Despite my love of oats, muesli has always had bit of a negative connotation for me. Why would I ever want that dry, sawdusty stuff when I could have deliciously toasted granola instead? It wasn’t until we were living in Sydney, where it’s a café breakfast staple, that I finally discovered Bircher muesli. Oh, Bircher muesli…where had you been all my life? Better late than never, I guess.
With Bircher muesli, dry oats are soaked for at least a couple hours (overnight’s best), eliminating the whole sawdust thing. While you could use any number of liquids (such as OJ, milk or water) as your soaking medium, I prefer the light, neutral sweetness of apple juice. Next you add in lots of tasty bits…yogurt, fruit and nuts. Here I used grated red apple, along with strawberries, blackberries, sliced almonds, hazelnuts and unsweetened coconut flakes, but it’s really anything goes with the fruit and nuts. (Sliced peaches are incredible in this, as is rhubarb compote!) To me, the grated apple is the only really essential fruit, both for moisture and texture, so I would definitely not omit that. I’ve used all types of apples in the past, though, red or green..whatever you have…grate them skin-on.
This is such an easy and and satisfying breakfast, and a great way for oat lovers to get our fix when it’s hot outside. Thank you Maximilian Bircher-Benner!
Bircher Muesli– makes 2 large or 3 small servings
1 cup rolled oats (the “old-fashioned” kind)
½ cup + 2 T unsweetened apple juice
½ of a coarsely grated apple
5 oz plain yogurt
pinch of ground cinnamon
handful of toasted nuts and/or coconut flakes
handful of fresh berries and/or sliced stonefruit
honey or maple syrup for drizzling
-Put the oats and apple juice in a lidded container and leave in the refrigerator to soak overnight.
-The next morning, stir the grated apple, cinnamon, yogurt and half of the toasted nuts and/or coconut into the soaked oats. Spoon into bowls and top with fruit and remaining nuts. Drizzle with honey or maple syrup.
I took another course at Planet Cake in Balmain this weekend. This time, the theme was “celebration cupcakes.” Obviously, these are for celebrating something very girly! They were a lot of fun to make…a little time-consuming, but really not very hard.
I’ve just finished a two-day decorating course on a wacky cake design called a “madhatter cake.” I took the course at Planet Cake in Balmain, where they make all sorts of gorgeous couture cakes.
I’m by no means an expert cake decorator, so there were plenty of things I found tricky about this design. It required a lot of precise trimming to get the angles on the finished cake just right. Also, while I have covered plenty of cakes with rolled fondant, the moment before I drape the fondant over the cake, I always have a mini heart attack! I find it so hard to make it perfect, and it’s even more so when the shape is all “wonky” like this. All in all, I’m quite happy with the way this came out though, and I’m especially fond of the poofy bow on top (even though I did slightly ding up one side of it in the car on the way home–crap!). The cake inside is a very dense mud cake that R and I will be eating for the next five years.
On Saturday I took at baking class at Accoutrement’s cooking school in Mosman. It was lead by Rachel Grisewood from Manna from Heaven. She started out by having us make an intensely flavored raspberry passionfruit cake.
Then we made briche dough, and she demonstrated how we could turn it into loaves and pizza bases. We each got to take home a piece of dough…I turned mine into a couple of big glazed cinnamon buns with walnuts for Sunday breakfast.
Today is the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Yesterday the bridge was closed to auto traffic so that thousands of pedestrians could walk across the Harbour from North Sydney to the CBD.
To celebrate, R and I, along with our friend Tim, did an evening BridgeClimb! We took a breathalyzer test (my first, and hopefully last!), put on goofy jumpsuits and climbed 134 metres to the top of the arch for the most amazing view of Sydney after dark. I’m sure the experience is fantastic on any night, but last night’s Aboriginal smoke ceremony and the throng of bridge walkers in light-up baseball caps below made it incredible.
Not long ago, after a mediocre Spanish dinner on Liverpool Street, we turned the corner onto George and passed by a beautiful display window belonging to 85 degrees. We’d passed on the flan at the restaurant and since the bakery was still open, of course we went in. It was a tough descion, but we settled on a slice of tiramisu and chocolate napoleon to bring home.
Unfortunately, these looked much better than they tasted. That is to say, they pretty much had no taste. If I was blindfolded, I probably wouldn’t have known the napoleon had chocolate in it. And I should have realized (silly me) that the tiramsu wouldn’t have much going on, because the sponge layer was clearly not soaked in coffee or booze. The cake was very bland and the filling was kind of gelatinous.
I will not go back to 85 degrees, but it did make me wonder about the desserts at Breadtop, across the street in World Square. The next day I went over there and bought a much more promising looking tiramisu and a chocolate eclair. Notice that each tiramisu has a goofy little label!
And the winner is…Breadtop! The tiramisu tasted slightly boozy and had a nice texture. And the eclair was filled with lots of real cream. Good, because I like Breadtop…their Japanese white bread is perfect for PB&J.