Recipe: (Quick) Bircher muesli

Apart from the creamy, delicious, cold-porridge aspect of bircher muesli, I know the point of it is that it’s a make-ahead breakfast for those rushed or lazy mornings where you just want to roll out of bed and be able to put some food in your mouth with minimal effort and/or unappetising post-breakfast oatiness to wash up after the meal. But for me, the prep beforehand makes breakfast more effortful. Sometimes I just crave that bircher muesli goodness without having to wait hours for all the ingredients to meld together.

What is bircher muesli though? Overnight oats. Cold/summery porridge. And it doesn’t require any cooking. Overnight bircher to me tastes too much of raw oats and everything merges together to give one bland texture (plus it doesn’t look too appetising, let’s be honest). So this is perfect if you want to keep the crunch of the almonds and the flavour and mouth-feel of the dried fruit.

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So here’s my speedy muesli which satisfies my cold-porridge cravings – try it out if you want low-maintenance oats in the morning that are neither burning hot (I mean who wants their patience tested in the morning when you’re still wiping the sleep out of your eyes) or still have that raw edge to them (do oats have edges?). Enjoy! 🙂

Serving: 1 small (but filling!) bowl

Ingredients

  • juice of 1 orange
  • 2 handfuls of rolled oats (finer oats, rather than the big organic oat flakes – e.g. I use Quaker’s)
  • 1 handful of (toasted) flaked almonds
  • 1 sprinkling of dried currants
  • 1 spoonful of yoghurt/splash of milk

Method

  1. Juice the orange into your serving bowl.
  2. Mix roughly 2 handfuls of oats into the juice with a spoon.
  3. Whilst the oats absorb the fresh citrus-y orange juice, toast the almonds if they’re not toasted already. Add to the oats along with the currants and mix.
  4. After a few minutes of soaking and absorbing, fold in a spoonful of yoghurt or a little milk (I quite like almond.)
  5. Serve with some fruit for freshness.

Recipe notes:

  • I don’t like soaking oats in milk or yoghurt too much because it infuses a raw oaty taste into the whole thing (one reason why I use fresh juice rather than more dairy). So just experiment with how much you use and for how long to find the taste you like.
  • Easily made vegan by using almond milk instead of yoghurt (I think soya yoghurt/milk would have too strong of a flavour)
  • I like to be able to taste the orange so I don’t overpower it with too much yoghurt (especially if it’s natural yoghurt).
  • Really good with grated apple – this is traditionally seen in bircher muesli but it browns über quickly, so the muesli loses its fresh taste and look (and also, graters are really annoying to wash. AmIright?)
  • Use any dried fruit and nuts you like! (raisins, apricots, toasted walnuts..)
  • I recommend folding in the seeds and juice of a passion fruit! 😀 Adds sharpness, texture and a nice orangey-yellow colour too. Yum!

Recipe: ANZAC biscuits (vegan friendly)

As a human being, I have a natural affinity for anything with an Australian or Kiwi accent. And that still (albeit loosely) applies in the case of these bad-boys: ANZAC biscuits. The ANZACs, standing for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, were made and sent to soldiers during the war because, made without eggs, they kept really well. And so of course, I was tempted to try them without using any dairy, so our vegan friends wouldn’t miss out.

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Anyway, anzac biscuits: what are they? They’re essentially biscuits made with oats, coconut and golden syrup. Crisp on the outside, chewy in the middle. Sweet, fragrant* and moreish.

*(We say “heung” (香) in Cantonese, which describes the kind of fragrant taste of something. I don’t think there’s a word in English that has quite the same meaning but what I mean is the subtle natural flavour of an ingredient that comes through with every bite, in this case the coconut-y and slightly rich syrup-y flavour, of the biscuit).

So here’s my version of the biscuit. The ones in the pictures feature dried cranberries and white chocolate but I prefer them without chocolate, with just raisins or even better, plain!

Makes 18 small biscuits

Ingredients

  • 45 g rolled oats
  • 75 g plain flour
  • 30 g dessicated coconut
  • 90 g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 60 g butter (or dairy-free spread)
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • (15 g dried cranberries + 15 g white chocolate chips minus 10 g caster sugar)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  2. Line a large tray with greaseproof.
  3. Medium sized bowl – mix flour, sugar, coconut, cranberries and chocolate.
  4. Small (non-flat/deepish) saucepan – melt butter and syrup over a high heat.
  5. Mix the bicarb and the water in a mug making sure it’s dissolved.
  6. Pour into the hot butter mixture and remove pan from the heat as it froths up a bit.
  7. Roll into small balls (about a heaped teaspoonful of mixture) so they don’t fall apart – they also don’t need to be packed tightly.
  8. Place 9 balls far apart from one another (roughly 10 cm) because they will spread!
  9. Lightly press them down with a fork so there’s barely a dent in them – just to encourage them a bit.
  10. Bake for 10 – 14 minutes. Check on them at 10 minutes and keep an eye on them as they change pretty quickly. You’re looking for golden but a little paler in the middle.
  11. Leave them to cool so you get that crispy-chewy texture..

Recipe notes:

  • I can’t stress enough how good these taste without anything else in them! Really recommend trying them plain and then add anything you like if you feel like something’s missing.
  • If you prefer them less crispy, more moist and more substantial in the middle, skip out Step 9 or simply make them a little bigger. A tablespoonful of mixture would need about 15 minutes.
  • Replace the butter for a dairy-free spread to make them vegan-friendly!