A few months back we made the brilliant decision to move out of our (renting-been-there-far-too-long-greedy-landlady-tried-to-raise-the-rent-again-an-enormous-amount) apartment prior to heading off on an 8-week adventure.
The combination of downsizing eight years of stuff, packing all my work and craft things, moving it all into storage and packing for the aforementioned holiday nearly broke us, however it also meant I came up with some pretty interesting ways to use all the things in the cupboards.
In the midst of sorting out sample sachets and half empty bags and jars of dubious descriptions I decided the best way to use everything was to simply dump it into a bowl and make granola. It’s a good thing I hadn’t packed the big bowls yet…
When I was done with just the dry-goods miscellany (not even the reasonably new packets of rolled and puffed and nutty things) I had 12 cups — yes 12 — of mixed grains and seeds and nuts and shreds and who knows what else. So I moved on to the wet-goods portion of the clean-out, rounding up all the half bottles of oils and sweetener-type substances to bind the granola together.
The dry mixture was divided into three portions (4 cups each for those keeping score), flavours were stirred into the oil and sweetener, then everything was coated and baked. The recipes for Matcha Granola, Chocolate Hazelnut Granola, and Buttered Rum Granola will be coming your way over the next week or two — but in the meantime, there’s a basic whatever’s-in-your-pantry recipe below for those more daring/comfortable with almost-recipes. Of course you can always go exploring through the granola recipes that are already here, including Pumpkin Granola, Chocolate Granola, Macadamia & Coconut Granola, and Honey-Pistachio Granola. Breakfast is served.
Granola is a great way to clean out all the miscellaneous bags and jars and packets and bottles in the pantry. This (dairy-free, vegan and refined sugar free) recipe is a basic guide to making custom granola with whatever you have on hand. It's your granola after all.
- 4 cups dry stuff (rolled grains, puffs, shreds, chopped nuts, seeds, kernels, etc)
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/4 cup syrup or honey
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup nut or seed butter
- 1 tsp spices
- 1 Tbsp to 1/4 cup powders (cocoa, matcha, mesquite, maca, beetroot, super greens, berry, etc)
Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F), line two rimmed oven trays with baking paper. Combine all dry stuff in a large bowl and mix.
In a jug combine oil, syrup, salt, nut butter (if using), spices and powders (if using) whisk well with a fork. If the syrup or butter is thick set the jug in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes to warm through then whisk again.
Pour wet mixture over dry and stir, stir, stir until everything is coated. Tip onto the prepared trays and spread into an even layer.
Bake 10 mins, stir gently to move edges into centre and centre out to edges. Bake a further 15 - 20 mins or so, stirring every 5 minutes, until evenly golden. Remove from oven, press granola down with a spatula to compress into clusters and allow to cool completely on trays. Store in an airtight container.
- In reality, the amount of oil and syrup you need to achieve a certain texture will depend in part on what's in your 'dry stuff' mixture. Nuts and seeds don't really absorb any liquid so they will require less wet mixture for a loose granola or will simply form better clusters with more. Rolled grains (oats, quinoa, rye etc) and puffs, as well as things like buckwheat and shredded coconut do absorb liquid so you may need a bit more if you're after sticky crunchy clusters that are heavy on oats and puffs without many seeds and nuts. If using a decent portion of powders you may want to up the liquid a bit as well. However, 1/4 cup each of syrup and oil is a great starting point, and adding nut or seed butters will always up both the moisture and cluster factors.
- I'm not really a fan of dried fruit (I'd rather top granola with fresh stuff instead of having a big sugar hit from the dried) but you can of course add that to the mixture as well. Probably best to stir it in about half way through baking or it tends to burn a bit.
vegetarian // vegan (with syrups) // gluten-free // dairy-free // soy-free
Footnote: as for the apartment? After we moved out said landlady listed it for even higher than she’d tried to raise our rent to, it sat empty for a few weeks, at which point she did minor renovations and tried to list it for more again. It’s still empty (and no amount of renos can make it not ground floor or give it views). No comment.