If you've been munching through a mound of granola on a daily basis thinking you're being healthy, then stop reading now. The reason toasted crunchy granola is so much better than your standard muesil comes down to two words - butter & sugar. It's simple to make. It may not be uber good for you but its richness means you eat it more as a sprinkling over fruit and yoghurt, rather than on its own by the bowl-ful.
I served my home made granola with pears poached in Prosecco as one of the courses at our brunch supper club on the weekend. The poached pears recipe comes from my Mum and the result is lovely pears in a delicate, delicious syrup, which balances the rich granola. All that's needed to finish it off is a dollop of good Greek yoghurt (oh and a glass of Champagne).
This recipe is based on one from Bill Granger's "Feed Me Now" book - Bill is the King of brunch in Sydney, so if anyone knows about granola it must surely be him.
125g unsalted butter
60g soft brown sugar
3-4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
300g porridge or rolled oats
160g almonds (skin on) (Bill chops his roughly but I added whole almonds)
I also added raw cashews, pepita/pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. You can add whatever you like, however because the mix is baked in the oven, dried fruits can burn so add those after cooking.
Preheat the oven to 160 degreed C/Gas 3.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the sguar and cinnamon. Once melted, take off the heat and toss the oats etc. through the butter so everything is coated. If you've gone a bit crazy with the oats & nuts (hmmm, not me!) then just melt some more butter/sugar/cinnamon and add.
Spread the mixture over oven trays which have been lined & greased. Bake for about 30 minutes until browned, giving the mix a stir/shake after 15 minutes.
Make sure to let the granola cool completely before storing in an airtight container/jar. It will keep for longer than you can resist it.
(Note, in these photos I was making about 3 times the quantity of this recipe)
Pears poached in Prosecco
This is my mum, Sue's recipe.
6 pears (Sue says beurre bosc pears, I used conference pears from Hubbub)
750ml sparkling wine/champagne/prosecco (Sue says "or water" but who is she kidding? I used this lovely prosecco)
300g castor sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, split
2 bay leaves
In a large saucepan, bring the champagne to the boil, stirring. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, bay leaves and peppercorns.
While the liquid is coming to the boil, prepare the pears. Sue poaches the pears whole and skin on. The whole pears look fabulous sitting up in a bowl. As I was serving the pears as one of several courses, I peeled and halved mine. If whole, cut out most of the core from the base. If halved, leave the stalk on but cut out the core.
Place the pears (upright if whole) into the liquid and simmer gently, uncovered, for 20-30minutes. If your pears are halved, you only need 15minutes. You can test the pears with a skewer - you want them to hold their shape and not become mushy.
You can then leave the pears to cool in the syrup. They can be prepared a few days in advance.
To serve, place a pear in each bowl, sprinkle with granola, add a dollop of Greek yoghurt and drizzle the pear syrup generously.