An old Racold oven it was. With a round glass top, shiny aluminum rim and base, and as light as feather. It was a legacy thing that could burn anything in its vicinity, but bake a cake. Oh yeah, seriously. It got so hot that it ate up its own wire once. It had a thermostat knob that could not go beyond 180 deg C, that meant I had to bake pizzas over an hour and above for that perfect crust. It electrocuted once, gave me shocks, went on repair and got a brand new cabling. Yet it walked through all odds of its age, like an old granny with loads of wisdom, fraying strength and a sound heart. Each time it tumbled, I had assumed the service guy would tell me it was beyond repair, but it came back crippling to life. Having it around was a bit of charisma for the age it carried along. If it was a thing with life, there could have been a celebration for its silver jubilee. It was still precious. After all it was my mother’s. And all things lovingly handed over by mothers to daughters have a special charm, don’t they? For me, this one did.
Over the years I baked many small cakes, muffins, pizzas and breads in it with much anticipation and content. Even in moments of anxiety, it was my little companion through my journey as much this blog was. This trusted one was such a little thing that I could cuddle in my arms and tip it into my cupboard after use. Despite my keenness to buy a replacement oven, I stayed with this one so long. Because it was probably meant to be around to coach me.
A while ago, I gave this old granny away. Her age, experience and years of worth so rich. With lot of love, hesitation and self-assurance that she’s found a new home. A new home to tutor another new bride, like she did to me. So she could foster her love for cooking and try her hands at baking. She took her along with a hope. A hope that this little granny would impart what she did to my mother and me – to nurture the appetite for baking, teach patience to bear, appreciate the fragrant waft of labor and find happiness in the sweet love of sharing. May be after some trials she may overcome all her baking fads. Though I am not convinced about that yet.
For long I had stashed the thought of investing in a new oven. I don’t bake all that often either, so I stood by convection microwave ever since I parted with my old oven. But that isn’t always my preferred choice, simply because I haven’t mastered the art of baking in them the right way. Though I think they do a good job for cookies and muffins and I have baked several of these with pleasing results. So I gifted myself a brand new Bajaj 35 lt OTG. It came in a new, shiny silver armour, heavy with a promise of convenience. Oven, toaster and grill with settings from 40 to 240 deg C. There’s rotisserie, grill tongs, skewers, and what not. A whole lot of these accessories that I may never even use. Still for a domestic goddess it will be a thing to flaunt.
In this celebration here comes a recipe for Two Grain Chocolate Granola. A thing you can bake in an oven or make on a stove stop. Either ways, they always come out good. And should you prefer to keep it plain, go ahead and skip the dark chocolate. For me though, addition of chocolate is like an icing on cake and there can never be enough with some.
Two Grain Chocolate Granola
2 cups whole grain oats (old fashioned oats)
1 cup puffed millets
1/4 cup dry fruits (used here are raisins, cranberries and dates)
1/4 cup dry nuts (used here are walnuts and broken almonds)
1/2 cup 70% dark chopped chocolate
1/2 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
In a clean bowl, combine oats along with nuts. Drizzle the vegetable oil and maple syrup and toss well. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes at 180 deg C till the oats just begin to brown. Meanwhile, grate the chocolate in another bowl. Remove the roasted oats from the oven and toss in the dry fruits along with the grated chocolate. Mix well. While still warm, toss the puffed millets. Allow to cool completely and store in a clean dry container.
Try to look out for old fashioned oats. If not easily available, I suggest you sieve the cooking oats and use the thicker one that settles on top of the sieve.
Puffed millets are high in nutrition and hence make this a very healthy breakfast. I add them post baking the oats since they tend to easily absorb moisture and become soggy if you bake along with oats.
If puffed millets are not available then substitute with rice cereal or puffed rice or equal measure of oats.