I have the same thing for breakfast every morning. A strong cup of coffee filled with brown sugar and two slices of wholewheat toast, spread generously with organic, sugar-free peanut butter. Yes, I am aware of the contradiction. I just don’t like sugar in my peanuts.
We sit on the sofa, reading the news, and Jack gets to eat the toast corners. We both love the ritual but lately it has been pointed out to me that my pal is getting portly. First by the vet, then by a couple of dog walkers, and finally by the woman who lives on the bench in our local park. We always stop to pass the time of day and on Friday she said, admiringly: “You have been feeding Jack well”. I got the message.
Something had to change. But I feel uncomfortable continuing to eat the toast in front of him. So I had to come up with an alternative.
My pal Tracy introduced me to this recipe. She was out from London on holiday and we packed sofabrother and headed to a remote cottage, with pool and hundreds of acres of fynbos in the Groot Winterhoek reserve near Citrusdal, for a break. We all love our food – so the menu was carefully planned: inspiration and preparation courtesy of the other two. I cook pretty much every day of the year – and they felt I needed a break. We had masses of fresh fruit – so finding ways to use it before it went off in the 40 degree heat was important. Big bowls of fruit salad at breakfast, covered with this (not-necessarily-slimming) granola, answered that brief. Plus the cottage smelt gorgeous while the ingredients were toasting.
T got the recipe from Australian Chef Bill Granger – but closer inspection of his original showed that she had made some generous additions. Seemed rude not to follow suit. Add what you will, I even saw an option with dark chocolate nibs. Bit too early in the morning for me though. I used what I had to hand, and added some dried fruit trail mix I found at the back of the pantry.
Bill’s Breakfast Granola
100 grams porridge oats
50 grams mixed seeds
50 grams blanched almonds, roughly chopped
50 grams pecan or walnuts, roughly chopped
25 grams desiccated coconut
50 grams of dried cranberries
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground mixed spice
2 tbsp oil (I used hazelnut, but use any of the light flavoured ones)
2 tbsp runny honey (I used orange blossom)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mix all of the granola ingredients together.
- Tip out on to a lined baking sheet and spread out to form an even/medium thick layer.
- Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring a couple of times until the nuts are toasted and golden-brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Break into the consistency you prefer – I kept mine chunky. And store in a watertight container – you want to keep the crunch.
I had Bill’s Granola for breakfast this morning over fresh apricots (drizzled with honey) and topped by a cheeky spoon of vanilla ice-cream (and why not). Jack watched me for a while and then exhaled loudly (his censure if I am being obtuse) and headed off for his bowl. When he has lost his kilogram(s) – I may allow him to taste it. After all, it’s all good healthy stuff, isn’t it?