I LOVE breakfast cereal in almost all its guises (there is a special place in hell reserved for nasty Sugar Puffs). Malty Kelloggs Start and the classic Coco Pops are dangerously addictive faves. Is there a better way to spend an evening than with a box of cereal, some ice cold blue-top milk and a big bowl. I daresay not. If breakfast cereal wasn’t unhealthy enough already, the quantities I can put away mean that it has to be a very occasional treat.
When I realised a few years ago that ‘healthy’ granola wasn’t, in fact, healthy – I was devastated. Clusters of oats and nuts bound together with sticky honey and brown sugar. In hindsight, who was I kidding really.
These days, if I’m having it at all I tend to buy a boring cereal for breakfast. Drab bran flakes, pedestrian porridge. So the discovery of a lighter, more mindful breakfast granola in Nigella Lawson’s Simply Nigella piqued my interest. This grown up Toasty olive oil granola contains significantly less sugar than other recipes. It’s generously spiced before being baked/roasted/toasted with olive oil and salt. There is a real depth of flavour.
I’ve since made some substitutions to the recipe. Avoiding nuts, I boosted up the quantities of seeds and added 75g of coconut flakes that have been lingering in my cupboard for longer than I’d admit. I also used honey instead of the maple syrup as I had it in stock. Beyond that, the recipe is a doddle. Dry ingredients are mixed in a bowl. Honey and olive oil are mixed through the oaty base. I say mixed not stirred as the latter is virtually impossible, especially with honey. Get your (clean) hands stuck in! The sticky, oaty mix is then baked for an hour with a stir halfway through. Et voila, breakfast for a fortnight.
Delicious, but is it a cereal killer? (groan)
The Toasty Olive Oil Granola is undeniably tasty. This sweet n’ salty cereal is perfect for the odd pinch straight from the jar; in a bowl with milk or yoghurt; or from a Tupperware as a homemade cinema snack (Lol – I’d never actually be this virtuous). The salty flavour is pronounced so if you don’t like the salty with your sweet, I would pare down the salt. There’s also a distinct warmth from the ginger so be mindful if you’re especially spice averse.
I think what I enjoy most about this homemade granola is the smugness of having made my own breakfast cereal. This is particularly true in work, lording over colleagues with Oatso Simple instant porridge pots. I have a similar self-satisfied glibness with my homemade baked beans. Even without it’s deliciousness, this recipe for Toasty Olive Oil granola is worth trying for the worthiness alone. You can find the recipe in the Financial Times website here or purchase Simply Nigella.