Home Made Special: Schmoosli

For this review I was delighted to receive two sample packets of muesli from the kind ladies at Schmoosli – I do enjoy a good neologism, I wonder what it means. Schmooth (sic) muesli? School Muesli? Or perhaps something altogether different, an allusion to a German heritage? Regardless, my mouth pleasantly itches as I sit here alone trying to say it out loud in different ways, happily, and no doubt to anyone listening – creepily – procrastinating instead of all the study I should be doing.

Muesli 1: Rupert Gets Ripped
This was the first time that I embarked on the muesli-making process for myself, following the recipe that I as yet had only observed. You can imagine the adrenaline wreaking havoc on the normal steadiness of my hands as I poured the muesli from its packet into a bowl, tremulously grated apple (first casualty of doing things myself: a fingernail I grated into) and then saturated with milk to soak overnight. And a restless night it was, I tossed and turned with the anticipation of what morning would bring – had I, like Frankenstein, created a monster? Would my monster be tasty? So many questions – here is the visual part of the answer:

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Ok, so my attempt at the compote looks somewhat reminiscent of placenta – but lets not taint this muesli with the brush of afterbirth before tasting it. To start off, the Rupert Gets Ripped has a natural, very oaty taste which is enhanced by the barley that is also a key ingredient. I enjoyed that the oats were such a focus of this muesli as this is not often the case with premixed varieties, however I felt that there were not enough nuts or seeds to give this muesli a boost. The ease of preparation was somewhat tainted by my just wanting a bit more crunch to this breakfast.
Overall, Rupert is a solid muesli but, like many strong, silent types – a little bland for my tastes.

Muesli 2: Heidi Gets High
The next day I turned my attention to Heidi Gets High – how whimsical and a bit risqué. I had an easier time of the muesli making process second time round in that I emerged with all of my fingernails intact. Here is the product of my process:

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Thats looking a bit better! I was encouraged to see seeds and sultanas nestled cosily amongst the oats and I was not disappointed. Every bite seemed to contain a new texture, from crunchy almond to al dente dried apple and apricot always on a dense background of cool, mushy oats. The flavour of the day here was cinnamon which is a perfect breakfast spice. And doughnut spice – but lets not get sidetracked. I was also excited to see what appeared to be chunks of bran. Oh bran! It’s not a sexy cereal, but me and my gastrointestinal tract love it. Heidi won me over with with her spicy charm and sensible penchant for bran. This was a flavoursome and healthy-tasting muesli.

(Mostly) Good Muesli, Melbourne!

MM

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Home Made Special: Coles Rolled Oats

I admit that I am going back in time for this Coles oats review, back nigh on one month ago at the conception of the idea that I would sporadically dedicate a portion of the 45 minutes between waking up and leaving for uni to sampling supermarket muesli.

To my horror, this particular morning I was required to leave the safety of the Parkville precinct and venture out to the Austin Hospital for lectures – for those who do not know, this hospital is in Heidleberg, which might as well be the moon – arriving by 8am. Luckily, I am in the favour of Ms Cherry Capone who is a regular around those parts and was happy to not only be my driver (Cherry Capone, chaperone!) but also to make me her brand of muesli. And by her brand I mean Coles brand.

I arrived damply at the residence of Ms Capone at the kind hour of 6:30am where I was welcomed warmly with tea and promptly shown how to make muesli. I dazzled as she created a compote on the stovetop (and sighed inwardly and outwardly with relief when she said I could do this in the microwave) and marvelled at her stores of oats, seeds and nuts. Truly this was a home muesli paradise. The result of this domestic magic was is as follows:

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Already I knew I was in for  treat with the nutritive apple peel peeking out so boldly there next to a berry. As this was the first well-prepared homemade muesli I had ever eaten (yes, any previous home encounters simply involved drenching it in milk like common Cornflakes), I was taken aback by the sheer oatiness of it all. It is lucky for me that, unlike for wine or olives, my palate delights at the earthiness of oats and so I very much enjoyed them not being masked by the sweetness of honey. It is testament to Ms Capone to say this muesli was bursting with seeds and almonds, which really highlights the value in buying unadulterated oats – you can control the concentrations of all the other fun ingredients. Additionally, the homemade berry compote added a dash of colour and sweetness that I will endeavour to imitate in my future muesli.

For being cheap and unapologetically oaty, the Coles oats were a success. Perhaps this was in part due to the luxury of having this muesli made by – and then eaten with – a friend,  but I would definitely buy these for myself. There is also the added bonus of being able to use Coles oats in biscuits and slices – such versatility can only be a plus!

Good Muesli, Melbourne!

MM

Home Made Special: Launched!

Disclaimer: I should begin this cereal adventure by stating that, in what is perhaps my greatest achievement to date, the oats used in this production were not paid for. I will endeavour to review them objectively, however even the cold mistress of reason will find it difficult to temper the glow that comes from eating free food!

My aim here is to compare some of the muesli that can be  made in the comfort of the home. This is not something that I was able to do on a whim, it required careful planning and preparation as before starting this journey I had little idea of how to make muesli, with my regular breakfast involving little more than scrunching two to three weetbix into a bowl and cutting banana over them.

To appease my science brain and leave as little room for confusion on my part, I will be making each breakfast using the same method, passed down to me one cold Autumn morning by the lovely Cherry Capone (more on that in the Coles oat review):

Miss Muesli’s (Borrowed and Adapted) Method for Making Muesli:

Ingredients:

–       Rolled oats or muesli

–       Granny Smith Apple

–       Unsweetened natural yoghurt

–       Frozen berries

–       A spoonful of sugar

–       Sunflower seeds, almonds (optional, to be used if muesli does not already contain them)

Method:

1. Before Bed: Lovingly transfer a serve (your discretion) of oats or  premixed muesli into your favourite breakfast bowl. Immerse in milk until just saturated. I like skim milk as I find the wateriness refreshing.
Note: if your muesli will be based on rolled oats alone, mix with seeds and nuts before dousing with milk.
Apply your Granny Smith to a sharp grater and go to town on it. You can peel the apple beforehand however you will be missing out on the tart chewy texture, and also some vitamins. I do not recommend depriving yourself of these. Mix the slivers through your soaking muesli.
Cover with Glad Wrap (or Aldi equivalent) and put in the fridge to incubate overnight.

2. Upon waking: Take a shower. Muesli is best appreciated when both ingredients and consumer are fresh.

3. Take some frozen berries (again, your discretion but overdo at your own peril – these are a garnish and not the main event!) and mix with a sensible amount of sugar in a microwave proof vessel. Cover to avoid splatter and the cook with the awesome power of micro-waves on high for approximately 45 seconds. Mix the resultant hot, soft mush and voila! Berry compote.
Note: If you have time and are so inclined, or if you do not have a microwave (the horror), this can be done over lowish heat on the stove.

4. Reverently remove the matured muesli from the fridge and peel off the plastic (you will not be able to proceed with breakfast unless you do this). Dollop yoghurt on top and garnish with your steaming compote.

5. Take your favourite spoon (see below) and use it to enjoy your homemade muesli.

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Await now with bated breath the coming set of home grown reviews!

(Anticipating) Good Muesli, Melbourne!

MM

Fifteen Pounds: Lightweight Muesli

My latest breakfast outing saw me venture out by the Hurstbridge Line to visit the new stomping grounds of the lovely Madame Macchiato, in the suburb of Fairfield which is known for its boathouse and proximity to Northcote. I do not mean to suggest with my allusion to the rail that I took the train, as I make a concerted effort to avoid public transport at all costs in preference to the power generated by my lower limbs or – at a similar horsepower – by a borrowed, third-hand Citroen. This is in equal parts due to my being a bit of a cheapskate (this is a muesli and not a ‘big breakfast’ blog after all) and seeming to always have to travel in an East-West direction which is the domain of the cumbersome and unreliable bus service. I seem to be griping about infrastructure lately, I’ll try not to lose sight of what matters here: oats.

Upon arriving at Fifteen Pounds I was immediately struck by how untreated it seemed. The crisp pre-9am sunlight was streaming in through the front window adding a golden glow to the pale timber furnishings. These tables and chairs are of a naturalistic, not obviously varnished style as if they have been simply hammered together freshly hewn. The place has a raw, earthy feel to it which is enhanced by a hanging feature of a tree branch suspending birds alighting on jars, a surreal piece that looks good but on reflection does not make a lick of sense! Perhaps a comment on how close all things in nature are to becoming jam? A sobering thought. Another piece of decor I quite enjoyed was a prominent water tank that contained brightly coloured citrus fruit floating enticingly within. The bright yellow and green made the water seem so clean and inviting – it is this sort of a contraption that could turn children off soft drink and help end the obesity epidemic – or at least that is how optimistic I felt looking at it.

Basking in the glow of water cooler over-significance, I turned my attention to the menu. For the first time in my life, I was prompted to take a menu photo – like a Loch Ness Monster or UFO sighting it was blurry and mostly obscured by the flash but I came away with the evidence of:

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Thats: House Made Bircher w/ apples, carrots, fresh juice, organic yoghurt & berries for those with a cynical eye.

 Carrots! I was intrigued. Lets see what the muesli housing this vegetable interloper came out looking like:

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Instant disappointment! The last thing this hungry Miss wants when she orders breakfast is for it to be served in a quantity able to be artfully arranged in a drinking glass. The first port of call was how to fit the spoon in without creating an Archimedes-in-the-bath type situation – it took uncharacteristic finesse but the incentive of eating generally drives me to complete great feats and so I managed. What I found was a very sweet muesli which was in part due to the overbearing volume of berries and also to the oats having been soaked with juice instead of the usual milk. The juicy taste did trick me into feeling refreshed so that was nice. Upon closer examination I was able to note streaks of orange buried in the mass of yoghurt and berries and I subsequently enjoyed the earthiness that the carrots contributed to the meal. Carrot is such a versatile vegetable – well done, evolution! Despite this foray into root vegetables, Fifteen Pounds did not excite me with this muesli. Berries and sugar stole the show in the end which unfortunately left me feeling unsatisfied, but fortunately prompted me to buy a muffin for the road – which was delicious.

Final word: Do not order the muesli at Fifteen Pounds if you are hungry or are offended by the idea of breakfast in drinking glasses. The cafe is, however, worth a visit if not only to marvel at the water dispenser.

(Not So) Good Muesli, Melbourne!

MM

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