A basic and naturally sweetened oat granola

A basic and naturally sweetened oat granola :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

I once heard that the best ingredient is the one you leave out. And that philosophy resonates very well with me, because usually when creating recipes I like to let only one or two ingredients be the hero. And then add just a few more to boost the flavours.

And the philosophy seems to be even more true when it comes to my two kids. They like nuts of all kinds, but not when added to a granola. They also like raisins and other dried fruit, but not when added to a granola. They don’t even like fresh berries on granola. But berries on the side works fine.

My kids :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

The idea for this granola came to me when my 9 year old first tried Start during a hotel stay a while ago. And he loved it. Start is a Swedish granola brand available in most Swedish grocery stores. I am sure you have similar where you live too. It is delicious – almost like cookie crumbles… The only problem is – it contains around 20 % sugar (refined sugar and glucose syrup).

A basic and naturally sweetened oat granola :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

I am not super strict or neurotic about the food we eat. Even if we do try to eat mindfully and healthfully most of the time. But it goes without saying that eating this type of granola is not a habit I’d like to encourage as an everyday food in our house.

So I made my own recipe for homemade “Start”. Only lightly sweetened with maple syrup and agave syrup, and with a light touch of vanilla. And it seems to be working – he likes it!

The recipe is super simple. A basic granola to which you can add your own dried fruit, nuts, seeds or fresh berries if you like. This means that everyone in a family can create the breakfast they like using the same granola base. I like mine with hemp seeds, pistachios and fresh berries. My son likes his “au naturel”.

I hope you like it too. Happy midsummer!

A basic and naturally sweetened oat granola

4 cups instant rolled oats
1 cup thick cut rolled oats
1/2 cup buckwheat flour

6 tbsp neutral coconut oil, melted
4 tbsp maple syrup
3-4 tbsp agave syrup
2-3 tbsp water
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp powdered vanilla

1) Preheat the oven to 95° C (200° F) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2) Mix oats and buckwheat flour in a large bowl. In another bowl whisk together coconut oil, maple syrup, agave syrup, water, sea salt and powdered vanilla.
3) Combine all ingredients and mix well with carefully washed hands or a wooden spoon to coat everything. Squeeze the grains a little between your fingers to get it more clustered.
4) Spread the granola mixture out evenly over the baking tray. Pop into the oven and roast for about 4 hours. On this low temperature you don’t even have to stir during roasting – and you will get perfectly roasted and clustered granola without burning. Do check after an hour or two the first time you make it, since the temperature in your oven may vary slightly from the oven I use.
5) Switch off the heat and leave the baking tray in the oven to dry completely while the oven cools.
6) When completely cool, store in an airtight jar for up to a month.

NOTE! Slow roasting is in my opinion the way to get perfectly crunchy granola every time. It does take a few hours, but since the temperature is so low you can easily leave the house for an hour or so and the granola won’t burn.

A basic and naturally sweetened oat granola :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

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Chunky chickpea mash with maple roasted carrots

This post is sponsored by Bonduelle and as always, photos and words by me.

Chunky chickpea mash with maple roasted carrots :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

I recently worked with Bonduelle to create a simple recipe using some of their new canned products. The new products include organic chickpeas, organic kidney beans, white beans and mixed beans – all of them are steamed and therefore very crisp and delicious. The cans they use are also free from Bisphenol A (BPA) which make them a very good choice when buying canned beans. The products can be found at Coop and City Gross (in Sweden).

Pulses (beans, peas and lentils) are a wonderful source of protein, fiber and essential nutrients, making them a healthy addition to your diet. They could also play a central role in solving the global problem of hunger and malnutrition, and the United Nations declared that 2016 will be the International Year of Pulses, with the intention to position pulses as a primary source of protein and other essential nutrients.

Chunky chickpea mash with maple roasted carrots :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Personally I have come to love pulses more and more over the years, and some of my favorite go-to-recipes are this dip (omit the ramps when not in season) and other kinds of hummus, this soup topped with spicy chickpeas, this soup topped with mung bean sprouts and endless variations of chickpea/lentil patties like these (in Swedish only).

For this recipe I chose to go with Bonduelle’s canned organic chickpeas. And it has quickly become a favorite side dish in our house, because it can be thrown together in five minutes and goes well with grilled food as part of a meal, or as a snack or small meal on its own. Or with my maple roasted carrots.

