Christmas is nearly upon us! I am positively jubilant at the thought but slightly crestfallen that I seem to have missed the lead-up to Christmas glee — you know, the constant singing of Christmas songs, much to the annoyance of the seasonal haters, the switching on of the Christmas lights, preparing gifts (I am so behind this year!), all those little things that I usually spend about two months enjoying to the fullest. Christmas starts in September for me; Halloween is just a mere technicality in the way of my favourite holiday.
I have a new laptop now so I can finally work from home again, so expect to be spoiled with recipes. I have been cooking up a storm, you know, but a lot of these recipes are for my next ebooks. One of them will be a Christmas e-cookbook, which I am beyond excited about. I can’t wait to share it with you next year.
There are just 4 days left till Christmas (insert ear-splitting squeal), which leaves you with just enough time for last-minute present-making. Still need a gift idea for a special someone? Give them a jar of spice-scented Christmas granola; choc-a-block with buttery roasted chestnuts, crisp clusters of the finest Scottish oats, beady hazelnuts like jewels. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a homemade gift. (Especially one you can eat.)
This would also be the perfect Boxing Day breakfast. Non-British readers, Boxing Day is a national holiday post-Christmas when shops and stores offer outrageous discounts and people spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need. Then we spend the remainder of the day forgetting about the gaping hole in our wallets by watching more Christmas films and eating all the leftovers from Christmas dinner. It’s blissful.
For convenience, you may of course use already-peeled, vacuum-packed chestnuts. I would, too, if it weren’t for the fact that I had some fresh chestnuts lying around.
100g (1/2 cup) chestnuts, unpeeled
50g (1/3 cup) shelled and blanched hazelnuts
75g (1 cup) rolled oats
40g (1/3 cup) sultanas
1 tbsp desiccated (shredded) coconut
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC (392ºF). Line a large baking try with a sheet of baking parchment.
Score the chestnuts and bake them for 15 minutes in the oven, until the skin starts to peel off where you have scored them. Let them cool for a minute before peeling them.
Place all the ingredients, including the peeled chestnuts, in a large bowl and mix well. Spread the wet mixture thinly and evenly on the baking parchment. Bake for 15 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Your kitchen should smell of a woods and spices.
Serve over some almond or hazelnut milk, or over a freshly made smoothie. (I made a Sharon fruit/persimmon and banana smoothie.)
Are you done with your Christmas shopping? Are you a last-minute shopper or are you like me, planning months in advance?