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Kimberley’s book, Vibrant Food, arrived rather unexpectedly on a Friday evening a couple of weeks ago. It had been one of those days/weeks/months where I’d fallen slightly out of love with food.  Deciding what to eat for dinner every night had become a chore. We’d gone to restaurants where I’d struggled to find anything I fancied on the menu. There was a pile of food magazines by the side of my bed that I couldn’t really be bothered to read.

I started absently flicking through Kimberley’s book, more out of a sense of loyalty than any particular interest. Within about three recipes, however, it had totally captivated me.

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Kimberley’s blog, The Year in Food, has been one of my long-time favourites.  The best way that I can describe it is that she makes my kind of food (by way of illustration, some recent examples: grilled caesar salad, cajun-spiced sweet potato burgers, pear and cacao nib buckwheat muffins, spiced winter cake with cranberries).  I’ve always loved Kimberley’s photographs as well, as simple and striking as her recipes and full of colour and vitality.

Vibrant Food is divided into four chapters based on the seasons. Within each chapter, Kimberley takes three or four key ingredients for that season (from edible flowers and srping greens to Dungeness crab and persimmons) and provides a couple of recipes for each. Like all of  the recipes on Kimberley’s blog, everything is gluten free, or has a gluten free option, but that’s incidental really – this is a book for everyone.

I’ve been cooking from Kimberley’s book almost constantly for the last couple of weeks, taking recipes from different seasons and adapting them for what’s available now in a way that I hope she would approve of.  The day after the book arrived, I made the yogurt paprika chicken with lemon, a dish from the winter citrus chapter but which has a brightness and lightness that works perfectly in the height of summer. On a rainy Monday evening that felt more like November than July, I  made the smokey red pepper soup, topped with a sprinkling of feta and cumin-scented pumpkin seeds. We spent pretty much a whole weekend eating Kimberley’s carnitas, served in the book with an autumn apple salsa but which I combined with an avocado crema from one of the summer recipes.

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And then there is this cherry ginger granola which I’ve eaten for breakfast almost every day since I made it.  In many ways, it so exactly represents Kimberley’s style of cooking to me. It’s full of textures and flavours and contrasts; in every bite there are toasty warm oats, crunchy nuts and seeds, sweet and sticky cherries and fiery nuggets of ginger. Kimberley serves her granola with yogurt and peaches; I had apricots so I went with those instead.

More than anything though, I felt touches of Kimberley’s inspiration in everything I’ve cooked over the last couple of weeks (and, indeed, in every photo I’ve taken).  I’ve been more liberal with herbs and spices and garnishes, adding little touches of colour and texture. I’ve thought more about the composition of what I cook, not necessarily from an artistic point of view, but in terms of creating a more interesting and complete dish.

And that’s how I know that this is a brilliant book. Not because of the recipes themselves (although they clearly are stellar) but because it’s changed the way that I cook.

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Some other recipes from around the web that have been adapted from/inspired by Kimberley’s book:

green rice salad with nectarines and corn // summer squash pasta with green goddess dressing // grilled halloumi with blueberries // grilled halloumi with strawberries // vegan banh mi

honey almond cake with raspberries, orange and pistachio // poached apricots with lavender and mascarpone // cherry buttermilk clafoutis // cherry clafoutis // chocolate pots with lavender and sea salt // blueberry peach crisp // triple berry skillet crisp

cherry and ginger granola with apricots from kimberley hasselbrink's vibrant food

Kimberley's original recipe calls for 1 cup raw almonds, 1/2 cup raw pistachios, 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds and 1 cup coconut flakes. I didn't have any coconut flakes so used flaked almonds instead, upped the quantities of the other nuts/seeds and threw in some hazelnuts too. I also swapped the ratio of ginger to cinnamon as I'm not a huge fan of the latter. Don't skimp on the cherries and/or crystallised ginger - it's what makes this granola.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup raw pistachios
  • 3/4 cup mixed seeds (I used a mix of linseeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds)
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 cup flaked almonds
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped crystallised ginger

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300F/170C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, pistachios, seeds, hazelnuts, flaked almonds, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Add the maple syrup, olive oil and vanilla and mix thoroughly until all the dry ingredients are sticky. Spread the mixture out over the baking tray and bake for 30 - 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the granola is toasty-brown.
  3. Remove from the oven, add the cherries and crystallised ginger and then pat down with the back of a wooden spoon to encourage clumping. Leave to cool before transferring to an airtight container to store (I keep mine in the fridge).
  4. Serve with greek yoghurt and apricots (or, as the original recipe suggests, peaches).

Notes

Adapted from the Cherry Ginger Granola with Peaches from Kimberley Hasselbrink's Vibrant Food.

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 (In the interests of full disclosure, I should add that Kimberley did offer to send me a review copy but her email just happened to arrive about 10 minutes after I’d ordered the book from Amazon and so I declined. Her generous offer has not, however, made a jot of difference to my thoughts about the book. It’s really, really good and I’d happily buy it again and again.)

