cereals provide proteins, carbohydrates, B vitamins, iron, vitamin
E and trace minerals. Some cereals contain the protein gluten
- essential for making bread rise but to be avoided by those suffering
from coeliac disease or gluten intolerance.
Cereals are best stored in airtight containers in a cool, dark,
dry place. Wholegrains can be stored for up to two years; flaked,
cracked grains and flours should be used within two to three months
Barley grows in a wider variety of climatic conditions than any
other cereal. Usually found in the shops as whole or pot barley,
or polished pearl barley, you can also buy barley flakes or kernels.
It can be cooked on its own (one part grain to three parts of
water for 45 to 60 minutes) as an alternative to rice, pasta or
potatoes, or added to stews. Malt extract is made from sprouted
When roasted, the seeds are dark reddish-brown. Buckwheat can
be cooked (one part grain to two parts of water for six minutes,
leave to stand for six minutes) and served like rice or you can
add it to stews and casseroles. Buckwheat flour can be added to
cakes, muffins and pancakes where it imparts a distinctive flavour.
Look out for buckwheat spaghetti or soba. Soba noodles, made from
buckwheat, are an essential ingredient in Japanese cooking. Buckwheat
is gluten free.
Fresh corn available in the form of sweetcorn and corn on the
cob is eaten as a vegetable. The dried grain is most often eaten
as cornflakes or popcorn. The flour made from corn - cornmeal
- is used to make Italian polenta, and can be added to soup, pancakes
and muffins. Cook polenta (one part grain to three parts of water,
for 15 to 20 minutes), stirring carefully to avoid lumps. Use
it like mashed potato: it's quite bland, so try stirring in tasty
ingredients like Gorgonzola, Parmesan and fresh herbs, or press
it when cold, cut into slices, brush with garlicky olive oil and
grill. You can also get ready-made polenta. Tortillas are made
from maize meal, as are quite a lot of snack foods. Don't confuse
cornmeal with refined corn starch/flour, used for thickening.
Corn is gluten free.
Millet makes a delicious alternative to rice but the tiny grains
need to be cracked before they will absorb water easily. Before
boiling, sauté them with a little vegetable oil for two
to three minutes until some are seen to crack, then add water
carefully (one part grain to three parts of water). Bring to the
boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until fluffy. Millet flakes
can be made into porridge or added to muesli. Millet flour is
available, sometimes also made into pasta. Millet is gluten free.
There are various grades of oatmeal, rolled oats or jumbo oat
flakes. All forms can be used to make porridge, combined with
ground nuts to make a roast, or added to stews. Oatmeal is low
in gluten so can't be used to make a loaf, but can be mixed with
wheat flour to add flavour and texture to bread, muffins and pancakes.
Oatmeal contains some oils and can become rancid, so watch the
Quinoa is an ancient crop which fed the South American Aztec Indians
for thousands of years, and has recently been cultivated in Britain.
It's a grain which is high in protein, making it useful for vegetarians.
Cook for 15 minutes ( one part grain to three parts of water)
- it's ready when all the grains have turned from white to transparent,
and the spiral-like germ has separated). Use in place of more
common cereals or pasta, or in risottos, pilaff and vegetable
Rice is one of the world's most important crops. There are three
basic kinds in culinary terms: long, medium and short grain. Long
grain is traditionally used in savoury dishes and short grain
in dessert cooking, although this varies across the globe. Wholegrain
rice has a nuttier taste and contains more fibre and nutrients,
but takes longer to cook - use one part grain to two parts of
water for 35 to 40 minutes. Arborio rice is a medium to long grain
rice and is used in risottos because it can absorb a good deal
of cooking liquid without becoming too soft. Rice flour is available
but, because it's gluten-free, it can't be used to make a yeasted
loaf. Rice flakes (brown and white) can be added to muesli or
made into a milk pudding or porridge.
Not, in fact, a rice, but an aquatic grass! Difficulty in harvesting
makes it expensive, but the colour, a purplish black, and its
subtly nutty flavour make it a good base for a special dish or
rice salad and it can be economically mixed with other rices (but
may need pre-cooking as it takes 45 to 50 minutes to cook, using
one part grain to three parts of water).
