Homemade granola is worth the extra effort.
Healthy recipe: homemade granola with spiced cranberry compote
Shop-bought granola often contains such high levels of fat and sugar that it is well worth making your own. It doesn't take long to do so and, providing you store the granola in an airtight container, it will keep for up to two weeks.
Not only are oats a heart-healthy, high-fibre ingredient, they are also thought to help reduce cholesterol levels and release energy slowly, keeping you fuller for longer. Sunflower seeds are packed with minerals and vitamins (particularly vitamin E) and are a good source of both protein and fibre. You could also add wheatgerm, sliced almonds or walnuts, flax seed or dried fruit, such as apricots, cherries or blueberries. The cranberry compote not only adds a bit of sharp, fruity, festive flavour, it also has its health benefits: cranberries provide a dose of vitamin C, are rich in antioxidants, help fight infections and can be instrumental in reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol levels. For a particularly pretty breakfast or snack, spoon the compote into the bottom of a glass serving dish, add a layer of granola, followed by a layer of yogurt, then repeat until you reach the top.
Homemade granola with spiced cranberry compote
Makes 4 servings
For the granola
300g rolled oats
75g sunflower seeds
50g pumpkin seeds
100ml apple juice
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
tsp vanilla extract
For the cranberry compote
200g fresh cranberries
2 tbsp caster sugar (or to taste)
2 oranges, zest and juice
1 stick cinnamon, broken in half
Preheat the oven to 150°C/fan 130°C /gas 2. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking parchment. Mix the oats, sunflower and pumpkin seeds together and spread out on the baking tray.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Mix the remaining granola ingredients together in a small bowl, pour this mixture over the toasted oats and stir well to coat.
Return the tray to the oven and cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes until crisp and browned. Leave to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.
To make the cranberry compote, tip all the ingredients into a saucepan and place over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat slightly and simmer for six to eight minutes, until the cranberries are soft and just starting to break down.
Remove the cinnamon stick and keep in the fridge until you are ready to use.