A Fool for April – Muesli Recipe

Chestnuts!

Happy April Fool’s Day! Well, there’s been a notable shift in the weather here, summer is clearly over and autumn is finally properly with us. I think this is my favourite time of the year, with generally lower overnight temperatures, crisp mornings and calm, often sunny days – perfect for gardening!

Soil temperatures are still quite warm – there’s a lot of growing still happening! – and I’ll be picking zucchini and especially tomatoes for bottling for a little while yet.

Salad from yesterday – kale, mustard, endive, rocket, silverbeet, red orach and tomatoes.

In the meantime, I’m madly preparing beds for kale, broccoli and garlic, which I’m planting in the coming weeks (later than usual for me), so it’s still very busy. Boudica Bunny is making a nest and should birth her kits (the first with Bernard Black) in the next week, the chestnut crop is still to come as you can see from the photo above, and the chickens are beginning to moult too so the egg supply is gradually slowing down. Having a mixed flock means that there’s usually someone laying and I rarely have to buy eggs except in the very middle of winter when day length is shortest.

Also, I’m pleased to say the jam melons are starting to get bigger – I haven’t grown these since I was a kid in South Australia and it’s exciting! I’ll keep you all up to date with what I end up doing with them, but I’m thinking Melon & Lemon Jam 🙂

Jam Melon sizing up at last

Recently, I made my version of toasted muesli, something I love this time of year, after the summer and autumn fruit drying is mostly over. Many recipes call for added oil, honey, corn or golden syrup and even peanut butter, but this is completely unadulterated. For me, the dried fruit provides enough sweetness and means the muesli keeps well in an airtight jar. If you need it you can always add a little honey, syrup or even a spoon of jam when serving. Personally, I love this with just a dollop of home made yogurt. Here’s the recipe:

Deb’s Sugar-free Muesli 

4 cups rolled oats (ordinary oats, not the “instant type”)

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup sunflower kernels

1/4 cup wheatgerm (optional)

1/2 cup coconut (I prefer flakes for this)

* 1/2 cup chopped nuts (use what you have on hand, for me it was almonds this time and see the note below)

1 tab fresh lemon zest or 1/2 tab dried lemon zest (optional)

1-1/2 cups of chopped dried fruit (again, use what you prefer or have on hand!)

Method:

Pre-heat an oven to 160 C/325 F. In a large bowl, mix the oats, seeds, wheatgerm (if using) and coconut. Chop the nuts fairly roughly and add to the oat mix.

I love lemon zest and the sherbet-like flavour it brings to my breakfast muesli (I keep a jar of dried zest in my pantry cupboard just for recipes like this) but it’s not to everyone’s taste. Try just a little if you’re uncertain.

If you use dried lemon zest, you can mix the chopped fruit thoroughly with the oats/seeds/nuts now, bypassing the toasting step and put the muesli in an airtight jar but I really think the toasting is so worth it for bringing out the flavours of the the seeds and nuts.

Lay the oats/seeds/nuts/fresh lemon zest evenly on a baking sheet or roasting pan and toast, turning every 10-15 minutes with a broad spatula. It’s fiddly but really worth it as you can determine exactly how toasted you want your muesli to be. I use coconut flakes that brown quite significantly and are my best indicator. Now for the dried fruit – the real star of this recipe – and where you can make it truly your own, with seemingly endless combinations of sweet, luscious, fruity goodness! Chop the larger pieces of dried fruit to a size that you prefer (I like mine fairly small, about sultana size). For this batch, I had a lonely piece of apricot fruit leather that needed using, plus this year’s prunes and dried nectarines. Kitchen scissors worked really well and I find them much easier than a knife for this job.

When the oat mix looks the right shade of toastiness, allow it to cool completely, mix in the chopped dried fruit very thoroughly and put into an airtight jar. It should keep well for ages but mine usually gets eaten in a couple of months.

Finished toasted muesli

*A note on the nuts. If you don’t like/can’t eat particular things or want a nut-free muesli, be bold and take them out of the recipe! Substitute nuts with more seeds and fruit – it’s entirely up to you and I encourage you to try different things. For instance, my muesli usually has linseeds but I didn’t have any in the house when I made this (sad face). Next time, I should have dried apples and some walnuts to add as well as my beloved linseeds and I might add a touch of ground cinnamon for a slightly different combo 😀

Apricot Fruit Leather, Prunes and Dried Nectarines for the muesli

In other news, The Superstars and Callum are playing at MONA next Saturday (8th April), which is huge news and I’ll do a separate post about that soon. Uni study is relentless but rewarding, and I’m loving my current unit CWR211 Writing Crime & Contemporary Romance, though romance literature isn’t my strength or preference. Nevertheless, I managed a very high mark for my first assessment and I was frankly, surprised and thrilled.

