Berry Nice Granola

Sometimes when I am alone in the house I blare music ( I am scared the neighbours will come in sometime to stop the party and find me alone) .

Sometimes I lie for no reason at all it just come out of my mouth I can’t control it.

Sometimes I lie awake in bed and wonder what I will be like in ten years time.

Sometimes (if no one is looking) I drink straight out of cartons and put them back.

Sometimes when I am sweeping the floors I just sweep everything out of the room and in to another.

Sometimes I spend hours at a time browsing food blogs on the internet and then  next time forget which good blogs I found. Pinterest  as reduced this problem greatly

Sometimes I stink my hand in the Granola jar and pick out all the cranberries or almonds, to eat.

I just love granola its my one weakness,
I came upon this granola recipe when I was spending hours browsing food blogs. I printed it out and kept meaning to make it, but things just kept putting me off – lack of ingredients, lack of time and the really good shop bought granola from Lidl. Finally I decided to make it and am I glad I did. Mammy said it was the best granola yet (and we are a granola family, we have a granola jar).

Berry Nice Granola

  • 300g rolled oats
  • 50g whole or chopped almonds and hazelnuts
  • 120g sunflower seeds
  • 50g of pumpkin seeds
  • 50g sesame seeds
  • 20g wheat germ
  • 125ml unsweetened apple juice
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • dried berries (preferably unsweetened or naturally sweetened with fruit juice)

Preheat oven to 160 C. Mix oats, seeds, wheatgerm, apple juice, sunflower oil in a bowl, then spread out evenly on a baking tray ( I like to add the dried fruit at this stage as they get chewy.)
Bake, turning and mixing often, for about 45 minutes
Remove from oven and leave until cool.
Serve with yogurt or milk. You can keep it in an airtight container for about two weeks (  or granola jar).

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Banana and Coconut Muffins

I had one of those days. You know the kind of days that you loose everything goes wrong. It all started with me skipping my dinner the night before, I then woke up in the middle of the night starving so at 2 am I went to and had a mini feast. I then was too full to sleep so I lay in bed for ages.  After much tossing and turning I decided to open the window. This made set off the house alarm waking the whole family and causing a lot of shouting generally in my direction. I then woke up with a slight sinus infection which meant I couldn’t put my contacts in so I spent the whole day going around blind, as I hate my glasses. None of  my formulas  would work out in physics class and I had to sit alone in English at the top of the class.  My head heart the whole day and  piano after school I just couldn’t concentrate. The loud banging of the notes only made my head hurt even more. At home I couldn’t wrap my head around Pascals Triangle  for maths homework. After 12 attempts I finally finished my physics question. I popped two Panadol and continued on. I began quoting Dido “wondering why got out of bed at all”. I noticed the black banana in the fruit bowl and my spirit began to perk up, coconut and banana muffins I thought. What I love about these is the mixture tastes just as good raw plus bananas contain tryptophan that the body converts into serotonin. Bananas can make you relax, feel happier and improve your mood and the potassium improves brain power and makes you more alert which I am going to need to be in class if I want to master Pascals Triangle.

Banana and Coconut Muffins adapted from Rachel Allens fruity muffins

  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml of milk
  • 100ml of natural yogurt
  • 75ml of sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 225g of plain flour
  • 3 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 100g of wholemeal flour
  • 70g of brown sugar
  • 1 banana mashed
  • 50g of dessicated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line muffin tray with 12 cases.  Mix all the wet ingredients together including the banana. In another bowl sift the plain flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add the wholemeal flour, coconut and sugar. Fold into the wet ingredients. Be careful not to over mix. Divide the  mixture between the muffin cases. Cook for 20-25 minutes. The tops should spring back gently when cooked. Allow to stand in the tin for 102 minutes than transfer to a wire tray to cool. 

“I’ll go tomorrow” Porridge

How do you start your mornings? In Spain I started my morning with this, a big bowl of cherries from the fruit shop next door to the apartment, and a crusty roll from the bakery two doors down. Then I went for a dip in the Sea in 20C water. I think it wold be a lot easier to get up everyday if I lived in Spain.

Back home in Ireland I usually start my day with a bowl of cereal or toast and whatever fruit is left in the bowl never very exciting.

Sometimes I go for a run ( only sometimes)

Other days I role over in bed and come up with some excuse and not even these will work. On the ” I’ll go for a long run tomorrow” mornings, I make myself this porridge so I feel good about myself. I find porridge is so wholesome it almost compensates for the run, or lack of it.

