Friday, 31 December 2010

The anti-Christmas breakfast



Just a gratuitous little fruity pic here - I was seriously craving this breakkie after five days of ham, eggs, caramel oaty goodness and all manner of indulgent Christmas breakfasts.

It's belched a fair bit of carbon to get to my bowl, given the non-seasonal and somewhat exotic nature of this haul, but boy, did it taste delicious (that, and serve 11 people over three days).

Just peel and chop the fruit and serve with plain yoghurt, drizzly honey and toasted seeds or granola (great granola recipe here).

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Recipe: Jane's oat carmelita bars





Christmas calls for outrageous gastronomic indulgence, so why stop at 8,000 calories when you can push it to a round 10,000? Or rather, here's a delicious and devilish recipe that is the perfect breakfast for fuelling a day's hiking...

It was made for me this Christmas by my mother-in-law, and there wasn't a single person who didn't make a sublime happy face after eating one, shortly before reaching for a second.

It's oaty, which is how I've just about reconciled my concious to include it on this blog, and I really did eat one for breakfast. So easy - here goes...

Ingredients

2 cups of flour
2 cups oatmeal/oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups melted butter

Combine above ingredients and press half of the mixture in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 10 minutes.

Frosting ingredients

12 oz/350g chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1 12 oz/350g jar caramel ice cream topping
6 tbsp plain flour

Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts over baked mixture. Combine caramel topping with flour. Pour over the chocolate chips and nuts. Top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Chill for easy cutting.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Recipe: Emily's honey nut granola


Who better to provide Muesli Lover with a granola recipe than an all-American chef, and a seriously talented one at that... The States did, afterall invent the yumcious toasted cereal, and then there's the fact that Emily Cafazzo is a rising star of the US chef scene.

Three days of Emily's food and I was rolling, delirious and over-awed by her stunning combination of modern American-meets Panamian creations, out of the Popa Paradise Beach Resort, where she currently cooks up a storm.

Her breakfasts were divine (see 5 days of Panama breakfasts picture story), and as a parting gift I was given the recipe for her granola.

It's a wonderful nutty, just sweet enough, combination, and every morsel of it had a satisfying crunch. The secret is in the long gentle baking and turning, and in the small oats... Here it is...

Ingredients

3 cups of oats
1 cup of almonds
1 cup of cashews
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of oil (olive, ground nut or rapeseed are ML's favourites)
1 cup chopped dried fruit (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C, so very low).
Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients and add to dry.
Place on a baking tray with shallow sides and stir every 15 minutes for two hours (ML: that's love for you). Once toasted, remove and add chopped dried fruit if you wish.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Picture story: 5 days of breakfast in Panama

Carimanola: yucca fritters stuffed with ground beef and spicy tomato cream dipping sauce

The menu at Popa Paradise Beach Resort

Popa Paradise's delicious (and moreish) banana bread

Fresh Panamian melon, papaya and pineapple

Huevos Revueltos: scrambled egg with onion, carrot, peppers and tomato

Breakfast of 'frankfurters', 'cheese slices' and 'Kuna bread' at the Carti Homestay in Kuna Yala (after a supper of lobster the night before!)

Panama-style corn tortilla with biftek (beef skirt slow cooked with onions and peppers). A bargain $3 at Restaurante Angela in Pedasi (below). Shame about the synthetic orange juice...


Punto de Encuentro, Boquete, also known as Olga's. Fresh papaya and pineapple juice, and some of its eccentric American expat customers

The exhaustive breakfast menu at Olga's...

Tostadas con heuvos e jamon at Olga's... looks burnt, but tasted great


Huevos Revueltos at Olga's - corn tortillas topped with fried eggs and sauteed vegetables under a mountain of melted white cheese...

Cafe Coca Cola, one of the most famous old cantina cafes in Panama City...

Tortilla and biftek at Cafe Coca Cola. Looks average... tastes bueno

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Best breakfasts: Maudy’s Cafe, Panama





When I asked at Maudy’s Café about the cocktail selection, she just said: “Take a look at my smoothies and add rum.” One pina-col-ada later (pictured with the panama hat), and I was sold on Maudy’s.

