Simple Provisions

Food does not need to be fancy to be celebrated

Simple Provisions Ford Blog Header

Weekend Getaway: Retro Motels and Breakfasts

Macadamia, Honey and Thyme Granola

A few years ago I stayed at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. It’s a mid-century motel in the middle of the desert that has been updated to a trendy retro hotel full of hipsters lolling by the pool sipping pink cocktails. It’s super cool. Ever since, I’ve fantasised about buying a motel in a small Victorian country town, doing it up lovingly and running a weekend getaway for all the Melbourne hipsters to visit.

When Ford offered me the opportunity to drive the Ford Kuga Titanium for awhile and blog about it, I decided to live out a little bit of my motel dream, because the thing about motels is that they’re of the era of the classic road trip. Having a pair of hot wheels to hit the open road with is essential. With the Kuga’s giant sun roof open, the Ford navigation lady telling me where to go, tunes playing using SYNC voice control (talking to my car and it listening is really quite cool) and luggage stowed in the roomy storage spaces, I sought out the perfect motel.

The best kind of motels are well preserved relics of the 60s and 70s, complete with drive-through check in, a car park directly outside your room, painted brick walls, avocado-coloured bathroom suites and the essential hole-in-the-wall breakfast door. The latter was my inspiration. I can’t buy a motel, but I can create an awesome, updated retro motel breakfast.

Macadamia, Honey and Thyme Granola

Macadamia, Honey and Thyme Granola

My dream motel probably won’t have a restaurant, so a continental breakfast is in order. Cornflakes in a box and white toast in a bag definitely has retro cred, but I thought I’d update this classic formula a touch. So I’ve created granola in a jar and toasted brioche in the bag for my fantasy motel guests.

I love granola, but often it’s too sweet for my breakfast tastebuds. I decided to experiment with a refined-sugar free option and in the process discovered that the honey and thyme pairing that works so well on say, carrots, also works really well in granola. It’s still sweet, there’s a lot of honey involved, but the thyme and a generous portion of macadamias balance out the sweetness, resulting in a fragrant, toasty, crunchy granola that is delicious served with greek yoghurt and smashed berries.

Macadamia, Honey and Thyme Granola

In my fantasy motel, I serve the granola with a slice of brioche, toasted until golden, and smothered in fresh ricotta and a drizzle of honey. Simple decadence. And of course a breakfast tray isn’t complete without fresh orange juice and a strong pot of coffee. With a white, scalloped edged placemat laid down, cutlery and a glass in bags, and a handful of condiments in little plastic tubs, the perfect breakfast tray is ready to be delivered through the classic door-in-the-wall to my make-believe guests.

Macadamia, Honey and Thyme Granola

Thanks to Lucy King for the lovely illustration of my dream motel, and to the good people of the Central Highlands Motor Inn for the use of their motel for the photo shoot. 

Macadamia, Honey and Thyme Granola

Macadamia, Honey and Thyme Granola

Makes about 500g


  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup macadamias, chopped
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • Pinch salt
  • Leaves of 1-2 small sprigs of thyme (I used 2 sprigs that were pretty sparsely populated with leaves, so 1 bushy sprig would do)
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 4 tbs honey
  • 1/4 cup currants



Pre-heat oven to 160c/320F.

Mix oats, macadamias, sesame seeds, pepitas, thyme leaves and salt in a large bowl. Melt coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan or in the microwave and stir through dry ingredients.

Spread the mixture on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden. You may need to stir the granola half way through to ensure even toasting.

Remove from the oven and stir through the currants. Leave to cool then store in an airtight container.

Serving suggestion

Serve the granola with greek yoghurt, milk and smashed mixed berries (smashing the berries gives you a lovely red juice to soak into the yoghurt). Accompany with a slice of toasted brioche, slathered with fresh ricotta and drizzled with honey. Fresh orange juice and strong coffee on the side.

Macadamia, Honey and Thyme Granola



This post is part of a three-part series in which I feature the Ford Kuga Titanium. As part of the Kidspot Voices of 2014 competition I was selected to drive the car for 6 weeks and blog about it, with the hope of winning some lovely prizes. All the views expressed are my own, and I don’t write what I don’t believe.

