The Granola story

Ishaan’s off on a school trip on Friday. It’s two days away and he is most excited – especially about the snacks.

‘Can I take chips?’ he asks. ‘And candy?’

The chips are approved and so is ‘some’ candy.

‘I can make you some yummy granola to share with your friends,’ I volunteer. I have been watching too many Nigella Lawson shows and am itching to make something Sweet.

The idea is approved and the next day I get my sous-chef Laila, to help me make my very first granola. I weigh each ingredient out, which she tips into a big yellow plastic bowl. And woe betide anyone who tries to short change her out of even a single step. The honey goes in and the spoon is licked. The brown sugar is thrown in (some of it is quickly eaten behind my back). She discovers she loves the texture and taste of creamy-white oat flakes. The sesame seeds stick to her honeyed fingers and she runs after Amrita, our live-in, and threatens to rub them all over her. The peanuts are shared out amongst us (after all this is hard work) and some of it grudgingly finds its way into the yellow bowl. Then we stir and stir the sticky brown sand till our arms hurt and the dark earthy mass threatens to spill out of the bowl. We dollop the lot into a greased baking tray and pop it into the oven (at 150 degrees centigrade) and sit back and wait.

An hour and fifteen minutes later – the damn thing refuses to turn a lovely golden brown like any self-respecting granola should – I get fed up and yank it out of the oven. It cools quickly and I crack off a chunk.

‘Ooohhh…’ Laila says, not liking the look of it one little bit. ‘It’s black.’

‘But it’s yum,’ I say.

And it’s true. The granola does taste a wee bit burnt, but it’s crunchy and sweet and peanuty – just like Chikki!

‘Try a little.’

She widens her eyes and shakes her head. I keep at it. At last a tiny bit inches towards her mouth. She puts it in and chews.

‘One minute Mama…you stay here.’

She bolts to the bedroom, gives me a smile, and slams the door shut.

Amrita and I look at each other and begin to laugh. She emerges two minutes later, her mouth free of the offensive substance.

‘You spat it out?’ I ask.

‘Ya. It was yuck!’

Ok. Next victim. Ishaan arrives home sweaty and dirty after a lovely romp with his pals. I tell him the Granola is ready and that he can take it on the picnic. But I wisely refrain from asking him to taste it. Maybe someone at school will like it…

In the meantime Rohaan (who is diabetic) and I (who am always watching my weight) proceed to demolish the jar-full of sweet stickiness over the next two days. The Evening-Before-The-Picnic arrives and Ishaan informs me that the granola is off.

‘Don’t feel bad Mama,’ he says with his sweet smile. ‘I tasted it and didn’t like it – so I won’t take it.’

Now who can argue with that? He takes two packs of Poppins instead (today’s kids like Poppins? Yay!) And that’s the end of that.

So I sit down the next day (and as I crunch down a few more pieces) decide on making muffins – a la Nigella – with the remnants.

And guess what? They are awesome! The granola is not over-whelming (for the kids at least) and instantly – with very little effort – jazzes up the rather common-place muffin. I am  convinced that Granola is born to be part of a muffin, and the good news is that the kids walloped it down as well! Success at last.

Now I plan to make Nigella’s Condensed milk Granola bars. I am pretty confident this lot should turn out well – after all, you can’t go wrong with condensed milk, right?

Will keep you posted 🙂

Recipe for Nigella Lawson’s Granola Bars (my slightly modified version) 

Makes enough for 2 greedy adults and 2 reluctant kids.

Oats 150 gms

Peanuts 100 gms (roast them slightly on the tava for more crunch)

Cocoa 25 gms

Sunflower seeds (or any nut) 75 gms

Sesame seeds (til) 50 gms

Apple sauce 50 gms

(Slice & peel 1 apple, put in a covered dish, add just a little water, and microwave for a couple of minutes. Let it cool and blend for applesauce.)

Ground ginger 1/4 tsp

Cinnamon 1/2 tsp (I left it out as I didn’t want it too spicy)

Honey 50 gms

Golden syrup 75 gms (can substitute with honey)

Raisins or dried figs (chopped up) or any dried fruit 75 gms

Oil 3/4th tbsps

Brown sugar 1/4th cup

Salt 1/3rd tsp

Method

Mix everything together. Grease a tray and bake @ 150 c for 45 minutes to an hour. The granola should turn golden brown – though mine never did and still tasted nice. Cool, break it up into pieces, and store in a jar. Tastes great with curd and a generous dob of jam, honey or any fruit preserve thrown in for flavour. Or simply eat plain.

Granola Muffins 

Makes 10 big fat muffins.

Flour 225 gms

Baking soda 1 tsp

Salt 1/2 tsp

Egg 1

Buttermilk 250 ml (mix together 200 ml curd and 50 ml regular milk)

Oil 75 ml

Brown sugar 175 gms

Method

Fold in all the dry items (flour, soda, salt). Keep aside. Fold in all the wet items (including the brown sugar to allow it to dissolve a little). Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and fold in till the dough is a little lumpy (no need to do it with the electric whisk as it will become too smooth). According to Nigella, lumpy muffin dough makes for light and lovely muffins. And she’s right (of course!) Fold in 250 gms of granola. Bake @ 200 c for 20-25 minutes.

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