Thursday, 26 August 2010

Breakfast in a Mug competition: win Cornishware mugs

Many moons ago, when HMV sold cassette singles and Gordon the Gopher was a household name, Muesli Lover would munch breakfast from a mug.

I'd half-fill a mug with Coco Pops, top it up with ice cold milk and chomp it, standing up, and usually perched against the Aga.

More recently, mug breakfasts have come into their own again - camping, festivals and late night munchies being prime opportunities... for steaming porridge, bircher muesli and, on one occasion, mashed banana with oats, a dollop of creme friache, honey and almonds (yum).

Now I'm asking you to divulge your best recipes for the Muesli Lover Breakfast in a Mug competition. The two recipes judged the best by our fabulous chef and judge Neil Haydock, will each win a set of wonderful Cornishware mugs.

The competition

Send your breakfast in a mug recipe to us using the comment form below, stating your preference for the Girls' or Boys' mug sets. The best two recipes will be picked by much-loved chef Neil Haydock, who is Executive Chef at The Hotel & Extreme Academy in Watergate Bay, Cornwall, making him the perfect choice to pick the tastiest, most imaginative recipe.

The two winning recipes will then be concocted/cooked/created by Muesli Lover and will feature in a special winners' blog post.

If you need inspiration, check our Neil's favourite Breakfast in a Mug recipe here.

Sign up for notifications when you comment to be updated with the choice of the winners. You've got until midnight September 10th to enter. Good luck!

The prize

Cornishware’s iconic blue and white stripes, inspired by the cloudless skies and frothing waves of the West Country, are a frequent companion to Muesli Lover in the kitchen (current favourite is the measuring jug - see my Dutch spice breakfast loaf post for a piccie).

Cornishware's range includes jugs, plates, mugs and storage jars, all in vintage-chic striped style. A new addition to the Kitchenware range is the Cornishware multi-coloured mug sets.

Muesli Lover is very excited to be giving away two sets as prizes for the best Breakfast in a Mug recipes.

There's two four-mug sets to give away - ‘FOR THE GIRLS’, in soft ice-cream shades reminiscent of faded seaside bunting, and ‘FOR THE BOYS’, in rich, bold russet red, teal green, jet black and classic blue. They are worth a whopping £40 per set.

You can see the full range at, you can follow Cornishware on Twitter and sign up to the newsletter.

Terms and conditions

There are two prizes – 1 x ‘FOR THE GIRLS’ four-mug set and 1 x ‘FOR THE BOYS four-mug set
Prizes are non-transferable and non-exchangeable and there are no cash or credit alternatives available
In the event of circumstances outside its control, the promoter reserves the right to substitute an alternative prize of equal or greater value should the prize be unavailable for any reason
Deliveries in the UK only
The judge, named above, will pick the two winners. The judge's decision is final

Neil Haydock's Breakfast in a Mug

Muesli Lover is thrilled to welcome Neil Haydock to the fold.

Neil is Executive Chef The Hotel & Extreme Academy in Watergate Bay, Cornwall, and his most recent accolade is head judge of The Muesli Lover Breakfast in a Mug competition.

Neil has had an incredible career, including time working at Fifteen, Cornwall, in the Caribbean, as the Chef de Cuisine at Michael Winner's favourite, Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados and closer to home, at London's Bluebird restaurant.

Here Neil shares his favourite breakfast in a mug recipe.

I hope it will provide inspiration for your recipe. Send it in for a chance to win one of two sets of gorgeous Cornishware mugs. Full details here.

Neil Haydock's breakfast in a mug:

"My earliest memory of eating breakfast from a mug is still my favourite.

Take a couple of boiled eggs, which I like on the runny side, peel them and pop them in a cup with a good knob of butter some sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and mash them up with a fork

Served up with soldiers made from extra thick toast with plenty of salted butter melted in: delish!"

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Rude Health's The Granola

The cereal aisle at the supermarket used to be a smorgasbord of lurid boxes, sugar-coated flakes and very little prandial inspiration. No wonder most people leave only minutes for breakfast every morning, or don't bother at all.

Thankfully, the last couple of years have seen some wonderful additions to our breakfast bowls - nutty muesli and crunchy granola, with or without raisins, without added sugar, natural, organic, healthy even.

I try to keep up with the latest releases, but there's so much choice, I'm joyfully overwhelmed.

The latest addition to my cereal cupboard is Rude Health's granola.

