While we’re on the subject…

Do you like healthy stuff? Here you go then –

Soak 30g of rolled oats overnight in 80ml of cloudy apple juice. Top with natural yogurt, a grated apple and about 5 walnuts, chopped and toasted (with an optional drizzle of honey or maple syrup) Healthy and filling. Now that’s out of my system we can get back to cakes and biscuits.

Fact: Invented by physician Maximillian Bircher-Benner circa 1900 for treatment of his patients; the word muesli comes from the root “Mues”, to puree or mash up.

The most important meal of the day.

I often look back with nostagia to the days when nobody worried about the sugar content of breakfast cereals. Saturday mornings were the best. I was a child during the ‘Golden Age’ of British Saturday morning children’s television; and would happily eat three bowls of Ricicles while watching ‘Going Live!’. Alas! It turns out that Ricicles were the worst offender, and are no longer available in Britain (though you can buy unopened packets on the internet for ridiculous sums of money). Other cereals have avoided a similar fate by seriously reducing their sugar content. Obviously this is a good thing, but it means they now taste rather dull. In fact, most cereals seem rather dull these days, more worried about their sugar and protein content than actual flavour. If you are prepared to make your own, this next book is a blessing.

Muesli & Granola by Rachel Khoo. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2013.

“Delicious breakfast and snack ideas from our favourite Parisian cook”

So why did you buy it?

I had enjoyed watching Ms Khoo’s television series “Little Paris Kitchen” and was considering getting the book. I saw this book while browsing on Amazon, but actually borrowed it from the local library before buying. I like the idea of saving money by making my own breakfast cereals. Have you seen the price of Alpen these days?

Judge a book by it’s cover…

It has a pleasant shabby chic colour scheme and a wholesome looking picture, the kind that appeals to women after a certain lifestyle.

Do you use it?

Not on a regular basis, but I have tried a few of the recipes with varying degrees of sucess. The flavoured granolas are amazing!

Why don’t you use it more?

Because I’m not very good at getting it together to actually make my own cereals. Especially when they come in such convenient boxes at the supermarket.

What did you make?

I made the basic muesli recipe, and a couple of variations. Also chicken congee, a nod towards Ms Khoo’s Chinese-Malaysian heritage. The congee was really, really good, but takes about an hour to make; so if you’re the kind of person who is barely sentient in the morning, it might be better as a light meal.

Is the book still in print?

Yes. Ms Khoo is still enjoying a fair amount of popularity.

Is it worth buying?

Definitely. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a healthy breakfast but is bored stiff with the commercial breakfast cereals on offer. There are also recipes for porridge, various cereal bars and other cereal based items.

Looking for “adventure” Rachel Khoo quit her job in public relations and moved to France to train as a pastry chef.

Bob’s Big Batch O’Museli

Until recently, breakfast was promoted as the “most important meal of the day”. A recent news article has suggested that breakfast isn’t actually that big a deal, though personally I could not survive until lunchtime (brunch maybe), without at least a big bowl of Weetos.


Mr Crumbs never used to eat breakfast; until he had to start taking medication in the morning which needed food to go with it. First there was a yoghurt phase, then a porridge phase, then museli. A lot of museli. So much museli. He’s what you might call a “big eater”.

It just so happens that the next randomly chosen book on my cookbook odessey is ‘Museli and Granola’ by Rachel Khoo. I tested the basic recipe on myself and found it to be delicious, not just a bowl of hazelnut chunks and cardboard scraps like some seem to taste of.

Now, I don’t think it’s fair to give out the recipe which is the backbone of the entire book; so instead I’m giving you a recipe for a larger batch, tailored to meet the tastes of those who, like Mr Crumbs, enjoy museli with plenty of sweetness, and preferably lots of chocolate.

The beauty of this recipe, is that you can change the nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and chocolate for an almost endless amount of flavour combinations. Use gluten free oats, or other gluten free grains if you need to.

Bob’s Museli serves 5

  • 250g porridge oats
  • 50g sliced almonds
  • 25g sunflower seeds
  • 25g pumpkin seeds
  • 45g golden granulated or caster sugar
  • 3 pinches of sea salt
  • 4 tbsp milk powder (it doesn’t really matter what kind)
  • 100g raisins
  • 75g chocolate chips

Toast the oats in a large dry frying pan for 3 min, they should smell nice and toasty and just be turning golden. Put in a mixing bowl.

In the same pan, toast the nuts and seeds, be careful as they will toast very quickly and you don’t want to burn them. Add to the oats.

