New day, new recipe

The lowdown on the nut roast is…. The adults LOVED it, the 10-year-old pretended to like it (because she made it), the 12-year-old pushed it around the plate and ate a little, and the 5-year-old actually gagged. I was glad I was out of the house when that happened.

I won’t let that get me down. It was a tasty recipe, I promise. In the meantime, we’ve been having a bit of online chatter about upping fibre in general, as Michael Mosley suggests, for all sorts of good health reasons, and a couple of friends have asked me for my favourite granola recipe.

Granola can be absolutely loaded with butter and sugar, so not healthy at all, but I’ve tried a few healthy, oil-based versions and have come up with a true family favourite – which WE ALL EAT.

It’s a nut-and-seed-heavy version,  loosely-based on Nigella’s Toasty Olive-Oil Granola (which you can find in ‘Simply Nigella’). I tweak things, include whatever seeds and nuts and sweetener we happen to have and occasionally stir in some dried fruit at the end (although I like it nuttier and seedier in general). The main difference with my version is that I halved the amount of oil and sweetener, removed the salt she adds, and I think it works well. So here goes:

Ingredients and Method:

Pre-heat oven to 150deg and line a roasting tin with re-useable liner.

In a Pyrex bowl, weigh out:

300g jumbo oats (or whatever ones you have, but these are the best)
100g nuts, chopped into non-choking pieces (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, brazils are all favourites)
50g sunflower seeds
50g pumpkin seeds
50g linseeds – any colour
25g sesame seeds….. (or any combination of seeds roughly totalling 175g)
1tsp ground ginger (or more to taste)
1tsp ground cinnamon (or more to taste)

Stir ‘dry’ ingredients together.

In a small jug, put:

80ml sweetener – I like maple syrup but golden syrup or agave are both good too
1tsp vanilla extract (optional)
80ml oil – I use mostly extra virgin olive oil, adding a heaped tablespoon of coconut oil (if you like it). Briefly heat these in the microwave to melt the coconut oil if using.

Pour ‘wet’ ingredients into dry, stirring to incorporate evenly. Spread out evenly in the roasting tin. Cook for about 20 minutes, stir and return to oven for about 30 minutes.  For the last five minutes you can stir in some shredded coconut if you fancy – it will burn if you put it in sooner. You want the granola bits hard and brown but not burnt.

When cool, you can stir through some dried fruit if you wish, then transfer to an airtight container. It will last for ages if you can keep your hands off it.


It’s Showtime!

It’s that time of year when this lovely old-fashioned booklet starts appearing in every (properly) local shop and veg stall.  Two came home in book bags.  It’s West Show time!

Now, I’m a relative newbie to this scene; I’m imported from the UK, for a start, and we’ve only lived ‘out west’ for the last five years, so we’re pretty insignificant in this neck of the woods.

Let’s be clear.  The West Show is a BIG DEAL.  It’s also a whole lot of fun.  The summer holidays just wouldn’t be the same without it, and I’m proud to have taken part in our own little way since the kids have been at the local school. Continue reading