It has no added salt and sugar - which is a good start for me. It's also organic, and the base is oats, plus spelt and barley, which enriches the flavour.

You'd never know looking at it - the samey toffee colour and uniform granular texture belie the taste. I like a granola or muesli to look more chunky and wholesome than this, and it's not quite as crunchy as I'd like, but the flavour is wonderful - a natural sweetness and nuttiness that doesn't overwhelm the grains.

The £5.99 price tag for 500g puts it at the pricier end of the scale. If you want to make the box last, try mixing it with oats before pouring over whole milk, pouring yoghurt or a dollop of natural yoghurt.

Rude Health's The Granola recently won two Gold Stars at the Great Taste Awards - not bad going for a rookie granola.

Read my other granola reviews and recipes:

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Recipe: blackberry granola breakfast muffins

Wednesday morning started rather well for Muesli Lover. First came a blackberry granola muffin, then the opportunity to publish the recipe on my blog.

The muffins are the creation of Alice Hart, food writer and author of the glorious Alice's Cook Book.

This recipe is published on The Times website, alongside a video of Alice baking the muffins from her camper van in Battersea Park (you have to subscribe to see it). It's a lovely little video, and I'm very jealous of her powder blue van, let alone her culinary skills.

The muffins are wonderful - really juicy and fruity, and perfect served with a dollop of yoghurt for breakfast.

Blackberry granola muffin recipe - makes 12 plump muffins

Hands-on time: 20 minutes

100g unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the tin
125g plain flour
125g wholemeal plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
150g light brown soft sugar
250ml fromage frais
or plain yogurt
1½ tsp vanilla extract
2 large free-range eggs
125g granola cereal
150g blackberries
3 tbsp chopped hazelnuts

Lightly butter a 12-hole muffin tin, or line each hole with a paper case. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 170ºC/350°F/gas mark 4.

Sift the flours, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and tip in the bran that won’t pass through the sieve. Stir in the sugar. Whisk the fromage frais or yogurt, melted butter, vanilla and eggs together, add the wet ingredients to the dry, along with the granola and berries, and stir quickly until just combined. Don’t over-mix; less beating equals lighter muffins.

Spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared tin and sprinkle with the nuts. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20–25 minutes, until golden and risen.

Allow to cool in the tin for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Eat warm or cool. They will keep in a cool place, in an airtight container, for up to three days.

This recipe is from Alice’s Cookbook by Alice Hart (Quadrille £14.99)
(Picture: Nick Wyke)

Friday, 20 August 2010

The Town Mill Bakery organic muesli

Some people get fridge magnet souvenirs. This week, I got muesli.

It was kindly brought back from Dorset by a friend. I'd never heard of the Town Mill Bakery in Lyme Regis, but having tasted the muesli, it's now on my hit list.

The premise is simple - 30 different kinds of organic bread, freshly baked every day. Breakfasters sit at long wooden communal tables, toast their own bread and slather on organic butter, local honey and jam.

There's also boiled eggs, pastries, and of course the organic muesli. It's been such a success that the business has now expanded to three restaurants and three bakeries, and makes the bread for the Riverford Farm box scheme.

Back to the muesli - it's an oat base that's been lightly toasted with generous dollops of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, whole and flaked almonds, cashews, walnuts, apricots, cranberries, raisins, dates... and counting.

It's sensational - nutty, not overly toasted, so definitely still in the muesli camp, and delicately sweetened with honey and fruit juice.

A wonderful muesli, very gratefully received. Now, where do I sign for mail order...

(Pictures: Mark Frary)

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Recipe: spicy baked eggs with ham and tomato

I've been meaning to try baked eggs for ages - I love eggs for breakfast and this recipe is a really easy way to cook them - very little hassle and hardly any washing up. It's also healthy - low fat and no dairy (minus the bready accompaniment).

It takes around 25 minutes to prepare, but is worth the wait - a gorgeous baked pot of oozy tomato, egg and ham to dip your bread into over the morning papers.


1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sweet noble paprika (hot or smoked can also be used but are stronger)
1 small dried chilli, finely chopped
Few fresh basil leaves, torn
3 slices thick-cut cooked ham, roughly chopped (or cooked lardons)
2 eggs
Bread/muffin/farl/pitta/tortilla to serve

Set the oven to 190 degrees C.

Warm the oil in the pan on a low heat then fry the garlic for a couple of seconds (any longer and it will burn). Add the tomatoes, paprika and chilli and simmer for around 10 minutes until thickened.

