As promised, I have finally got around to posting more photos and a recipe inspired by our recent trip to Vejer de la Frontera.
My lasting memory of Vejer will be the fields and fields of sunflowers that you can see wherever you go. I made “The Washer Up” stop the car on numerous occasions so that I could jump out like a mad woman and take some photos.
Their unpretentious lanky beauty and smiley faces spread a joy that is so infectious you just have to get amongst them. I wanted to share that with you.
My other lasting memory will be of the gorgeous breakfasts we ate every morning at the hotel we stayed in, Casa La Siesta. It started off with granola with yoghurt and fruit….
Followed by homemade bread with tomato and avocado…..
Maybe just a little piece of banana bread….
And then a lie down to recover, it’s so difficult to say no when it’s all there in front of you!
I knew my first Vejer inspired recipe when I came home would have to be something with sunflower seeds. Just so I could post all my sunflower pictures. Either the sunflower seed bread crackers(above) we had at Castilleria (one of our two favourite restaurants in Vejer) or making my own granola. The granola won, I had to get back to being gluten-free after overdosing on holiday and also because it uses sunflower oil as well as the seeds.
If you have never made your own granola before (like me), you will be surprised at how easy it is and how much better it tastes than the store-bought stuff. It is also much better for you, no refined sugar just honey and maple syrup (or miel de cana) for sweetness. Adapt it to suit your taste by using whatever nuts, seeds and dried fruit you like.
Homemade Granola with Sunflowers Seeds Recipe
Makes a lot, gluten-free, vegetarian. Adapted from Ottolenghi The Cookbook
- 60 gr hazelnuts
- 40 gr brazil nuts
- 40 gr walnuts
- 300 gr rolled oats
- 60 gr flaked almonds
- 60 gr sunflower seeds (unsalted)
- 100 gr dried apricots, roughly chopped
- 60 gr dried cranberries
- 60 gr moscatel raisins
For the Syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp water
- 4 tbsp sunflower oil
- 120 ml maple syrup or miel de cana
- 120 ml honey
Preheat the oven to 140 C. Roughly chop the nuts and put in a large bowl with the seeds and oats. Mix well.
Mix the syrup ingredients together in a small pan and stir over a low heat until warmed through. Pour this over the seeds, nuts and oats and stir well with a wooden spoon until evenly coated.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the granola over it evenly. It should be in a layer no more than 1cm thick. Use two baking sheets if necessary.
Bake for 40 minutes, turning and mixing the granola 2 or 3 times. It should be a dark honey colour when it’s ready. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly. Don’t worry if it’s soft it will be crunchy when it cools.
Stir the dried fruit through the granola while it is still warm (not hot). Leave to cool completely on the tray and then transfer to an airtight container. Try not to eat it all off of the tray. It should keep for up to 2 weeks.
I kept some of the granola back without mixing it with the fruit because I want to use it as a crumble topping for a Fig & Almond Granola Crumble. I will be posting the recipe soon. In the meantime enjoy your granola mixed with yoghurt or sprinkled on top of some fresh fruit for breakfast.
Imagine that you are back in your favourite hotel….