It was more than eight years ago my first cookbook, Barres de Céréales : Muesli & Granola, was published in French. I couldn’t actually believe it myself until I spotted the date on Amazon. With each book I’ve learnt a little more about how to test, develop and write a cookbook. My first was probably the biggest learning curve, although I would say my upcoming book, The Little Swedish Kitchen, has certainly taught me a thing or two (I believe you can never stop learning). The cookbook world was certainly different eight years ago (the prominence of social media most notably), but the basics of how to put a book together – from recipe research to testing, creating the photos, designing the book, and to finally having a copy in your hand and promoting it – are still very much the same.
My first book wasn’t about a particular country or culinary journey, but rather the humble subject of muesli and granola. Those crunchy nuggets of oats are something I would quite happily munch on at any time of day (dry or with milk, yoghurt, custard, fruit compote…), and not just for breakfast. Of course, the homemade kind is the best, not just flavour wise but also budget wise too. Feel free to throw in some chopped dried fruit with the coconut at the end. Sticky dark prunes or dried mango work well.
Toasted coconut and black sesame seed granola
300g oats (blend of buckwheat and medium & large oats)
100g sunflower seeds
50g black sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
250g apple compote – puree the compote if it’s too lumpy
250g honey or golden syrup
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
150g toasted coconut flakes
1. Preheat the oven to 180°c (fan)
2. Melt the golden syrup/honey, oil and fruit compote in a pot until the mixture combines to a runny liquid.
3. Mix together all the other dry ingredients, except for the coconut.
4. Combine all the ingredients.
5. Divide onto two baking trays.
6. Bake the granola for about 45 minutes, stirring every ten minutes, until it’s a deep golden brown.
7. Remove from oven and leave to cool.
8. Mix together with the coconut flakes.
Recipe adapted from my book Rachel Khoo’s Muesli and Granola.