It’s a tiny café in a tiny town called Pedasi on the southern tip of Panama’s Azuero peninsula. The region is hilly and lush, with cows, streams and long empty beaches. It’s oddly like the West Country, and points south over the Pacific Ocean, towards the Galapagos Islands.

Maudy wound up here from Holland via goodness knows where and makes the best smoothies, paninis and plantain chips in Panama. The breakfasts are a knockout too.

Her home-toasted granola is nutty, not too sweet and generously served over a splodge of local yoghurt and fresh tropical fruits. The fruits are sensational – plucked that morning, sun-ripened and a little reminder never to bother buying papaya in the UK again…

The toasty was local white cheese and pesto (a little European import), plus plantain chips and a fine frothy coffee.

If you ever happen to be passing, visit Maudy and her cockatoos for breakfast, a chat and a killer smoothie (rum optional), oh, and say hello from me.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Inflight meals: the BA breakfast




Not so long ago, bacon and eggs were a staple of inflight early morning cuisine, but that was before the Ryanair revolution, and before we had to pay for the seats for our bums, the space for our bags and, mostly definitely, the snacks in our hands.

On British Airways, the food is still free, albeit limited to limp sarnies on some flights. Once more, bacon and eggs is back on the breakfast menu, or it was on my recent flight. But this isn’t the variety that will leave yolky dribbles down a businessman’s tie, or waft delightful smells down the aisles when you arise on your transatlantic red eye.

No, eggs and bacon are back… in muffin form. Sound a bit Heston Blumenthal to you? Me too. Tastes not remotely Heston.

The muffin, apart from being served at ice lolly temperature, had a strange flecking of other, more colourful and unnamed ingredients and a lurid yellow sponge holding them together.

Thankfully, there was some good news from this cute-looking box of goodies. Some probiotics in a yoghurty drink, the sort of raisins I haven’t seen since my school lunch box days, and an unlabelled ball of brown goo in plastic.

This turned out to be a rather tasty oaty/flapjack concoction, and kept me more than satisfied until we hit the ground and I could head to the airport Garfunkels for some real eggs and bacon… now that’s a whole other story…

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Breakfast included: Wyck Hill House, Gloucestershire




Surroundings: Wyck Hill House is a handsome old Georgian pile in the Cotswolds just outside Stow-on-the-Wold, the pretty postcard-gracing town that's melted many a tourist's heart with its yellowy stone high street, boutiques, delis and knick-knacks. All but the stone cold heart of AA Gill, who famously enraged the town's residents with his "kitsch Mordor" remark.

He has a point - even MuesliLover found that Stow ventured into the red on the twee filter on more than one occasion (that and the very disappointing curdled soya cappuccino at the "New England Coffee House").

However, for walking, antiques browsing, straight-forward coffee drinking and a lovely English weekend away, Stow is lovely, and Wyck Hill a rather smart base from which to explore.

Buffet: a neat spread offered fresh and stewed fruit, yoghurt, cereals, mini pastries, juice and bread.

Hot stuff: I ordered scrambled egg with sausages, or rather, the most divine Cotswold sausages I've ever tasted - baked, not fried and cooked perfectly - I was raving about them all the way home. I've done them little justice with my iPhone pics, so you'll have to use your imagination.

The egg was good too - a rich taste, dark yellow and freshly cooked, rather than warmed under the heat lamp. A touch too whisked for my liking - I prefer a more 'chunky' texture and varied colour resulting from less whisking, but it was tasty none-the-less.

The Full English included the aforementioned (and devoured) sausages, plus bacon, cooked beautifully and sauteed mushrooms of the button variety. Given it's the tail end of the fungi season, it might have been nice to have seen some more unusual varieties on the plate.

The porridge too was top notch - what is it about porridge made by other people? The chef has used whole oats that had either been cooking for some time or soaked overnight, making for a creamy consistency. I topped it with stewed prunes and left the bowl clean.

After that lot I was more than set up for a walk on the Cotswolds hills.

Details: Wyck Hill House, Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, GL54 1HY; www.bespokehotels.com