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Crunchy granola – new breakfast option for a peanut butter lover.

Posted in Food, Food & Entertaining, and Relationships

IMG_3591I 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.

Before the bake

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)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all of the granola ingredients together.
  3. Tip out on to a lined baking sheet and spread out to form an even/medium thick layer.
  4. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring a couple of times until the nuts are toasted and golden-brown.
  5. 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?

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  1. Granola is a great ingredient for breakfast and it seem to be very good the way you combined it.. healthy and taste recipe, in Brazil we combine it with Açaí which is a high energetic brazilian fruit … but as i live in Milan, i can’t give up on cappuccino and brioche anymore 🙂 compliments for the blog… love it ! xx Thais

    November 29, 2013
  2. Whew, glad I don’t allow Zulu access to the laptop/internet. His first question would be “Why don’t we sit on the sofa, read the news and share toast like Jack and Sue do?” and the second would be “Why don’t you make homemade crunchy granola, like Sue does”. I like mixiing it up at breakfast: one day wholewheat toast, one day muesli/natural yoghurt and one day fresh fruit that way I don’t get bored. If there’s leftover cold pizza over the weekend then that’s my best! Would love to wash it down with a Coke but some good sense prevails.

    November 28, 2013
    • Manu, the best is leftover pie for breakfast. You don’t feel totally virtuous, but at least there’s fruit and it goes very smoothly with coffee!

      November 29, 2013
  3. silvia

    The image of the two of you sharing the sofa at breakfast time is really sweet. I bet Jack offers comments on the news too

    November 28, 2013
  4. glenroy

    Sue Lovey – I too love peanut butter but do not see the tie-up with the granola recipe.
    Have a lovely day. Pats for Jackson. Mum.

    November 28, 2013
    • Mom …. see the intro, re eating toast in front of Jack: “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.”

      November 28, 2013
  5. I absolutely love baked muesli, but don’t like all the sugar that’s normally in muesli recipes. I use a recipe with coconut oil, agave nectar and vanilla paste. Really delicious and healthy! Good luck with Jack’s diet!

    November 28, 2013
    • Sounds delicious. I used honey for the same reason. Also find that cake recipes use way way too much sugar – and have been leaving out round half.

      November 28, 2013
  6. I have it with buffalo yogurt these days and whatever fruit or fruit compote I have knocking around. Whilst I like my nuts nice and toasted (baking for a bit longer than Bill says) I always keep the dried fruit out of the bake and add into the warm tray once out of the oven so that they plump up in the residual heat. That stops the fruit drying out too much. I have to admit I haven’t had it with ice cream yet! xx

    November 27, 2013

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