Stir in the basil and strips of ham and divide between two large ramekins or mini baking pots. Crack an egg on top of each, season and put in the oven for around 12-14 minutes until the egg is baked.

Serve with warmed sourdough bread/muffin/farl/pitta/tortilla etc...

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Recipe: Jamie Oliver's kedgeree

I had brunch at my friend, Ed's, house last week. He made kedgeree - but not just any kedgeree. He tackled Jamie Oliver's version, with this biblical ingredients list and terrifyingly time-consuming methodology.

Ed had clearly been at it for some time when we arrived - poached, flaked haddock on one plate, boiled, peeled eggs on another, chopped coriander on the board.

We got stuck into Bloody Marys while he finished up.

It was stunning - less eggy than some versions I've had - and more fresh. In true Jamie style it is colourful, as opposed to the yellow/beige versions one usually gets.

I can't recommend it highly enough - thanks Ed for making the effort.


2 large free-range or organic eggs
680g undyed smoked haddock fillets, pinboned
2 fresh bay leaves
170g long grain or basmati rice
sea salt
110 pure butterghee
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 medium onion or 1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 heaped tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
juice of 2 lemons
2 good handfuls of fresh coriander, leaves picked and chopped
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
a small pot of natural yoghurt

Boil the eggs for 10 minutes, then hold under cold running water. Put the fish and bay leaves in a shallow pan with enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from pan and leave to cool. Remove the skin from fish, flake into chunks and set aside.

Cook the rice in salted water for about 10 minutes and drain. Refresh in cold water, drain again, and leave in the fridge until needed. Melt the butterghee in a pan over a low heat. Add the ginger, onion and garlic. Soften for about 5 minutes, then add the curry powder and mustard seeds. Cook for a further few minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes and lemon juice.

Quarter the eggs. Add the fish and rice to a pan and gently heat through. Add the eggs, most of the coriander and the chilli and stir gently. Place in a warm serving dish. Mix the rest of the coriander into the yoghurt and serve with the kedgeree.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Before and after, The Serpentine Bar & Kitchen

It's nice to find a cafe with a peachy setting AND decent food. It always seems to be that eateries in hotspots do duff food - something about complacency and too much tourist moola I guess...

Benugo does the catering at this gorgeous lakeside cafe, Serpentine Bar & Kitchen, in Hyde Park, and does a great job at breakfast.

Sadly, we came too late for the full breakfast menu, and were non too plussed to be told "we stopped serving breakfast four minutes ago".

However, the tray of smoothie, croissant, pain au chocolat and muffin were exceptional, and I shall be going back to try the bircher muesli and eggs benedict.

The breakfast power smoothie, of apple juice, Greek yoghurt, coconut milk, raisins, prunes, oats and honey (£2.50) is excellent - creamy, naturally sweet and really filling.

The pastries were good too - a crispy outer layer giving way to chewy interior. The muffin was good, but tasted a few hours too old and had a touch too much fruit.

Serpentine Bar & Kitchen, Hyde Park; open 8am-midday weekdays, from 9am weekends

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Festival breakfasts

Chilli bacon scrambled egg in pitta at Latitude Festival, Suffolk

Stoat's Porridge with whisky and honey at T in the Park, Scotland

Homemade muesli with yoghurt, banana and halwa at Bestival, Isle of Wight - read my post about it

Friday, 6 August 2010

Recipe: Trish Deseine’s chocolate granola

A special treat this week - the famous chef, chocolate-lover and author Trish Deseine has supplied Muesli Lover with her chocolate granola recipe, exclusively.

The chocolate chips are from her new Chocolate by Trish range, and are delicious, rich, dark, nutty chocolate - don't use the cheap stuff if you're making this at home.

I had it with whole milk, and on top of yoghurt and sliced banana - both delicious.

Makes 3 big bowls

Preparation – 5 minutes
Cooking – 5 minutes


125g chocolate chips
40g rolled oat flakes
1 tbsp pistachios
1 tbsp almond flakes
1 tbsp pecans (or hazelnuts, almonds, macademia nuts)
1 tbsp coconut flakes
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp runny honey

Turn the oven to 180 C

Mix all the ingredients together. Spread out over a baking tray and grill for 5 to 7 minutes until the mixture turns a beautiful golden colour.

Give the tray a shake half way through cooking so the mixture doesn’t stick together. Leave to cool.

Serve in a bowl with milk or yoghurt and fresh fruit... and big warm socks.