Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cherry Pecan Chia Granola with Earl Grey Poached Apricots

The granola kick continues.

Cherry Pecan Chia Granola

Mise en place
Pre-baking granola; Earl Grey Poached Apricots

The idea for earl grey poached apricots was inspired by a breakfast I had in Melbourne last year at a cafe. The granola dish was simply one of the best breakfasts I had in my trip. And that probably says a lot, cos granola is something very simple that you can make at home. After having that dish, I vowed to attempt something similar at home. It took me a while to get to it, but when I did, I immediately invited my cousin over for brunch cos she was my Melbourne travel buddy.

I've been consuming chia seeds quite regularly for the past (I don't know how long exactly) eight months or so. Or even longer. I first started adding it into my oats in a jar (OIAJ for short), aka overnight oats for breakfast.

Chia seeds were probably (in my opinion) the health food of the year 2013 or something. It started appearing on so many sites, and all the websites touted it has having several health benefits. And (trying-to-be) health-conscious me, jumped right onto the bandwagon of chia seeds. After all, it didn't have an overly unpleasant taste or anything, so it was not hard to get used to it. Chia seeds plump up well in liquids, and it has no taste to it, the texture is like hmmm, kiwi seeds? Ha. I've previously added it into another granola recipe here, and thought I probably should start adding it into all my granola recipes. Just because you know, to keep up with the whole (trying-to-be) healthy mindset.

Homemade brunch

It was a last minute impromptu brunch session. I just asked her casually if she was free the next day cos I made a batch of granola and I was planning to replicate the dish we had (and both loved) in Melbourne. She said she was free, and so, brunch plans were set just like that.

I also prepped a batch of liege waffles that very night (recipe posted here previously), and then cooked it the next morning in my waffle machine. There were bananas in the house, so I made some rum caramel bananas to complement the waffles.

Instead of our usual caffeine cups, I decided to keep the "healthy" theme and made some detox smoothies with some fruits and veggies. It was an experiment of some sort, and it turned out quite tasty. The texture was slightly too thick though, so if anything, I'll probably recommend adding more fruit juice to it to thin it out to a more pour-able consistency.

Cherry Pecan Chia Granola (adapted from Katie at The Parsley Thief)
5 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
3 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 cup chia seeds
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 egg white
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut oil (or any other neutral oil)
1/2 cup dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 175C.
Combine the oats, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, ground flaxseed, chia seeds and cinnamon in a big bowl.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg white with the salt until frothy. Whisk in the maple syrup, honey and coconut oil. (*my coconut oil was in liquid form, if yours is in a solid form, warm it in the microwave for a few secs to melt it)
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry oats mixture and mix well, making sure all the dry ingredients are coated well.
Spread onto a lined baking tray and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. (I think mine took more like 45 minutes though)
Stir the granola about every ten minutes or so, to help it cook evenly.
Transfer the baking tray to a wire rack and cool completely. Once cool, toss in the dried cherries.
Store in airtight container for up to a few weeks* (if it lasts that long).

Earl Grey Poached Apricots
3 cups water
2 tbsp loose earl grey tea leaves
1/3 cup raw sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cup dried apricots

Boil the water in a saucepan. All the remaining ingredients except the dried apricots.
Heat on medium heat till all the sugar has dissolved, and the mixture is just boiling. Turn off the heat and leave the tea leaves to steep for a couple of minutes.
Strain out the tea leaves. Transfer tea liquid back into saucepan.
Add the apricots and cook on medium-low heat till apricots has plumped up and softened to desirable consistency.
(*whoops, sorry I forgot to note how long I cooked the apricots for, thus the vague timing above.)
Remove from heat. Let it cool completely, and store in a container in the fridge for up to a week.
Serve warm or cold over yogurt and granola.

Detox Smoothie
2 apples, peeled and cored, diced
1 nashi pear, peeled and cored, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 handfuls of spinach
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 tbsp chia seeds
lemon juice
ice cubes, to taste

Combine everything into a blender. Blend well.
If your mixture is too thick, simply add a few more ice cubes to thin it out. If not, you could add more apples or pears too.
Serve immediately.

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