Fig & Cranberry Granola

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Just back from Stockholm and some 30 degree (celsius) heat. After being spoiled with air-conditioners in virtually every room back home (in Abu Dhabi) it was lovely going au naturel with windows wide open. Except for the occasional hullabaloo from weekend revellers we enjoyed the summer breeze. City living has it's price.

I packed on the kilos, I guess holidays do that to you when faced with too much idle time that you can't help but fill in the void by eating. Whilst I trudged around Norr Mälarstrand, the waterfront area near our apartment in Kungsholmen I marvelled at the number of joggers oblivious to the summer heat. This slowly turned me green with envy, my level of fitness had recently sunk to new lows.

Stockholm restaurants and cafes are meat focussed so it's difficult to enjoy a decent vegetarian meal. Since last year I noticed a welcome change, gourmet shop shelves were now lined with locally produced raw ice cream and a selection of (albeit imported) raw chocolates. One thing that they do well is breakfast. I am in love with Paulúns cereals, the muesli and granola which is sweetened with apple juice and super crunchy. And this is the only place I get to enjoy soy free yoghurt, oats into yoghurt, just sublime. The Oatly brand does plain oat yoghurt without an ounce of sweetener. "Welcome to the post milk society", I love this bold statement featured on their website. And they make a luscious ice-cream too, yes with oat milk.

I've been meaning to post this granola recipe for some time now, it's modelled on the Food Doctor's version by the same name. Frustratingly the boxed cereal isn't always available in the shops. Considering how easy granola is to prepare it's absurd that I shop for the box. Nothing beats oven to table and it is the breakfast of the moment when there aren't any salad veggies to be found in my refrigerator. It has a subtle sweetness derived from apple juice concentrate and it's without the nuts. I'm always battling it out with bags of nuts, a handful is never enough.

I will be packing a small bag with me for when I board that plane for Jaipur in a few days. Jaipur, I know, it's an adventure waiting to unfold. I'm currently reading about Rajput chivalry and their splendid forts. I'm not quite sure what to expect, will it be the same as the other thriving metropolis of New Delhi and Mumbai? Something tells me it's not a sprawling hub but a large centre held together by the seams of heritage and craftsmanship. The locals strike me as a proud lot, not surprising considering it's longevity as one of the places to be seen amongst the world's creative minds. Armed with my copy of Love Jaipur, the guidebook that puts me in the know about anything and everything in the city. I am ready for a sensual overload. Wish me luck.

Fig & Cranberry Granola
This is so good I often have it plain or sometimes with a dash of homemade brazil nut milk. On the sweetness scale this would be ranked low, I like it this way, so if you need an extra kick top it with sliced bananas, dates whatever your heart desires.

1/4 cup dried cranberries soaked overnight in apple juice concentrate
1/4 cup chopped dried figs (about 4)
1 tsp brown rice flour
4 cups rolled oats
100g pumpkin seeds
100g sunflower seeds
100g golden flaxseeds
1/2 cup apple juice concentrate plus 1 tbsp
5 tbsp macadamia nut oil

Drain the cranberries and save the apple juice concentrate to be used in the 1/2 cup and tablespoon.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius/325 degrees fahrenheit.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment paper.

Coat the chopped figs with the brown rice flour and set aside. Mix all remaining ingredients together and spread evenly on the baking tray. Discard the excess flour and place the chopped figs on top the granola and bake for about 45 minutes. Be sure to turn the granola over often so that it cooks evenly. When nicely toasted turn the oven off and leave the tray inside to cool down or if you can't wait that long take it out. Once it's cooled serve with fresh fruit and nut milk.