22:53 Creations – “Little Mush” Edition

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It is now 10:53 and I can’t sleep. My final thoughts before bed usually consist of the pages of the book I’ve just been reading, the lyrics of the songs I’ve just been listening to, people I care about and overnight oats. What combo can I come up with to make tomorrow’s morning brighter?

Tonight I’m thinking about Bircher Muesli but I don’t think it would be fair to contemplate on Mr Bircher-Benner (is his name)’s recipe without knowing the full story so as I tumble out these words on the keyboard, I’m going to load up some info on the history of Bircher Muesli.

Story time. Apparently, Mr Bircher-Benner was a nutritionist who is now credited with the discovery of the nutritional value of fruit and veg after curing his illness, with the consumption of raw apples. This then prompted him to create, and then popularise muesli, a combination of raw fruit, nuts and oats, which he used to improve the health of his patients  – good man, Mr Bircher!

So, to make the perfect bowl of the original Bircher Muesli recipe, often called “little mush” by his patients (adorable), you must include:

  • Oats
  • Nuts
  • Yoghurt, cream or (condensed) milk
  • Apples and apple juice (apparently “non-negotiable” ingredients)
  • Lemon juice
  • Honey/Liquid Sweetener to sweeten (if not using condensed milk)

So let’s run through that list.

  • Oats ✔ (going well)
  • Nuts ✔
  • Yoghurt, cream or (condensed) milk  (…I can do almond milk??)
  • Apple ✗ (Uh oh.. Watch this recipe go downhill..)
  • Lemon juice ✔
  • Honey/Liquid Sweetener ✔ (Agave!)

Ok, so, let’s face it. It isn’t entirely ideal for me to make this recipe right now, with the ingredients in my fridge as I’m only missing the most essential ingredient. Mr Non-Negotiable Apple. So we could either give up here… Or… We could call in the unripe nectarine. This could go one of two ways. Blasphemy and potential disaster… or innovation and potential (dare I say it) genius? Worst case scenario, if the former: it’s disgusting and I have to live with the consequences tomorrow morning. But nobody will ever know! It’s 11:30 now and shockingly no one in the house seems to be that preoccupied by my overnight oat deliberations.

I can stir up this wanna-be Bircher Muesli concoction and, come tomorrow morning, I could love it and be celebrated as Mr Bircher’s successor/chosen one/modern-day muesli genius or I could hate it and paint on a mmmm-delicious face tomorrow morning so as not to taint my kitchen-cred. I’ve got a rep to protect.

Update: the nectarine is grated and kind of resembles apple. I feel success coming on.

Update: I’ve added in half a cup of oats and 3/4 cups of almond milk. I’m strutting around the kitchen like I own the place. I’m feeling confident. (setting myself up for a fall, here?)

Update: I’m contemplating flavour combinations. I’m thinking cardamom.

Update: We don’t have cardamom but we have mastic. (<exotic – info here). I’m running with the mastic idea. What could go wrong? I love it in Grandma’s puddings.

Update: Mum has entered and is looking from the pouch of mastic, back to my milky, oats, grated/pulverized nectarine creation. She looks concerned as she tries to follow my train of thought. (train of thought seems to be heading for a dead-end)

Update: I’ve heard you grind mastic with sugar so it doesn’t stick to the pestle and mortar so that’s what I’m doing. I’ve added one droplet but don’t taste much mastic, so I add another. Mum warns me not to over-mastic as my oats will turn bitter. Over mastic shmover-mastic. A little mastic can’t hurt nobody. I’m nervously shuffling the extra ground mastic into my bowl and stirring.

Update: Taste test………Damn it. We have over-mastic-ed. Quick! Emergency save-overnight-oats procedure! Over-sweeten with agave! Dump in some/too-much cinnamon to destroy all offensive flavour (now looks unappetising brown colour)! Throw in some almonds and chia seeds – nice texture and healthy kick to compensate for foul, bitter+sickly sweet taste?! Cling film bowl! Swiftly close fridge door! Sigh..

The oats are tomorrow morning’s problem. For now, all I can do is shove a chunk of dark chocolate in a dried date, call that enough creativity for one night and head on back to bed.