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28 Responses to "cherry ginger granola with apricots from “vibrant food”"
  1. This is absolutely stunning. I need that booooook!

  2. Lindsey says:

    you couldn’t have strung together a more telling description of this book, kathryn! i have felt so motivated and connected to kimberley’s food for quite a while, but this book has inspired me to think, act, and just plain feel food in new ways and i couldn’t agree with you more! beautiful photos of this lovely breakfast! have a wonderful week, friend! xo

  3. I adore dried cherries in granola and the ginger sounds like a wonderful idea too. I haven’t got a copy of Kimberley’s book yet but this is certainly a convincing review!

  4. Dom says:

    such a lovely blog post with the most adorable recipe… I love granola and I love what you’ve put in this, so fresh and clean.

  5. alexandra says:

    Have you thought of a career in writing book reviews? If your photos weren’t enough, your description of “Vibrant Food” and its impact on your daily life has absolutely sold me on NEEDING to add this book to my library. Lovely, Kathryn!

  6. What a glowing book review! I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book … I need to get my hands on it!

  7. Tieghan says:

    This is just some seriously gorgeous breakfast food. Kimberley’s book is so amazing and well, vibrant! Love the breakfast or snack or really anytime meal for me!

  8. I’m finding myself captivated by her cookbook just by looking at/reading about the recipes that are in there. This granola is no exception. Total breakfast magic.

  9. Skye says:

    Oh, it’s such a joy when you find new cooking inspiration from a blog o a book or a market or a whatever…
    I’ve seen so many scrumptious looking posts about Kimberley’s book online recently, but yous has tipped the balance Kathryn… Sounds like a need that book! Xx
    PS Gorgeous photos, by the way :)

  10. Kimberley says:

    I feel like you get this book, and that makes me so happy. The smoky red pepper soup! We have many summer nights that feel more like November than July in SF, and that was exactly my thinking. :) I’m making it tonight, in fact. Thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad it helped you out of that food rut, a place I know well myself.

  11. Love this post all the way through. I can’t wait to get my hands on Vibrant Food; Kimberley is such a huge source of inspiration, and I’m sure her book is brilliant as well. However, I’ve devided to wait until September when I’m back in Germany as Amazon’s shipping costs to Finland are rather high. In the meantime, I’ll keep myself busy with all the wonderful recipes that have been posted all over the blogosphere. This granola will be on my agenda as well. Thank you for this inspiring post. It’s a gem.

  12. That granola looks like its worth getting out of bed a little earlier for. Something to sit in the early morning sun and savor, rather than grabbing a slice of toast before dashing out the door. Kimberly’s book looks like a keeper and will definitely be on my purchase list!

  13. Joanne says:

    I’ve adored Kimberley’s blog for what feels like forever and am so excited for this book of hers! She truly deserves all the success. Recipes like this are what make me want to hug her with unbridled whole food loving passion. Such a gorgeous breakfast!

  14. Erin says:

    I love finding cookbooks that re-inspire me. This one sounds awesome.

  15. I adore apricots! Love this version and the addition of cherry!

  16. Oh my! What a sweet tribute to Kimberley’s book! I agree, she really rocked it. The photos, recipes, stories… the whole package is incredible.
    xoxox
    E

  17. Hello, breakfast perfection! I’m not even a granola gal and this is just calling me!

  18. Tash says:

    The composition of this dish looks amazing…so fruity, colourful and definitely wholesome *_* I am so boring with my granola…I always just heap peanut butter and jelly onto it…I have really been trying to encourage myself to go for more fresh fruits recently but I am so stuck in routine! You have inspired me to make use of all of the apricots laying around in the fridge! ~ London love, Tash xx

  19. Irene says:

    There has been so many recipes floating around inspired by the vibrant food book, and your post only just confirms how much I need it in my life!! Beautiful flavours all around!

  20. Kristie says:

    You convinced me! I love the connection you had to the book and to Kimberly’s blog. I felt the same way about her blog, and about yours when I first came across them. Thank you for sharing!

  21. i’ve been deciding whether to purchase vibrant food.. after reading this i think i definitely will buy the book. this recipe is seriously delicious!

  22. This looks like such a breakfast treat or in my case snack all day!! Need this book!

  23. Joyti says:

    Oh my goodness, I love “Vibrant Food” too, it’s divine and heaven-sent and all of that. I haven’t tried the granola, but hello! – cherries? ginger? – it sounds exquisite :)

  24. Kate says:

    Gorgeous, Kathryn! I was also completely taken by Kimberley’s book. Love the simple, vibrant, seasonal recipes and the food photography that makes me want to dive right in. Looks like I should make this granola next!

  25. Thanks for the recommendation – love the look of that granola!

  26. This recipe is perfect!
    I love your blog! :)

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