Thursday, April 28, 2011

Home-made granola

Breakfast: Parfait with bananas, blueberries, yogurt and home-made granola

Lunch: Left over patty and couscous

Dinner: Spaghetti with tomato sauce and zucchini

I love granola. I just love it. For years when going out for brunch it would be my first choice; now I have it most of the week so weekends are free to get eggy.

Shop-bought granola can be hugely sugary and a bit crap, despite being really expensive. I got the idea of making my own about 2 years ago, and never looked back! Using flax seeds means that you're getting a good dose of fibre and omega-3 fatty acids, the latter of which can be difficult to get with a fish-free diet. Also, because this isn’t overly dry you can have it with fruit, with yogurt, or even just with a splash of soy milk.

Anyway, here’s the recipe. You can use whatever nuts you like, but these ones are my favourites – and I tend to use the macadamias sparingly because they’re both overwhelmingly flavoured and expensive! It’s dead simple and I usually make a big batch once a week and it will see us through a few breakfasts. It’s also wicked midnight snack fodder.

You will need:
            3 cups rolled oats
            1 cup almonds, chopped
            1 cup pecans, chopped
            1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
            1/2 cup flax seeds
            2 tbsp unsalted butter
            1/2 cup honey
            1/2 cup coconut (optional)
            1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

            Preheat oven to 160˚c and grease a baking tray
Melt the butter and honey together in a pan
Combine the oats, nuts, cinnamon and seeds in a bowl
Pour the melted butter and honey in, and mix very thoroughly
Spread onto the tray and bake for 30-45 minutes, stirring a few times
Once cooled, add in the coconut (if using)
            Store for the rest of the week in a closed container!

To make this into a parfait, simply layer in a glass with yogurt, honey and whichever fruit you fancy.

If – shock, horror! – you find yourself without any ground cinnamon, don’t worry! I find myself without ground cinnamon but with a ruck of cinnamon sticks way too often, and I’ve found a remedy for this situation: when you melt down the butter, break up a few cinnamon sticks and add them to the pot. The cinnamon will infuse the butter; add the honey too and it’ll be even better. You just need to strain the butter before you use it to get rid of the debris,

If you’re worried about the use of butter in this recipe, you could use margarine instead, but I would say this; the amount of servings you get from this recipe means that 1 small bowl of this would probably contain the same around of butter you would spread on a piece of toast. If your diet isn’t heavy in saturated fats this isn’t really a problem; remember, moderation is key and you should always look at foods in terms of health and nutritional density, not calories!

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