A sensational way to start the day

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My output recently (since August!) has been really suffering – through a lack of inspiration and time mainly. The latter I’m still very short of but yesterday I made something which is so good that I felt that I had to share.

I spend the early part of my morning running around and getting kids ready for school so if I’m going to eat anything it usually has to be whatever they’re having or something which I can take with me which requires me to plan ahead. I’m always happy to find new ideas and I’d been meaning to get around to trying to make granola for a while. I tend to have many of the ingredients around which I combine to make muesli – basically a raw cousin of granola which is really good and filling due mainly to the oats which are also great in porridge – not the stuff from the package filled with other artificial crap!

I happen to subscribe to a few cooking newsletters which dump ideas into my inbox and get a cursory glance on the bus as I head for the office. Well – Granola came up this week and I resolved to give it a shot based on this recipe of which I realised that I had some of the principle ingredients and could probably find some substitutes for others – it’s not as though granola is a fixed recipe!

In this case, I had the oats, pumpkin seeds and dried sour cherries. I substituted in some broken walnut pieces for the pistachios and included flax and sesame seeds as they happened to be sitting there and – why not? Maple syrup seems to be a go to sweetener for a lot of good granola recipes and I happened to have some but it’s horribly expensive so in future I’d probably go for an obvious alternative like honey or more likely silan / date honey as it’s readily available and far cheaper. Lastly I didn’t have light brown sugar so I went with half dark brown and half white.

I tried the results for my breakfast this morning and they were simply divine! Sweet but not overly so with the contrast of the sour cherries, salt and olive oil giving a great balance.

My feeling is that the oats are clearly a required ingredient. Salt, sweeteners and an oil of some kind need to be there. All the other nutty and fruity stuff can be switched around to your heart’s delight and I’ll be doing just that!

Simple to prepare – I had it with milk but it would be great topping a yogurt and I discovered the boss snacking on it plain this morning!

Ingredients

2 cups of rolled oats

3/4 cups of walnut pieces

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

2 teaspoons flax seeds

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

3/4 tablespoon salt

2/3 cup of dried sour cherries

1/3 cup light brown sugar (or 1/6 each of white and brown sugar and I’m sure that it would still be tasty using just plain white)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 150c / 300f

In a small saucepan combine sugar, syrup and olive oil. Warm until sugar dissolves

Mix together other ingredients other than the cherries in a bowl

Pour liquids over solids and mix thoroughly to coat

spread mixture onto a baking tray and put into the oven for 40 minutes or so, stirring every 10 minutes.

Once mixture is lightly browned remove from the oven, cool and mix in the cherries

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