Baking | Multigrain Granola … breakfast o’clock! #glutenfree #healthy #DIY

“All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.”
John Gunther

Multigrain GranolaMultigrain Granola … this is what flavours the mornings our end these days, and it doesn’t seem to change. I have made granola every single week for the past 4 weeks, and its gratifying to see the better half reach out for it. I had forgotten how easy granola, the ‘hippie’ food of the Sixties, was to make at home.Multigrain Granola  I was born in the late Sixties of this “cultural decade” which also saw a paradigm change in the world – the Beatles, the first step on the moon, the Vietnam war, the assassination of JFK, womens liberation movements.  My Sixties saw the good old Pye tuned to BBC World Service every morning, the Hare Rama  Krishna movement gaining fame thanks to  George Harrison, blackouts during war, no television, hopscotch and hide ‘n seek…

Wild Indian figs {goolar}My Sixties and Seveties also saw loads of naturally growing foodstuff  - mulberries, wild dates, jamun {Java plum}, ber {jujube/ Indian plum}, mangoes, tamarind, wild berries, wild figs. We would cram everything into our little mouths!The Sixties also saw the ‘hippie’ movement and a revival of natural, healthy foods in everyday diet, and a shunning of processed and sugary foods.Multigrain Granola My first tryst with breakfast creal began with the Gluten Free Chocolate Granola in 2011. Someway along the way, breakfast options for the dieting diva changed into smoothies, and granola got left behind. Of late, the husband has tired of ‘eggs in breakfast‘. He’s also off wheat as being gluten free makes him feel better.

Whole foodThat’s where granola stepped in! With the weather becoming increasingly warm, a make ahead, on the go ‘cold’ breakfast has won over egg! Topped with seasonal fruit like mulberries, fresh figs, strawberries, banana even better. Of late, my involvement with oats {and other whole grains} has been huge thanks to developing recipes and doing a TV cookshow for Saffola Oats. Suddenly anything and everything oats seems like a recipe opportunity. 

Multigrain Granola

Both granola and muesli contain a mixture of grains (such as oats), nuts, dried fruit and sometimes bran and wheat germ. Muesli may contain sugar and dried-milk solids, but it can be unsweetened. Granola is typically toasted with honey and oil, resulting in a crisp texture and sweet glaze not found in muesli. Because granola contains the addition of honey and oil, it tends to have a higher sugar and fat content. As a result, granola is, on average, higher in calories than muesli. 

Jordans Perfect Morning v10

Click here for a range of Jordan’s cerealsBoth granola and muesli offer nutritional benefits. Both have fiber from the grains, fruits and nuts. In addition, the dried fruits provide antioxidants, while the nuts offer healthy fats. Topping either muesli or granola with low-fat milk, soy milk or yogurt makes for a nutritionally balanced, filling breakfast. 

Multigrain Granola  Along came a huge bowl and in went the oats, followed by popped amaranth. I use amaranth quite often these days I have plenty on hand, both flour and popped. In also went some puffed rice which is available at just about every corner store here. Nuts and raisins are always welcome. I also threw in some melon seeds, the remainder of some last used in Savoury  Hungarian Kalács & Twisted Buns.

Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse vintageGranola and toasted cereal is always nice to have on hand for a quick snack, to top yogurt and fruit, to make granola bars, and even to make a layered fruit dessert. In the Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse above, I tossed some granola into melted chocolate, let it harden and then used it in the layered dessert!

[print_this]Recipe: Multigrain Granola 
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Summary: Full of fibre, crisp, sweet, buttery too, this Multigrain Granola is sure to please! You can always substitute the butter for oil, and play around with different grains and nuts. Go ahead, make it into the granola you love!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 160g oats
  • 30g puffed rice
  • 35g popped amaranth
  • 50g melon seeds
  • 50-75g walnuts, chopped
  • 100g raisins
  • 25ml water
  • 25ml honey
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
  2. Place the water, honey, butter, brown sugar and vanilla bean powder in saucepan. Simmer over low heat until the butter melts. Stir well to mix. {Alternatively, place in a heat proof bowl and microwave for 1 minute}.
  3. Place all remaining ingredients except raisins in a large bowl and stir to mix.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry mix, stir well to mix uniformly.
  5. Turn onto prepared sheet and bake for about an hour until dry. Stir every 15 minutes to redistribute.
  6. Toss in the raisins, cool completely and store in an airtight box.

