Let me begin by telling you, and this has absolutely nothing to do with granola, that last night we watched When Harry Met Sally - for the umpteenth time I might add, but there was not much else on and it's one of those movies that's always worth another watch, if only for the fake orgasm scene in Katz's Deli. Anyways, it disturbed me as I was watching to realise that during the course of the 80s and 90s I wore every single one of the hair-dos Sally paraded in the movie - many of them cringe-worthy when I look back.
Such are the things we do over the years as we struggle to develop our personal style - or certainly so it was for me. Took me I think the best part of 48 years to really get comfortable in my own skin, and to realise what my own style was without trying to make myself look good in someone else's.
Breakfast is like that. I know all the rhetoric, which is no doubt backed up by plenty of sound nutritional research, about breakfast being the most important meal of the day. I'm well acquainted with the expression "eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper". And, I've spent many years trying to follow that advice. But the reality is that I am just not a breakfast person - not even a morning person, in fact. The truth is that given the choice I prefer not to rise to a vertical position before 10 am at the earliest, and midday is ideal. Of course, there are jobs to go to and languishing between the sheets till noon is not always an option. But no matter how early I do get up I generally like a lapse of a couple of hours to pass between the bed and the breakfast table, by which time of course it often is pretty much lunch time.
Then, of course, the dilemna arises of what to eat - lunch or breakfast. French toast (check out my Chocolate Panettone French Toast Sandwiches and Caramelised French Toast with Raspberry Compote) and pancakes are popular choices, as is this granola. Work day mornings, I will on rare occasions scarf down a slice of toast and marmalade before racing out the door, but I'm just as likely to skip breakfast, throw a couple of handfuls of this granola into a tub and take it to work with me for lunch.
This granola is a breeze to make, better than anything you will pick up at the supermarket, cheaper and minus the fat too, and it's loaded with nuts and tropical fruit. I like to use cashews and almonds, along with cranberries, apricots, figs, dates, mango and papaya, but really you can use any combination you like. Hope you give this a try I know you won't be disappointed.
Tropical Fruit Granola Recipe
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
6 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds
1 cup cashew nuts
(you can substitute these with 2 cups of any nuts or seeds that you like - pecans, walnuts, macadamias, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds would all be good)
1 cup shredded coconut
(go for long thread or even better flaked coconut - avoid dessicated)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
generous pinch of salt
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 cups dried fruit of your choice
(cranberries, figs, dates, cherries, papaya, apricots, mango, pears, peaches, raisins, sultanas are all good - cut larger fruit into smaller pieces)
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C (300 degrees F).
Put the rolled oats into a large bowl. Add the nuts, coconut, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Pour the honey, agave nectar and maple syrup over the dry ingredients and using your hands mix everything together well.
Spread everything out in a thin layer in a shallow baking tray (you may need to use a couple of trays), and put into the preheated oven. Bake until golden brown. This will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how "toasty" you like it, but keep in mind that it will continue cooking after you take it out of the oven, so take care not to over do it. Give it a bit of a stir every 10 minutes during cooking.
Once toasted to your liking remove from the oven and allow to cool. Add your dried fruit and mix well, then transfer to an airtight container for storage.
I sometimes also throw in a handful of yoghurt covered raisins at this stage, and would even consider chocolate coated raisins or peanuts acceptable inclusions for an indulgent treat.
I can enjoy this as a wee snack, by the handful, straight out of the jar, or eaten on its own simply moistened with a bit of fruit juice (personally not too fussed on milk). It is also great with fresh or stewed fruit, and some Greek-style natural yoghurt. You could even use this to make your favourite granola bars.
I sharing this post with Sweet New Zealand, a monthly blog event created by the very lovely Alessandra Zecchini, and which this month is hosted by After Taste. This is an opportunity for all Kiwi bloggers (whether you are living in New Zealand or overseas), as well as for non-Kiwi bloggers living in New Zealand, to connect and share some of those sweet treats from your kitchen. So, head on over and share something sweet.