It was dark, it was cold and we were all snuggled in our comfy, ok somewhat comfortable, bunk beds on grade nine camp when the horn blew. It was 5am and apparently that was an acceptable waking time on school camp.
Our camp just happened to be on a macadamia farm. I think there was some sort of con that exploited we young workers but early that morning we were set off to the farm to pick macadamias.
Little did I know that we were also picking Australia’s only native food (that’s commercially produced).
Today I’d welcome picking my own produce but as a 14 year old I wasn’t so keen although I did love macadamias even then. There’s something about their creamy texture that is so addictive.
Until recently I didn’t know that eating them was actually good for me. I knew they had the good fats that all nuts do but did you know they’ve also got a bunch of heart-protective nutrients and they’re a good source of antioxidants (to make us look young and pretty) and they’re rich in fibre and protein so they make a great snack.
You know what else they’re great in? Muesli! I always make my own but as I was getting ready to make a new batch a few weeks ago, I took one look at the kilogram of macadamias in the fridge and decided they had to be in my muesli. What a great decision.
I also tried a new technique thanks to my friend Kristin. When I first started making muesli I used to add oil and honey and sugar and all sorts of things to try and make it crunchy and sweet. Then I realised it didn’t really need all this just a touch of sweetness and a bit of water.
Kristin let me in on her trick that she saw in a Bill Granger book – apple juice. It provides just enough liquid and sweetness to give the muesli the perfect crunch and flavour. The toasted macadamias just tip it over the edge of deliciousness.
It is so scumptious I have had it for breakfast nearly every morning since I made the first batch and yesterday whipped up a second one. I don’t put fruit in my muesli because I’m not a fan of dried fruit but you could swap out some of the nuts and seeds for dried fruit if you wish.
Once you’ve made your own muesli you will wonder why you ever bought it. It is so very simple and super tasty (well this version is!). Measure out all the dry ingredients and then stir them all together.
I nearly forgot second most important ingredient – cinnamon. Oh how I love cinnamon. Don’t forget to add it to the dry ingredients too!
Ok so I actually forgot to add the cinnamon before the apple juice that’s why the photos are out of order but I’m sure you’ll catch on. Once you’ve mixed up all the dry ingredients, pour in the apple juice. It needs to be stirred through until all the oats are coated.
Spread the muesli onto a lined baking tray. I use super-size baking paper and extend it over the edge. It means no cleaning up and makes it much easier to transfer it to a container when it’s ready. Bake the muesli for one hour at 120C fan-forced or until it is golden. Every 15 minutes or so, give it a stir with a fork to make sure the bottom bits get a turn on the top.
Leave the toasted muesli to cool completely on the tray.
Then you can play with it and take photos and make a big mess.
Or you can bottle it up like a normal person. It makes a very cute gift. If you’re not going to share, store it in an air-tight container in the fridge. Enjoy!
What about you? What’s the worst thing you had to do on school camp?
Thank you to Australian Macadamias for my delicious macadamia nuts.