recipe

Home-made Granola

[Andy’s Fairfield Granola from Nigella’s Feast

This has got to be one of my favourite cereals, not only for its gloriously nutty and crunchy taste but also for its nutritional benefits. Without meaning to bore you with the boring health details, the fact is that it is incredibly low in fat (the only fat being what is in the nuts and seeds), its also full of those fabulous seeds sunflower and sesame as well as being made up primarily of rolled oats which are also very good for your health. The most important part though, the taste, is more delicious than anything muesli you'll ever buy (I always find the untoasted ones dry and the toasted ones are sprayed in oil). You can customise it to have the nuts and fruit of your desire (I sometimes add pepitas) or even make a chocolate and peanut version. It can also be made into breakfast muffins so there's really no excuse not to try it.

[Andy’s Fairfield Granola from Nigella’s Feast

NQN's cranberry, macadamia and yogurt coated berry version

Nigella suggests using dried cherries but I would also recommend adding dried sweetened cranberries or craisins or even, for a real indulgence, some yogurt coated sultanas and macadamia nuts along with the dried cranberries. My husband loves this granola topped with thick yogurt and a drizzle of honey instead of milk. I couldn't resist making this Christmas-ey looking granola for our big Christmas get together. Is there even such a thing as Christmas granola?

I find that buying the big 500g or 1kg bags of sesame or sunflower seeds makes it much easier to make this often. I also omit the oil completely, I don't think it suffers from leaving it out at all and instead of using apple sauce, I use apple juice, just because we always have apple juice and it makes it crunchier whereas the apple sauce leaves it a little softer.

[Andy’s Fairfield Granola from Nigella’s Feast

NQN's cranberry, macadamia and yogurt coated berry version

Andy's Fairfield Granola

This is an extraordinary bonus from my last book, in the sense that while I was on tour in the States to promote Forever Summer, I did a signing in a borders in Fairfield Connecticut and just behind the bookshop was a deli called The Pantry. Well I can never buy enough, don't even know what that would mean: I always leave any food shop with about five shopping bags, even when I know I'm going on a transatlantic flight the next day. So I shlepped home with tags of good things to eat, including (and probably illegally, I'm afraid) several tons of their granola. I got so anxious about the prospect of finishing even that copious supply that I phone for the recipe-it happens to be only the best granola you'll ever taste in your life-and Andy Rolleri supplied it, for which I am enormously grateful. Every time I've given this to people, they've asked for the recipe and have gone on to make it at home. That can only be a good sign.

You may think that making your own breakfast cereal is a strange way to go about life and certainly I'd never have thought I'd be the kind of person who does this, but the only big deal here is the shopping-the actual making is incredibly easy-and even there, don't be daunted by the length of the ingredients list. It means one big sortie to a health food shop and then you've got the goods to make this again and again. I love having a big jar of it in the kitchen, to eat with milk for breakfast, over yogurt and frizzled with honey late at night, or as it is, by the grasped handful, any time I pass the jar.

[Andy’s Fairfield Granola from Nigella’s Feast

Makes 2.5 litres

Ingredients

  • 450g rolled oats

  • 120g sunflower seeds

  • 120g white sesame seeds

  • 175ml apple sauce (I use apple juice)

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 tsp ginger

  • 120g brown rice syrup or rice malt syrup or failing that golden syrup (I use golden syrup)

  • 4 tablespoons runny honey

  • 100g light brown sugar

  • 250g whole natural almonds

  • 1 tsp. sea salt

  • 2 tbsp. sunflower oil (I don't bother adding this)

  • 300grams raisins

  1. Mix everything (except the raisins) together very well in a large mixing bowl. I use a couple of curved rigid spatulas; normally I'd be happy to use my hands but here it just leaves you covered with everything.

  2. Spread this mixture on two baking tins (the sort that come with ovens and are about the width of a rack) and bake in a gas mark 3/170c oven turning over halfway through the baking and redistributing the granola evenly during the baking process. The object is to get it evenly golden without toasting too much in any one place. This should take anything from about 40 minutes. I use a gas oven, which doesn't brown as fast as en electric one, so often leave it in up to an hour.4

  3. Once its baked, allow to cool and mix together with the raisins. Store airtight

Note: I make a chocolate and peanut version of this, using 300g raw peanuts in place of the almonds, and adding 25g best quality cocoa powder along with the oats, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, giving everything a good raking over with my hands so that the cocoa is evenly dispersed before I add the remaining ingredients. And I sometimes leave the raisins out of Andy's granola, but I absolutely never include them in this version. You could however tinker with the idea of some dried cherries.

From Feast by Nigella Lawson