Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Granola- an Anytime Staple.

You need to make this. You need to make this, then eat it, then make it again, and again, and again. Not because its fancy pants or impressive to make your own cereal, not because breakfast is the most important meal of the day and not because I'm telling you to. You just need to make this because it's bloomin' marvelous.

It is the peeeeerfect student staple food; something to rely on on days when you only have a potato and curry paste left in the fridge. With yogurt and fruit for breakfast on days that start in the rush that they continue, in a big bowl with milk for a desk picnic (much nicer than a 'working lunch'), or as dry clusters absent mindedly poppoppopped into an open mouth as a standing-up snack to accompany a kitchen catch up.

However you work this into your life it will remain crispy and crunchy with surprise chewy bits here and there, it will be faintly spiced and toasty tasting...and would you credit it, rather healthy too.

This was indeed one of my staples as a student and I have only just rediscovered its glory. The smell that seeps out of the oven is one of my student-time smells, that and Malibu.
I've made granola from other recipes since my obsession with this one but will return to Nigella for ever and ever. She is another staple. With Love and Cake.

Tweaked from Nigella's Feast, one fabulous cook book.

A few notes:
  • For the apple compote part, I tend to get out a few slices of cooking apple that I've kept in the freezer as leftovers from pies etc and zap in the microwave until cooked and mushy. I even leave the skins, they become lovely and chewy in the granola. Or of course you could use already cooked apple or even buy it in a jar.
  • This recipe is open to endless interpretation, add what you like...I've recently seen a recipe that rather festiv-ly adds dries cranberries and crystalised ginger. Coconut is a nice one. Nig also suggests a chocolate and peanut version. But like I said I will always return to this one as a basic.
  • The original recipe requires brown rice syrup but I've never seen that anywhere, so I use malt extract which I get from Holland & Barrett. I love malt, it's what Edinburgh smells like.
Makes about 1 litre
You will need

a baking sheet, lightly oiled

250g rolled oats
90g apple compote
1tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp ground ginger
60g malt extract
2 tbsp runny honey
50g light brown sugar
250g your fav nuts- I like a mix of pecan, brazils and almonds
pinch salt
1 tbsp sunflower oil
150g sultanas
  • Preheat the oven to 170°c.
  • Mix everything, except the sultanas, together thoroughly. It might look like it wont come together but it will eventually, promise.
  • Spread the oaty mix out onto the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. 
  • Then stir and rejig anything around a bit and the return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
  • Leave to cool in the baking sheet for 5ish minutes, and then stir around again to make clusters and crumbs. It might feel a bit soft at this point but will crisp up as it cools.
  • When it's all cooled down completely stir through the sultanas and keep in a nice airtight jar or tub.
  • Eat whenever. where ever, just eat.

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