It has always been assumed you’re either a morning person or not. Like the Marmite conundrum, you either love those early starts – some bounding out of bed at the sound of the tinny alarm bell, maybe even squeezing in an energising run to start the day – or you need multiple alarms to get you out of your snug enveloping cloud of a bed as you didn’t hear it the first three times and the snooze button is broken.
Personally, I have never fit into either category. Sure, I get up as soon as my alarm rings but I sure do hate it, I tell ya. For the first five minutes the bed beckons, especially as I’ve first prized my way out of a sleepy Calum’s arms who’s determined for that ten-minute post-alarm power-nap, but surprisingly quickly the morning routine becomes comforting. Most likely because breakfast is around the corner.
There is no need for me to repeat my love of breakfast (although it is steadfast and true). It could quite possibly be the general pleasure of eating that gets me out of bed – more sleep or BREAKFAST – but whatever it is, it works. Within fifteen minutes I am on the sofa, bowl of homemade granola in hand. As a master of breakfasts – I used to eat two a day to ward of the 10:30 hunger-pangs – I have found one that 1) satisfies that sly sweet tooth of mine, 2) fills me up throughout the morning (an unprecedented feat) and 3) I can eat repeatedly. Homemade granola is crunchy, nutty and almost savoury in comparison to the shop-bought clusters of sugar. I used to love those bags of granola from the supermarket; sweet and crispy, dessert for the morning. However, once distancing myself in favour of low-sugar muesli (I occasionally get fearful of diabetes) and returning for an indulgent treat, I realised how heavily sugared each cluster tasted and decided I now needed to make my own favourite breakfast from scratch.
This is no hardship. You see, dear reader, homemade granola is effortless! I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to make my own. The best part, aside from the glorious smell of baking nuts, honey and cinnamon oozing out the oven, is personalising each batch to satisfy my current cravings. Maybe some hazelnuts or almonds, maybe maple syrup steeped with Earl Grey tea, maybe dried apricots for chew or mixed peel for zingy freshness. This batch is a keeper: pecans, hazelnuts and oats, tossed with honey, mixed spice and a splash of vanilla, finished with sesame seeds and glacé ginger pieces to give it a firey bite (for that morning energy). The oats are crisp and crumbly, clumped together like a flapjack, and I’ve kept the nuts whole for crunch, the pecans buttery tender once roasted.
I follow this recipe, baking it for a little longer than the recipe states (when you toss through the grains they should sound crisp and light) and simply personalise it every time. A bowlful of this topped with yoghurt and my favourite stewed apple is worth waking up for. Homemade is the best way to start the morning.