Coconut and cranberry granola



I’ve become pretty good at making granola regularly – so much cheaper than buying it on way to work. Have recently started using coconut oil with great results so I thought I’d post a recipe:

In a bowl, mix 400g rolled oats with 4 tablespoons each of: wheatgerm, flaxseed, linseed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and desiccated coconut. I also added around 50g ground almonds to the above granola because they were nearing expiry date but I’ve made the same recipe without and it’s fine. You can also add other seeds or nuts. Melt 4 tablespoons of coconut oil and add 4 tablespoons of honey to combine, then add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Bake in an oven preheated to 150C fan for about 30 minutes, turning the granola every 10 or so minutes until it’s browned. Add a packet of dried cranberries (100g) to the finished granola and leave to cool, then put in an airtight container. This quantity usually lasts me for 3 weeks and I have it with a combination of soy milk and Greek yoghurt.

Honey and peanut butter granola



Craving comfort food at the moment as everything seems to have conspired to keep me busy, overworked and stressed. Wish I could say that I had a bowl of freshly made granola with yoghurt and jam for breakfast curled up on the sofa with a blanket and a book, which would be ideal. Instead I had it while working but at least I’m working from home today and I got to make granola.

What I put in it: rolled oats – around 300g, wheatgerm – 3 tablespoons, flaxseed – 3 tablespoons, linseed – 2 tablespoons, pumpkin seeds – 2 heaped tablespoons, flaked almonds – 4 tablespoons, seed mix (sunflower, sesame, more linseed and pumpkin) – 3 tablespoons, smooth peanut butter – 4 tablespoons, honey – 3 tablespoons. You need to soften the peanut butter and honey first in a pan over low heat for a couple of minutes then mix with the seed and oat mix. If the mix is a little dry, add a tablespoon or so of maple syrup. Bake in a low oven (150C fan) for 25 minutes, turning once halfway through.

A batch of this size should last for a couple of weeks. I’ve been making granola quite a bit this autumn. It dawned on me that £2-2.50 a pop on my way to work was really not the best thing to spend money on when it’s so quick and easy to do at home. When I get a little more free time, I’m going to experiment with making and using different nut butters and I’d also like to do a tahini granola, just not quite decided what other flavours to use with tahini. All of these ideas are going on my Christmas list – this is not a list of presents, just an ever growing list of things to do and make over holidays. So looking forward to holidays!

Walnut sourdough

I’ve been making sourdough bread regularly for over a year now, using the River Cottage method that I’m very comfortable with. At the same time, I have other books with other methods – St. John’s, Paul Hollywood’s and now also Dan Lepard’s, having recently bought The Handmade Loaf. Last weekend I didn’t make any bread so this weekend, I thought it’s about time I tried a different recipe. Paul Hollywood’s one interested me as he makes up the dough with all the ingredients (and not just the sponge), gives it time to rise and then a very long time to prove. This is a two day job – all proper sourdough is, but the benefit of this method is that the final prove is overnight so it can be baked first thing in the morning and be ready for breakfast. The bread was ready early this morning but, to my great shame, I realised too late that I used way too much water in the dough and have ended up with a bit of a flatbread, not a proper loaf:


I was a little stupid – I’d worked out the time I’d need for the bread fine but was very busy with work all morning so I started the dough late and then rushed this through. The reason I haven’t used Paul Hollywood’s method before is that he uses 500g sourdough starter for 2 loaves and that’s more than my ‘mothership’ jar can hold. I usually use around 150-200g for a loaf. So I was quite liberal with feeding sourdough over past couple of days in order to have 250g for the bread and enough left over to keep the starter going. I halved Hollywood’s recipe for Walnut sourdough (in How to Bake) and also replaced some of the white flour with wholemeal. The ingredients went into the mixing bowl, the mixer went to work and I started adding water, completely forgetting to halve the amount… It was looking a bit wet but I thought some methods just use more than 65% water so maybe it’d be fine in the end. Didn’t realise what I’d done until 5 hours later and by then it was too late to start again. As I transferred the bread onto the super-well-floured peel it held its shape fairly well but as I cut the cross pattern, the whole thing totally deflated. On the positive side, once it was out of the oven and cooled a bit, I cut it in half and am pretty pleased with the texture:


Now I can at least imagine what it would have been like if I’d got the flour/water ratio properly. I’m thinking this method may have legs – imagining the possibilities of a long, slow prove and the resulting texture. Will definitely try again next week.

Peanut butter and honey granola



I spend a fortune on granola/ muesli type takeaway breakfast at work, which is stupid really as granola takes no time to make and I usually have a stock of ingredients to make it with in the cupboard. Yet the thought to make it hadn’t occurred to me until recently (when I figured out how much I spend on bought stuff!) and the idea to use peanut butter as the binding came from Pinterest. I’d seen various recipes that use oil, sugar or lots of fruit juice, which again contains a lot of sugar and wanted to avoid those. Peanut butter and honey seemed a healthier combination.

As most recipes were in American cup measures, which I didn’t really fancy converting, I thought I’d start with 3 tablespoons each of honey and smooth peanut butter, warmed a little to soften, then poured the mix onto 300g rolled oats in a bowl and took it from there. I added other dry ingredients: 3 tablespoons of flaxseed and 4 each of pumpkin and sunflower seeds. The mix was a little dry so I also mixed in a bit of maple syrup and a little bit of plum and apple ribena I made the other day until I ended up with a crumble like topping, which I spread on a lined baking tray and baked in a fan assisted oven at 150C for 25 minutes (I gave the mix a turn half way through).

For breakfast, we had the granola with some honey roasted plums I made the other day, chopped walnuts and Greek yoghurt. Really good, crunchy, healthy and not too sweet. Now I just have to find a suitable container to take this to work.

Jam buns


One of my favourite food memories is my grandmother’s Buchteln. The fluffy buns filled with jam and topped with chopped walnuts and icing sugar. Me tearing them from the tray, still hot, grandmother shaking her head and warning me of hot jam – I didn’t even like jam then but made the exception to Buchteln or buhtle as we called them. I’ve wanted to have a go at making them for ages and finally did so this morning so we could have them for breakfast. How extravagant!

The dough is quite similar to Chelsea buns, only you cut it into squares, fill with a teaspoon of jam then pinch the ends together. I topped them with walnuts as my gran did but traditionally, I think the top is left plain. I filled them with different jams: strawberry, goosebery and fig. They are absolutely delicious, Beloved is an immediate fan – he’s not had one before, I don’t think they’re eaten in England.



I did have a bit of a mishap, one of them leaked jam but all in all, I’m pretty pleased with the first attempt. Am going to work on the recipe a bit before posting, I found quite a few on the web with similar ingredient quantities but ended up using more flour to get a workable dough. Perfecting the recipe – great excuse to make more…