Porridge My Way 

I make porridge with pinhead oatmeal a.k.a  steel-cut oats a.k.a Irish oats. They take longer to cut but I prefer the texture. You could over course use rolled oats just follow the instructions on the packet. I cook it with all water but again thats just a preference use all milk or half and half for a creamier porridge. I make a big batch of pinhead oatmeal refrigerate it and then heat it up through out the week with a little water. 

Ingredients

One cup of steel cut oats

Four cups of water

Put the oats and water in a saucepan over the heat. Bring to the boil then simmer on a lower heat for 20-25 minutes. When the oats are creamy and tender, remove from heat . Serve immediately or allow to cool before transferring into air tight containers in the fridge. In the morning, add a splash of milk or water and reheat in the microwave or on the stove-top.

Toppings

For a little variety I like to serve my porrige with toppings here are some suggestions.

Nuts for Bananas porridge

1/2 a banana sliced.

4-5 almonds and hazelnuts (toasted)

3 tablespoons of toasted dessicated coconut

drizzle of maple syrup.

Arrange the slices of bananas on the porridge. Scatter over the nuts and coconut. Then drizzle with the syrup.

Blueberry Bliss porridge

1/2 cup of blueberries (frozen is okay)

1/2 cup of flaked almonds (toatsted)

drizzle of honey

Gently heat the blueberries over a low heat or microwave them for about 45-60 seconds. They should be soft but still hold their shape. Place on top of the porridge and scater over the flaked almonds. Drizzle with honey for sweetness.

Peach Melba Porridge

One peach sliced into wedges.

3-4 tablespoons of natural yogurt

4-5 raspberries

drizzle of honey

Place the yogurt in the center of the porridge. Then top with peaches and raspberries. Drizzle with honey

Apple Crumble Porridge

One apple chopped up

2-3 tablespoons of coconut

2 tablespoons of flaked almonds

1 table spoon of sunflower seeds

Fry the apple slices over a low heat with a little butter or oil to soften them. Toast the coconut, almonds and seeds until just golden. Arrange the softened apple on top of the porridge and scatter with nut topping.

It all started with a cookie ….

I began this blog back in March with a cookie recipe since then it has grown and expanded. Like this blog, this recipe for Chocolate Chip Oat Bars began with or as a cookie recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks. I changed the recipe around and was delighted to take out of the oven the most delicious wholesome oaty cookies. I love that feeling you get when you stumble upon a new recipe to add to your collection.  I decided to make these cookies again as they are so easy, just mix all ingredient together, but I was feeling extremely lazy at the time and didn’t want to roll out each cookie individually. Instead I divided the mixture in three and pressed it into three lined loaf tins. When they came out of the oven I cut them into bars. The result was more than amazing, they were like flapjacks only they didn’t have that sickeningly sweet golden syrup taste.

Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

250g of rolled oats

125g of wholewheat flour

45g of wheat bran

2 eggs

200ml of rapeseed oil

130 of golden brown sugar

1 tsp of baking soda

1.5 tsp of baking powder

200g of dark chocolate chopped

1tsp of vanilla essence

50g of dessicated coconut (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Then add in the chocolate chips and mix again. Stir in the wet ingredients. Stir well with a wooden spoon to incorporate all of the dry ingredients. Divide the mixture into three and press into three lined loaf tins. Cook for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cut the loafs each into 5 bars to give you a total of 15 bars.

Variation

Instead of cooking them in the loaf tins you could spoon them out onto a tray (it makes about 20) flatten them and cook them at 180C for 15-20 minutes

Bircher Muesli


Anybody who knows me knows I love breakfast. It is my favourite meal of the day. It is the only meal where it is acceptable to eat anything from Cake to sausages. Given my attatchment to the morning meal you can only imagine my excitement when I recently breakfasted at McNean house I had heard a lot about the breakfast and it didn’t fall short. One thing that I truly enjoyed was the Bircher Muesli. I am not a huge Muesli fan as I have voiced before but the Bircher muesli is a whole different ball game. I had heard about this type of muesli where the oats are soaked in milk and yogurt the night before but dared not make it for fear it would be soggy. Infact it wasn’t soggy at all it was extremly tasty and with just under 200 calories per serving it’s the perfect kick start to my detox weekend. Bircher muesli was first created by a 20th century physician to feed patients, althought it has been adapted to suite our modern taste, the idea remains the same.