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Baking |Kumquat Quark Cheesecake with a Date Almond Kumquat Base … gluten free, healthy and delicious

“The only way cheese is dessert is when it’s followed by the word cake.”
Michele Gorman

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake 1Kumquat Quark Cheesecake with a Date Almond Kumquat Base... a cheesecake that happened because I had a good batch of homemade quark even though I had Quark Mousse with Balsamic Roasted Strawberries in mind. Also because I still had the large bag of sweet moist dates that I had brought back from a recent trip to Mumbai. They needed to go somewhere, preferably someplace exciting.

KumquatsKumquatsDid I need any more reasons? Well no, but inspiration leaps out of the most colourful places! So the not so heavily laden anymore kumquat shrub had a last few kumquats that were turning a brilliant orange and had got Coco’s glad eye! How could I not play spoil sport?

Kumquats and CocoThe base of the cheesecake is inspired from one of my favourite hang outs, The Kitchn, that had shared a beautiful and ever so simple kumquat tart a while ago. Interestingly the base was made up of almonds, dates and oats.

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake 3I’ve been on a whole grain oaty sort of a drive of late, so the idea held instant appeal. The base is super simple as promised … so I had to veer off course! That is inherently me! I decided to flavour the base with some part kumquat and threw in 2 deseeded whole orange babies!

Kumquat Quark CheesecakeThen ‘the panic of the kids‘ kicked in, them who might reject any overpowering taste of dates in the cheesecake base. It was some good quality cocoa powder, a precious stash of delightful Russian cocoa that a good friend once brought, that would add taste!

Kumquats and CocoNot one to leave good enough alone, my obsession worked. I loved the way the base came together in seconds. Cheesecake filling is always fun. Now always quark, full fat home made quark, and never cream cheese. I love the way it works in cheesecake.

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake You need to plan in advance if you want to bake the cheesecake {and a few days more if you want to make quark}. Let the cake chill in the fridge overnight, slowly  and happily! The flavours mature, the texture becomes smooth and beautiful. Of course you are rewarded with a dessert the minute you open the fridge.

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake This in turns leaves enough time and inspiration for topping it in a fun and colourful way. I opted for a candied kumquat vanilla with a bitter orange thai red chili marmalade. You can always skip the marmalade and use a berry conserve. Alternatively, make a plain vanilla cheesecake and top it with a berry glaze or compote.

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake Endless possibilities. Strawberries and pistachios. Salted butter caramel. Honeyed figs should be fun too! Maybe a Nutella topping with a smattering of hazelnuts? Or flavour the cheesecake with coffee and a coffee liqueur and drizzle a bittersweet runny ganache over it. Even better, an Irish cream sauce! Think out of the box and inside your pantry; amaze yourself! 

fruit of the seasonThat’s what I love about desserts like this. So versatile and such fun to make. I usually stick to fruit in season as they inspire me and often put me in panic mode since they’re going to be gone soon. The burst of colour adds to appeal. I love this version because I played around with ingredients and unintentionally ended up with a gluten free cheesecake.

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake in jarsSee I told you, endless possibilities! I did a few sans the base in little jam jars too. Topped them with Nutella, bitter kumquat marmalade and fresh quartered strawberries. They were polished clean within minutes amidst great praise. The daughter added strawberries to her cheesecake slice later as well!

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake The base isn’t your everyday light as air buttery biscuit base. This one is dense, flavourful and slightly chewy. The good thing is that it keeps the dessert gluten free. You could always use your favourite base instead!

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Recipe: Bitter Orange Quark Cheesecake with a Date Almond Orange Base 
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Summary: Kumquat Quark Cheesecake with a Date Almond Kumquat Base … quite a mouthful, and quite indulgent. A lighter, gluten free cheesecake with a fat free nut base!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes plus chilling time
Ingredients:

  • Date, almond & kumquat base
  • 60g whole almonds
  • 25g oats
  • 2 kumquats, halved, deseeded
  • 120g dates
  • 15g good quality cocoa
  • Filling
  • 420g quark cheese (homemade full fat quark recipe}
  • 3 small eggs, separated
  • 20g oats ground
  • 130g (40g+90g) raw sugar {bura} or Castor sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 200ml low fat cream, room temperature
  • 50g bitter kumquat marmalade {recipe here}
  • 15 ml Cointreau {optional}
  • Topping
  • 7-8 kumquats, sliced, seeds removed
  • 50g sugar
  • 10ml water
  • Vanilla bean skins from above
  • 15ml bitter orange marmalade
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Method:

