If you stay at Holiday Inn Expresses (which I do often and recommend as the best of the cheap brands) the best you get for breakfast is Alpen. Now once we thought that was very good for you, but now we know that it’s sugar laden (although it says not!) and tastes like, well yes, sawdust.
I remember the shock of real Bircher Muesli when staying at the Hilton in Brussels where in the little bar/breakfast room reserved for boring business men (actually all men) they served the most delicious and luxurious freshly made muesli. Hooked I was on stuff ‘invented’ in 1887.
Now Google off and see that there are 80,000 entries and most of them recipes claiming to be original. Well here’s my version, modeled on the luxurious, but healthy one I tasted that day.
I make enough in one go for about four portions – that’s two days for two of us if it doesn’t get snacked. Keeps ok, the apple will discolour whatever you do. But fresh is best. Start before going to bed.
First cast your oats – two generous handfuls of the best you can get, look for organic and not too milled. Supermarket ‘best’ is ok but never, but never try this with Quaker Oats! A further handful of sultanas and cover the lot with apple juice – not too much, when you wake up you want the oats and fruit to have soaked up the juice and be plump and squidgy, not swimming in it.
In the morning finish off: grate one large or two small apples into the mix. We’re now enjoying early Worcesters from the farmers’ market at Riverside. Call Old Sandlin Fruit apples and pears 01886 833200 07768 748 798 – use their juice for absolute heaven.
Then add a couple tablespoons each of seeds, sunflower, pumpkin, whatever and quite a lot more of roughly chopped nuts, again whatever takes your fancy, but mixed and either plain or slightly roasted. You want to end up with a ratio of soaked oats and other stuff of about 50:50, this is meant to be scrummy, not scrimpy.
When you’re convinced it’s mixed to distribute all the tastes fairly, add some creamy stuff. Yes, low fat natural yoghourt will do, but if dieting is not on the agenda – when’s that? – use fromage frais low or full fat. I have been known to use clotted cream! You want a sticky mass consistency not sloppy.
Finally put in a bowl and eat, on its own, or with a generous blob of compote, or just a chopped banana if you want a sugar kick.
After a few ‘testings’ you’ll have perfected your own particular mix of crunchy, vibrant, fresh goodness. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not the original recipe, ‘cos it is, it’s your original recipe and that’s so much nicer.