Breakfast is such an important meal, but doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. If an army marches on its stomach, just imagine the unproductive days up and down the country for those who fail to fill themselves up first thing. Continue reading
Tag Archives: oats
Amongst her many talents in life, my Mum is an excellent Easter bunny.
Discovering colourful, foil-wrapped eggs in unexpected places is an annual occurrence in the little loaf household. Despite the fact that my brother and I are adults (with our own flats and jobs and lives outside of our family home), my Mum still manages to sneak us a bounty of chocolate treats when we least expect it. In fact, the bigger the challenge, the more I think she relishes it. Continue reading
On 31st March 1979, my parents got married. One year later they returned home from work, tired and late, to discover a small pile of envelopes inside the front door. It was their first year anniversary and, while a few friends and family had posted little notes and celebratory letters, the pair of them had completely forgotten.
Until today, I thought this was unlikely to ever happen to me. I’m organised and I’m excitable, two traits which mean that when it comes to birthdays, anniversaries and celebrations, I’m always in there early. You know the girl who complains that her boyfriend completely forgot her birthday/Valentine’s Day/insert any other day designed to make our men look bad? Not me. I’m the one reminding him at least three weeks in advance then gleefully (and noisily) counting down to the celebrations day by day. Continue reading
How many recipes have you made in your lifetime? How many more do you think you might still? And just how many are left languishing inside eagerly acquired cookbooks, on pages torn from magazines, on bookmark bars and Pinterest boards, never to see the light of day as you return to tried, tested and trusted recipes you’ve always enjoyed?
According to a poll commissioned by the Good Food Channel last year, the average British woman can cook just seven meals from scratch, with eighty percent admitting to churning out the same thing over and again, and only two percent turning to cookbooks or online for a source of inspiration. I don’t know about you, but as a member of that minority percentage, my problem is less how to get out of a cooking rut and more deciding what to make next from the ever-growing reams of recipe ideas accumulating in print, online and in my head. Continue reading
Spare a thought for the humble homemade biscuit.
Baking in Britain has never been more popular; in the last few years it’s become a borderline obsession. While some might argue that it never really went away – from traditional tea rooms to high street bakeries, cakes and baking are something inherent in our culture – the recent resurgence of interest has taken home baking in a whole new direction. Spurred on by shows like The Great British Bake Off, The Hummingbird Bakery’s cutesy cupcake creations and the jewel-like confections on show in shops like Ladurée, people at home are taking their baking to a higher level.
Out go the simple sponges, scones and rock buns, and in come the macarons and millefeuilles, fancy fondant decorations, perfect petit fours and triple tier cakes. Increasingly, if we’re going to make the effort to bake we want it to be a showstopper, not an every-day-eat. In a kitchen where chunky chocolate cookies and iced éclairs reign supreme, something to nibble mid-morning and dunk in our tea just doesn’t make the grade. It’s a bad time to be a biscuit. Continue reading
‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last, ‘what’s the first thing you say to yourself?’ ‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’ ‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s the same thing,’ he said.
Reading this quote from A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner, I can’t help but smile. In just a few short sentences, the author manages to capture both the thrill and satisfaction of finding pleasure in food. Any foodie worth their salt (or should it be honey?) will always have thoughts of their next meal ticking over gently at the back of their mind, and after the enforced fasting that comes with a good night’s sleep, there are few greater pleasures than waking up and deciding what to eat for your very first meal of the day. Continue reading
Inspired by the beautiful light mornings that have arrived with the clocks going forwards, I’ve been getting up early to go to Beautcamp Pilates before work. After such a virtuous start to the day I want to put something good into my body, but at the same time, the early morning workout means I’m pretty hungry by the time I get around to eating breakfast.
Bircher Muesli is the perfect solution. Invented by Swiss doctor Maximilien Bircher-Benner for his patients in the late nineteenth century, this is the perfect morning sustenance, and totally versatile depending on the fruits, nuts and seeds you have to hand that day. Dr. Bircher revolutionized the eating habits of his era by advocating fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts over meat, white bread and other refined produce, and I guarantee that when you try this recipe you’ll be overcome with a certain feeling of smug virtuosity.
The recipe here is adapted from a Yottam Ottolenghi recipe I found in The Guardian. I love Ottolenghi’s experimental yet unpretentious use of ingredients, and this recipe is no exception. A slight departure from my beloved breads and toasts, but incredibly delicious nonetheless.
Swiss Bircher Muesli (adapted from Ottolenghi’s recipe)
100g rolled oats or oat mixture (I used Rude Health’s 5 grain mix, Morning Glory)
120ml cold milk
40ml cloudy apple juice
80g natural yoghurt
1/2 an apple (Braeburn or Granny Smith)
20g honey or maple syrup
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Dash vanilla essence
30g chopped walnuts or pistachios
Dried cranberries & pistachios to decorate
Pour the oats into a bowl and cover with milk and apple juice. Leave to rest in the fridge for at least 10 minutes (I do it just before I go to bed so that by morning the oats have absorbed all the liquid to become soft and delicious).
When ready to serve grate in the apple, and stir in the yoghurt, honey or maple syrup, lime juice, vanilla essence, fruit and nuts. Stir, transfer to serving bowls and scatter with additional toppings.
This is such an adaptable recipe. It would be delicious with banana, pomegranate, fresh berries, stewed peaches, plums or rhubarb, different nuts and seeds or even chocolate and a splash of alcohol for the ultimate indulgence. After all, you can’t be virtuous all the time.