My favourite brand of muesli is packaged as a masterpiece of marketing, pretending as it does, to hail from a bucolic, idealised region of South West England, harking back sometime to around 1895– where by day the villagers frolicked around in their white smocks Morris dancing and by night were so tanked up on cider they don’t care if they do look like prats in their white leggings with bells on.
As if. No doubt on an industrial estate far from the countryside, food workers in hairnets will be toiling away, mixing rolled oats with the best of them, just so that I can have my breakfast fix.
I realised though that I was shelling out £3.79 a packet due to this rural fantasy, and it’s got to stop. They say that there are ’16 glorious bowlfuls’ in every packet, but I can’t stick to the serving size of 46g because after a couple of brazil nuts and an almond or two, all you’ve got left is a measly portion of grit. So I have to have 60g, which even then barely gets me through to lunchtime.
In the interests of economy and because apparently, even dried fruit is a no-no because of its high sugar content, I’ve decided to going back to making my own. And because those Atlantic storms are causing havoc on both sides of the Pond, I’ve decided that toasted muesli is the one thing that will get me through the winter – that and New Zealand pinot noir (but not necessarily at the same meal).
This recipe is one of Australian chef Bill Granger’s which I’ve adapted. And because I’ve used a version of his recipe here, it seems only fair to tell you that you no longer have to fly all the way to Sydney to sample some of Bill’s food as he now has an eatery in London. Hooray!
Granger & Co, 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2SB. I have no idea how the food is as the only time I got to visit the queue in this no booking restaurant was out the door and down the street. But it must be good if the very well-heeled locals in that neighbourhood are willing to wait in line for a table. I’ve been a devotee of Bill since he first opened his first café in Darlinghurst, Sydney, Australia.
Darlinghurst is still cool (and a bit grungy) and is still recognisably the same neighbourhood as I knew in my early twenties when I lived in Macleay Street, down the road. It’s still (thankfully) as casual a place to breakfast as it always was, which is great as I’ve got a feeling that I’d feel a bit out of place at his London joint.
CRUNCHY TOASTED MUESLI
300 g/3 cups rolled porridge oats
125 ml/half cup unsweetened apple juice
2tbs rice bran oil or a similar flavourless vegetable oil
80g/2 handfuls unpeeled almonds
125g/1cup sunflower seeds
30g/quarter cup flaked coconut
40g/quarter cup sesame seeds
125g/2 large handfuls brazil nuts
Fresh fruit, yoghurt or milk to serve
Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas 2. Place all the ingredients, except for the brazil nuts in a large bowl and stir well to combine. Spread the mixture evenly over a large baking tray and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Stir and add in the brazil nuts, stirring again to ensure the nuts don’t get too brown. Bake for further 15 minutes.
I know from this photograph it looks as though I should be serving this up to Merlin and Cavan, the two horses I ride, but believe me, you don’t have to be a four-legged vegan to enjoy it.