I'm not the first person to point out that I have a thing or two for breakfast. Not just the act of eating in the morning, but breakfast things. All the breakfast things. So, when I was asked to develop a collection of recipes in support of Unicef Next Generation's #cookforsyria campaign, I thought of coming at it from two angles. The first being a general food angle, which would have been a natural progression for most people, and the second being a breakfast angle, an angle only a breakfast brand owner would generally let lead her decision making. Owning a breakfast brand and running a general food blog, I often come from both angles when making most decisions these days. I wanted to create something new and interesting for my blog here, but also wanted to bring Syrian to a more traditionally Westernised concept. Breakfast, and more specifically, granola. In Syria, breakfast is more commonly a spread of savoury foods such as cold meats, cheeses and spice-rich vegetable sides and dips. They havn't been quite as brainwashed over there as we have in terms of cereals being an essential part of a nourishing breakfast. They keep it simple and they aren't afraid of eating something they'd usually enjoy for dinner first thing the next morning too.
Never the less, cereals are easy, once made, and make for instant and effortless breakfast which I'm aware a lot of us need, a lot of the time. Would be nice to enjoy a Middle Eastern feast before work but that's just not something we can all make time for, so instead... If Syrian Cereal was a thing, I think this would be it. The whole situation is like a fresh, crunchy rose garden in a bowl. Disclaimer: it's less painful and thorny than it sounds, promise. It's safe for everyone, and due to the lack of oats and other stuff, that includes people with paleo, vegan and ceoliac dietary restrictions.
This recipe is sweetened lightly with honey - a popular ingredient in Syrian desserts - and is flavoured naturally with pure, refreshing rose water which is available from most health food stores. Pine nuts feature in a lot of Syrian dishes, most commonly savoury ones, but I wanted to incorporate them for added crunch and for the unique creamy, nutty flavour you just don't get from other nuts. Pistachios are popular in most Middle Eastern recipes, and as well as adding extra bite to this recipe, they make it look pretty good too IMO.
35g honey or other alternative natural sweetener
12g rose water
30g coconut oil
6g vanilla extract / paste / powder or fresh seeds
45g pistachio nuts, sliced in half
50g pine nuts
40g desiccated coconut
60g untoasted coconut flakes
35g sunflower seeds
20g golden linseeds
2 teaspoons chia seeds
20g raw buckwheat
25g flaked almonds
2g himalayan pink salt
1 Teaspoon maca powder
1 Teaspoon chaga powder
1 Teaspoon ground cardamom
1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 150c.
Start by measuring the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Then add the remainging ingredients and stir vigorously to ensure all dry ingredients are coated. The mixture won't clump together like oat granola but if coated properly, it will form subtle clusters once baked. Season to taste and add any herbs or spices to the mixture, but if the using superfoods and adaptogens like maca and chaga, add these after the cooking process to retain the most of their benefits.
Spread out evenly on a baking tray and bake for 20 mins, stirring gently after 10 minutes as the edges tend to cook more quickly.
+ Store at room temperature.
#CookForSyria is a nation-wide fundraising initiative curated by Clerkenwell Boy and SUITCASE Magazine. The month-long campaign focused around Syrian cuisine will encourage everyone from the UK’s top chefs to people at home to cook and raise money in aid of UNICEF’s Syria Relief fund via Next Generation London (UNICEF’s youth branch). This month, we're supporting the cause and raising awareness by developing and promoting a collection of exclusive recipes inspired by traditional Syrian ingredients.
If you make this, be sure to tag us and the organisations involved, and use #cookforsyria in your captions. You can also donate to the cause here.