fruit free muesli

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For a long time, one of my favourite things to eat on a cold Melbourne morning used to be a big bowl of hot toasted muesli. In fact, it used to be one of my favourite things to eat as an afternoon delight too. However, since discovering all my tummy sensitivities, it’s now highly fraught with danger: gluten in bran and oats (I know, controversial), fructose in all that sweet dried fruit, fructose in the added fruit juice, added sugar, added this, added that…it’s a mine field (and a mind field)! And a sad state of affairs. How can something so simple be so bad for me? Unfortunately the majority of pre-packaged cereals – and the cereal aisle in a supermarket more generally – are the same.

Well, I walked in to work this week to find my colleague’s bag of muesli sitting on the kitchen bench. Now, it’s not often you see the words ‘Fructose Free’ on any kind of packaging, but Aussie Health Snax have done it – I soon found out after a quick google – on a number of cereal products. Brilliant! Go Aussies!

The only thing is…I’m a little bit of a Scrooge when it comes to this stuff. I get that the market is smaller for these companies trying to cater for people like me, and I understand that this has to be reflected in their prices. I really do. And for those who prefer the convenience of someone else sourcing the ingredients, having it made, packaged AND delivered to their door – I totally get that a lot of the time you would rather save the time (as opposed to the money).

I – on the other hand – get a lot of pleasure out of spending the time strolling around food aisles, designing and redesigning my recipe ideas, discovering alternatives and of course, playing with measurements, utensils and flavours back in the kitchen itself. And to be frank, at $9.95 for a 700g bag, I can spend $20 and end up with twice that in mixture PLUS ingredients left over to mix up a whole other batch once I’ve eaten my way through the first lot. But please, don’t get me wrong – their products look great, and to be fair, I drew my inspiration from one of their bestsellers, Organic Quinoa Blend of Fruit Free Muesli and couldn’t be bothered going the extra mile to include the quinoa on my first run so…each to their own. I’ll give it a go next time though…famous last words.

  • 2 cups puffed brown rice
  • 2 cups corn flakes
  • 1/4 cup natural almonds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup linseeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut, shredded
  • 1/4 cup LSA meal
  • 1/4 cup psyllium husks
  • 1 tblsp cinnamon, ground
  • vanilla concentrate extract (to serve)

Optional additions…
2 cups quinoa, cooked and toasted
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup cacao nibs

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I quite literally just dumped everything in a big bowl, stirred it through and poured in into an air right container for storage. I might even try drizzling with coconut oil and toasting the whole lot in the oven next time…as I said earlier, with some quinoa. The best thing about making your own muesli is there are no rules! Mix ‘n’ match, pick ‘n’ mix and for goodness sake – enjoy!

I topped this batch with some (fructose free) fruit – banana or berries – soy milk and a little drizzle of vanilla concentrate extract. Or go without the fruit – still tasty, hot or cold! And outrageously easy. If you can spare the time. You can definitely spare the money. Just beware the psyllium husks – and the chia seeds, if you include them – those babies are machines at soaking up liquid, so have your milk at the ready if you like your muesli moist and creamy. Dare I say, we’re heading into bircher territory. And I say: go there.

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mike’s rice pudding

After a Thai-inspired dinner party I was left with an obscene amount of leftover rice. What is it about rice that makes it so tricky? It’s either burnt or gluggy, the wrong grain or too much grain! As it was I miscalculated my measurements and ended up with mountains of the stuff clogging up my fridge. But with a little trip down memory lane, I managed to find a very tasty way to start my day with an old favourite. My Dad used to cook us up this soul food for supper when we were kids. While this has a bit of an alternative spin on his recipe, I’m sure it would do him proud.

  • 1 cup cooked medium-long grain rice
  • knob of butter (use Coconut Oil or Nuttelex for a dairy-free alternative)
  • Tsp ground cinnamon
  • Tsp vanilla extract
  • Soy or almond milk to cover (or other milk alternative)

Optional additions…

  • Tblsp Linseed, Sesame and Almond meal (LSA)
  • Tblsp coconut flakes

In a small saucepan, melt the butter/oil. Add the cooked rice and stir through for 30 seconds. Sprinkle cinnamon over and stir through vanilla extract. Finally, add enough milk to cover the rice and simmer until the rice starts to soak it up. It will continue to thicken slightly on standing so make sure you take it off the stove with some liquid.

Serve immediately with another sprinkle of cinnamon. Some chopped banana on top might be a welcome addition too.

Serves 1.

Try this! Swap the rice for white quinoa and add some chia seeds or psyllium husks (one tablespoon should do the trick). Chia seeds and psyllium tend to soak up any liquid they can find. Chia then tends to bind together while psyllium becomes gel-like – both or either would help bind the quinoa together to create that ‘pudding’ consistency.