Cranberry granola

I love the idea of having homemade cereal for breakfast, especially as there is so much added nastiness in shop-bought cereal nowadays. This granola (popular in America) is full of nutritious ingredients and interesting textures such as porridge oats, flaked almonds, cranberries and raisins. There is added flavour from the cinnamon, vanilla extract and desiccated coconut, and then from baking it all in the oven until it is golden. There is also sugar and maple syrup, so it is a little bit naughty too. Have it with milk or with some yoghurt and fruit.

mumsnet cranberry granola

The granola takes up to 50 minutes to make and will keep for a month in an airtight container. It is from the brilliant new Mumsnet cookbook Top Bananas! (see my full book review here You will need a BIG bowl to stir everything together!

Cranberry granola (makes about 15 portions)

500g porridge oats
100g flaked almonds
100g desiccated coconut
3 tbsp light brown sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, or vegetable oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
130g golden/maple syrup
50g dried cranberries
50g raisins

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees/gas mark 2.

Put the oats, almonds, coconut, sugar, melted butter or oil, cinnamon and vanilla into a large bowl and add a pinch of salt. Using a large spoon (or your hands) work in the syrup until you can’t see it any more.

Line two large baking trays with greaseproof paper and divide the granola mix between them. Place the trays in the hot oven and bake until they are golden. This will take between 25-40 minutes and you will need to stir everything at least once and swap the position of the trays. Check it frequently so it does not burn.

Remove the trays from the oven and let it cool before stirring in the cranberries and raisins. When it is cold store it in an airtight container. Will keep for up to one month.

From Mumsnet cookbook Top Bananas!


Sophisticated fish dinner in 20 mins

This one-pot recipe is based on the ‘sophisticated sea bass’ recipe from the excellent new Mumsnet cookbook Top Bananas! (see my full review of the book here I have simplified it slightly, and you can use any white fish if you’d rather not buy expensive sea bass.

Mumsnet sophisticated sea bass

The sauce only has a few ingredients but the result is an impressive, unmistakably Mediterranean tasting dish that makes a quick evening meal – a ‘dinner winner’ as Mumsnet says! The white wine instantly adds a sweet, classy flavour. Serve with a green salad.

Sophisticated fish dinner (serves 4 adults)

3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped, or small bag of cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed/chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp dried chilli flakes or 1 fresh chilli, chopped
125ml white wine
4 white fish fillets (any should work – I used river cobbler as it is cheap!)

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic, parsley and chilli and cook for 2 mins. Add the tomatoes and mash in to the sauce so they soften and the seeds mix in. Add the wine and let the sauce simmer for a few mins. Season, reduce the heat and place the fish, skin-side up, in the pan. Cook for 5 – 10 mins until the fish is cooked through, turning over if necessary.

Serve the fish with the sauce over the top and a green salad on the side.

Summer Sangria (fruity wine punch)

Sangria is a refreshing, fruity Spanish red wine punch that I was lucky enough to enjoy when one of my oldest friends Kez lived in Barcelona. It is delicious and also popular in Brazil, so I have decided that I am going to drink it regularly throughout the World Cup!

simple sangria

There are different versions of sangria, some with brandy, some with rum and some with both, and I have based my version partly on what was already in the cupboard (the above photo doesn’t really do it justice). You need red wine (any will do!), white rum, orange juice, lemonade and (ideally) fresh mint and fruit. Feel free to adjust the ratios to make it more or less alcoholic – it is all down to personal taste.

I associate sangria with summer and special occasions and hope I will still be awake and enjoying a glass when England play late tonight (most likely I will be asleep on the sofa and only jolted awake by cheering if and when our team score). Come on England!

Summer sangria – takes 5 minutes

3 parts red wine (cheap is fine)
1 part white rum e.g. Bacardi
2 parts orange juice
1 part lemonade
Chopped fruit and mint leaves e.g. oranges, lemons, strawberries, melon. Cucumber is nice too.

Mix everything together with ice. Adjust if necessary according to taste. Serve in a jug!