Nature’s Child: Breakfast
This recipe is similar to the original muesli developed by the famous Swiss physician, Max Bircher-Benner. Unlike packaged muesli, which usually contains too much sugar and is heavy and hard to digest, the bulk of this muesli is made up of fresh fruit. Kids love it. You can make it for yourself and for them. It also turns into a fine puree for a baby.
- 1-2 heaped tbsp oat flakes
- A handful of raisins or sultanas
- 1 apple or firm pear, grated or diced
- 2 tsp fresh orange juice
- 1 small banana, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp yoghurt – sheep’s or goat’s milk yogurt is excellent
- 1 tsp honey or stevia to taste
- 1 tbsp chopped nuts or sunflower seeds
- 1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon or ginger
Soak the grain flakes overnight in a little water or fruit juice to help break the starch down into sugars, along with the raisins or sultanas. In the morning, combine the soaked grain flakes and raisins with the apple/pear and banana, and add the orange juice to prevent the fruit from browning and to aid digestion. Top with the yogurt, then drizzle with honey or a little stevia if desired. Sprinkle with chopped nuts or sunflower seeds and spices. Serves 2.
You can prepare countless variations of Live Muesli by using different types of fresh fruit, such as strawberries, peaches, pitted cherries or pineapple, depending on what’s available. When your choice of fresh fruit is limited, use soaked dried fruit, such as apricots, dates, more sultanas, figs or pears. For extra goodness, sprinkle the muesli with a tablespoon of wheatgerm.
Kids in a hurry love breakfast shakes. You simply put all the ingredients you want into a blender or food processor and whip them up in seconds to create a wholesome instant drink. A shake is easy to digest and packed with goodness – the ideal breakfast for instant and sustained energy.
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 ripe banana
- a few drops vanilla essence
- 1 tsp honey or natural stevia to taste
- 1 tsp coconut (optional)
Combine the ingredients thoroughly in a blender. As a variation try replacing the banana with a handful of berries, half a papaya or mango, or a few chunks of fresh pineapple. You can replace the yogurt with Soya milk too.
nut milk (almond)
Nut milks are simple to make, highly nutritious and easy to digest. They can replace cow’s milk in certain dishes and can be made from various different nuts – cashews are particularly good, but you may find you need a little more water. Almond milk is my favorite. I remove the almond skins as they are rather bitter and contain a high quantity of prussic acid which should be avoided. Some people blanch the almonds first, but I find it easiest to prepare the milk with unskinned almonds and then strain it through a fine sieve or piece of cheesecloth to remove the skins and pulp. As a general rule you need 1 part nuts to 3 parts water. The quantities below serve 2.
- 1-11/2 cups almonds
- 4 cups water
- Honey or natural stevia to sweeten
- Dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
- Vanilla essence (optional)
Combine almonds and water in your blender and process really well for a minute or so until the mixture is very smooth. Add the honey, cinnamon or nutmeg and vanilla. Strain and serve. As a variation, blend a ripe banana with the almond milk.
nut milk shake
For extra goodness add a tablespoon of wheatgerm, or the yolk of an egg, and blend well.
- 1/3 cup almonds (blanched)
- 2/3 cup water
- 5 pitted dates
- A few drops vanilla essence
- 1 tsp honey
Blend the almonds and the water really well until the mixture is smooth. You can use unblanched almonds and strain the mixture at this point to remove the ground-up husks. Add the other ingredients and process well. Serve immediately.
If you are using yogurt, why not try making your own? It’s very simple and much cheaper than the bought variety, and doesn’t require a lot of equipment either. The easiest way to make it is in a wide-mouthed flask, but an earthenware crock or dish kept in a warm place will do just as well. I use two methods – the traditional one where you warm your milk to blood heat, and a simplified method that calls for warm water and powdered skimmed milk.
I prefer to use goat’s milk to cow’s because it is richer in vitamins and minerals, and because its fats are emulsified which makes it easier to digest. In fact, many people who are allergic to cow’s milk can take goat’s or sheep’s milk quite comfortably.
- 2 pints (about a liter) milk (preferably goat’s or sheep’s)
- 2 heaped tablespoons plain natural yogurt (starter)
Warm in a saucepan to just above blood heat. Pour into a flask or crock and add 2 heaped tablespoons of plain natural yogurt. This can be cow’s or goat’s yogurt, but it is important that it is live yogurt, and that it doesn’t have any fruit or sugar in it. Read the label to be sure that it contains a real yogurt culture which is needed to transform the milk (lots of so-called yogurts don’t).
Stir the starter in well and replace the lid of the thermos flask. If you are using a non-insulated container, wrap it in a blanket and place it in an airing cupboard or on top of a radiator. If you have an Aga or Rayburn, place the dish on a wire cooling tray on top of it. Otherwise you can heat an oven for ten minutes as hot as it can go and then switch it off. Put the container inside and leave it, without opening the door, overnight. After 6-8 hours you will have cultured yogurt.
Transfer the yogurt to the fridge and use if for muesli, drinks, soups, dressings, frozen desserts etc. You can then use this yogurt as the starter for your next batch and go on indefinitely. If your yogurt goes sour, you’ll have to buy another starter and begin afresh.
instant low-fat yogurt
One of the very simplest methods for making yogurt is to use low-fat skimmed milk powder.
Make up two pints (about a liter) of milk in a blender, using one and a half times the amount of powdered milk suggested on the packet. If you use boiling water from a kettle and add cold water to it you can get just the temperature of milk you need and don’t have to bother heating your milk in a saucepan. Add the two tablespoons of plain yogurt as in the ordinary method and leave in a suitable container for about eight hours. If you want a really thick yogurt, e.g. for dips, simply add more skimmed milk powder when you make up the milk.