Enjoy!

And don’t miss the Bonduelle contest over att their Facebook fan page with the chance to win a box filled with their new canned products. The contest closes on Monday, June 13th.

Chunky chickpea mash with maple roasted carrots :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Chunky chickpea mash

serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side

1 can Bonduelle chickpeas, well rinsed
1 garlic clove, grated
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice from half a lemon
75 g feta cheese, crumbled
3 tbsp finely chopped herbs of your choice (I used chives, oregano and chervil)
sea salt + hand crushed black pepper

1) In a medium size bowl roughly mash the chickpeas and the garlic with the back of a fork or a potato masher. You’re not looking for a hummus-like purée but something closer to a coarse mash with a few smaller bits to hold it together.
2) Add olive oil and lemon juice and stir until everything is coated in oil/juice.
3) Add the feta cheese, herbs and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Stir until just combined and serve with the roasted carrots.

The mash is also wonderful on toasted bread, and it needs nothing else on it.

Chunky chickpea mash with maple roasted carrots :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Maple roasted carrots

serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side

8 medium sized carrots
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
pinch of sea salt
dash of cayenne pepper

1) Preheat the oven to 225° C (440° F). Rinse and scrub the carrots (no need to peel).
2) Slice the carrots lengthways into halves or quarters so that they are evenly sized. Use your hands to cover the carrots in oil/maple syrup and place on a baking tray.
3) Sprinkle with salt and a small dash of cayenne pepper and roast the carrots 20-25 minutes until tender. Serve with the chickpea mash.

Chunky chickpea mash with maple roasted carrots :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's KitchenChunky chickpea mash with maple roasted carrots :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

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Young carrots with dill yoghurt and toasted cumin

This post is sponsored by Åhléns and as always, photos and words by me.

Young carrots with dill yoghurt and toasted cumin :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

A while ago I was asked by Åhléns (Swedish department store chain) to share a recipe on the theme “Alla länders land”, meaning “The country of all countries”.

If you’ve ever been to Sweden (or Scandinavia) you know that we hold our herring, smoked salmon and new potatoes very dear. And those are the things that you would always find on a Swedish summer table. With the campaign Åhléns wants to inspire to add new dishes, and with influences from other countries, to the table this summer.

My head immediately started spinning with ideas, since summer is my favorite season to cook. Greens and fruits are abundant, and the limits on what to cook seem to be endless. Having said that, I don’t like to spend a large amount of time cooking in the summer, but rather spend more time to chat with family and friends around the table.

Don’t you agree?

Young carrots with dill yoghurt and toasted cumin :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

I also like to use as much locally grown produce as possible, which is perfect because it doesn’t need much time or effort in the kitchen.

The recipe I’d like to share is one that I made often last summer, and will for sure make again this summer. In our garden, I grew the prettiest, most delicious, little carrots named “Paris Market”. Cooked them quickly and paired with Turkish yoghurt, dill and toasted cumin seeds. Fresh, locally sourced and fast – just the way I like it!

My garden :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

My kitchen garden last summer

In traditional Swedish summer coking, crème fraîche or “gräddfil” (similar to butter milk or crème fraîche, but with less fat) is commonly used. But I like Turkish style strained yoghurt better, both for its thick creamy texture, the slight acidity and how it elevates the sweet carrots. Cumin has been commonly used and cultivated in Sweden for several hundreds of years, and it is also frequently used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. Cumin is actually also related to carrots, which makes it the perfect match for this dish. A marriage between classic Swedish and East Mediterranean flavors.

I hope you’ll add this to your repertoire this summer. Great as a snack before dinner, or as part of a “smörgåsbord”. Enjoy!

And please share in the comments your own suggestion for a new dish to add to the “smörgåsbord” this year!

Young carrots with dill yoghurt and toasted cumin

250 g young carrots
3-4 tbsp water
2 tbsp (30 g) butter

2 tbsp black cumin seeds

Dill yoghurt
1 cup Turkish yoghurt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp chopped dill fronds, plus more to serve
pinch of sea salt

1) To make the dill yoghurt, mix the yogurt with olive oil, dill and salt and place in a serving dish. Put the dish in the fridge while preparing the carrots.
2) Heat a small skillet or frying pan over high heat and add the cumin seeds. Shake the pan to keep the cumin seeds moving and toast until the seeds darken slightly and smell fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside.
3) Brush the carrots clean under running water and put them in a medium pan with water and butter. Bring to a boil, cover with a tightly fitting lid, and let them cook at moderate pace for 5-6 minutes. Remove the lid and check for tenderness. The carrots should be tender but with a little bite. Drain and serve with dill yoghurt and toasted cumin seeds.

