As a child growing up in the 1970's, breakfast was dear to me.
There was Ready Brek loaded with Golden Syrup, and that advert that showed the kid going to school surrounded by a warm (radioactive?) glow.
There was toast. And it was thick, white and dripping with salted butter. (Or even beef dripping. True story.) Oh and that chocolate sauce that you could get in a white plastic tub, remember that?
Porridge was around, but it was fine to lace it with cream and cover it with crunchy sugar. And Coco Pops were a joy because they turned the milk brown and you could even add a bit of extra sugar 'coz no-one cared!
There was the Frosties tiger bouncing around selling us sugary flakes of corn and although there was sensible Weetabix, you were still allowed to sprinkle it with (white) sugar.
Ahh, those were the days. No-one tried to get you to eat fruit for breakfast - unless you were at a fancy hotel and you had half a grapefruit with a cherry on, which it was ok to leave - and marmalade was practically a health food (all that fruit!)
And now, reader? What are we faced with?
Breakfast guilt, that's what.
If my cereal bowl isn't rocking chia seeds, quinoa and a sprinkling of goji berries, I feel as though I'm engaging in culinary self-harm.
If my bread doesn't look like a bunch of seeds squished together with amaranth flour, then I am just a tool of the great Chorleywood Bread Process Conspiracy.
I feel judged. I feel conflicted. And most of all I don't know what the hell I'm supposed to eat for breakfast.
For a while I thought granola was the way forward but then I checked the sugar content. Ouch!
And then it came to me. Why not make a healthy, homemade granola? Ha ha!
So I did.
It is OUT with breakfast guilt and IN with natural(ish) sugar. And I'm even starting to enjoy breakfast more, hurrah!
Nut free, dairy free, gluten free Granola
There are two ways to make granola; on a modest scale or on an industrial scale. I always favour the latter, but I realise that not everyone likes to spend hours wrestling with giant-sized portions. So I've given modest quantities that you can just double or triple as you see fit.
100g gluten free oats
25g ground sunflower seeds
20g ground pumpkin seeds
25g desiccated coconut
25g ground linseeds
125g coconut oil
8 tbsp maple syrup (or agave syrup)
2-3 tsp vanilla bean paste
3-5 tsp cinnamon powder
Approx 60g dried fruit (blueberries, raisins, etc), or you can leave these out if you like
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment and set aside
- Preheat oven to 180° Celsius
- Grind the sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and linseeds and place in a large mixing bowl
- Add the gluten free oats, coconut and cinnamon powder and raisins/dried fruit if using
- In a small saucepan, place the coconut oil, vanilla bean paste and maple syrup and heat gently until the oil has melted
- Pour the melted oil into the mixing bowl and stir until all the ingredients are coated
- Spread the mixture onto the baking tray and use the back of a spoon (or potato masher) to squish it all down (this helps the clumps of granola to form during baking)
- Bake in the oven for 10-20 mins until the surface is lightly browned, but keep checking as the seeds can burn quickly
- When the surface is browned, use a spatula to turn the mix over. Try to keep the granola in clumps as you do so
- Bake again until the surface is lightly browned, then remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking tray
- When completely cool, break off lumps of the granola and place into a storage jar. You might find that the granola doesn't stay in lumps, or only some of it does. This is the willful nature of Granola, what can I say?
- Add fresh fruit, coconut yogurt, coconut milk...whatever you please and enjoy! Feel no breakfast guilt!
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