Sunday, July 4, 2010

Crunch Time


Breakfast is my absolute favourite meal of the day. If I don't have something in my belly within half an hour of waking, I am one grumpy person, and that's why I make the effort when choosing what to eat to break my fast. While I love a smeared serving of vegemite toast, and am quite partial to the good ol baked beans, cereal is definitely where it's at; I've eaten enough porridge for all of England and then some. However, muesli is the perfect choice for any day. Healthy, delicious and filling.

I love muesli, so much so that I don't restrict eating it to purely before midday, I can eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, afternoon tea, mid brunch lunch snack and dessert. While there is a huge variety of muesli on offer on supermarket shelves, none of them successfully hit the spot for me. They're either loaded with sugar and way too sweet, or, while claiming to contain almonds actually only have 5 slivers of the nuts. The worst is when the ingredients are themed - "Tropical Muesli" is blasphemous.

And so after a long battle with these supermarket fakes, I have developed the perfect blend. I have two recipes that I swap throughout the year - toasted and untoasted, which depends on my laziness. There is a large place in my heart for the toasted muesli, which contains literally any tasty nuts, seeds and dried fruits I can get my hands on. It was the first recipe that kickstarted my foray into homemade cereal years ago, so now it's your turn. Save some money and your tooth decay by making your own muesli, you will never look back!

Toasted Muesli

3 1/2 cups whole rolled oats

2/3 cup almonds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup pepitas

2 tablespoons flax seeds

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1/3 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup juice (any juice...I like apple but sometimes use guava nectar)

3/4 cup sultanas

1/4 cup dried cranberries (craisins)

handful of chopped dried apricots

6 dried figs, chopped up

1/3 cup brazil nuts

1/3 cup walnuts

Preheat an oven to 160 degrees celsius. Mix all ingredients (not the dried fruits) together and lay out on 2 baking trays that are lined with baking paper. The juice is needed to prevent the oats from burning, so even though the mixture may be a bit wet and clumpy, just break up any clumps to make sure it bakes evenly. I find that if you try to fit the mixture onto one tray it will end up cooking in one huge mass and will come out like a ball of porridge. The mixture needs to be spread out so that each individual ingredient gets roasted. Bake in the oven for about 15minutes until golden and crunchy, making sure to take the trays out and mixing the muesli every now and then to ensure an even roast.

Leave to cool and mix through the dried fruits... et voila, homemade crunchy delicious muesli!

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