Over the years I’ve come to realise that I’m a little obsessive, ritualistic or habitual. I try and fight against it in many ways, but food is a particular weakness. It’s easy to fall into a rhythm and routine with food, to become obsessed and stuck in particulars. It’s how we have been subconsciously programmed. 3 meals a day. Cereals for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch. Spaghetti Bolognaise Tuesdays.
One of my greatest food habits, and hardest to let go of is my morning muesli.
Muesli has been one of my food loves for most of my life, and I have been making my own for many years. It has evolved and changed with my personality. Sometimes it is super sweet and packed with fruit and spices, and sometimes it is minimalistic, perhaps to compensate for manic life moments, but through its many manifestations the base recipe has always been the same. And although there are some great store bought varieties, nothing really compares to your own, humble and homemade muesli.
Lately my mix has been pared right back, to it’s most simple form, giving me options on a daily basis to add extra flavours, fruits and spices. Sometimes I add some dates in, sometimes I add some dried cherries and sometimes some chai spices.
I often find that a commercial muesli is too sweet, with most containing a higher sugar content than your average chocolate coated puffed, fruity ring, cheerio variety. I have been sweetening my muesli mix with rice malt syrup, a sweet complex sugar syrup made from ground brown rice that acts and tastes similar to honey, but it is refine sugar and fructose free, making the muesli highly nutritious but low GI. You could easily replace the rice malt syrup with honey, date syrup, maple syrup or golden syrup, or any other sweet liquid syrup. If you don’t have coconut oil, use an olive oil. I also use a combination of grains, both flaked and puffed for texture and added nutrition. A variety of nuts and seeds are used, again for texture and nutrition. There is a tropical sweetness that comes from the toasted shredded coconut that marries the mealiness of the nuts with grains and seeds. I use coconut oil in the oat mix, which reenforces the flavour profile from the shredded coconut.
Today’s muesli was topped with chia seeds and frozen raspberries (I use frozen raspberries a lot. I love them frozen in my cereal, they temper the milk and cereal together, they hold their body longer and their texture isn’t opposed by the courseness of the cereal) all topped off with some cold nutty soy milk and some organic yoghurt. Morning Bliss.
A Simple Toasted Muesli
2 cups Rolled Oats or Flaked Quinoa
1 cup Shredded Coconut
2 tbsp Coconut oil
2 tbsp Rice Malt Syrup (or to taste)
1 cup Puffed Rice
3/4 cup Puffed Quinoa
1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds
1/4 cup Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup Flaked Almonds
1/2 cup whole almonds chopped
1/2 cup mixed nuts chopped (hazelnuts, macadamia, pistachio)
Preheat oven to 160C (fan forced).
In a baking dish combine oats and coconut.
Add the coconut oil and rice malt syrup and place in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and evenly mix the oil and syrup through the oat mix. (this is easier to do once the oil and syrup have melted)
Place back into the oven, stirring frequently until evenly toasted and lightly browned all over, approx 30 mins.
Allow to cool in the baking dish.
Meanwhile in a bowl combine the remaining ingredients, adding the oat mix once it has fully cooled. Mix to evenly distribute.
Store in a glass jar or brown paper bags.
This recipe can be doubled or tripled, with out any extra effort.
If you are sensitive to oats use instead a combination of flaked quinoa and rolled rice. Pre soak each, in water or fruit juice for 15 minutes before starting the recipe.
Olive oil can be used instead of the coconut oil.
Honey, Maple syrup, agave Nectar, golden syrup or date syrup are all great substitutes for the rice malt syrup.
Rice malt syrup and coconut oil, puffed rice are all available from major super markets, health food stores and online.
Puffed Quinoa is available from health food stores and online.
Any combination of nuts or seeds will work in this muesli, not a fan of pistachios, no problem use walnuts or cashews instead.
If you are adding dried fruit to your muesli, add them in at the last step.
Over the coming weeks I’ll be posting a few recipes that you can make using this base muesli. If you have any great muesli flavour combos feel free to share your ideas, or what is your food habit/ritual?