Tag Archives: granola

Bake: Granola Bars

granola bars

I’m off on a little road trip for work soon, this will involve a trade show and a few nights in a hotel. All very exciting stuff apart from the fact I will be away from my kitchen for 3 days, three whole days! Whilst most would relish the prospect of not having to cook for 3 days the reality has sent me into a bit of a panic.

Cooking is one of my greatest pleasures, I cook every day. It’s my way to relax and unwind but mainly I’m a big fan of knowing what goes into my food, it’s important to me to know the origin of the ingredients going into what I eat and indeed that there are no unnecessary ingredients included, preservatives, stabilisers and what have you. life is busy, and whilst it’s not always possible to know exactly whats going into your food and it’s not always convenient to make food from scratch I do, where possible, try and champion homemade and try to source ingredients for my kitchen that are local, british or of fair trade origin, and above all, healthy. I bake my own bread, I buy my meat from the butchers and vegetables from the market and try to spend as little money as I can in supermarkets.

So, what to do? The outlook is grim and i’m facing the unnerving reality of fast food for three days. My colleagues, who know my pack lunch habits and cheese obsession have assured me this is not the sort of trade fair where there will be a hall of fine cheeses to sample (those are the best sort of trade fairs, right?!) How will I cope without a slice of homemade bread and a selection of fine cheeses at lunchtime? I had to take action.

This morning I set about baking myself a batch of granola bars so if i’m really in trouble I can reach for the comforts of home cooking direct from my own kitchen. C has also very kindly bought me some apples to take on my journey. I shall also be preparing some cheesy nibbles to take. I’m feeling better prepared now, yet still apprehensive. Seriously, no cheese?

granola bar ingredients

To make granola bars you will need:

  • an 18cm round cake tin lined with baking parchment
  • 100ml coconut oil
  • 100ml agave nectar or honey
  • 50g almond or peanut butter
  • 150g oats
  • 50g chopped pecan nuts
  • 50g mixed seeds-I used pumpkin and sunflower
  • 50g dried fruit of your choice, sour cherries or cranberries are mine

This recipe makes really delicious gooey, chewy granola bars, be sure not to bake them too long so they don’t dry out. A note on coconut oil, make sure you buy cold pressed extra virgin for maximum ‘superfood’ effect. The flavour is strong and can overpower, so for those who don’t like coconut butter or oil can be used instead.

Pre-heat the oven to 145°C Weigh all the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl and set aside. Gently heat the agave, coconut oil and nut butter together in a pan until they are all melted, then pour the melted oil, agave and butter over the dry ingredients and mix all together to combine. Place the ingredients into the prepared tin. Use the back of a spoon to press the mix down so it’s nice and compact. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely, (don’t try to cut it when warm as it will crumble) Once completely cool cut into 6-8 portions. Store the bars in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Perfect for Breakfast on the go.

speedy breakfast granola bars

Further reading for the travelling cook:

B’s guide to eating healthy on the road

Miriam nice fellow blogger and author of cooking without a kitchen

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Make: Ginger Curd

I made my first batch of Ginger Curd just before Easter for birthday presents and Easter gifts. I really love ginger, as does my mother, and we first discovered it in curd form in the Farndon Fields farm shop it proved to be quite addictive. Ginger works particularly well as a curd, sharp and creamy with sweet stem ginger crunch, I decided to have a go at home with some delicious results, the last few weeks have been all about homemade granola or toasted sourdough topped with lashings of ginger curd for breakfast! Curd is a delightfully low maintenance preserve to make, no need for jam thermometers or giant pans, it tells you when its ready by changing consistency and if stored in the fridge can last for a few months. I’ve adapted a lemon curd recipe here, swapping almost all the the lemon for ginger. Curd can be made with a variety of flavours and i’m planning to try some more out soon. Strawberry, lime and chocolate are all on my to do list!

ingredients

To Make ginger curd you will need:

  • 3  250ml capacity jam jars and lids
  • silicone paper circles, cut to the size of the mouth of the jam jars
  • fresh ginger- the piece I used was 140g
  • the juice of 2 lemons
  • 90g castor sugar
  • 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 30g stem ginger chopped into small cubes about 5mm square
  • I cook curd over a bain-marie so use a large heatproof bowl that sits snugly into the mouth of a sucepan filled with about an inch of water.

To begin: roughly peel the ginger and place into a food processor or hand blender. Add the juice from both the lemons and blend these ingredients to a pulp. Strain the pulp through a fine sieve so you are left with just the juce, this should measure roughly 100ml. Place the juice into the heatproof bowl along with the sugar, whole eggs and egg yolks and place the bowl onto the saucepan. Transfer to the hob and heat gently, whisking all the ingredients together.

cooking on a baine marie

cooking: Curd can be cooked in a saucepan over direct heat but this requires continuous stirring and full attention as overheating can result in the curd splitting. As I get easily distracted I find this bain-marie method a little safer as the curd can be left to its own devices with occasional stirring. The curd thickens as it cooks and is ready when it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This takes around 20 to 25 minutes. Once thickened turn off the heat and stir in the butter so you have a silky smooth mixture, lastly stir through the steam ginger.

cook until thickened

Ginger curd is best stored in glass jam jars. To prepare the jars thoroughly wash them and their lids in hot soapy water. Rinse clean and place the jars on a baking tray. Transfer the tray into a pre-heated oven for 5-10 minutes until the jars are dry.

To finish: Decant the curd into a measuring jug and pour straight into the prepared jars while they are still hot. Place a silicone paper circle onto the top of the curd to create a seal and then screw the lid tightly onto the jar.

Adding the curd to the jar whilst both are still hot creates an airtight vacuum, sealing the curd as it cools preventing any bacterial contamination that could lead to mould. Leave the jars to cool completely- We left ours overnight.

ginger curd

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Do: Foodie Pen Pals, March

sent

sent: This month I sent a little parcel to Kate from London, it was Kate’s first month of foodie pen pals so I wanted to tick all the boxes for a delicious parcel. A fellow bread baker, Kate requested healthy snacks with a preference for fruity and spiced flavours and teas. So I sent Kate the following homemade delights….. Sunflower seeds for growing – Kate has grown Basil and cacti from seed, which sounds pretty incredible to me! Ginger and lemon curd, loose rose petal tea, garlic and herb infused olive oil and some homemade granola to go with the lemon curd as a healthy breakfast snack.

recieved

received: A hand delivered box of goodies from the lovely Rachael. Swiss dark chocolate, my favourite brand -dark mernier, I cannot wait to bake with it…. delicious dried blueberries as a healthy snack- Rachael recommended these sprinkled on porridge with a little honey which proved quite delicious! Red pepper and chilli pesto, which I can’t wait to try folding into some homemade bread as Rachael suggested. Nasturtium to grow in the garden- C and I planted these last week and they are just beginning to peek through the soil….and last but not least, some lindor chocolates, which have all gone already!

So I did pretty well this month! Join in the fun here!

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