An unmilled short grain rice from Camargue in France, with a brownish-red
colour and a nutty flavour. It's slightly sticky when cooked,
and particularly good in salads.
Rye is the only cereal (apart from wheat and barley) that has
enough gluten to make a yeasted loaf. However, with less gluten
than wheat, rye flour makes a denser, richer-flavoured bread.
It's more usual to mix rye flour with wheat flour. Rye grains
should be cooked using one part grain to three parts of water
for 45 to 60 minutes. Kibbled rye is often added to granary-type
loaves. You can add rye grains to stews and rye flakes are good
Originating in the Middle East, Spelt is closely related to common
wheat and has been popular for decades in Eastern Europe. It has
an intense nutty, wheaty flavour. The flour is excellent for breadmaking
and spelt pasta is becoming more widely available.
This is the most familiar cereal used in Britain today, used for
bread, cakes, biscuits, pastry, breakfast cereals and pasta. Wheat
grains can be eaten whole (cook one part grain to three parts
of water for 40 to 60 minutes) and have a satisfying, chewy texture.
Cracked or kibbled wheat is the dried wholegrains cut by steel
blades. Bulgur wheat is par-boiled before cracking, has a light
texture and only needs rehydrating by soaking in boiling water
or stock. Semolina is a grainy yellow flour ground from durum
or hard wheat and is the main ingredient of dried Italian pasta.
Couscous is made from semolina grains that have been rolled, dampened
and coated with finer wheat flour. Soak in two parts of water/stock
to rehydrate; traditionally it's steamed after soaking. Strong
wheat flour (with a high gluten content) is required for yeasted
breadmaking. Plain flour is used for general cooking including
cakes and shortcrust pastry. Wheat flakes are used for porridge,
muesli and flapjacks.
* 2 ounces
cream cheese, softened
* 1/2 cup grape juice
* 1 cup crisp rice cereal
* 2 tablespoons milk
1. In a small
bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the cereal to the
cheese then add the juice to the mixture until it holds together.
Stir in milk until the cereal is pasty but not lumpy.
* 7 cups
quick cooking oats
* 1 cup wheat germ
* 1 cup wheat bran
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 1/2 cup honey
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
* 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup chopped dates
* 1 cup chopped pecans
* 1 cup flaked coconut (optional)
oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, mix oats, wheat germ, and wheat bran.
3. In a medium bowl, blend brown sugar, vegetable oil, honey,
and water. Mix in vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Stir the brown sugar mixture into the oat mixture until evenly
moist, and transfer to a large, shallow baking dish.
4. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes,
until lightly brown. Mix dates, pecans, and coconut into the dish,
and continue baking about 15 minutes. Allow to cool, and store
in airtight containers.
* 3/4 cup
* 3/4 cup white sugar
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 4 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
* 1/3 cup butter
* 3 tablespoons milk
* 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
* 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 3/4 cup peanut butter
1. Melt together
corn syrup and white sugar over low heat. When mixture bubbles,
remove from heat and add peanut butter, butter or margarine, and
crispy rice cereal.
2. Grease cookie sheet and put wax paper (also greased) on cookie
sheet. Spread cereal mixture on wax paper.
3. To Make Filling: Mix together 1/3 cup butter or margarine,
milk and confectioners' sugar. Stir in cocoa and mix well.
4. Spread filling on cereal mixture and roll up as for jelly roll.
Slice when cool. Store in refrigerator.
* 1 cup white
* 1 cup light corn syrup
* 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
* 7 cups high protein crisp rice and wheat cereal
* 1 cup peanut butter chips
* 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
a 9 x 13 inch pan.
2. In a large sauce pan, combine sugar and light corn syrup. Cook
over medium heat until boiling. Stir in peanut butter until smooth.
Remove from heat and stir in the cereal. Pat the cereal mixture
into the greased pan.
3. Melt peanut butter and chocolate chips over a double boiler
or in the microwave. Spread the melted mixture over the cereal
bars and refrigerate to set.