Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yummy Granola. Yes, it exists.

I've been on so many Bridget Jones' type of cleanses, I could write a book on them. Well, a post at the very least. And if you've read Bridget Jones, you know how the cleanses end. Not the dead-drunk bit; the other one which ends with her diving into a box of chocolates (in recent times, it has been Milano for me).

The worst one was after giving my tenth boards. A and I decided to go on one of our many joint diets. This one allowed a piece of toast, black coffee-no milk-no sugar, a boiled egg (carrots for her, the lucky Vegetarian hippy) et-very-little-cetera. We stayed on it for 4 hours (actually, I think she did three-quarters of a day). She now works out like there is no tomorrow (hippy to Yuppy) and I dream/eat/write about food. You can refer to Freud to see why we've evolved differently.

Still. There are clothes to fit into. So when I feel like a pro-health, smartass Doctor, I whip up a batch of this granola. It's one step above edible: it's actually delicious. Nothing like the sawdust blocks ("thins") Nature Valley makes. Yes, I'm only talking about the Indian made ones. Yumbars are decent, but I'm not throwing 200 bucks on cereal bars. I'm sure sane people would agree (say Hey!). Quaker Oats makes amazing cereal bars, but I guess my foreign relatives/friends don't love me enough to keep me afloat. Hint, hint.
Horlicks and RiteBite were what fuelled me through Internship year, but they're slightly too sweet and have enough calories to swap for a bar of bittersweet chocolate. What would I choose?

The chocolate. And this granola.

The writing in blue is the actual recipe. The rest of it is my incessant chatter.
This Granola.


2 cups oats

1/4 cup chopped walnuts or almonds

1/4 cup raisins or figs

4 tsps Peanut butter

4 tsps Honey


Warm peanut butter and honey in a double boiler, until it's smooth. I use Skippy's Super Chunky version, because creamy, homogenous peanut butter is for wusses and babies. Honey, plain old Dabur will do. This is a budget recipe, after all.

That's the consistency you want. It gets there pretty early, so keep on eye on it unless you want unusable peanut caramel (Yum. Delicious mistake).

And that's my extremely un-fancy bain-marie. Mum still does not trust me with the fancy cookware. I don't argue, because she's got good reason to, and I'm almost never in the mood to hear her extended list of my past sins/crimes. Good times.

In a bowl, mix together the oats and chopped nuts. Pour the peanut butter+honey mixture and stir until completely combined. Do not add raisins or figs at this stage as they burn pretty fast.

 Oats, Quaker I'm a slave to, but I saw Saffola on sale the other day, and it is pretty decent. Again, it doesn't have to be a snooty brand since it's just going to get cooked. I used raisins, chopped figs and almonds in mine (altogether, fitting snugly into a half-cup). Substitute the dried fruit with prunes if you want it super healthy. Or skip it all, and add chocolate chips to the final mix (after all the cooking is over).

Spread the mix on a ungreased foil-lined tray. Shove it into a preheated oven (I used 175 degrees C) for roughly 15 to 20 minutes.

Whilst the oven does its thing, I pop on some coffee and look forward to relaxing.

Unfortunately, my sister and nephew have other plans.

No, it's not a paranoid Michael Jackson thing; I'm not trying to protect their identities or whatever. I'm just trying to prevent Grevious Bodily Harm under my supervision.

By now, the smells of burning coffee and just-about-right granola waft out of the kitchen.

While still warm, add the dried fruit. Allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

I pour the whole thing into a Ziploc bag and stash it in my bag for emergencies. I manage to invent quite a few and polish it off in a couple of days; I've got a family who helps with the eating. And if you're not on health kick, throw in some M & Ms for colour. I didn't miss them though and not missing chocolate-coated candies is the best compliment I can bestow on this humble recipe.

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