1 September 2013

September Granola

I've always been fascinated with the idea of looking at food as a culture and how, in looking at it that way, you can take inspiration from different regions, diets or even time scales in the case of British Nostalgia baking. Last year, my big favourite was South East Asian food. I still look to the styles of cooking there a lot now, by creating a nutritious Chinese-style stir fry, or picking up some sushi for lunch in town.

At the moment, I am really interested in 'health foods' -raw, vegan and even Paleo. These are focused on eating healthily, naturally and simply. Because of this, they can often be seen as restrictive, which is why I wouldn't look to eating in any of these ways exclusively. This last month, I've been eating as a pescatarian, which I will be blogging about very soon. This, in comparison, was a very relaxed diet as I could eat everything but land meat, and there were times, say when travelling across country to the Bird Fair when finding lunch was pretty damn hard. However, I really love how choosing to eat in this more natural way causes you to be a much more creative chef. Juices are obviously a big one for this, being totally natural, raw and plant based. At York Station's Filmore and Union, they make the most delicious juices, and I am starting to look into getting one of my own.

So when I found out that Belle Gibson who I follow on Instagram, was launching a new app, The Whole Pantry, I was pretty stoked. The app features wholefood recipes and 'Lifestyle and Wellness guides'. It is especially good for anyone looking for healthier snacks, and all the recipes, I believe, are vegetarian and gluten free.
When yesterday, I decided to stock up on a breakfast staple of mine -granola -I looked to The Whole Pantry for ideas. Belle's recipe didn't include any oats at all, which I though was an impressive use of ingredients. My granola ended up quite different due to the ingredients that I had to hand, but I loved some of the methods and flavours in this. The use of coconut oil rather than butter or sunflower oil is one that I will be using all the time now, and having a splash of vanilla essence gave my mix a floral undertone that made me think of the scents of late summer. You can play around with this as much as you like too; just stick roughly to the ratios of dry to wet ingredients for optimum results. I've used cup measurements for this, as it seemed to be much easier for the recipe.

September Granola
  • Two cups of rolled oats OR flaked coconut.
  • 1-1.5 cups of mixed seeds. I used pumpkin, sunflower and sesame.
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts such as pecan, almond, walnut or hazelnut.
  • 3 tbsp honey, agave syrup or malt rice syrup.
  • 2 heaped tbsp (1/4 cup) coconut oil, melted.
  • 1/2 tsp seasalt flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Ginger: 2cm cubed fresh grated, or 1 tsp dried.
Preheat the oven to gas mark one / 125'C.
Simply mix all the ingredients together, and tip on two lined trays. Pop them in the oven, ideally both on the same mid-low shelf, and bake for 30 minutes, turning once. For a crunchier bake, which I prefer, leave for forty, but keep checking it. The granola will catch quite quickly, so make sure that you're keeping half an eye out on it.

 Toppings inspiration anyone? Plums or apricots and figs -perfect fruit for the summer-autumn season.

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