Give the oats 5 minutes to cool down, then add the sugar, milk powder and salt. Mix well then add the raisins.

When the museli has cooled down completely you can stir in the chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container. If kept dry, it should last for several months. Or a couple of days. Whatever.

Oats were introduced to North America by Scottish settlers in 1602

Muffin Traybake

So I found the muffin tins eventually, they were in mother-in-law’s garage (long story). Going back to the last post though, I did make the blueberry muffins, in the baking tray I was raving about, and it turned out to be a brilliant idea! The all-in-one traybake format was much quicker and easier than faffing around with paper cases or greasing muffin cups, and it was easier to mark out different portion sizes – very helpful for people like not-so-small-boy, who being diabetic, has to carb count.

Ways to use your traybake muffin:

  • cut it into lots of small pieces for a party
  • serve with custard or cream for dessert
  • something a bit different for breakfast
  • elevenses

I suppose you could use any muffin recipe you liked, but here is the one I used, as usual based on a Susan Reimer recipe. The addition of buttermilk makes these muffins particularly soft and moreish.

Forgive the quality of the photos, I haven’t unpacked my props or digital camera yet!

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

  • 8oz (240g) plain flour
  • 2oz (60g) oats
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 4oz (120g) golden caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3floz (85ml) olive oil
  • 9floz (260ml) buttermilk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • small punnet of blueberries (typically 150g)

Optional glaze:

  • 3oz (90g) sifted icing sugar
  • around 3tbsp double cream (you could use milk instead)

Grease and line either a 30×20 cm traybake tin or a 12 cup muffin tray. Preheat the oven to 190°c / gas mark 5.

Wash the blueberries and cut in half, I know it’s fiddly but you’ll get a better result than leaving them whole.

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, beat together the egg, oil, vanilla and buttermilk. Add the blueberries to the wet ingredients.

Tip the wet stuff into the dry and stir (NOT beat) until combined. Pour the mixture into the baking tray or divide between the muffin cups.

Bake for 15 to 20 mins, untill the top is golden brown. If you used a baking tray, allow to cool in the tray for 10 mins before transferring to a wire rack, otherwise you risk it splitting into lots of hot, steaming chunks.

Make the glaze by gradually adding the cream to the icing sugar and mixing till smooth and spreadable. It’s hard to be accurate with the liquid measurement, depending on how runny the cream is, you might need a bit more or a bit less. Spread over the muffins while hot. Cut into slices once cool.
Blueberries need to be grown in an acid rather than alkaline soil.

Skipping Breakfast

For the last two years, January’s blogging motivation has come from shakeupyourwakeup.com’s National Breakfast Week. Sadly this year they have chosen not to have a specific week, but to focus on year round promotions instead. Very commendable, but less fun if you ask me!

Time for some breakfasty retrospection, if you click on the “Breakfast” category to the left, you will find scrummy delights such as:

Gluten free granola in three flavours – Apple Pie, Blackforest and Peanut Butter Choc-chip;

apple granolaThe deliciously gloopy Fried Egg and Bacon Sandwich;

bacon egg buttySuper healthy Apple and Walnut Bircher Muesli;


On the go Muffins;

breakfast muffin

And Cornflake Ice cream, because why not? Dare to be different!


Also recommended is Arnold Bennet’s Omlette, and Kedgeree if you fancy something savoury that isn’t a full English.

I would love to see your favourite breakfasts in the comments, instead of the usual spam about football jersey’s and dodgy degrees!

A typical Japanese breakfast would include rice, pickles and miso soup.

Ice Cream of the Month For Breakfast: Blueberry Pancake

Blueberry pancakes for breakfast, mmm. Studded with blueberries or smothered in blueberry sauce, pancakes are perfect for a leisurely breakfast, also the inspiration behind March’s ice cream of the month, for Ice Cream for Breakfast day falls on the 21st of March. www.facebook.com/March21IceCreamforBreakfast/info?tab=page_info

It’s the small, silly and fun things that make life enjoyable. Eating quinoa and sawdust for breakfast is all very healthy and admirable, but hardly a celebration of life!

Naiive as I am, I thought I was being clever and original, but no! In internet land there are quite a few recipes claiming to be pancake flavoured. At least my method is different, the ones I looked at used butter “extract”, buttermilk and maple syrup to make a taste reminicent of pancakes. I go a step further and actually use batter! And you know what, it worked!

Have you ever heard of Hasty Pudding? No? Well it’s a simple batter pudding that takes a matter of minutes to make and has a thick , velvetey texture. Add cream, sugar and a blueberry ripple, and there you have it. You saw it here first, folks !

