First things first – exams are officially over! And I have the hangover to prove it. Our well-earned celebrations have definitely left me feeling a little fragile but when you’ve feel like you’ve been revising like a crazy person for the last month, ‘dry-January’ doesn’t stand a chance! So after an amazing night out, this weekend was all about the recovery – comfort food, movie nights and hiding from the rain.
This left me with time to experiment with a few recipes i’d be dying to try, one of which being homemade gluten free pasta! I love the idea of making pasta from scratch, maybe that’s my inner-Italian, although I never thought it would work out in a student’s kitchen! But using a wine bottle for a rolling pin and shot glasses as shape-cutters didn’t just turn out to be entertainment for the housemates, but made for some pretty good pasta! I already had a basic formula in mind, and knew that I wanted to make a ravioli dish that was gluten and lactose free – and i’m so happy with how it turned out! Here’s a pic of my homemade butternut squash & goats cheese ravioli, with a simple sun-dried tomato and aubergine sauce. It’s not perfect yet, I still have a few modifications in mind, but it’s delicious, homemade comfort food and I will definitely be sharing a recipe soon!
This brings me to my absolute favourite, easy Sunday recipe – homemade maple, coconut & almond granola clusters. Most nights, when i’m struggling to sleep and for some reason my brain decides to try and find an answer to all of the world’s problems, there’s an important question that will inevitably cross my mind…‘what shall I have for breakfast?’. Then I remember that there’s still some of my granola left, and make sure to thank my former self before drifting off. This recipe makes enough for 1 big-ish jar, that usually lasts me a week or so of delicious breakfasts and the occasional cheeky snack. It’s easy to make and can be totally gluten & dairy free if needed! Granola can be the perfect breakfast fuel, full of fibre, protein and energy, but often store-bought cereals are packed full of refined sugars and ’empty calories’, I found this interesting article that goes into more detail, click here. So get creative! Here’s my recipe, but remember that you can substitute/add your own favourite things to make it totally your own.
Homemade maple, coconut & almond granola clusters: (Makes 1 big jar)
- 1 cup rolled oats (use GF if necessary)
- 1/3 cup brown rice puffs (a GF optional addition, adds nicely to the texture!)
- 1/3 cup dried coconut, unsweetened
- 1/2 cup mixed nuts of choice (I use flaked almonds but you could use roughly chopped pecans, whole almonds, cashews etc)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- Dried fruit (Optional – to be added after baked, e.g: raisins, sultanas, dates etc)
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 110°C (fan). Combine in a large bowl your dry ingredients first, including the pinch of salt, and then slowly add in the oil, syrup and vanilla, whilst stirring regularly. Make sure it’s evenly mixed. Line a baking tray (I needed 2) with baking/grease-proof paper and pour on the mix, spreading to the edges with a wooden spoon so that it is an equally spread layer and will bake nice and evenly.
In total, the granola needs around 60 minutes baking time to make it crisp and golden and form proper clusters. This gives you time to start that essay, put that load of washing in, or an episode of the Kardashians. But make sure to take the tray(s) out every 20 minutes and gently spread around the mix as it hardens up. On your third check-up it should be time to take it out, and that gorgeous sweet smell will have you contemplating a second breakfast! It’s important to let the granola cool before breaking it up, take it out of the trays keeping it on the paper, and place aside to cool for a while. Then you can break up the bigger bits and place into an air tight jar, as well as maybe adding in some dried fruit/seeds or whatever you think it needs!
I love mine in a big bowl with soya yogurt or almond milk and handful of fresh berries, or some chopped banana! I’d love to hear any ideas/variation that you have tried or have in mind, and of course – if you love it as much as I do! I’m still overwhelmed by the amount of people reading my posts and recreating their own versions of my recipes, it’s so fun and inspiring seeing my friends experimenting with food and enjoying making more nutritious, balanced choices! Here’s some more pics that i’ve been sent this week, they all look so yummy!
This week i’m going to post a few ideas for some simple, healthy meals that are full of flavour and colour – perfect comfort food for after a busy weekday. But until then, i’ll be catching up on some well needed sleep, no revision tonight!