Easy Granola

Easy GranolaVery quick, very easy to make, very adaptable and very tasty.

Ingredients

200 g Jumbo Oats

110 g Sultanas

100 g Pecans, roughly chopped

90 g Mixed Seeds (I use a premade mix of pumpkin, sunflower and sesame)

50 g Coconut Oil

45 ml (3 tablespoons) Maple Syrup

5 ml (1 teaspoon) Vanilla Extract

2.5 ml (0.5 teaspoon) Salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 150 C.

Put the coconut oil in a large bowl and microwave for 40 seconds to melt it.

When it is completely melted stir in the maple syrup, vanilla and salt and mix well.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly

Spread mix thinly on a large baking tray

Bake for 8 minutes then stir and bake for a further 4 minutes (12 minutes total baking time)

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Delicious served with natural yogurt (or any yogurt of your choice) and blueberry sauce.

 

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Super-Simple Banana Oat Pancakes

Banana Oat Pancakes Recipe

I’ve seen variations of this recipe popping up online a lot recently. Here’s my version. And yes, they really are super-simple. Note that these are American-style pancakes, that is the small, fluffy ones. Not ‘real’ pancakes, aka crepes. Mmm. Crepes! But these are delish too. And, if you care about these things, gluten-free and lactose free. I recommend them with blueberry sauce and Greek yogurt. But you go for your favourite topping.

Ingredients

(makes 12 small or 8 medium pancakes – perfect for two greedy people!)

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 45 g | 0.5 cup oats
  • 0.5 teaspoon baking powder
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Method

  • Put all the ingredients in a bowl and blend well with a hand blender. Make sure its all nice and smooth. It should be the consistency of thick pancake batter. Let it sit for at least ten minutes before you start making your pancakes (go make a cup of tea or start your blueberry sauce for topping)
  • Heat a large frying pan to a medium heat. You can dry-fry these pancakes if your pan is non-stick or add a little oil or butter. ¬†Pour a few tablespoons/0.25 cup of batter for each pancake. Allow to brown then flip and brown the other side. Stack the pancakes on your plate. Repeat until you’ve used up the batter.
  • Top with your favourite topping and serve immediately. Note that this batter does not keep well and is best used on the day you make it.

(Photo from Pixabay.com – I’m definitely not a good photograper! Thanks Pixabay ūüôā )

In Praise Of Porridge

Porridge

Porridge picture via @estelledaviesjo

I was in my local supermarket yesterday and noted that 1 kg of Flahavan’s organic Irish porridge oats is ‚ā¨2.75. ¬† My local supermarket is not known for its keen prices. ¬† I’m pretty sure you can get 1 kg of organic Irish oats in Lidl or Aldi for less than ‚ā¨2 (maybe even cheaper where you live?). ¬† But even at my supermarket’s prices and choosing the top-of-the-range organic option, oats are a fantastic value food.

Goodness

Oats are a nutritionally-dense food. ¬†That is to say you get lots of nutritional benefits per calorie. ¬†And who doesn’t want to get more nutritional bang for their calorific buck? ¬† A 40 g serving contains only 150 calories but delivers the following health-giving nutrients, among others (source: ¬†http://www.whfoods.com)

  • 17% recommended daily intake of magnesium
  • 17% recommended daily intake of fibre
  • 14% recommended daily intake of zinc
  • 13% recommended daily intake of protein¬†

Oats also contain a soluble fibre called beta glucan which has been shown to lower cholesterol and benefits digestion.   Oats are also well-known as a low-GI (glycemic index) food which means that oats release their energy into the body slowly.  This mean no crazy sugar-rushes or sugar-crashes Рits good to start the day on an even keel.

Tastiness

All this nutritional worthiness is grand but you want a warm and tasty start to the day that will see you through to lunchtime, especially on these mornings where there’s still a distinct chill in the air. ¬† Oats are a great addition to many recipes such as my Irish Soda Bread but porridge is where it is really at!

Now there are many (many, many!) recipes and variants on porridge recipes and the proponents of each will defend their recipe vigorously (porridge fight!). ¬†Make it on water or milk? ¬†In the microwave or on the stove? ¬†With salt or not? ¬†With sugar or not? ¬† What other toppings? ¬† I am not a porridge absolutist. ¬† What I’m sharing here is what I find tasty and convenient. ¬† Do experiment and find your perfect porridge.

Basic Recipe (serves 1 – me!)

  • 40 g oats. ¬†Rolled oats (porridge oats) are perfect. ¬†Pinhead (steel-cut) oats are even nicer but take a lot longer to cook. ¬† Hence pinhead oats being called ‘weekend porridge’ in my house because the weekend is the only time I have enough time to cook them. ¬† There are slow cooker recipes out there that may get around the long cooking time but I haven’t tried them personally so I can’t report on their usefulness.¬†
  • 200 ml water (if you’re feeling ascetic), milk (if you’re feeling decadent) or 100 ml water + 100 ml (if you’re feeling undecided). ¬†¬†
  • Pinch salt (optional but does add a lovely fullness to the flavour)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of sugar, honey, syrup (I like maple syrup as a treat) or jam. ¬† The more ascetic amongst you may scoff a softie suggestion of something sweet. ¬† Life’s too short! ¬† Pass the jam. ¬† Note that I find that honey reacts with porridge to make it go quite runny which I don’t like very much but do try it for yourself, it might be just your thing. ¬†¬†
  • 1 or 2 heaped tablespoons of yoghurt (optional) ¬†I add yoghurt when I make my porridge on water to add a bit of creaminess and richness.¬†
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons sultanas or other dried fruit (optional) I like to add these in at the start of cooking so they plump up during cooking and end up as lovely, juicy gems of sweet fruitiness in the porridge.¬†
  • … This is where is gets a bit free-style. ¬† Get creative and add sliced banana, berries (fresh is lovely, defrosted from frozen is also good), toasted sunflower seeds or nuts…

Method

  1. Place the oats in a small saucepan.
  2. Add the water and/or milk (add the dried fruit now if you want them to plump up during cooking
  3. Bring to the boil, stirring frequently.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring even more frequently (keep an eye on the pot – porridge can boil over very quickly and makes an awful mess)
  5. Add the pinch of salt if using and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Keep stirring!
  6. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl.   Add your preferred sweetener and other toppings.   Enjoy!

Tips

  • You can cook porridge in the microwave. ¬† Personally I don’t think its as nice as stove-top porridge, especially when you make it with milk. ¬† If you do make it in the microwave keep a close eye on it as it can still boil over and make a mess.
  • Soak whatever utensils you use to cook and serve the porridge after use or you’ll need a chisel to remove the remains!