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Sweet and Salty Granola

There are a few recipes that I make on a regular basis, and I love to post new versions on the blog to show you what I’ve been making. Soon I’ll be getting ready to make hot cross buns. I’ll probably wait till March, even though I was shocked to find hot cross buns already in the supermarket after Christmas!

One of my favourite things to make is granola. I make a batch every couple of weeks, as I really need my cereal fix every morning. I’ve posted the recipe a few times already here.

I thought I would add this version as I’m particularly keen on it. But it may not be to everyone’s taste. As the title implies there is salt in this recipe. Quite by accident, I bought salted nuts instead of unsalted for the granola. They were delicious! I love the combination of the sweetness from the dried fruit and honey, with the saltiness of the nuts. And hey, first it was salted caramel and, then salted chocolate, so why not sweet and salty granola?

Ingredients

2 cups of rolled oats
1 cup of bran flakes or similar
1/2 cup of salted nuts like macadamias, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts
A handful of mixed seeds like pepita, linseed, sesame
1/3 cup of honey, warmed to pouring consistency in a microwave
1/2 cup of any dried fruit – sultanas, raisins, apricots, cranberries, sour cherries.

Method 

Pre-heat the oven to 140 degrees C. You could try 160 degrees C for a quicker toasting but be careful you don’t burn the mix. Line a large baking tin with baking paper. You need to be able to spread the mix out so that all the mix is exposed to the heat.

Mix the oats, seeds and nuts together in a large bowl. Loosen the honey before microwaving with a little bit of water to make it more runny and easier to mix. Pour the warmed honey onto the mix and quickly stir it through. The mixture will be quite sticky, so stir fairly aggressively.

Spoon the mixture onto the baking paper in the tin, spreading it out so that it covers the base of the tin and there aren’t any big lumps.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the mixture is golden brown and thoroughly toasted. You will need to turn the mixture over half way through cooking, so that the underneath mixture gets its time on top and gets toasted. The oven time is a bit of guess work – just keep checking and remove when the mix is golden and not burnt!

Let cool for 5 minutes then add the dried fruit, combining everything well. Don’t worry if there are some clumpy bits stuck together with honey – they are a bonus!

You can serve this granola in so many different ways. Milk and Greek yoghurt are favourites with me. I will always have fresh fruit on hand to add to the granola. In high summer in January in Sydney, berries are plentiful and so cheap! Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, all amazing, all wonderful, and I eat them by the punetful. And stone fruit too, is really coming into its own this month. Yellow and white peaches, apricots and nectarines, all delicious. And passionfruit is delicious any time of the year.

If summer fruit is plentiful, then I’m making jam. I’ve made lots of jam in this last week – apricot, blackberry, strawberry, mixed berry, and my new find mango! I will be posting recipes for these shortly.

I’ve been eating my sweet and salty granola with Greek yoghurt and lots of fresh fruit and a dollop of mango jam. A fabulous addition to breakfast! Just delicious! But eat your granola with whatever takes your fancy.

 

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Bircher Muesli Trifles

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I get to work quite early and really enjoy having breakfast at work after I’ve done the first round of emails. I bring in all sorts of tasty treats – home baked sourdough, treacle soda bread, fruit rolls and scrolls, all with lots of my jams and marmalades, and different combinations of cereals, muesli and granola that I put together in the store cupboard for quick breakfasts.

My latest addiction is Bircher muesli, piled into jars with fresh fruit, nuts, seeds and anything else I fancy, plus a drizzle of honey. This becomes a Bircher Muesli Trifle. The basic muesli can be made on the weekend, enough for the week, and the individual jars or pots put together in the morning ready for transportation to work. Just add some milk to pull the whole thing together. An incredibly easy, tasty and very healthy breakfast!

Here is the basic recipe for the Bircher muesli, and my suggestions for what to layer your trifle with. The quantities will make 4 jars. Just multiply for bigger amounts.

Bircher Muesli
Ingredients
75g rolled oats
100g no fat yoghurt
1 apple or pear, grated

Trifle additions
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, passionfruit, quinces, apples, pears
Macadamias, pecans, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pistachios
Any seeds you like
Drizzle of honey – raw if you can get it

Method
Combine oats, yoghurt and grated apple or pear in a bowl. At this stage you can cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or you can use straight away.

When you are ready to make your jars, start layering. It really doesn’t matter what order you use. I start with fresh fruit first as it’s much easier to turn out the trifle into a bowl – if you go Bircher first, it tends to stick to the bottom of the jar!

Suggested order – fruit, Bircher, fruit, nuts, seeds, honey.

Pop the lid on tightly and that’s it! When you’re ready to eat, loosen with a splash or more of semi-skimmed milk. You can eat straight from the jar or tip into a bowl. Depending on how hungry I am, I sometimes add a banana or a chopped apple to the bowl. That makes a really substantial breakfast to get me through the day.

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Super Good Granola

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Everyone has a version of granola that they love to make. There are lots on foodie websites at the moment, including of course, a version from my very favourite  chef, cook and food writer – you know who I mean – Jamie!

I have been making versions of granola for a few years, along with home-made muesli and various species of cereal, nut, fruit and seed mixes on the way. I make it up as I go, tweaking the recipes depending on what I feel like at the time.

I really love a crunchy, toasty, baked granola, jammed packed with oats of course, and lots of nuts and seeds. I make a mix, and bake it on the oven till toasted. Once out of the oven and while still warm, I add dried fruit.

Sometime I make the basic mix with a little oil and honey, sometimes just honey, and if I feel super virtuous I make the “naked” version. No oil, no honey, just the unadorned oats and nuts and seeds.

This January 2016 version has a little honey for sweetness. I saw no need for oil, saving a few calories…

This granola has several different kinds of seeds – chia, linseed, sesame, poppy, pepitas – from my healthy food Mecca The Source at Balmain. And lots of nuts. Also  my current favourite dried fruit – mango cheeks, cranberries and sour cherries.

But feel free to pop in what you want. This less of a recipe and more of a list of guidelines.  The quantities are pretty changeable too.

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My Granola

Ingredients

2 cups of rolled oats

1 cup of any combination of seeds – I used chia, linseed, sesame, poppy, pepitas

1/2 cup of any nuts you like – I used macadamias, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts

1/3 cup honey, warmed to pouring consistency in a microwave

1/2 cup of any dried fruit – I used apricots, mango cheeks, cranberries, sour cherries

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C. You could try 170 degrees C for a quicker toasting but be careful you don’t burn the mix. Line a large baking tin with baking paper. You need to be able to spread the mix out without too many piles.

Mix the oats, seeds and nuts together in a large bowl. Pour the warmed honey onto the mix and quickly stir it through. The mixture will be quite sticky, so stir fairly aggressively. Sometime I loosen the honey before microwaving with a little bit of water to make it more runny and easier to mix. Up to you.

Spoon the mixture onto the baking paper in the tin, spreading it out so that it covers the base of the tin and there aren’t any big lumps.

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture is golden brown and thoroughly toasted. You will need to turn the mixture over half way through cooking, so that the underneath mixture gets its time on top and gets toasted. The oven time is a bit of guess work – just keep checking and remove when the mix is golden and not burnt!

Let cool for 5 minutes then add the dried fruit, combining everything well. Don’t worry if there are some clumpy bits stuck together with honey – they are a bonus!

Serving ideas: with milk, with yoghurt, with fresh fruit or mix with a handful of other cereal such as bran flakes or even more rolled oats. Make a breakfast trifle for something ritzy!

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