Bircher-Style Muesli

adapted from the Jamie Magazine issue 26 February 12

This recipe is made the night before you wish to serve it. You can chop and change this recipe to suite your own personal change. I added fresh berries before eating it, instead of the dried fruit. Bananas, Kiwis, peaches and cubes of mango would aslo be rally nice in it.

makes 5 small servings

1 apple

1/2 a pear

1/2 a lemon

40ml of orange or apple juice

1/2 a small handful of dried fruit (optional)

1/2 a small handfull of nuts and seeds (optional) I used pumpkin, sunflower, almonds and pine nuts

250g of plain yogurt

50g of dessicated coconut

1 tbsp of honey

100ml of milk

Prepare the muesli a night in advance. Grate the apple and pear skin and all. Transfer to a bowl squeeze in the lemon juice add the orange juice. Roughly chop the dried fruit and nuts, add to the bowl. Add the yogurt and oats. Mix well to coat all the oats in the juice and yogurt. Stir in the honey. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge overnight. The next morning loosen with the milk . Serve in bowls with your cchoice of topping – honey, fresh or dried fruit, toasted nuts ect.  It will last 2 days covered in cling film in the fridge

Crunchy a.k.a Granola

Granola, or crunchy as it’s known in my house, has always been the naughtier cousin of the healthy muesli. Then again food is about enjoyment and who honestly enjoys a bowl of muesli. I love anything oaty but there is something about the dry uncooked oats that gives me the shivers. Granola is is enjoyable and this homemade recipe unlike the shop bought version contains no sugar ( just honey so the calories are still there) so it’s a little healthier. It’s delicious served with natural yogurt and fruit for breakfast it’s also yummy,, or so I’ve been told, as a topping to ice-cream sundae. Another option layer it in pretty jam jars with fruit or compete, granola and yogurt and serve for breakfast or healthy dessert. I also like to nibble at it dry through out the day but that’s just me.

Granola

makes one large tub that lasts a week in a airtight container

Measurements don’t have to be exact use it as a rough guideline

250g of oats

5 heaped tbs of honey

3 tbs of olive oil

handful of pumpkin seeds

handful of sunflower seeds

small handful of chopped almonds

small handful of hazelnuts (raw)

50g of dessicated unsweetened coconut

Preheat the oven to 180C. Put the oats and coconut in a saucepan and put on a low heat for about 2 minutes stirring regularly. Add the coconut and continue to stir. Add the seeds and nuts. Then add the honey continue to gently heat and mix it so the honey covers all the oats. Take off the heat and mix in the oil (the oil makes it crunchy). Pour onto a baking tray and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Take it out every 5 minutes and give it a stir as the pieces on the edge cook quicker than the center.

The above recipe is just a guideline the first three ingredients are the base after that you can add what you wish.  Seeds and nuts go in before baking just ensure they are unsalted and raw (from experience poppy seeds don’t really work) dried fruit or chocolate can be added after baking. You can add as much or little extras as you like.

P.S I think the coconut is really nice in it so I would recommend  that unless you have a coconut phobia.

Summer Sun and Moldy Bananas

As I have stated before I love many things about Ireland but the weather is not one. So when we do get a few days of sunshine the populations goes a little mad, sundresses are taken out from the back of wardrobes (for their annual wear), shops sell out of ice-cream and burnt faces and farmers tans surround the town. With the heat comes moldy bananas which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it gives you an excuse to make this Caribbean inspired banana bread.

Image

Serve with a fresh fruit salad and eat for breakfast in the sun for an ultimate Caribbean experience

Coconut Banana Bread  

Adapted from book Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant

makes 1 loaf

100g of softened butter

75g of brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup of mashed banana (about 3 bananas)

3 tablespoons of natural yogurt

1 tablespoon of lime (optional)

1/2 tsp of salt

3/4 cup of toasted dessicated coconut

125g of plain flour

60g of wholemeal flour

{30g of oat bran, 15g of wheat germ, 15g of wheat bran} OR 60g of wholemeal flour

1tsp of baking powder

20g of dessicated coconut to top

Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease of line a 9x5x3-inch loaf tin (standard loaf). Cream the butter and sugar. Stir in the eggs, yogurt, lime juice and bananas. Add the salt and coconut. Then sift in the dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and sprinkle the leftover coconut on top. Cook for 30 minutes reduce  heat to 160 and cook for another 30 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from tin and leave to cool before eating.

Variations: Add 1/2 tsp of ground ginger with the coconut, Add a handful of nuts or dried fruit before pouring into tin.

You could also add a handful of chocolate chips but I would leave out the lime then.