Blueberry Pancake Ice Cream

for the blueberry sauce:

  • a small punnet of blueberries
  • 30g sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Put the berries and lemon juice in a small saucepan and heat gently until the berries are soft. They release a lot of juice so don’t add any extra liquid. Stir in the sugar. Squish the berries with a potato masher. Leave to cool, then chill in the fridge.

For the ice cream:

  • 50g butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 300ml milk
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 300ml double cream

Melt the butter in a small pan, stir in the flour and allow to cook for a minute. Off the heat, very gradually whisk in the milk. It will look a bit lumpy to begin with, but will soon become smooth. Stir in the sugar.

Over a medium heat and stirring briskly the whole time, simmer the mixture until it thickens.

Remove from the heat. Beat the egg in a separate bowl, then whisk into the mixture. Allow to cook for one minute more, it should be nice and thick now.

Pour through a sieve, into a jug to remove any stray lumps. Stir in the cream. Leave to cool, then chill in the fridge.

Following the instructions for your machine, or using a hand method, make the ice cream. In a 1.5 litre tupperware container, alternate blobs of ice cream with blobs of sauce. Stir gently with a knife to ripple them together. Freeze until firm.

This ice cream sets very firmly, take it out of the freezer for 10 mins prior to serving or cut into blocks.

pancake 2

Gluten Free Granola Three Ways

Now try saying it really fast ten times.

My gluten free experience is now over. Going without made no difference to whatever ailments I may or may imagine I have. It wasn’t a terrible experience by any means, week one was kind of exciting, week two you start to realise how many things you can’t have anymore, week three you really, really want those things but by week four you’re pretty much resigned. The first thing I ate afterwards was a big bowl (or three) of Coco Pops, bliss!

Have you noticed how expensive gluten free items are? Just a 400g pack of oats cost at least three times as much as the 1kg bag we normally get! Just one member of the family eating gluten free was pushing the weekly shop up to more than we could reasonably afford. The soloution is to make as much as you can at home from scratch.

Home made granola, gluten free or not, is way cheaper and contains less fat and sugar than shop bought varieties. Unless of course you are making my peanut butter choc chip granola….

Peanut Butter Choc-Chip Granola

  • 150g (gluten free) oats
  • 50g millet flakes
  • 75g raw peanuts
  • 150g peanut butter
  • 30g brown sugar
  • 3tbsp honey
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g milk chocolate (I used Green & Blacks which has a higer than usual cocoa content)

Mix together the oats, millet and peanuts in a large bowl. Pre heat the oven to 150°c (130 fan/ gas mark 2)

Put the peanut butter, sugar, honey, butter, vanilla and salt into a saucepan. Stir over a gentle heat until everything is runny and well combined.

Pour the mixture over the oats and stir well until coated and clumping together.

Spread the granola over a baking tray. Toast in the oven for 15 mins, stirring around a couple of times with a fork, until evenly golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool fully.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and stir evenly through the granola. Store in an air tight container and eat within four weeks.

peanut granola 1Even more delicious and easier on the teeth is this soft bake Black Forest cake flavour granola. Being softer it won’t keep for as long, but we had finished it within a week so I’ve no idea how long it will keep fresh for!

Black Forest Granola

  • 200g (gluten free) oats
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 3tbsp honey
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 25g white chocolate chips
  • a pack of dried cherries (I used Urban Fruit unsweetened dried cherries which contain about 90g)

Combine the oats and ground almonds in a large bowl. Pre heat the oven to 150°c (130 fan/ gas mark 2)

Gently melt the chocolate, honey and oil. It’s probably best to do this with a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water) as the chocolate can “seize up” and go fudgy if you melt it in a saucepan.

Combine the chocolate and the oats. If the chocolate is setting too quickly, you may need to add a splash or two of very hot water to help it mix in. It should make some lovely big clumps.

Spread the granola over a baking tray. Toast in the oven for 15 mins, stirring around a couple of times with a fork. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool fully.

Add the white choc chips and the cherries. Store in an air tight comtainer.

cherry granolaFinally, something light, crispy and fruity:

Apple Pie Granola

  • 150g (gluten free) oats
  • 50g millet flakes
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 100g honey (I used honey from a cider orchard, which has a lovely apple flavour)
  • 40g butter
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp each of ground cloves and mace (or nutmeg)
  • 50g dried apple rings
  • 30g apple crisps (available from some supermarkets and health food stores, I got mine from M&S)

Combine the oats, millet, almonds and spices in a large bowl. Pre heat the oven (see above recipes)

Gently melt the honey and butter. Pour over the oats and mix well.

