15 Things I Want to Cook: Granola

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Granola

Granola in a Jar

So on the weekend I actually got around to making some granola for our breakfasts during the week. My partner’s new job means that he has to get up and out quickly so has been missing out on the most important meal of the day tut tut. Anyway, I’ve always wanted to be a smug bastard who ate their own granola and have finally made it!

I’ve started off here with a simple granola from BBC Good Food (yes I probably overuse this) which seems to have been highly rated. Although it’s quite seed heavy, most of the commentators have stated how this version keeps one full till midday – perfect. I certainly think I will experiment in future, but for now this is a very serviceable and tasty effort.

Be careful however. The maple syrup that I got from a certain supermarket that I won’t mention actually only had 40% of maple syrup contained within it – the rest was carob fruit syrup! This did not have a huge effect on the final outcome, but I can imagine that with a better quality maple syrup it would be even tastier. I stayed very close to the recipe, choosing to go for desiccated coconut rather than coconut flakes.

One final thing – this produces some clumps, but I wonder if there is another recipe with more of a clump factor!

Recipe adapted (although not by much!) from ‘good-for-you granola’ from BBC Good Food.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp vegetable oil

125ml maple syrup (but make sure you get the good stuff!)

2 tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

300g rolled oats

50g sunflower seeds

4 tbsp sesame seeds

50g pumpkin seeds

100g flaked almonds

100g dried berries (I just used an average mixed packet)

50g desiccated coconut

  • The recipe states to Preheat Oven to 150/Gas Mark 2 but as we have a terrible oven so we started off with a higher hear and then reduced the temperature to about 170. Bar the coconut and dried berries thoroughly mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Tip the mixture onto a large baking sheet (or two) and spread the mixture out evenly. Bake this for 15 minutes. After which, add the coconut and dried berries and cook for another 10/15 minutes. You might want to check after 10 as you do not want the fruit to burn. Also after the first 15 minutes make sure to mix the granola so as to make sure it retains an even dark colour throughout.
  • After it has baked, leave to cool on another tray or board and then store it in glass containers. Try not to nibble it now!! We’ve been eating this for the last few days and it’s very nice – I may try with yoghurt and fruit tomorrow!
Close Up

Close up of Granola

Paprika Flatbreads with Feta and Chickpea Salad – and a Fried Egg!

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So I’ve been marking GCSE’s and A-Level History all week which is why getting this blog off the ground is TAKING AGES. But maybe I should not make too many excuses. I can imagine a lot of other bloggers have busy days as well! Anyway, today was so sunny that I thought I’d go for a salad, but I was also v.HUNGRY, and wanted something that would fill me up all afternoon.

I’ve been wanting to make the following recipe for awhile because I love pulses, particularly chickpeas, and basically anything with feta and I’m sold – well as long as it’s good feta – none of the cheap stuff. The recipe did not call for the fried egg, but I was just in a mood for some runny goodness, and thought the combination of egg and feta would be super good. I was RIGHT! This was so so tasty and although I’m still getting the hang of our crappy oven, the flatbreads turned out ok. This would be certainly something I’d try again, perhaps mixing up the pulse, adding some cherry tomatoes, and replacing the parsley with some coriander.

Ingredients

(this is adapted from Gordon Ramsey’s Healthy Appetite)

2 large pitas (sliced in half)

½ tsp of paprika (just the bog standard stuff)

4tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

1 red onion (sliced and diced)

1 garlic clove (finely diced)

½ red chilli (ditto – seeded – or not!)

400g tin of organic chickpeas

½ lemon

Handful of flat leaf parsley leaves

Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

150g Feta Cheese

1 tbsp of Groundnut Oil

2 Eggs

(serves 3-4 or two hungry guys)

1/. So first you get 2tbsp’s of the oil and mix that with the paprika. You split the pitas and brush each half with the oil on both sides. Put these in a pre-heated oven (180c/Gas Mark 4) until they’re toasted on both sides. – probably 4-5 minutes but check after three.

2/. While the pitas are in the oven, heat the rest of the oil in the pan. Add the red onion and cook for 6-8 minutes – making sure not to burn them. This should be on a medium(ish) heat, but again be careful. After they’ve become translucent, add the garlic and chilli and fry for another minute or two, making sure not to brown the garlic. Then add the chickpeas and heat them. Add a squeeze or two of lemon – I pretty much used one half. And then add the parsley and a bit of salt and pepper. Remember that the feta is quite salty so you only need a little bit of salt.

