We are off to Prague on Friday for a short holiday – we thought it would be nice to spend Christmas somewhere where it is actually Christmas, after 12 years of eating turkey and stuffing in the sunshine here in Kaş. We’ve bagged tickets to the Nutcracker Suite on Christmas Day, followed by what looks like quite a posh dinner in a lovely restaurant in the centre of Prague. Clearly I shall have to assess my meagre going-out wardrobe for a suitable frock and shoes – somehow I don’t think shorts and a pair of Keens are going to cut the mustard.
Flights back here from Prague involve connections which don’t actually connect at all (I think Turkish Airlines employs someone specifically to ensure that none of their international flights connect with any of their domestic ones), so we’ve opted to get the train to Vienna and spend a day or two there, before flying back here in time for the new year.
In Prague, we are staying in an apartment near Wenceslas Square, booked through airbnb. We know it will be nice, as our friends and neighbours, the Smiths, have stayed there before (always send your mates for a recce first, that’s my cunning motto).
Now, sad though this may sound, we are taking brekkie supplies. We arrive on Christmas Eve and, if we have nothing in, I know I shall be down to the nearest coffee shop and at those European pastries with the excitement of our cats at the opening of a Felix tin – and my bottom will be like the land mass of the entire Czech Republic by the time we get home. Homemade granola is one of Robin’s favourite brekkies – I’m not particularly a breakfast cereal fan, but this is great just served with yoghurt and a squirt of honey. If you can get almond milk, it also goes really well with this.
This is so easy to make – basically, melt some stuff, stir in some other stuff, put it in the oven, stir occasionally. Voila. You have breakfast. And I promise you’ll never want to go back to the Jordan’s (well, only for convenience anyway).
You can chop and change the amounts or types of nuts and seeds – by all means use those bags of ready-chopped mixed ones from the supermarket, they would be perfect for the job. Leave some nuts whole if you like more crunch. One word of caution – do go easy with the coconut, as it can overpower everything else if you overdo it. If you can get maple syrup, that makes a nice change from the honey, and you can use almond extract instead of vanilla if you wish (or leave it out altogether). The bran helps to meld everything together, as well as adding extra fibre, but if you don’t have any, it’s fine without it.
Don’t be tempted to add dried fruit before you cook the granola – if you want to go down a fruity route (and I usually do), then add it once the granola has cooled, just before you store it. (Or simply add a handful of sultanas or cranberries to your bowl as you go along, if you find that easier). This granola is also delicious sprinkled on top of porridge, as is a generous handful (or two) over the top of a crumble before you bake it.
It is important to stir the granola every 20 minutes (that’s only twice during the cooking period, after all, so it won’t test your patience too much). If you don’t, you will end up with burnt crispy bits around the edges and some that is still soggy in the middle.
Super-nutty quick granola
60ml vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
Splash of vanilla or almond extract (optional)
150g mixed nuts, chopped (I used almonds, pistachios, walnuts and hazelnuts)
100g mixed seeds (I used pumpkin, sesame and sunflower)
200g oats (rolled or quick-cook porridge oats are fine)
50g desiccated coconut
25g wheat bran
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Generous pinch of salt (if any of your nuts are salted, don’t add this extra salt)
Dried fruit to serve (I usually add chopped dried apricots, sultanas and dried cranberries)
You will need a large baking tray, lined with non-stick baking paper
Pre-heat the oven to 135C.
Put all the wet ingredients into a large saucepan and heat over a gentle heat until the sugar has melted.
Tip in the nuts and seeds and stir well, making sure that they are all well coated in the syrup.
Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. (Tip: brush your measuring spoon with oil before measuring the honey, then it will slide off easily and your measurements will be more accurate).
Make sure all the dry ingredients are coated with the syrup:
Tip onto the lined tray and spread out with a spatula.
Bake for one hour. Stir every 20 minutes, making sure all the outside bits are stirred into the middle, then spreading everything out evenly again. After an hour, the granola should be a deep golden brown and nice and crunchy.
Leave the granola in the tin to cool completely before adding any dried fruit that you wish. This will keep for at least a week in a large jar or other airtight container.
Serve with yoghurt, milk and berries for a yummy and nutritious breakfast.
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