Sometimes – sometimes – I like a healthy start to the day. I’m not going to sit here and pretend to you that I eat oats, avocado or cottage cheese for breakfast every day, no one is that perfect, and also those devilish pain au chocolat, you know, exist. But, really what could be easier than Bircher muesli?
Porridge and those breakfast smoothies propelled me out of bed throughout winter and into spring, and in winter it’s truly the worst to resist the delicious comfort of fat to protect us from the elements. So, I gave myself a pat on the back all season.
This week though, I’m currently finishing off a batch of chocolate and berry muffins – a slightly frazzled last-minute practice for my recently released ebook (!) (still can’t quite believe it’s actually out there in the ether and not safely sitting in my files – I feel like a mother bird letting her chicks fly the nest) – and those muffins have been breakfast for the last three days. I’m never one to shy away from chocolate for breakfast, but after a while, I start hearing a voice in my head.
No, I’m not going insane (yet). This voice belongs to my friend who knows all about the gut and what and what-not to eat. As soon as I lift a muffin, chocolate or otherwise, to my lips, I hear her voice mutter something reproachful about a morning sugar-spike, and usually I’ll have eaten a big bowl of pasta the night before, so that can’t be a good combination? I still eat the muffin, obviously.
But maybe, maybe, it’s better to start the day as you mean to go on? Starting with something light, sweet, and creamy – which sounds like dessert for breakfast, something I can never resist no matter how many sugar spikes I probably have in a day or considering how likely my risk of diabetes is – yet with nutritional heft? The best of both worlds, does such a thing exist?
Bircher muesli has it all and more in spades.
Peaches and Bircher Muesli
Summer fruit is finally appearing on the supermarket shelves. It’s been a long six months of apples and pears because, despite appearances, the south of France has nothing exciting up its sleeve during the winter. First the melons came, so cute and petit, smaller than usual yet when lifted to my nose, that sweet melony scent hypnotised me into buying one. Then, last week, the peaches arrived. In a month or so, there will be crate after crate of them, spilling into the aisles and being sold for 50% off. Now though, to quote Gollum, they’re my precious.
I bought three of the ripest, yellowest peaches, their skins fuzzy and soft. A simple peach for breakfast is no problem in the summer, but no matter the season, I’m usually hungry within an hour. Blending a peach into a smoothie is just a travesty. Served over hot porridge, a peach seems incongruous, like a sexy sunbather forced into a dressing gown. But, Bircher muesli on the other hand carries off peaches remarkably well.
Bircher muesli has moved on from the days when it resembled saw dust and rabbit droppings – nowadays it’s positively provocative. Overnight oats have had their heyday and Bircher muesli has tagged along for the ride. A muddle of oats, water, grated apple, and your favourite fruits and spices shouldn’t really emerge as smooth and creamy as this does, and the fact it is so tantalising is what without a doubt gets me out of bed. The bed is so warm and cosy, yet there’s Bircher muesli waiting for me in the fridge – I almost jog to the kitchen.
The evening before, I take one of our many spare jars from the cupboard, add oats, water, maybe some dried fruit, and a pinch of salt, stir then slide it away for a night in the fridge. This is unadulterated Bircher muesli, no juice necessary. Fruit juice adds sweet flavour, but I’ve realised it just piles in a couple of tablespoons of sugar which it doesn’t need.
The next morning, I add grated apple, a touch of spice, and now, because summer might possibly be starting soon? (any weather people out there, please comment below), there’s juicy peach garnishing the top. Add a spoonful of salty peanut butter, and my breakfast is in business.
Thanks to Bircher muesli, pain au chocolat is less of a priority. I say less, it’s never not a priority.
Find my free ebook here! If you get hungry after breakfast, but it’s unacceptably early to eat lunch, this recipe book is for you!
Peach Bircher Muesli
- 30 g oats rolled or quick-cook
- 30 ml water
- 1 tbsp dried fruit sultanas, raisins
- Pinch of salt
- 1 eating/dessert apple
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground ginger
- 1 ripe peach
- 1 tbsp peanut butter optional
- Flaked almonds to serve
- A splash of milk optional
- Tip the oats into a jar or plastic tub and cover with the water. Add the dried fruit and pinch of salt, stir and cover then put in the fridge for 3 hours or preferably overnight so then it's ready for breakfast the next day.
- The next day, the oats will be thick and creamy. Grate the apple on a box grater and tip it all into a bowl along with any juice. Add the Bircher muesli, the cinnamon and ginger and stir to combine.
- Halve the peach and remove the stone. Chop into wedges or chunks and add to the bowl of Bircher muesli, along with the peanut butter and almonds. Serve with a splash of milk if you wish.