Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Sometimes it takes a newbie, a NKOTB, a maverick, to point out the blinding obvious... in this case it was cheeky upstart Mr Muesli Lover and his discovery of a new porridge. Not even new, just quite clever. I'm amazed ML had never thought of it...
It simple: use ML's homemade muesli to make porridge, instead of porridge oats. Having sprinkled granola on muesli, added seeds to the oats and topped with chopped dried fruit, I'm not quite sure why it hadn't occurred to ML herself.
My muesli is a mixture of oats, seeds, nuts and dried fruit, often with some oat bran or flax thrown in. It sucks up quite a bit of milk when you make it into porridge but the result is a yummily thick and luscious concoction. Well done Mr ML.
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
We finally made it there and can decree that it was worth the wait. We were joined by fellow bloggers, the Kennington Runoff crew, who despite their south London bias, agreed to venture north of the river to compare notes on our respective neighbourhood brunch options (check out their review of the Tea House Theatre last month).
Mamacita is a riot of colourful chairs, clutter and Frida Kahlo, who lends her name to the bar downstairs. The ground-floor restaurant is a clattery and easy-going affair that works day or night.
The brunch menu features some Mexican classics (spoken from a Brit perspective), including huevos rancheros (£5.50) and breakfast burrito (£7.50), alongside a load of more imaginative dishes featuring avocado, eggs, chilli and lime. I had the spicy baked eggs (£7, above), which were superb in texture and taste, with salty pancetta battling smooth yoghurt. My only grumble was that the yolks were a little firm to really enjoy a really sumptuous toast dipper.
The KR crew gave the buttermilk blueberry pancakes (£8) the thumbs up. Fluffy, light and served hot. A little more fruit would have gone down well, but otherwise a resounding yes. Likewise for the coffee, although the more rock and roll might have opted for the mimosa or Mexican spiced bloody mary. While not willing to sing from the rooftops, lest they offend their SE11 comrades, I could tell the KR crew would be back for more... Northerners, we may not have won the war, but I reckon we could chalk up a victory in the Mexican-themed brunch stakes...
Saturday, 22 February 2014
Muesli Lover's favourite coffee spot in West Hampstead (Wired) is now serving breakfast from 7.30am (9am on Saturdays). Yeehaw. Mr and Mrs ML can now indulge themselves in the practice of eating bread toasted and spread by someone else and porridge made to order. Yes, we can make it at home, but it tastes so much better when someone else has done the hard work... especially when served alongside a delicious coffee.
Wednesday, 19 February 2014
ML's friends at Kennington Runoff report on a local breakfast favourite:
The Tea House Theatre is a place where you won't feel inhibited in settling in for decent stretch of time- they have an open fire during the colder months, board games, and stacks of books. Closer inspection does reveal many of them to be the same book, however- The Dangerous Book for Boys, authored by Hal Iggulden, who also happens to run the place.
Based in a converted Victorian pub on the edge of what used to be the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens (now rather more prosaically named Spring Gardens), The Tea House Theatre takes its tea very seriously, as might be expected given their name. We chose a pot of jasmine tea for two, but the tea menu runs to many pages, taking in varieties of black, white, green, oolong, pu'erh, and herbal infusions listed alongside their medicinal properties. You can even create your own blend, but be prepared to pay Mayfair prices for the speciality teas (our pot of Jasmine for two came in at £9), or plump for a mug of Tetley for £1. They’re so militant about their tea that they make a point of not serving coffee.
We also ordered kedgeree, and a Half Nelson, the Tea House's take on the vegetarian full English. One half of Kennington Runoff likes to think of herself as a kedgeree aficionado, never having yet tasted a better kedgeree than Mother Kennington Runoff's (the Albion and Delaunay versions are not bad but a touch too heavy - and coming to ML next month, so you can make it yourself), so was excited to sample a local kedgeree.
Verdict- flavours were decent, but it shouldn't be served with a big side salad taking up half the plate (distinctly unbreakfasty), and the pieces of fish were minuscule. The Half Nelson was a good size, with nice veggie sausages. They make their own marmalade and jams, all for sale by the jar, and their teas can be bought by the ounce to take away. And yes, sometimes there is theatre, not to mention film screenings, a knitting club, chess club, and a debating society (more like a Radio 4 panel game).
It’s also exceptionally baby friendly – sometimes it feels like the babies outnumber the adults. Well worth returning to The Tea House Theatre outside breakfast hours to try their delicious cakes- served in very deep slices, as well as scones, brownies and florentines. The breakfast menu is served all day, though, if you want a run-up to your cake.
Details: www.teahousetheatre.co.uk, open from 8am (except Sundays - 10am and Wednesdays - 11am)
Wednesday, 12 February 2014
This is possibly the simplest granola I've come across in a while - just toasted oats in honey and rapeseed oil. I guess it's not even technically a granola, and the makers, Midfields Granola, call it honey flakes, but I think it just sneaks into the granola category.
Its simplicity means it is healthier than many rivals with no added sugar bar the honey and toasted in Somerset rapeseed oil. The result is a wholesome, crunchy cereal that works well on yoghurt, sprinkled on porridge or simply with ice cold milk.
This Devon company has a whole range of granolas (a few are pictured in the promo shot above) including other wheat-free varieties, one baked in Sweet Freedom (natural fruit syrup from grapes, apples and carob), a seedy one, a spelt one, a cranberry and brazil nut one. There really is something for every granola lover.
The business started when B&B owner Sharon Davies found her granola was in hot demand and after selling it at home she ventured to the local deli, then went global (well, national), supplying farm shops, bakeries and hotels. The rest, as they say...
Fuel Granola (for men)
Food Doctor Granola
Dorset Cereal's Chocolate Granola
Emily's home-made honey nut granola
Rude Health Granola
Blackberry Granola muffin recipe
Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Regular readers of Muesli Lover will know that I'm something of a North Norfolk-lover. I grew up on a diet of New Forest ponies and Cornwall beaches, but my head was turned in the past decade, and I now get my British seaside kicks in this Instagram-friendly corner of East Anglia.
So, it's been rather lovely to see something of an evolution in the local breakfast scene in that time. While the Deepdale Cafe remains a firm favourite, Byfords a filled croissant delight, and relative newcomer Cafe Blah a bacon sarnie hit, for porridge, Well's Deli hits the spot.
I popped there after a jog on Hunstanton Beach, slowed by the striking layered cliffs and shipwreck (pictured above - plus the dunes on a warm New Englandy kind of day), and in need of a hug in a mug.
This duly came in the form of an elegantly presented steaming pot of porridge topped with sliced banana, apple, cinnamon and honey. It was creamy and just runny enough, and especially warming when helped down by a mocha (ML finds the coffee a little watery and a touch bitter). Breakfast offerings also stretch to English muffins stuffed with bacon, egg, sausage or all three if you've really exerted yourself.
Details: www.wellsdeli.co.uk, Open from 9am
Wednesday, 29 January 2014
I'm yet to succumb to the full Nespresso kit, but have capitulated on this rather natty device. If you're partial to frothy coffees and are a little frustrated by the lack of milk texture you can achieve at home, the Aeroccino is £46 well spent.
It heats and froths (or just froths) in an achingly cool silent minute or so, is easy to clean, takes up little kitchen worktop space and produces delicious froth. My only grumble is that it could be a degree or two hotter, but if you're adding it to part boiling water, it's perfect.