  1. Date, almond & kumquat base
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line the base of a 7″ loose bottomed baking tin with parchment.
  3. Place the almonds and oats in food processor and grind to fine meal. Add the cocoa, kumquats and dates and process again.
  4. Turn into the base of the prepared tin, and push into place to form a base.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, until firm to touch. Leave to cool on rack.
  6. Quark filling
  7. Separate the egg yolks and whites.
  8. Beat the whites with 40g raw sugar to stiff peaks. Reserve.
  9. Place the quark, egg yolks, ground oats, remaining sugar, scraped vanilla bean, cream, marmalade and Cointreau {if using} into a large bowl. Blend with an electric beater or balloon whisk until smooth. 
  10. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites. Pour over the baked biscuit base.
  11. Bake at 180C for 40-45 minutes / until the centre is set when tested with the tip of a knife. Turn off the oven and leave to cool completely. 
  12. Cover with foil or cling wrap and chill overnight.
  13. Gently transfer to serving platter and spread the kumquat topping uniformly.
  14. Note: Use a sharp heavy knife to slice as the base is a little dense and sticky due to the dates.
  15. Topping
  16. Place all ingredients in a heavy bottom sauce pan and simmer gently until the kumquat turns translucent. Take off heat and stir in juice of 1/2 lime. Cool completely and discard vanilla bean skin before use.
  17. {Note: Do make sure your oats are labelled gluten free if you are making this for someone with gluten allergies}

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Baking | Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble … warm, fun and gluten free comfort food

“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.”
Henry David Thoreau

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet CrumbleApple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble … true comfort food and ever so simple. It’s one I make often, a crumble I mean. This year began in a special way. I had a surprise visitor and she brought me something I have longed for forever! A cast iron skillet, straight from the kiln, well almost, unseasoned and raw!

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble Thankfully Sangeeta has a world of knowledge about this stuff. This looked raw, rustic and a little scary to tell you the truth. Man Friday was happy as ever to see it and went on to tell me how much cast iron was cooked in when he was young, and that the benefits are tremendous. How times have changed, and healthy practices have been buried under the sands of time!

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble  Well he scrubbed it well with a piece of brick, removed the dusty coating etc. I dried it well, seasoned it with some cold pressed mustard oil. Then baked it in a hot oven for 30 minutes. It came out looking moorish. Can you fall in love with a skillet? I did! The great thing about cast iron utensils are that they can go from the stove top into the oven, and back again! The other huge benefit of course is that they gently seep iron into your food adding additional iron into your diet.

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble I was quite over the moon this morning and since I had just apples on hand, I set out to make an Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble. { …for those who noticed, I meant to use thyme, but sans glasses, I think I used oregano from the fridge instead! Oops! }. Simple, basic, easy apple pie, something that comforts and warms, especially in these cold winter days. Baking it in the skillet took this up a few notches for me. I loved using the skillet, built an emotional connect with it, and want to use it all the time. 

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble  Past the crumble, I grilled a cheese and tomato sandwich for the daughter in it . Crisp, beautiful, comforting! Fried eggs and roasted tomatoes too. I can’t get enough of it. You’ll see a lot more of it popping up all over the place. Thank you Sangeeta, and thank you too for the coloured glasses! It’s been an inspiring beginning to the new year!

[print_this]Recipe: Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble your picture

Summary:  Simple, basic, easy apple pie, something that comforts and warms, especially in these cold winter days. Baking it in the skillet takes it up a few rustic notches! Enjoy this gluten free version of the Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble .

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Ingredients:

  • Apple filling
  • 450g apples, cored, peeled, diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 20g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder 30g walnuts
  • 25g craisins
  • 15g rolled oats
  • 15g butter
  • 15g brown sugar
  • Few sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • Topping
  • 25g oat flour
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 25g walnuts
  • 30g rolled oats
  • 15g brown sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease a 6-7″ round pie dish, or use a 6″ skillet.
  2. In a large bowl toss the apples in lime juice. Then add 20g brown sugar, cinnamon powder, walnuts, craisins, rolled oats and thyme leaves if using.
  3. Mix well. Reserve.
  4. Heat 15g unsalted butter in the skillet over low heat. Add 15g brown sugar and allow to bubble and dissolve. Mix well to cover bottom of skillet.
  5. Turn the apple mix into the skillet, and mix well to combine. Take off heat.
  6. Push into place gently, top with crumble, press firmly.
  7. Bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes.
  8. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and or warm salted butter caramel sauce.

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