32 thoughts on “Macadamia, Honey and Thyme Granola on a Weekend Getaway

  1. margaret21 says:

    This looks divine. Only snag. What are pepitas?

    1. Amelia says:

      Sorry Margaret, they’re dried pumpkin seeds.

      1. margaret21 says:

        Ah! Thank you. Two peoples divided by a common language……

  2. Saskia (1=2) says:

    LOVE love love this post Amelia! We’re a family of classic motor inn lovers, and if your fantasy motel ever becomes reality I’ll be first to book. Ace photo shoot, especially that beautiful brekkie of yours in the hole-in-the-wall, and against the painted exposed bricks. Love it.
    PS. Lucky you having stayed at the Ace Hotel. It’s on my bucket list (actually the whole of a Palm Springs is on my bucket list)…

    1. Amelia says:

      Saskia – you would LOVE Palm Springs. The houses! The scenery! The fact you feel like you’re in an overheated1950s movie set constantly! I’ll let you know when I open my motel :)

  3. Ann says:

    What about a twist on “fruit compote” which was actually “2 Fruits” in a bowl. Your idea sounds like a whole lot of fun.

  4. Karen Cook says:

    Yum Amelia you are so creative! And this recipe seems so easy too I will try this on the weekend

    1. Amelia says:

      Super easy Karen. Homemade granola is a very easy way to feel treated with little effort.

  5. Great shots Amelia, you are so creative – good luck with the comp:))

  6. M-R says:

    I keep hearing about what one can do because of being a blogger, Amelia; but I must say that this post is a perfect example ! Frankly, the Ford people are lucky to have you posting, here on your DELICIOUS site ! :-)
    This granola looks as if even I could make it … how long would you advise it keeps for – remaining as crunchy as it should ?

    1. Amelia says:

      Thanks M-R! I must say, it has been lovely driving the Ford around. The granola will last 7-10 days in an airtight container, a bit longer in the fridge, and if you’re really keen to keep it you can freeze it with as little air as possible around it (like in a vacuum bag) and just leave it on the bench to thaw out overnight before you want to eat it.

  7. I love that you found a paper bag to put the brioche slice in. Genius styling.

    1. Amelia says:

      It wouldn’t be right without it Jane

  8. I hope your Motel dream comes to fruition one day Amelia! I’d love to wake up to one of your beautiful breakfasts! :)

    1. Amelia says:

      Thanks Margot! It would be a pleasure to have you :)

  9. laurasmess says:

    This is such a fun post Amelia! I love the idea of the ‘motel breakfast’ in your particular style… ah, that ricotta-smothered brioche and the honey and thyme roasted granola sound heavenly! I ate a Scottish breakfast this morning – it seems to be all that’s on offer at some hostels over here. I’m craving not-to-sweet nuts, seeds and full-fat Greek yoghurt. I am going to make a batch of your granola recipe as soon as I get home! xx

    1. Amelia says:

      Enjoy the rest of your travels Laura – they look like a lot of fun.

  10. Alice says:

    I love motels and especially the door in the wall breakfast. Such a great post, thanks!

    1. Amelia says:

      Thank YOU Alice :)

  11. milkandbun says:

    What a lovely post! And I love your breakfast version! :)

  12. Enjoyed your post as I always do. Idea: when & if you ever buy a small motel, consider a small, cozy room for folks to come for breakfast-a social moment to start the day-and consider using that room to offer dinner Friday & Saturday nights only. Locals can come, too. It gives you fun in the kitchen without the everyday stress of a full time restaurant. Perfect for your love of cooking.

    1. Amelia says:

      Sounds like fun, I’ll add a room like that in to the fantasy motel.

  13. stateeats says:

    Oh, I am sooo trying this this weekend. I make granola a lot but never with the honey/thyme combo. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Amelia says:

      You’re welcome, I hope you like it

  14. katiebonken says:

    I think I LOVE the idea of honey and thyme…so much better than all that sweet stuff added to granola nowadays. Can you please buy an old motel and ‘trendy it up’, I’d love to come and stay…….

  15. inspiredmood says:

    Thank you Amelia – it is so hard to find a simple granola that isn’t jam-packed with sweeteners, but yours sounds like it’s got just the right balance and I can’t wait to try it :)

    1. Amelia says:

      I hope you enjoy it!

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 12,903 other followers

%d bloggers like this: