Image from swoonetumblr, found via weheartit.com
Image by me! taken at La Fromagerie, Marylebone
Image by Jennifer Causey/Simply Breakfast found via weheartit.com
Muesli and granola.
Or "moosli", as my grandmother has always pronounced it!
For most of my life I had been fairly unimpressed with muesli and granola, until I was about 20 and bought the very first Donna Hay magazine that had just been launched in Australia and in it there was a very basic, idiot-proof granola that was basically oats, chopped up fruit of your choice (I had apricots), chopped up hazelnuts and then drizzling the lot with maple syrup and putting in the oven for about half an hour to bake and crisp up. You then let it sit and cool. The melting little pools of maple syrup hardened like shards of toffee. It was delicious. I would crunch my way through the entire tray, sprinkling it on top of yoghurt or Le Rice (like Muller Rice) and thinking "mmm, I think I might like granola after all."
Muesli, on the other hand, with the exception of the Uncle Toby's muesli bars which were the lunchbox staple of every child who grew up in Oz in the 1990s, had always been something that tasted like cardboard, to me, with a few handfuls of sultanas thrown in! This all changed in 2005 when my friend Mary introduced me to this:
After that, this was my breakfast staple! My old faithful readers will have heard me harp on about Carman's before! It is so utterly delicious, toasted to a turn with crunchy nuts, dried fruit (including my favourite apricots), honey and cinnamon. It was the perfect partner to my favourite low fat Vaalia yoghurts, or to the thick, decadent Tamar Valley yoghurt if I was feeling indulgent. For a while I ate the fruitless one, but went back to the Classic Fruit. My mum always brings over a box or two when she visits, and I always bring one or two back when I make it over there. I haven't seen the muesli for sale here in the UK, but I have seen the bars (which I haven't yet tried). Has anyone seen it?! I might check the Aussie food shop in Covent Garden.....
So, to quell my homesickness for Aussie muesli when I first got here, I made my own! I went to my local Holland & Barrett armed with a list and came home to make the muesli of all mueslis! I used Kathryn's recipe from here, used my favourite dried fruits (apricots and cranberries), and it made an absolute stack that kept me going for months. It was fun adding everything in layers to the giant cereal container and then shaking it to get everything mixed through!
And it's so moreish. Something this good for you shouldn't taste so nice :)
One of my favourite places in London, Wholefoods, has a wonderful make-you-own muesli bar which I frequented when I lived a bit closer to it (across the park)! This was where I was introduced to the fudgy, candy-like delicacy that are dried strawberries! Sadly they don't offer them in the make-your-own bar any more, perhaps because they cottoned on that people like me were taking more strawberries than they were oats and cereal :P The other week we were there and I felt a pang of nostalgia, so I made myself a little treat bag of make-your-own muesli to enjoy on ur four day weekend. Yes, that's right - my idea of a treat is not cheesecake, or a bag of chips, but muesli! The teenage me must be spinning in her grave!!
I've recently got into dried mango, thanks to it featuring quite a bit in my fortnightly graze box, so compensated for the absence of dried strawberries with that! I also indulged in lots of different nuts and seeds, and flakes of sweet white coconut. This muesli was bee-yoot-iful.
While I thoroughly recommend making your own, when time is short my favourite supermarket finds are Dorset's Full of Fibre muesli, which has lovely flakes of coconut in it, and Sainsbury's own Honey Nut Crunch granola! The latter proved very addictive to my sister who came to visit earlier this year - so much so I sent some over for her birthday a few months later :)
Homemade muesli or granola also makes a lovely breakfast bar or healthy slice to have on the go - a lifesaver for busy mornings (or when you sleep in, a la me!). Or just eat it as I do, with your favourite yoghurt or milk, and savour. It's healthy, delicious, and so satisfying. My favourite breakfast, hands down.
Now just to get that one pesky sultana out from under my "8" key on my work keyboard :P (whoops!)
What's your favourite breakfast? Are you a muesli/granola person too? :)