Monday, January 24, 2011

a fine start

A lot of what goes into this breakfast muesli depends on what I feel like at the time.  I first started making my own muesli with a recipe adapted from Bill Granger’s Open Kitchen. 

I then tried a microwave version.  Lately I’ve been messing around with the granola recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food.   I’m not sure what the difference is between muesli and granola but I still call it muesli. 

My version is usually 2 cups rolled oats, 1/3 cup whole almonds, about 12 brazil nuts, ¼ cup each of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.  My theory with the nuts is that there should be 4 almonds and 1 brazil nut in each serve!  If I feel like it, and sometimes I don't, I add 1/8 cup of thread coconut.  I prefer the look and texture of thread coconut to dessicated coconut.

All is then tossed together with 5 tbsp oil (Jamie used olive oil, Bill used vegetable oil, I use rice bran oil – I think olive oil would be too strong an oil for this) and 5 tbsp honey (the runny kind) or maple syrup.  I like to sneak in a teaspoon or two of the maple syrup as it would just be too decadent, not to mention costly, to use all 5 tbsp.  But it does give it a depth of flavour.  Place the mix on a baking tray in a preheated oven (160 degrees C) for about 30 minutes or until golden.  Stir every 10 minutes or so to toast evenly and break up lumps.  Dried fruit of choice can be added once the muesli has cooled.  My favourite of the moment is to drop dried cranberries into the muesli where they  “sparkle like little jewels”, as Nigella might say.   I have also used sultanas.   That would probably be all the dried fruit I would put in.  I dislike dried apricots in muesli.  Don’t ask me how many portions this makes.  As a rough guide, it may last about two weeks – but that’s only if there’s one of you. 

To serve, I add a dollop of greek yoghurt or vanilla flavoured yoghurt (I might add a little milk to thin it out), and whatever fruit I like.  It used to be halved tamarillos, topped with brown sugar and grilled.  Unfortunately the tamarillo trees are no longer.  It’s midsummer here now so perhaps blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or nectarines.  There’s always bananas and if there’s no fresh fruit then frozen blueberries or raspberries are a good substitute.   

I also love bircher muesli – but that’s another story…

Toasted Muesli
Microwave version

2 cups rolled oats
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
approx. 40 raw almonds
approx. 15 raw brazil nuts
¼ cup canola or rice bran oil or similar (don’t use olive oil – too strong)
¼ cup runny honey

Mix the oats, seeds and nuts together.
Place the oil and honey into a small heatproof container and microwave for approx. 3 minutes.
Pour into the muesli and mix well, coating all the ingredients.
Microwave for approx. 3 minutes.
Stir the contents well.
Microwave for another 3-4 minutes, removing every minute or so to stir and check.
Muesli should be golden brown.  Don’t leave to sit in hot bowl as it will continue to brown.
Spread muesli over a Teflon mat or surface to cool.
When cool, add a handful of sultanas or cranberries or any other chopped dried fruit you wish.
Store in container and enjoy!


  1. I still have that recipe for Bill Grainger's muesli that you gave me ... its delicious ... but have since moved onto a recipe out of a kid's cookbook by Nicola Galloway (a kiwi, from Nelson I believe) anyway it started as a breakfast for Audrey and has become the preferred cereal for all of us. Adam usually makes it (as I'm often still in bed, just like my Mum!). We mix it up a bit with dried apples (and apricots, sorry, although we use organic ones as they're nicer, more caramelly and deep in colour), also hazelnuts, silvered almonds, sesame and sunflower seeds etc etc, oh and cinnamon. Looking forward to swapping more recipe's in nz on our return ... my current recipe obsession is the genius that is Nigel Slater.

  2. Bircher muesli! Haven't heard that for years Lesley. My mum first discovered it when I was about ten years old and it's absolutely yummy. The closest we get here in the UK is Alpen but it's not quite the same sadly.

    Thumbs up to Jamie Oliver. I have all his books and Connor is inspired by him so that he's turning into quite the cook himself.


  3. Hi Lesley
    Thanks for stopping by my blog:) I am ashamed to say I never make muesli, my husbands mother makes it for him and sends it up in jars.....I am more a boiled egg and toast girl, not nearly as healthy!

  4. That looks yum, leslie. I tried this granola last week, it had nice crunchy bits but recipe calls for flour...and no fruit, which threw me...
    sarah :)

  5. Inspirational Lesley. Loved the photography too ..... and the gorgeous muesli bowl!

    I was brought up on Swiss Bircher muesli too! I was able to buy/order it from a health store in Beaconsfield, UK but haven't sourced it since moving back to Edinburgh - I'm sure it's out there though. Hope that helps Aileen!

    I think you're the new Joan Spicer(The Laigh)Lesley!!


  6. Thanks for all your kind comments! Wow, muesli has been such a popular subject - I guess we can all make it our own.

    Thanks, Plum Kitchen, for the tip on squeezing tomatoes for ratatouille on your blog - no longer watery! And, nothing wrong with boiled egg and toast either...

  7. Can't find anywhere online to buy Swiss Bircher Muesli :-(

    The Laigh in Edinburgh is divine Julie. They used to make the most amazing cheesy potato salad and their chocolate cake is perfect.

  8. Just looking for any sign of Joan Spicer's recipes - I worked in the Laigh Coffee House as a schoolgirl in the 70s (for Moultrie Kelsall). Break time (strictly monitored!) was a huge perk ;). Anyone know if any of those fabulous recipes were ever published?