SAMSUNG CSCWe’ve come home from holiday and our plum tree has positively exploded, so there’s no prizes for guessing what we are eating in abundance at the moment!

Using oats soaked in water or juice overnight, bircher muesli is like a summery and scrummier version of porridge. It’s healthy, packed with flavour and, being low GI, I find it keeps those pesky hunger gremlins away till lunchtime. It’s also super versatile, you can substitute the plums for most fruit (it’s awesome with berries), similarly you can ditch the almonds in favour of walnuts, pistachios,  or even biff in some seeds (sunflower and pumpkin are great).

Note, the list of ingredients may look like this isn’t going to be a speedy breakfast, but trust me, it is! I soak the oats overnight, chop up the almonds and fruit ahead of time and you just chuck it altogether in the morning (it’s way quicker than making my usual poached eggs). Besides, my hot hubby put this together this morning for his breakfast at 4.30am before work, so there’s no excuse really!

At the bottom of the post, if you feel like experimenting, I’ve included my  original bircher muesli recipe (we’ve been having this on an off for a decade) and there’s also a list of ways to change up your muesli based on what might be in your pantry!

Ingredients (makes two hefty servings or three medium sized)
4 plums – chopped into small pieces
1 c rolled oats (you want rolled, not the wholegrain variety!)
1/2 c water (or apple juice)
A smidgen (e.g. 2 matchstick heads) of pure vanilla bean paste (you could also use 1/4 tsp vanilla extract)
1 apple – grated
Milk (a couple of tablespoons)
Dollop of yogurt (of your choice, I like vanilla)
12 roasted almonds – roughly chopped
2 tlb flaked almonds
Drizzle of honey

Step 1: Distribute the rolled oats between two cereal bowls and add 1/4 c water (or juice) and a teeny amount of vanilla paste. Mix it up (go on, use your finger = less dishes…). Set aside to soak overnight (I just cover it and leave it to sit on the bench). Note, half an hour soaking will do the trick, but I reckon an overnight soak gives the best results.

Step 2: In the morning, stir a little milk (about a tablespoon) and dollop of yogurt to achieve the desired consistency. Put half the grated apple in each bowl, biff in the chopped almonds and stir. Top with the plums and 1 tlb of flaked almonds for extra crunch. If your yoghurt is unsweetened, you may like to drizzle a little runny honey over the top.

That’s it!

Keen to mix up your bircher? Here’s my original recipe, as well as a suggestion list of other ingredients you can use.

Lou’s Bircher Muesli recipe

Ingredients (makes two hefty servings, or three medium sized)
1 c rolled oats (you want rolled, not the wholegrain variety!)
1/2 c water (or apple juice)
1 apple – grated
1 banana – chopped
Yogurt (of your choice, I like vanilla)
12 roasted almonds – roughly chopped
Maple syrup or honey (hubby likes the former, I like the latter)

* Soak oats overnight. In the morning add almonds, a tablespoon of milk, a dollop of yogurt and stir. Add grated apple and banana and drizzle with honey or maple syrup.

Bircher muesli can be made with a wide variety of ingredients. Here are some ways to mix it up!

Liquid: In the place of water/apple juice try soy, rice or almond milk.
Fruit: Use whatever is in season! In the winter, try raisins, cranberries, craisins or other dried fruit. Coconut flakes are great too, as is stewed fruit.
Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds. I like adding a couple of teaspoons of LSA to mine.
Sweetener: Use honey, maple syrup or brown sugar (or better still, go without… Rumour has it we could all benefit from less sugar consumption…)