is feeling they don’t have time to cook. Try to set aside time for the kitchen (just as you would for exercise and other healthy habits). You’ll be surprised if you give yourself time, how much you might actually enjoy cooking when you’re not rushing.
2. DO YOUR PREP
Make things easier for yourself by preparing your meals ahead of time. Set aside an hour or so on a Sunday to plan meals, order groceries and prepare what you can for the week ahead.
3. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
If you don’t feel confident serving food you’ve cooked, practice your recipe before you entertain by cooking for your family first. Usually when you buy ingredients you have to buy enough for more than one serving anyway.
4. USE QUALITY INGREDIENTS
Stick to seasonal, organic produce if you can. Try find a local spot to source your ingredients so you know what you’re getting is being grown right now.

REBECCA’S FAVOURITE BREAKFAST RECIPES
Tasty and nutritious, these recipes will keep you fuelled and ready to tackle the day…

STICKY BANOFEE OVERNIGHT OATS
Makes two layered cups
Ingredients:
Sticky caramel: 5 medjool dates (pitted), a large tbsp almond butter, 1 tbsp oat milk

Overnight oats:
1/2 cup oats, 1 cup oat milk, 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1/2 a banana sliced, Yogurt, sliced banana and cocoa powder to top

Method:
1. Mix the overnight oats ingredients together in a bowl and allow to thicken for 10-15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the caramel by mixing the caramel ingredients in a food processor or blender (mix until very smooth).
3. Layer in a glass, add the slices of banana to the sides, then top with your yogurt, dust with the cacao and either serve within an hour or leave overnight and eat the next day for the best results.

PEAR AND CINNAMON BAKED OATS

Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups milk (I like using almond milk)
½ cup apple purée
¼ cup maple syrup or honey
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed or one egg
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup diced pears, and sliced pears for topping
Sprinkle of granola

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 °C and spray your baking dish with non-stick spray or butter.
2. In a large bowl, mix oats, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, salt, almond milk, applesauce, maple syrup, flaxseed, coconut oil, vanilla, walnuts and diced pears.
3. Pour mixture into baking dish and top with sliced pears
4. Bake for about 45 minutes. Allow baked oatmeal to cool.
5. Top with granola if you like. I also love this with a dollop of full cream yogurt.

This recipe is great to prepare ahead of time. You can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for four or five days or in the freezer for up to three months.

HALLOUMI & TOMATO OMELETTE QUESADILLA

Ingredients:
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 onion sliced thinly
100g cherry tomatoes
Salt to taste
Crack of black pepper
1-2 tbsp chilli jam
3 slices of halloumi (+- 60g)
2 eggs
1 wholewheat wrap
Rocket
Avocado

Method:
1. Half the tomatoes and add them and your onions to a pan with a little olive oil over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook until it starts to soften. Add the chilli jam and stir together, then add the halloumi and cook for a couple of minutes on each side.
2. Whisk the eggs together in a bowl, then push the halloumi to one half of the pan and pour the eggs on top. Season again then place the wrap on top of the eggs and cook for around 5 minutes until the egg is cooked.
3. Place your serving plate on top of the pan then flip it over so the tomatoes are facing up. Add a little more oil to the pan, then slide the quesadilla back in wrap side down.
4. Fill half with rocket and slices of avocado, then fold in half and let it get crispy on both sides. Halve and enjoy!

Text: Jennifer Campbell
Photographs: rebecca keal and light & lark photography

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