- Food & Drink
Last Sunday I had people round for brunch. It’s a modern, trendy thing to do. I think. Keeping
up with the kids is quite hard these days, especially since my bad back manifested itself and I went a bit deaf.
Anyway, I have gained the impression that brunch is much cooler than lunch these days, so
I invited some friends round to breakfast with me. This being London, breakfast began at 12.30
and finished at, er, whenever it was I *fell asleep*. Marmalade martinis are not conducive to a productive post-brunch afternoon.
There were 3 things I made that I was particularly proud of (we won’t talk about the Crumpet Fail): Swedish cinnamon buns – always a winner; kedgeree made to this Rick Stein recipe and with beautiful smoked haddock from Soper’s; and granola with poached forced rhubarb.
Given that I am gurning sugar addict, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that I love granola. It has
a spurious halo of healthy about it, but it’s basically porridge that’s been baked with as much sweetening syrup, honey and oil as is decently possible. It’s a dentist’s nightmare of a breakfast, it really is.
I made my granola with all the leftover oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit that have been hanging
around my cupboards in pitiful half packet quantities for weeks. To go with it, aside from yogurt,
I poached chunks of Yorkshire’s finest forced rhubarb in stock syrup, a recipe I learned at Ballymaloe.
Granola with poached forced rhubarb
Makes loads and loads
400g rolled oats
300g of nuts, seeds and dried fruits of your choice (my granola features pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds, desiccated coconut, flaked almonds, chopped walnuts and sultanas)
125ml golden syrup
2 tbsp clear honey
2 tbsp sunflower oil
450g caster sugar
450g rhubarb, trimmed and chopped into equal chunks (about 2cm)
Start by making the stock syrup for the rhubarb compote. Stir the sugar and water together over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil, then boil for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 2/150°C/fan oven 130°C. Mix the oats, dried nuts and seeds together – ideally keep any desiccated coconut out of the mix at this stage.
Warm the syrup, oil and honey together until they’re runny and smooth, then pour into the oats and stir to mix.
Spread the granola on 2 large baking trays and bake for 30 minutes, stirring and turning, so the golden layer is mixed in and the unbaked bits are brought to the top. Keep your eye on it – I find granola to be a tricky beast that will refuse to brown and bake for ages and then suddenly burn. Once it’s baked, cool and then stir in any coconut or dried fruits.
Put the cold stock syrup and rhubarb in a pan, cover and bring to the boil. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat straight away. Leave the rhubarb in the pan to cool completely. It should result in rhubarb that’s just cooked but not collapsing.
To serve, spoon some rhubarb into glasses, top with yogurt and sprinkle with granola.
The rhubarb compote will give you lots of syrup, much more than you’d actually want in your breakfast. Store excess syrup in sterilised glasses in the fridge. It’s lovely over ice cream and vanilla sponges or used for cocktails (rhubarb martinis, or just a dash to your gin and tonic).