I have a love/hate relationship with breakfast. I know it is the most important meal of the day to set us up for the day ahead. And in the weekends when there is more time at hand it is not unusual to have two or three breakfast sittings in our house. However, my struggle with this essential meal happens during the weekday morning juggle. For 1. I am not really that hungry first thing in the morning with hunger setting in around the time we are leaving the house to do the school run, and 2. there is just so much to do in the morning – make school lunches, comb and plait hair, brush three sets of teeth, and the list goes on… Sigh… I am sure I am not the only one with this conundrum so I am sharing my go-to, on-the-run, in-the-car, whenever, breakfast that I hope you will love as much as I do.
I started making this soaked bircher muesli to take on the plane when I am teaching a cooking workshop out of town. The early starts mean I am far from hungry until I am checked in and sitting on the plane. I simply prepare and soak the muesli in a travel container in the evening before I fly, add toppings in the morning, secure the lid and tuck it into my carry on. Depending on the season I spruce it up with a variety of flavours – including extra warming spice in winter – and top with seasonal fruit. With the recent drop in temperature I have been craving chai spices and they match perfectly with a drizzle of maple syrup and dollop of local cream. (A little heads up for any Nelsonians reading this – the fresh cream from Ratabank Farms (The Glen) milk vending machine is Out. Of. This. World. – there is no drizzling going on here, more like squeeze and dollop!)
*Before I get to the recipe a quick note about my cooking workshops. For the next 3 – 4 months I will run a small number of workshops in Nelson only while I wrap up my new cookbook – more details coming soon! To be notified about upcoming workshops please subscribe to my events newsletter HERE.
I love chai, however, I find the concentrates and powders used in cafes way too sweet and not enough spice. Several years ago I shared my Chai Tea Mix HERE that I make throughout the winter. I have used the same spice combo in this bircher to deliver some internal warmth on these cold mornings, however, if you don't have all the spices just make do with what you have on hand. Because my preference is to use whole spices I use a small mortar and pestle to grind 1 whole clove and the seeds of one cardamom pod to add to the mix.
3/4 cup milk of choice
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds* or 2 tablespoons extra rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger or finely grated fresh ginger
pinch of ground cardamom
pinch of ground clove
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
maple syrup or honey
cream or coconut cream
grated apple or pear
- Gently warm the milk in a small saucepan. Combine the remaining ingredients in bowls or jars per person and evenly pour over the milk, stirring to combine. At this stage the mix will be quite wet but it will swell overnight. Cover and set aside to soak. In the morning drizzle with maple syrup/honey, add a drizzle or dollop of cream, and top with grated apple. Tip: soak the bircher in a thermos overnight for a tummy warming bircher in the morning.
*The chia seeds are optional, however, they do add a lovely texture to the Bircher as well as nutrition boost of omega 3 and soluble fibre.