There’s something clean and fresh in the morning. The feeling of new beginnings in the air when the entire day is ahead of you. Waking up as the morning sun casts light on the perfectly white bed linen can be a moment of pure joy. You get up from the bed and put the water on the stove for coffee that will soon leave its lovely smell throughout the kitchen. I often think about slow mornings at home, followed by long and joyful breakfasts with my mother. I recall her making a large pot of Turkish coffee. We would add milk to our half filled cups and enjoyed it with our favourite cheese filled puff pastry or mini croissants with butter and a slice of Edam. Usually on the weekends, we’d allow ourselves a piece of a large round shaped burek from the local bakery, still warm, leaving our hands and mouth a bit oily while we finished through the flaky cheese filled crust.
When you move to another country there are not only people you miss but also everyday things, habits. Life is no longer filled with those small things to which you are accustomed to – even a simple routine as breakfast can be changed completely. You don’t necessarily notice it immediately. Perhaps you don’t see it of feel straight away but it will come creeping on you when you least expect it. I realized a while after moving to France how much I missed those slow mornings at home and the food it came with it. While French bakeries are stacked with buttery chocolate and praline filled viennoiseries, brioches and tender long bread rolls with chocolate chunks, as wonderful as it may be for some, I sorely missed the hot burek and freshly baked sesame kifli with the large cup of Turkish coffee.
But often in life, as you loose your old habits, you adopt new ones, and it didn’t took me long to do so. As I finished my long doctoral studies, I found more time for things that make me happy and fulfilled. I turned to photography and cuisine, spending more time in the kitchen with fresh ingredients and new recipes, accepting new ideas and ways of nourishment. A warm porridge in the morning or fresh home-made granola with various fruits and toppings in accordance with the season soon became a new sweet morning habit. Admittedly, I sometimes still crave a piece of burek and I can gladly say that I don’t deprive myself of it when I go back home. And the funny thing is that what I miss most when I go back home are my long quiet parisian mornings with freshly baked granola.
Almond and cacao granola
300 g rolled oats
50 g almonds, roughly chopped
3 tbsp pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp cacao
6 tbsp coconut oil, melted (or lightly flavoured olive oil)
8 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
1/2 vanilla bean, grated
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
medium baking tray, covered in parchment paper
Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the melted coconut oil and mayple syrup over the dry ingredients and mix well so that the dry ingredients are well covered.
Spread the mixture in an even layer on a baking tray previously lined with parchment paper. To ensure the oats toast equally don’t overcrowd them on a baking tray, however make sure they do stick together as this will produce nice clumps. Bake in preheated oven at 150 °C for 10 minutes.
Take the tray out, mix well and press the granola down with a spoon to ensure that all the ingredients stick together. Return to the oven for another 10-12 minutes, until light golden. Be careful not to overbake.
When the granola is done, take the tray out from the oven immediately and let it cool completely. It may seem that the oats are still sticky but they will become crispy when cooled
Store in airtight container for ten days or up to two weeks.
Serve with your favourite yoghurt (I warmly suggest coconut or soy yoghurt) or milk of choice and top with fresh fruits.
You can change the composition of the granola to your liking, replacing oats with buckwheat, almonds with pecans, cinnamon with cardamom, or you can leave out the cacao and add dry fruit after baking.