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White bean dip with ramps and chili

Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen :: White bean dip with ramps and chili

Ramps season is finally on again. And the other day, on my morning walk in the woods nearby, I found the first green fragrant ramp leaves peeking up towards the sky. Ramps (or wild garlic , or ramsons) with their unique flavor, reminiscent of garlic, leeks and chives, is perfect for dip sauces, pestos and other “no-cook” dishes as the flavors are best preserved when kept raw.

I have previously made this dip with garlic (half a clove is enough) and fresh rosemary, but now that I had all of these fresh ramps I wanted to give it a try in this dip. And it was delicious!

Perfect for dipping raw veg, or as a bread spread. And with canned beans this is made in less than five minutes – perfect when you need a quick healthy snack, or when you have visitors on short notice.

Enjoy!

White bean dip with ramps and chili

1 can large white beans (e.g. butter beans), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup fresh ramps (green parts only), loosely packed
3 tbsp mild extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
pinch of sea salt

1) Rinse and clean the ramps well. Chop the leaves roughly.
2) In a food processor or blender combine the beans, olive oil, lemon juice, chili flakes and salt and blend until completely smooth. This will take a few minutes, and you might need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times.
3) Add the ramps and whiz again until the ramps start to blend with the bean dip, but with some greens visible.
4) Transfer to a jar or bowl and decorate with chili flakes and chopped ramps.

Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen :: White bean dip with ramps and chiliSonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen :: White bean dip with ramps and chili

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Blueberry, parsnip & maca breakfast muffins

Blueberry, parsnip & maca breakfast muffins :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Days are longer and brighter again and we’ve spotted the first signs of spring in our garden and around town. Daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops and are peeking up towards the sun here and there, and everything bursts of hope once again. Happiness!

I just popped by today to share the latest version of an old favorite recipe of mine. I’ve made several versions of these muffins, using different fruit and berries each season – or frozen any time of the year. But this time I wanted to make an even healthier muffin for breakfast and snack purposes. I think this is the best version ever.

Lightly sweetened with coconut sugar, and with the grainy goodness from wholegrain spelt and oats, these muffins are the perfect companion for a long lazy breakfast or a fast snack on the go. And the addition of grated parsnip, frozen blueberries and coconut oil result in a super moist and fragrant muffin you won’t be able to resist.

I have never been a huge fan of so called “super-foods” from countries far away. I think we should all try to use ingredients sourced as close as possible to where we live. But I really wanted to give maca powder a try when I was told it can actually reduce PMS, and now I add it everyday to my smoothies (it’s especially good with cacao!) hoping for good results in that area. And this is my first attempt to use it in baking, realizing it actually adds an interesting earthiness that goes very well with the parsnip. This recipe contains both chia seeds and maca powder for that extra power boost, but you can omit both if you like.

Happy baking!

Blueberry, parsnip & maca breakfast muffins :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Blueberry, parsnip & maca breakfast muffins

makes 12

1 cup (110 g) wholegrain spelt flour
3/4 cup (90 g) fine spelt flour
1/3 cup (50 g) rolled oats
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp maca powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp aluminium free baking powder
1 tsp bicarb soda

1/2 cup (100 g) coconut sugar
250 ml greek yoghurt
125 ml un-scented coconut oil, melted (butter works fine too)
1 small parsnip (50-60 g), finely grated
zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs

3/4 cup frozen blueberries

1) Preheat the oven to 180° C (360° F). First whiz the oats in a food processor or blender a few seconds until almost flour-like. In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients.
2) Place the coconut sugar, yoghurt, coconut oil, grated parsnip, lemon zest and eggs in a second bowl and beat until well blended.
3) Add the egg mixture to the flour with the blueberries. Use a rubber spatula to fold together gently until just combined. Do not overmix.
4) Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cups and divide the mixture among the muffin cups.
5) Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out clean. Leave the muffins in the tin for 5 minutes before removing.

These are best the day they’re made or the day after, but you can freeze any leftovers and thaw at room temperature about an hour before eating.

Blueberry, parsnip & maca breakfast muffins :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

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