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.
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.
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)
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
(So what if I’ve published this one before. It’s still funny.)
How is it possible in the western world to reach adulthood without seeing Star Wars? Mr W managed to avoid one of the most popular films of all time by allegedly spending his youth “outside playing football”. Lucky for him he has a group of caring friends who lured him to Crumb Towers to be educated. How to mark such an occasion? With cake of course!
Now I’m not the worlds biggest Star Wars fan (I’m more of a Doctor Who kind of girl), but I do think everybody should see the first three films, if only for the sake of knowing your cultural references! And by the first three films, I mean exactly that. Star Wars, Return of the Jedi and The Empire strikes back, none of your “New Hope” nonsense. What was George Lucas thinking when he make those ghastly prequels? It’s not as if he needed the money or anything! Thankfully Disney seem to be managing the reboot fairly well so far.
Over the course of three weekends (we’re too old and tired for movie marathons now) we managed to drag a reluctant Mr W away from his healthy outdoor pursuits and get him to sit in front of the telly, like normal people. Each film needed it’s own novelty cake; I must say, it was a lot of fun making them and I hope you feel inspired to let out your inner geek once in a while! This one, of course, is the surface of Luke Skywalker’s home planet Tatooine. Made from biscuit crumbs, brown sugar and popping candy!
The ice plant ot Hoth is represented by a cream filled angel cake topped with a cute little fondant Wampa, complete with adorable dripping red claws (awww!).
I’m rather proud of this next one: The Mighty Sarlaac, a bundt cake topped with butterscotch icing and cake crumbs. The razor sharp teeth are flaked almonds and the tentacles dragging unwary folks to their doom are fruit strings. We didn’t have a Han Solo figure, that little guy in the picture is Rory from Doctor Who, but they look sort of similar!
You may notice that this Sarlaac lacks the CGI “tongue” which was added on when the film was released on DVD, don’t get me started on that….