Beckett Food

Know your muesli

This week sees the launch of the Food Court’s Healthy Option Breakfast Menu. Alongside the classic cooked menu you’ll find an array of fruit salads, mueslis, yogurts, hot pastries and toasted breads to jazz up your morning. To help give you a flavour we wanted to share some of the juicy details behind a few of our favourites from the menu.

Muesli is a staple in many households, one of the most versatile and varied breakfast options. The combination of oats, fruit and nuts makes for a perfect cereal topping or even a meal in itself. It’s a personal favourite of Leeds Beckett’s Executive Chef, David Parker, who joined us from Bettys last year. It’s a signature dish at Bettys and David has brought it to our University with a new twist to give it a healthy lift. In honour of its inclusion into the new Breakfast Bar menu, we thought we’d give you a little introduction to one particular type of muesli with a fresh and tangy kick.

In pursuit of a fruitier alternative, Swiss doctor and nutritionist Maximilian Bircher-Benner developed a recipe for his charges at his Zurich health centre. At the turn of the last century, fruit wasn’t quite yet in vogue so Bircher-Benner’s recipe was a bit of a specialty. As a young man he had become convinced that apples had cured his jaundice, a theory that turned him into something of a fruit and veg pioneer. His muesli recipe itself flips the traditional fruit-oat ratio on its head, favouring far fewer grains and a lot of grated apple.

The original consisted of:

1 tablespoon rolled oats, soaked in 2–3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon condensed milk
200 grams apple (about one large, preferably a sour variety), finely grated and mixed with the above directly before serving
topped with 1 tablespoon ground hazelnuts or almonds

For the purists among you, Bircher-Benner’s recipe included condensed milk due to heightened concerns about TB. Contemporary recipes tend to favour milk, Greek yoghurt and/or cream so you can play about to find your perfect balance. At the Food Court, crème fraiche and fresh milk is used to enrich fruit juices and grated apple to provide the perfect balance of sweetness and sharpness. The lemon juice in the original would most likely have been added to counter the sweetness of the condensed milk, so this is something else you might want to look into experimenting with.

If you’re a muesli fan or looking for a tangy alternative to soggy Weetabix then why not give it a go? Or you can head down and visit the new Breakfast Bars at the Rose Bowl or Headingley Campus Food Courts to have a try!