Chocolate Granola

I am not entirely sure how, but breakfast seems to confuse my kids. Lunch and dinner both come with a pudding, but breakfast does not. I understand their logic, but they completely fail to understand that this just isn’t normal! Their constant requests for pudding after their cereal has led to a two-tiered breakfast system with toast or fruit following their initial bowl of cereal. The only way we can even contemplate forgoing breakfast pudding is if the breakfast is special enough to not require it. In the kids’ eyes, this generally means pancakes and there are not many mornings that I have the inclination to be sorting out pancakes even if I have been able to make the batter in advance. The other breakfast fare that seems to fit the bill is homemade granola.

Scooping in the oats.

We make granola quite frequently and the kids will happily gobble it up and it does seem to fill them. Unsurprisingly, their all-time favourite type of granola is chocolate granola. Over the years, I have learnt that some granola recipes are so full of sugar that they could practically be a pudding themselves so we have adapted and reduced the amount of sugar for this recipe. You can add whatever dried fruits or nuts to this that you like. On this occasion, we added flaked almonds and dried apricots which both went really well with the chocolate. We tend to measure this recipe in cups as it is easier for the kids to scoop oats the oats and cocoa that way.

To make our chocolate granola you will need:

  • 4 cups of oats
  • 1/3 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or runny honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups of additions (we used half flaked almonds and half dried apricots)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160° fan and line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or baking parchment.
  2. Mix the oats, cocoa powder and salt in a large bowl with a wooden spoon.
  3. Put the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract into a jug and mix to combine.
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well to ensure that all the oats are coated.
  5. Divide the mixture between the two baking trays, ensuring each has a thin layer of the granola.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes turning the granola half way through. Keep a close eye on it as it can easily burn.
  7. Once cooled, put into a large bowl and put in your additions, mix with a wooden spoon and store in an airtight container.

This recipe was published in Penguin News on 15 May 2020.

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Fruity Filo Pie

I am always on the hunt for super simple dishes that the kids can help with in the kitchen. Recipes that they can take ownership of the whole way through and can proudly share with the rest of the family. This pie fits the bill perfectly. An added bonus, by using tinned fruit there is very little washing up. Although that said, my younger two are rather obsessed with washing up even if they do tend to flood the kitchen floor!

Sprinkle on the sugar.

Ophelia (three going on thirty) made this with me during the our first or second week off school during our Falklands lockdown. It hasn’t been written up until now as all the days seem to have blurred into one and the idea of writing a recipe up after trying to help all the kids with their school work just seemed like one job too many at the end of so many days!

For us here, the kids go back to school on Monday. I will miss my little partners in crime, but I am looking forward to having some time without them in the house undoing the work I have tried to do or ‘help’ me in the most unhelpful ways. Such as loading dirty dishes into the clean dishwasher or emptying the washing machine and not telling me leaving the wet laundry in a hidden place! That said, they all do love hoovering and as previously mentioned washing up. It’s such a shame they are no so eager to tidy up their toys or the remnants of the day’s school so we can eat supper on the table later in the day.

This recipe was a huge hit and has minimal added sugar, so it could be classed as a relatively healthy recipe with only 4 ingredients!

To make a fruity filo pie you will need:

  • 5-6 sheets of filo pastry
  • 1 tin of apples or other fruit (we also added a small handful of frozen blackberries)
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp melted butter/margarine.
Painting on the melted butter.

Method

  1. Grease a 20cm shallow cake tin with melted butter.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160°c fan
  3. Gently fold the large rectangle of filo pastry in half and place on the bottom of the cake tin.
  4. Leave the excess filo pastry hanging out of the tin.
  5. Spoon in the fruit (if you have chosen a fruit with juice or syrup, take care not to add the liquid or you will end up with a soggy pie.
  6. Once the fruit is added, gently scrunch the edges of the filo pastry to create the walls of the pie.
  7. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the fruit.
  8. Paint the filo pastry scrunch with melted butter.
  9. Place in the over for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and cooked.

The kids loved this pudding and Ophelia happily shared it out telling each brother which piece they could have. It didn’t last for long and we have had several requests for this pudding since then!

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