3/. After the chickpeas are warm put the entire mixture into a large bowl. Crumble 100g of the feta (2/3rds) into the mixture and make sure everything is thoroughly mixed.

4/. Make sure you’ve taken the pitas out! The final bit is to add a tablespoon of groundnut oil to the pan you’ve already been using. When hot add the eggs. I actually added three in the end because I broke one! Oh well! Make sure that you heat it on a moderate heat and keep spooning over the hot oil onto the yolk so that cooks properly. After the eggs are done, serve up the chickpea and feta salad, add the fried eggs and crumble the remaining feta on top. Add a little more black pepper! Voila! YUM.

Fifteen Things I Want to Cook


So one reason why I want to start a food blog is so that I can get around to cooking foods that I have not prepared before. To push myself to do this more often, each month I will place a list of fifteen dishes that I want to make. Obviously I’m not going to get around to cooking them all each month, but hopefully it will give me a little bit more of an incentive to try one or two. Any suggestions for recipes to try for the following would certainly be welcomed.

I realise it is a bit of a random collection, but then I generally do like a lot of different cuisines…

Pad Thai

Lemon Risotto

Fishcakes

Swedish Cinnamon Buns

Parmigiana

Panzanella

Coq au Van

Thai Green Curry

Devilled Eggs

Granola

Bircher Muesli

Meat Cobbler

Poached Eggs (I  know! But my partner always makes them…)

Shakshouka

Fish Pie.

Roast Chicken with Garlic

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So I have decided to start a food blog as I love food and want to get better at cooking, and try new recipes. I also want to store some of my weekday recipes so that I do not forget them, and this will mean I can tinker with them in the future.

I thought this was as good a time as ever; even better since my partner and I have recently moved to the North-East of England. I thought for the first recipe I would put something down that I love to have quite often – that is chicken – tasty and affordable. There will no doubt be lots of chicken recipes forthcoming… My love of the bird knows no bounds – well maybe some bounds.

I very rarely cook a whole chicken as I tend to use chicken pieces quite often – particularly thighs and drumsticks. But for my first blog post I thought I’d give it a try. I had ordered a free-range chicken because I was feeling flush and we were actually given an organic and free-range chicken by mistake – Bonus.

This was a very enjoyable dinner, which new oven problems aside, gave us lots of yummy leftovers for the next few days. The only point I would say is that these potatoes do not roast as such; instead they suck up the juices/wine/stock. They’re also pretty good cold as well. 😉

Roast Chicken with Garlic Potatoes

Adapted from a recipe for Foolproof Slow Roast Chicken on BBC Good Food.

Ingredients

Two-three knobs of Butter

1.5kg-2kg chicken

1kg of Potatoes (Maris Piper or King Edward for instance) – cut into quarters or smaller if quite big.

2 heads of garlic (each one divided into two)

100ml of wine

100ml chicken stock

2 Carrots (sliced)

2 Celery Sticks (sliced)

1 Onion (quartered)

1 Lemon (quartered)

6 Bay Leaves

2-3 Tablespoons of Tarragon

• Preheat the oven to 160C. To begin with grease a large roasting tin with a knob of butter and smear some all over the chicken as well. Mix one knob of butter with a tablespoon of tarragon and place that with the lemon cut up in the chicken’s cavity.
• Place the chicken in the roasting tin. Then place the potatoes quarters and garlic halves around the chicken, and pour the wine and stock over them all. (see Picture) Cover all of this with foil and place in the oven for 1 hr. If like me you have a stupid electric oven make sure to preheat much higher first and then reduce it to 160C.

Roast Chicken

Chicken about to be put into the oven

• Take the chicken out and add the sliced carrots and celery and quartered onion around the chicken. Take off the foil and cook for a further 50 minutes. Now depending how your chicken is doing, finally turn up the heat to 220C and cook for a final 30 minutes. I added the tarragon before the final 30minutes and also checked to see if it needed any seasoning.
• Finally, leave the chicken to rest for 10 minutes. I served the chicken and potatoes with some steamed kale and added the juices from the roasting tin to make some gravy. Yum.