I have always been a greedy girl. Those with the patience to follow this blog as its identity becomes clearer will probably quickly realise that food is something I love with a passion. Eating, cooking, sharing; even (annoyingly) at times photographing. Ever since I was a baby I have had fast metabolism and I tend to wake up ravenous. How lucky for me that I grew up in a country where the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” was almost as ever present as the Jante Law and Carola.
Breakfast can take many shapes. Some days are perfect for eggs. Perhaps they will be scrambled slowly and served with smoked salmon and chewy bagels. Or there may be poached eggs perched on a bed of fried chanterelle mushrooms (foraged in the forest behind my childhood home) on a toasted thick slice of sourdough bread.
Other days are grain days; the days when bread take centre stage, or when the humble oat shall rock your boat. In the Swedish way I do like my bread in the morning to be more towards an open sandwich than a slice of toast. In the household I grew up in, toast was for those days when the fresh bread had gone a bit stale and was beyond recovery. Fresh bread was eaten with cheese, ham, salad vegetables such as slices cucumber or red pepper. And oats. Oats often end up in porridge; the thick warming mixture made with half and half milk and water, and topped with fresh fruits and seeds. But some mornings there simply isn’t enough time to make porridge, or there isn’t even stale bread to be found for some toast. On those mornings it is good to have made some granola.
I started making granola a couple of years ago, according to a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi in his first (and eponymous) cookbook. These days I make my own mixture, loosely based on the original recipe but creating a crunchy, nutty, seedy and fruity mix just to my taste. It is divine with cold milk or creamy yoghurt. It is vital to go for jumbo oats here, as porridge oats will disintegrate in the process.
|My biscuit tin of homemade granola. Photo: Helene Frossling|
300 g of jumbo rolled oats
150 g chopped nuts of your choice; I like walnuts, almonds and pistachios
150 g seeds of your choice; pumpkin, sunflower, linseed
100 ml of clear honey
100 ml of maple syrup
4 tbsp of oil; I find olive oil too strong so like to go with rapeseed or sunflower oil
3 tbsp water
pinch of salt
250 g dried fruits of your choice; I tend to do raisins, sultanas and figs – the latter cut into small pieces
Preheat your oven to 150 C. Line two or three oven trays with baking paper.
In a bowl mix the oats with chopped nuts. As a guideline to chopping the nuts – just think of how big chunks you would like to eat in your breakfast. Add the seeds.
In a small saucepan gently heat the honey, maple syrup, oil, water and salt until the honey has melted and all is combined. Pour over the oats and stir carefully to mix everything but without breaking up the oats too much. Divide between the baking trays. Bake in the preheated oven for around 40 minutes, gently turning the oats on the trays every ten minutes and also swapping the trays around between shelves. It might seem like a hassle but you want to ensure as even a bake as possible.
When the oats are a golden colour remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before moving all the granola mix onto either one of the trays or a clean roasting tray. While the mix is still very warm, scatted the fruits on top and mix up.
Once the granola is fully cooled down transfer to storage jars. I like to keep my granola in a biscuit tin lined with baking paper; I like to be able to scoop the granola from there into my bowl. The granola keeps for quite a while but is best eaten within 2 weeks. However, it is so tasty that I doubt anyone can keep it that long..