It’s the weekend and no better time for a do it yourself breakfast, and particularly one which will last you the whole week. This recipe for toasty olive oil granola is from ‘Simply Nigella’, Nigella Lawson’s latest cookery book. I remember when the Simply Nigella series was on TV, this recipe for olive oil and maple syrup granola received lots of criticism in the press for being expensive, full of seeds and not really cooking.
I agree, this is a little expensive. Let’s face it extra virgin olive oil and maple syrup are not particularly cheap ingredients. However, the other two claims I dispute. As with all creative cooking, if you don’t like one of the components, substitute it for something else. As for the claim ‘it’s not cooking’, for me cooking doesn’t need to be elaborate, it’s about creating something tasty that is both enjoyable to prepare and eat.
The list of ingredients for thiis fairly long and is quite seed heavy, which I appreciate, could be a little off putting. I have now made this three times, varying the ingredients each time to fit in with what I happened to have available at the time and more importantly to include ingredients I enjoy and not the ones I don’t. The best recipes are adaptable ones and I like to think of a recipe as a starting point from which to build.
The combination of olive oil and maple syrup gives this granola a unique taste unlike any other I’ve had before. Although the maple syrup (or combination of maple and golden syrup which I used on the second occasion I made it) brings necessary sweetness, the olive oil adds an unexpected depth and the spices give warmth.
I love cinnamon, so the quantity suggested in the recipe was just right for me. If you’re not a cinnamon lover you may want to take this down a bit as it is quite potent. I have never used flax seeds, when making this and on only one occasion I used pumpkin seeds. I’ve always added juicy golden raisins and coconut flakes and the first time I made it I used dried cranberries, and I’ve substituted whole almonds with chopped walnuts. The variations are limitless.
This is a very flexible recipe. I’ve had it with Greek yogurt, semi skimmed milk and some particularly yummy almond milk. This is a filling breakfast and combined with some blueberries and / or raspberries easily keeps me going until lunch. So despite this being a little expensive I shall continue to make it because food should be pleasing and this most certainly is.
Ingredients (as suggested by Nigella)
300g rolled oats
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt flakes
100g natural skin-on almonds
50g sunflower seeds
100g pumpkin seeds
50g brown flaxseeds
50g flaked almonds
25g sesame seeds
125ml extra-virgin olive oil
125ml maple syrup
Firstly combine the oats, salt and spices in a large bowl. The add your chosen combination of nuts and seeds and give it a good mix for even distribution.
Measure into a jug the olive oil and maple syrup and stir it up until well amalgamated. Then simply pour this onto the granola mix and stir it around until everything has a good covering. Nigella suggests donning plastic gloves for this. I have managed but just using a spoon!
Put it all onto one or two baking sheets and pop into the oven at 150c for 30 mins, take it out and move it all around for even toasting purposes, then put it back in for another 30 mins or so.
The second time I made this I overcooked it slightly and so keep an eye on it during the final half an hour. Take it out of the oven, leave it to go cold and then decant into jars or your chosen container.
I am always happy to see a large kilner jar of this sitting in my kitchen. It makes me feel unreasonably virtuous.