Orange juice really is a thing of beauty. From a zingy glass of fresh orange juice first thing in the morning to a punchy tropical cocktail, it has so many uses in the kitchen. It’s great as a substitute for alcohol (if you don’t like it – can’t think why you wouldn’t but there you go) in things like Christmas mincemeat and – a sneaky tip here – if your Chinese recipe calls for sherry, orange juice makes an excellent replacement – and is fabulous in cakes, biscuits and savoury dishes too.
I really like muesli, but I’m aware they’re not always that healthy, so this one uses the orange juice for extra flavour and freshness and the honey for sweetness. As long as you stick to the basic quantities, it’s quite adaptable. If you don’t like nuts, for example, just add more of something else – bran or coconut, maybe? It’s your breakfast!
150g oats (organic jumbo are best)
250g mixed nuts and seeds. I bought packs of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds, brazil nuts and macademia nuts and mixed them together.
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
4 tbsp runny honey
4 tablespoons orange juice
50-100g dried fruit (DON’T add until after the rest is baked – chopped dried apricot goes really well with the orange, but you can use sultanas, raisins, cranberries… whatever you like.
Preheat the oven to 180/gas 4 and mix together the oats and the nuts and seeds – remember, don’t add the dried fruit – it goes rock hard and horrible in the oven.
Mix together the rapeseed oil, honey and orange juice and drizzle over the oats, nuts and seeds. Give it a mix but don’t worry that it won’t be all combined at this stage – it gets mixed a lot more.
Tip the mixture out onto a non-stick tray (or use some Bake-0-glide) and pop into the oven. After 10 minutes, take it out and give it a really good stir around.
Pop it back in for a further 10 minutes, but keep an eye that it doesn’t catch – I stir again after 5 minutes just to make sure – you want it golden brown, but not burned:
Now leave it to cool, stirring a couple of times until it’s completely cold (if you don’t stir you’ll have a big slab of granola – don’t say I didn’t warn you). Add in the dried fruit and save in a jar or airtight box.
This granola is really lovely served with yoghurt and fresh fruit – a really hearty start to the day, with the advantage of knowing that it’s home made!