honey and toasted nut granola with The True Honey Co
I'm not a very enthusiastic breakfast eater normally and I've always been a bit bewildered by those people who say it's their favourite meal of the day. Truth be told, I find most cereal pretty unappetising, I get bored of porridge after one or two days, and apparently marmite on toast every day does not constitute a balanced breakfast. I still associate breakfast with rushed mornings before school, when I would either do my best to skip it or, more often than not, would reluctantly force down a banana in the car, or hastily stuff a piece of cold toast into my mouth on the way out of the door.
Since becoming pregnant however, I have begun looking forward to breakfast and have started making more time for it. Partly this is a response to an even healthier appetite than normal (!) but I also feel I owe it to this little womb babe to look after myself, to eat regularly and sensibly, and to be more conscious about what I'm putting into my body. This is not to say that I'm not also consuming my own weight in creme eggs (don't worry, I'm not converting to clean eating or anything like that), but I have been making more effort to not skip meals, to get my five a day and to cook more wholesome, balanced recipes.
It's probably not surprising therefore that when the people behind The True Honey Co got in touch with me recently to tell me about their New Zealand Manuka Honey, my mind immediately turned to breakfast! Although I love normal honey and often use it in cooking, I had never tried manuka honey, and with my new healthy head on, I was keen to see what all the hype was about. I did some reading up on manuka honey and came to the conclusion that it would probably make a very delicious addition to breakfast, and if it brought health benefits too, then that was an added bonus.
I wanted to incorporate manuka honey into breakfast in a more interesting way than just drizzling it over yoghurt, and so came up with a very simple granola recipe, packed with all sorts of nuts, seeds, fruit and, of course, honey. A former granola sceptic, I realised by making my own that I could add or exclude exactly what I wanted, and make it as sweet or not as I wanted. Goodbye tasteless dried banana chips and weird bits of dried pineapple, hello toasted walnuts and sweet, soft apricots. And low and behold, this former breakfast naysayer has now been converted to granola, and if that wasn't enough, my mum has given it her seal of approval too.
To make approximately 500g of this granola, you will need:
- 300g rolled oats
- 100g mixed nuts (I used pecans, walnuts, brazil nuts and almonds)
- 50g dessicated coconut
- 75g mixed seeds (I used sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds)
- 2 handfuls of dried fruit - I used dried apricots and goji berries as that's what I had in the cupboard, but any dried fruit would work
- 150g manuka honey - I used this lovely stuff
- 150g coconut oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / Gas mark 4
- Chop the mixed nuts into gravel sized pieces. Combine all of the dried ingredients (nuts, seeds, oats, desiccated coconut and cinnamon) in a big bowl and give it a stir.
- Heat the honey and coconut oil gently in a pan on the hob until warm and liquid.
- Pour the honey and oil onto the dry ingredients and stir well. Spoon the mixture out onto a large baking tray and use a wooden spoon or spatula to press down tightly (as this will create the clumps).
- Pop into the oven for 20-25 minutes, monitoring to make sure it doesn't burn, and turning the mixture over every 5 minutes to make sure it all gets toasted.
- Remove from the oven when golden and toasted. Chop the dried fruit into small pieces and add to the toasted mixture.
- Cool and store in an airtight container. Will keep for about a month.
My favourite way of eating it is with thick greek yoghurt, banana and honey drizzled over the top. It would also be lovely with yoghurt and any sort of fruit compote, or just simply with milk. A couple of handfuls thrown into a crumble topping would also be delicious, and I have also munched on it straight from the jar when in need of a mid afternoon pick me up. The recipe can also be fiddled with to suit your tastes by using different seeds, nuts and fruit, and changing up the spices and flavourings.
Manuka honey is much richer, stronger and more complex tasting than normal honey, and imparts the granola with an aromatic, slightly bitter and almost herbal taste which I really like. The True Honey Co's honey is ethically produced in the remote and rugged Tararua region of New Zealand, where bees forage for nectar from the native manuka flower that blankets the hills and valleys (sounds pretty amazing, right?). Manuka honey contains a high level of methylglyoxal (MGO) which, it is thought, increases its antibacterial value beyond that of normal honey. For this reason it is associated with health benefits, although the science surrounding it is still in its infancy, and no one knows exactly what health benefits it does or doesn't have. The True Honey Co is honest and up front about this, which I like. As far as I'm concerned, it's delicious stuff, and if there's a chance that it is also going to keep the sniffles at bay, then all the better.
Happy breakfast eating, and let me know if you make the granola!
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with The True Honey Co but all thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone!