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

Green Refectory: Pink Muesli?!

To commemorate the birthday of Lady Grey, I decided to take her out for breakfast at the cheapest place I could think of. The Green Refectory immediately jumped to mind as I have been there many times and am repeatedly delighted to pay not-very-much for very-lovely-things. Yesterday’s muffins for two dollars? A thousand times yes. Thus, I felt this was the perfect place to show my maker how much I care for her.

The Green Refectory is a narrow cafe tucked in next to a shoe store and a tram stop just South of Weston Street on Sydney Road. There is nothing to invite the casual passer-by to enter the glassy facade – no outdoor dining to suggest that this is a place of joyous consumption (and I am not referring to happy Tuberculosis, found in much more tropical climes). Indeed, the bustle of trams, humans and narrow footpaths is a most inhospitable setting for exterior eating and so I commend the Green Refectory for not trying. Do note that for those that enjoy eating in the elements, there is a backyard to this place that I cannot fully remember sitting in but of which I have a vague sense of quaint, leafy claustrophobia.

One of the perks of going anywhere to eat at 8:30 on a week-day morning is that a fair proportion of the breakfast-populace has either eaten earlier and gone to work (respectable) or just gone to work (understandable). Happily this allows those with more flexible schedules – at the moment – to swoop in and claim a seat unchallenged. In a place like the Green Refectory where the long wooden tables are often bustling with communal diners and the smaller private tables are much coveted by less sharing individuals (such as myself), an easy week-morning seat was a relief. That relief, however was countered somewhat by the anxiety of having to squint myopically up at the menu etched onto a blackboard above the counter, and then recite accurately my decision to the friendly wait staff. A warning, the busy nature of the Green Refectory is such that I have always had to chase up my coffee, sometimes even having to reorder it. Or at least, I hope this is due to busyness and not disdain for me!

On this occasion, my breakfast hinged on an order of:

Bircher Muesli w sweetened or natural yoghurt or cream

I was presented with a submenu of dairies to decide upon – luckily I have the nous to understand that cream is for cakes and hot chocolates, and sweetened yoghurt is for putting ice-cream in, not oats. My natural yoghurt-Bircher combo eventually emerged:

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Yes, a tower of pink muesli is really what we are seeing here. As if modelled on the Egyptian pyramids, complete with strawberry capstone and sandy-cinnamon perimeter garnish, this flamboyant number is one out of the box. Once I calmed my overstimulated eyeballs, I was able to mush the absurdly, delightfully placed yoghurt into the muesli-proper and eat. What I encountered was a crisp density of apple and nuts. The Green Refectory does not skimp on almonds and hence this meal is a crunch-fest. Between hard foods I also found a strong presence of soft ones, happily including banana – king of breakfast fruit – and a saturation of berries. Indeed, the violent colour of this muesli is most likely not due to a manic chef squirting red food dye/cordial/blood into the breakfast but rather from the natural ooze of broken berries.The Green Refectory muesli also contains the culinary triple threat of the aforementioned banana, cinnamon and honey. Lots of honey. I felt my pancreas thank me for not ordering the sweetened yoghurt as the tartness of the natural yoghurt was all that stood between me and blood-sugar central.

Overall: The Green Refectory muesli is a sight to behold and sweetly pleasant to be-taste. It is also very cheap. So if you are after a crunchy wake-up meal and are not afraid to go chasing coffees, roll in to the Green Refectory and grab a muffin as you roll out.

Good Muesli, Melbourne!

MM

Green Refectory on Urbanspoon

Milkwood Muesli: Setting the Bar High

I have found a niche! After typing into Google”Best muesli Melbourne” and then down-playing my expectations to simply: “Good Muesli Melbourne” (catch phrase or new cool greeting potential?!), I was not met with a flurry of pages dedicated to my favourite breakfast. Indeed, I was disappointed not to have someone tell me where to go to get my grainy fix. And so begins my taking the reins, boldly going where lots of people have probably gone before but not really documented to my knowledge, and putting my thoughts about muesli onto the internet!

Before the main event, I would like to make my motivations clear: I love cereal. If cafes sold Weet-Bix I would be writing about Weet-bix, but most places do not consider them fit to make all fancy so I guess I’ll stick to the second greatest cereal – Muesli.

Milkwood Muesli:

Milkwood is a cute place a little bit South of the corner of Nicholson and Blyth Streets. It is split into two rooms and if, like me you happen to wonder into the second, more quiet room and think “where does all the food come from?”, it’s not from behind the wall as I initially thought – I’m pretty sure that’s a bathroom – you’ll get it if you go there. Milkwood in-joke? Anyway, after orienting myself I ordered the muesli. To paraphrase the menu (as their silly trendy website only says “Milkwood” down the bottom right, how useless. Also urbanspoon is out of date. Also I didn’t bring a notepad to breakfast, rookie mistake):

Bircher Muesli with pistachios, almonds, apple and honey

I’m never going to be a menu writer, that was just the ingredients listed, and not even all of them. Here is a picture!

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Delicious.

First bite: Tart yogurt gives way to crunchy pistachio and muesli flakes. It is cool (temperature wise…and probably looks-wise too, what’s cooler than ordering muesli?).

Rest: They give you a really generous serving of muesli here, which I’m all for. The thing that really strikes me about this dish is the grated apple. It is strewn throughout the yoghurt infusing every bite with a fresh crunchiness that made my tongue, teeth and palate very happy. My brain was also pretty happy at this point.The show ponies of the breakfast fruit world – strawberries – should get a mention here; Milkwood used lovely cold, fresh-tasting strawberries that were cut up so I didn’t have to deal with having a whole strawberry in my mouth at any one time, nor the stalks I suppose more importantly! Finally, the good people of Milkwood drizzle honey on the surface of the bowl. This resulted in the muesli become sweeter as the end of the dish was nearing, creating a sense of breakfast and breakfast-dessert all in one! Admittedly I did find it a bit too sweet toward the end, but I am too cheap to go and get the fillings I probably need so I’ll deal with the slight irritation overly sugary things cause my exposed dentine.

Overall Recommendation: Definitely order and then eat this muesli!

Good Muesli, Melbourne!

MM

Milkwood on Urbanspoon