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Morning musings 16 July 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Happiness, Life.
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3 comments

For those of you who know me, you know that I am definitely not a morning person. I love my sleep, and can’t think of a worse way to start my day than by getting up.

Worse still is getting up early. It’s that awful realisation when the alarm goes off that this is it. It’s those long, drawn out minutes where I have to will my brain to start ticking so I won’t fall back to sleep. And it is the negotiation that starts between my brain and my body of how many minutes I am allowed to snooze. This morning, it was 29.

But this morning was also one of those rare moments of bliss. Once I had dragged myself up, had a shower, and was dressed enough to go into the living room, I sat in the couch facing the window, and was stirred from my thoughts by gorgeous little chirps.

Chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp. Three chirps rising in pitch, one falling.

It was a tiny little bul-bul. His mouth would open, his throat widen and his little chest would heave to push out the song. He was sitting right there on the banister to my balcony, serenading a female.

It was beautifully serene.

And although I am still tired, I love the fact that I was up at six thirty this morning to see my little friend.

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Breakfast Muesli 17 June 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Baking, Cooking, Happiness, Vietnam.
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1 comment so far

I love me a bit of cereal in the morning. But growing up on Kellogg’s Cornflakes has now made me less appreciative of it. Too much of a good thing, I suppose. So my ideal breakfast now (when I have time) is a big bowl of fruit, fresh yoghurt on top, sprinkled with chunkey, healthy Muesli, and lightly criss crossed with honey.

In Vietnam, though, I have learnt that Muesli is not a commodity, but a luxury. A small bag of the stuff will easily cost in the range of 15-20 dollars. Fruit, on the other hand, is plentiful and cheap. And the local yoghurt! My goodness, you cannot pass up on Cafe 252 (also known as Catherine Deneuve’s regular hangout when she was here filming ‘Indochine’, and can be found in 252 Hang Bong, Hanoi) homemade yoghurt. It is fresh, tangy, and with no added sugar!

And honey is sold everywhere here.

Which brings me back to the Muesli. I now make my own. A point to make, though, is that a lot of Muesli calls for oil to bind the ingredients together, to get that clumping effect. Luckily, I have learnt from the Baking Bites blog that you can often replace oil with apple sauce (in cakes, you can replace about half, in Muesli, you can replace all) and it will still give you the same desired effect. But slighly healthier.

So here’s my recipe (modified from Baking Bites, but ingredients change depending on what I can find)

Apple-tastic Muesli

Ingredients:
4 cups of rolled oats (or, if in a pinch, porridge oats)
2 cups bran
1 cup of dessicated coconut
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar (brown if you have)
3/4 cup of plain apple sauce (home made is ok)
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp of vanilla or almond extract

chopped nuts or seeds, like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, +++ (at least one cup)
chopped, dried fruit, like dried pineapple, sultanas, paw paw, star fruit, +++ (at least one cup)

Method:
– Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl (except for the dry fruit, which should only be added after baking).
– Mix all the wet ingredients in another bowl (count sugar as a wet ingredient).
– Combine the two, stir well to wet all the dry ingredients.
– Place mixture in a baking dish, and place in an oven at 200 C.
– When the mixture starts going slightly brown (10 minutes), spoon it over to do the other side. Do this until the mixture is quite dry and roasted.
– Cool the mixture, mix in the chopped fruit, and voila!

Enjoy!