This Summer Holidays (for Australia) our family boarded the 14 hour flight to Vancouver, then to progress to Whistler to ski and San Francisco to check out what all the rave is about! So as all travelers know, jet lag is one of the weights holding down the enjoyment and energy of a trip, but, thanks to those ingenious creative people from history… we have coffee! Now, i’ve never really been a fan of that bitter taste and smell, but leading up to the long awaited trip, i started to “ween” myself onto the life saving beverage. My friend wanted me to go into the real deal straight on, so i bit the bullet and had my first latte, not as bad as i thought, as i veered off the tracks onto vanilla and hazelnut lattes and never looked back. This drink become a tradition and as we moved onto San Francisco and discovered that Starbucks was next door to the hotel, i would excitedly grab the left over change every morning and order my “small low fat toffee nut latte” with a added sprinkle of cinnamon (i just love having a long order for coffee – sounds so grown up!) i had this women in front of me, with something like a “grande, no fat, 1 shot, non-sugar caramel, frappacino”, does that sound cool or what!
Another awesome aspect of Canada and America (in ways) was the amazing granola which followed us all over our holiday! Everywhere we went, it was ter-rif-ic! Now i have tried a few recipes but this seems to be the closest to the granola we had overseas:
2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup unsalted cashews
1/4 sunflower seeds
1/4 desiccated coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*you can add more nuts if you desire or any other nuts or seeds you would like to add
1/3 cup honey (add extra if you enjoy the honey taste)
1/3 cup maple syrup (strong maple syrup)
2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
sultanas and/or dried cranberries or any other dried fruit you would like to add after baked and cooled
1. Preheat oven to 160C and combine rolled oats, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, coconut and cinnamon and stir until well mixed
2. Add honey, maple syrup, butter, vegetable oil and vanilla essence to microwavable bowl and heat until runny, or if you would like to do it on the stove add the ingredients to a small saucepan and stir on low heat until runny (around 1-2 mintutes)
4. Add the the honey and mayple mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until all is well covered
5. Spread out on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown, allow to cool as this is when the clusters will form
6. Toss through your selection of dried fruit (or add them when about to eat granola, either or) and store in an airtight container
other serving suggestions:
-as a snack with dried fruit or by itself
-added to the top of muffins for a extra crunch
-on top of ice-cream (personal favorite)
Another great thing (food ways) about America and Canada is everywhere we went complimentary bread was served! And not just any old bread, but some top notch sourdough and dinner rolls, and it just kept coming! It was perfect after walking around all day, tummy rumbling, to come into baked the same day bread and butter to begin a hearty meal – just perfect!
Whilst we were there we had, hands off, the best ever bruschetta ever! we had around 8 servings between the 5 of us, it was incredible!! Every aspect just complemented the other, if you ever go to San Francisco, please do yourself and favor and go over (either by Golden Gate Bridge, which is awesome or by ferry) to Sausalito and go to the cafe on the bay side called ‘Piccolos’ opposite Starbucks and say “hi may i please order the bruschetta”, you won’t regret it!! The picture really doesn’t do justice to the flavor as we got to the bruschetta before the photo was taken
Another place to visit when in San Francisco, is a place we were recomended by a local, which goes by the name ‘Scoma’s Restaurant’, when i was telling you about the complimentary bread coming out constantly as well as being delicious, this place is a perfect example! With the added atmosphere of being on a pier with the fairy lights out the front this is a must dine place!
As a must do when in America, from the recommendation from a friend we went to ‘Mel’s Drive-In’ on Mission St, Downtown, San Francisco. I loved this place as it had such an awesome feel, a classic diner! We even put in a quarter and played a song on the juke-box, and played none other then ‘Grease’. And a must do thing when in a diner is do order a milkshake with cherries on top! They even serve it the old fashioned way with malt in it! A bit different from the norm milkshakes, but you gotta try a old fashioned malt one when in a diner, and it tasted really good to boot! You must check out this diner if your ever in town, it has got a great feel, an awesome range of food and, its a diner!
Also in San Francisco, Union Square, for those cookers who love there cooking accessories you must and i say must, check out William Sonoma’s! It is incredible! Everything a cooker could possibly want! i spent around 3 hours there, there are 4 levels, can you believe it. I bought the most amazing baking book – “The William Sonoma’s Baking Book”, every page has something i want to bake, now that’s a good book! I even got a oven mitt, tea-towels and a ravioli cutter (couldn’t help myself) This place is fabulous!
After suffering through -9 degrees nothing was more satisfying (and tasty) then coming back after a ski to the infamous ‘Butter Toffee Nuts’ from the local food market, it truly has an unbeatable flavor! With the saltiness of the peanuts with the sweet, sugary toffee, i’m on the hunt for a good recipe, and when i find the perfect one, you all will be the first to know!
Well, thanks for staying tuned for this long long post! I hope you’ve seen some great places to visit and enjoy the Amadian Granola! Keep having a great beginning to the year of 2012 (year of the dragon) and for those Australians – Happy Australia Day!
I’ll just leave you all with some photos from the highlights of the trip – enjoy!
P.S. Enjoy the thrill cooking brings, the taste the food creates and the voyage the meal takes you on