Spread the granola over a baking tray. Toast in the oven for 15 mins, stirring around a couple of times with a fork, until evenly golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool fully.

Cut the apple rings into pieces with a pair of kitchen scissors. Break the crisps into smaller pieces. Stir into the granola and store in an air tight container. Use within six weeks.

Granula was invented in 1863 by Dr James Caleb Jackson, for his health spa in Dansville, New York. John Harvey Kellog created a similar cereal which he called “granola” to avoid legal action. The name is no longer copyright protected, except in Australia and New Zealand.


Bacon and Egg Breakfast Butty

Many years ago, before Small Boy was born, Buttered Crumbs used to meet a friend for breakfast and coffee every Tuesday morning at our favourite café.

Normally I would indulge in one of the freshly baked, still warm from the oven, big and fluffy scones. How I wish I had asked for the recipe. Alas! Management changed, the decor changed, the food changed and we haven’t been back since. Such is life!

But I digress, once Small Boy was “a bun in the oven” these wonderful legendary scones became evil and nauseous. Even watching my dear friend putting butter and jam onto her’s filled me with waves of morning sickness! Instead I turned to an unexpected alternative, the cooked breakfast sandwiches. Sausage and mushroom was a winner, but for pure, gooey, calorie laden goodness you couldn’t beat a bacon and fried egg sandwich on white bread, dripping with grease, egg yolk and tomato sauce.

Of course at home you can use British dry cure bacon, free range or backgarden eggs and fancy bread (sourdough for choice) Eat as is, or with a good quality tomato/brown sauce or tomato based chutney. Best when the egg yolks are really runny!

Breakfast Time Again!

How exciting, Buttered Crumbs is a year old!

It all started with National Breakfast Week last year (http://www.butteredcrumbs.co.uk/?p=8 ) and here we are again. Time to start another productive year of eating and blogging.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s so hard to find the time to make it  more exciting than a piece of toast or a bowl of cereal. I love the idea of the leisurely brunch, though weekends can still be too hectic for many of us. National Breakfast Week, for me at any rate, is a reminder to enjoy and be creative at breakfast time, preferably with local or home grown produce.

There are plenty of delicious recipes to try on the website http://www.shakeupyourwakeup.com/   We really enjoyed the porridge with marmalade and clotted cream, less than 10 minutes to make and simply heavenly to eat! http://www.shakeupyourwakeup.com/recipes/marmalade-porridge-with-clotted-cream

marm porPlease join me for a week of better-than-cornflakes breakfasts!



Go Bananas

Buttered Crumbs approves of the war on waste. According to the Love Food, Hate Waste website, the items most frequently wasted are:

  1. Sliced bread
  2. Milk
  3. Potatoes

After that come fizzy drinks, cheese and apples. While bananas are in the top ten, I’m suprised they aren’t higher up the list. In my experience bananas are either green and under ripe or spotty and over ripe, perfect ripeness existing in theory only. Although sadly guilty of chucking out the aforesaid food stuffs on a regular basis (except milk), the amount of bananas that end up in the compost bucket would make a monkey weep.

What is even more shocking is that an over ripe banana can be popped in the freezer until you have enough to make banana bread or suchlike. Mr Crumbs insists on buying bananas that are very ripe, so in a couple of day’s they are inevitably squishy and brown, with that horrid vinegary smell. I can only eat a banana that is slightly green around the edges AND sliced into rounds. Peel one and eat it? Don’t disgust me!

Banana bread, cake and muffins are all good ways to use up fruit past it’s best, though I get put off by the weird black squiggly fibres, why are they black anyway? A different way to use them up is to make these delicious soft bake flapjacks, good for breakfast, snacks and lunchboxes.

Banana and Maple Syrup Flapjacks

  • 10 oz (300g) rolled oats
  • 4oz (120g) butter
  • 4oz (120g) brown sugar
  • 3 small or 2 medium very ripe bananas
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

Grease and line a traybake tin. Preheat the oven to 170°c (150 fan, Gas mark 3)

Weigh the oats into a large bowl. Mash the bananas with a fork.  Melt the butter, sugar and maple syrup in a saucepan. Pour the melted stuff over the oats and mix well. Add the mashed bananas.

Pour the mixture into the tray and level the surface. Bake for around 20 mins or more, until the top is golden brown.

Cool in the tin then cut into squares. Makes 12 to 18 squares depending on how big you want them.