Finally, I’m sorry to say that Felicity lost her battle with cancer earlier this last week. While her death was entirely expected, it was still utterly heartbreaking and my thoughts go out to all her fabulous friends, family and especially her husband Dave. I plan to buy a shrub or small tree in the coming weeks to plant in her honour – a “Felicitree” ❤

Meanwhile, take care good people, be gentle to each other, this beautiful planet and never be afraid to tell the people that matter to you that you love them ❤

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. heidi ruckriegel
    Apr 01, 2017 @ 22:02:25

    Hmmm… I really should be a bit less lazy. The most I do to my morning oats is grab a handful of whatever berries (tassieberries at the moment). Maybe some coconut and sunflower seeds. Sometimes just the oats with milk/water and yoghurt. This could be good because it doesn’t require any morning effort! My tomatoes failed this year. They just shrivelled up. Dead. Luckily Mum donated some and my son has lots. Now we’ve just sold the place, so I’ve only put in a few salad veg, things I can still eat while we’re here. And the new house isn’t even finished, only started, so there may be a garden gap. Just as well it’s nearly winter, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Debra Manskey
      Apr 01, 2017 @ 22:08:03

      You’re not alone, I go in fits and starts with being lazy about breakfast too. Life is too hectic sometimes!
      Hurrah for your new house being started and selling your current place – last I recall you were still waiting on building permits!!!
      Good luck with it all 😀

      Like

      Reply

  2. narf7
    Apr 02, 2017 @ 06:11:36

    Cheers for the prompt about what to plant now (I will be following your lead!) and the excellent recipe for muesli. We haven’t lit Brunhilda yet but as the temperatures just dropped below double digits up here the day is rapidly approaching and we are hurriedly getting our logs chainsawed and hauled up to the house this week. Congratulations on the impending new bunnies. I am SO excited about Callum and the Allstars playing at MONA! Mum used to make a really delicious melon, lemon and ginger jam with chunks of preserved ginger. The cubes of jam melon used to go translucent in the process and were completely delicious. Let me know how it goes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Debra Manskey
      Apr 02, 2017 @ 08:11:38

      I’m so far behind with planting the winter garden – but I got another HD for an assignment so it’s not like I’ve been twiddling my thumbs. MONA will be epic! Yes, my mum used to make that too with preserved ginger and I’ll certainly let you know how I go with it.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • narf7
        Apr 03, 2017 @ 03:41:25

        That’s brilliant on your assignments by the way. Our screen course is going well and I am just about to shoot a short documentary with a group of Aboriginal folk that should be great fun. The only thing that I have planted in my winter garden is broad beans but as it is my very first winter garden I am not stressing too much. It will be interesting to see how the wicking beds fare over winter up here.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Debra Manskey
        Apr 03, 2017 @ 07:41:53

        Fascinated to hear about your doco – please keep me posted about that.
        Yes, I really must plant some more broad beans, they’re wonderful! I find a lot of salad herbs such as rocket, pak /bok choy, coriander and mustard greens do very well over winter – less inclined to bolt.

        Liked by 1 person

      • narf7
        Apr 04, 2017 @ 03:10:31

        I am still very new to vegetable gardening and fell for Bunnings seedlings when we planted out our wicking beds in early December. The season was late and ‘we’ were late (due to having to build all of the beds) so I didn’t have a lot of hope with us being able to grow much this year. I planted coriander, silverbeet and several other things that I now find out are most probably winter veg for us here in Tasmania. My coriander bolted spectacularly and I now have a wall of seed that I might just plant and see what happens. I love the stuff. Steve HATES it. I would have loved to do my documentary about Callum and his rising star. I wish I had known about it earlier but we have to have our documentaries in by June and George is a hard taskmaster ;).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Debra Manskey
        Apr 04, 2017 @ 07:42:41

        Everyone starts somewhere and we all get it wrong sometimes. That’s how we learn. Yeah, keep the coriander seed, you can grow it or use it as a spice – completely different flavour 🙂
        Good luck with your doco!

        Liked by 1 person

      • narf7
        Apr 05, 2017 @ 04:16:28

        Thank you 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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