health and wellbeing · recipes

Crunch

To have a jar filled with toasted grains, nuts and seeds sitting on the countertop, to be scooped from when a nutritious snack is in order, is a wonderful thing.

As our chilly grey mornings have now turned to sunny ones, I’m ready to rest the tight-knit oats and opt for a more scattered breakfast – in the form of granola. Such a simple breakfast it is, with everything seedy and nutty premixed, that all that’s left to do is add the skim milk and you’re away.

The granola in our kitchen really earns its keep, as not only does it provide a breakfast staple, but is regularly topped with yoghurt and a splodge of jam to keep body and soul together between meals. Occasionally it has even been known to be the ‘crumble’ on top of hot stewed apples and passionfruit.

Granola really is a mix of grains, seeds, nuts, spices, dried fruit and a sweetener, and how you put yours together will entirely depend on the sorts of ingredients that meet your approval. Here are mine, feel free to add and subtract as you will (and should you come up with a winner – keep me updated).

6 cups oats
1 cup almonds
1 cup pepitas
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey or rice syrup (depending on the flavor you prefer)

Pre heat the oven to 325 degrees celsius.

Toast sesame seeds gently in a frying pan and cool. Combine oats, nuts and seeds in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the cinnamon and salt and mix through. Warm the syrup or honey in a saucepan so it comes to a pouring consistency and add it to the mix. Turn the granola over thoroughly so that it is all well coated with the sweetener.

Spread the granola over a very large (or two) baking sheets lined with baking paper and place in the oven. Bake for 30 mins, regularly opening the oven and turning the mix so it browns evenly. When it is browned to your liking, remove from the oven and cool before storing in a sealed jar.

book reviews · health and wellbeing · recipes

Rosemary

Rosemary has been an asset to me over the years. Not only for boosting the flavour of many a lamb roast, but also for the most reputable nutritional guidance one could ever hope to receive. The former of course, being the glossy green herb and the latter, Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM, one of Australia’s leading nutritionists.

Rosemary Stanton received her OAM (medal of the Order of Australia) for her services to community health. She has dispensed, across the decades, sound evidence-based information regarding food and nutrition, and during sessions of nutritional wagon falls, it is her books I turn to with a cup of lemon balm tea. My advocacy of her work is not solely based on her most recent enlightening book, The Choice Guide to Food, but by virtue of the fact that, dietary recommendations she has made in her early career and over the years, still stand today –  whilst a multitude of other nutritional claims and fads have come and gone.

When a delve into the science of human nutrition is required, we need the information to be delivered in simple terms, so we have the ability to surface with knowledge that is relevant and practical for us to live by. Rosemary’s style of writing supports this. I was thrilled to discover in her latest publication, not only does she cover food from the view of our physical health, but also for that of the health of our budget and  the planet.

To boost your own nutritional wellbeing, incorporate a couple of her recipes into your weekly meal rotation, they can be found in many of her publications or in various pages on the web. Here is her farmhouse soup from which to launch.

Let’s not overlook, however, the other rosemary who has also done a fine job throughout her career in my kitchen. Scattered over roasted potato wedges, blended through soups and kneaded into bread dough, Rosmarinus officinalis could also qualify for her own medal – for services to our taste buds.

Postscript: this post was written with a salute to Remembrance Day