Update (1:11am): Just remembered I forgot to add the lemon juice too but I don’t think adding that will bring us any closer to poor Mr Bircher’s recipe.

Times Are Changing… A New Chapter.

Hi everybody,

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I seem to have written those two words over and over again over the past three weeks but somehow it seems I have failed to press the publish button on any of those drafted posts. You see Mr Perfectionism and Mrs You’re Not Good Enough keep paying me unwanted visits, however, I am determined not to be defeated. Van Gogh (a wise man, who said many a wise thing) said: “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” So that is what I shall do. I’ve decided to stop trying to write and to just write. Write whatever comes to mind. So here goes.

Briefly, for context, I am currently in France so the activities which predominantly fill these long summer days include: reading, sunbathing, cooking, baking, creating and contemplating/reflecting/daydreaming. This contemplation/reflection/daydreaming has lead to much attention to detail, or some might call it, overthinking. A close friend of mine and I were discussing overthinking and I had a eureka moment where I discovered that overthinking isn’t always bad. When we overthink in a positive way, I suppose you can call that ” really appreciating the little things.” So today I have been trying to filter out the negative overthinking and focus on the “really appreciating the little things” and that brings me here, to this blog post.

So, I’ve been thinking (did I mention that?). What is my blog, at the moment? It’s got recipes, the odd review and food haul, but it’s predominantly recipes. People have told me it’s lots of fun to read and it brightens up their day, reading my goofy little posts. And that’s such a wonderful thing to hear and means a lot to me. I am always so surprised to  hear that people have even read my posts (or better still, made one of the recipes!) because sometimes the thought of someone voluntarily clicking onto my blog to read my silly little musings on food and life in general seems ridiculous/impossible to me! So thank you so much if you are one of those people who have taken a moment to come up to me/send me a message saying “I really enjoyed your blog post.” I can’t stress enough how much it means; for those few seconds I feel like the most confident and proud girl in the world (a rarity).

After having a little moment appreciating how lucky I am to have such supportive friends and family, who fill me with all those warm and fuzzy feelings of love, appreciation and closeness, I found myself asking “what does my blog mean to me?” This is where I got a little stuck.

My first response was a long pause and a slight panic. I started to churn out some ideas and it eventually dawned on me that, for a lot of the time, I wasn’t writing my blog for me anymore, I was writing with other people at the forefront of my mind. Obviously, my audience is extremely important to me and I care immensely about what you enjoy and about your opinion. However, when I started listing all the things I wanted my blog to be I soon realised that those things didn’t really match with what my blog is now.  Don’t get me wrong, I love writing the kind of posts I write at the moment – funny, carefree and a little bit goofy. But at times, that style isn’t what comes naturally to me. Sometimes I want to write something really meaningful or something really poetic and lyrical and artistic or sometimes I just want to tell the story through photography, to name a few examples. And sometimes I feel a little tied down by my writing style, which everyone has become familiar with and, at the moment, defines my blog. Sometimes I feel pressured to write in that way and I also think the way I’ve gotten used to posting has become quite prescriptive and contrived in a way that all the posts are so similar and I don’t want that. I’m hoping that by bringing some variety into the tone of the blog and also the subject matter will allow me to express my personality more and bring some more purpose and meaning to the blog. I think it will be more special and I’ll have a more special relationship with my readers.

At the moment, I feel the pressure that, to post on my blog, I have to bake or cook something ‘proper’ (whatever that means) or something elaborate and that I have to style it and photograph it so it looks professional, otherwise people will think less of me as a baker/cook or photographer. It has to be ‘good enough.’ But I just want a lot more freedom with it, I suppose; I want it to be a place where I can post about absolutely anything food related… be it a recipe for cupcakes, the meaning of peaches in summer to me, absurd midnight feasts of kit kat sandwiches and tahini stuffed dates or spontaneous, whacky inventions that come out of desperation for indulgence and laziness for supermarket shopping. Anything! Lately, photography (sadly) has become a way of trying to prove myself, rather than a way of being creative; I feel I have to try and mimic the professionals to create something that is aesthetically pleasing to others, instead of capturing moments in a way that think is beautiful. Beauty is subjective.

I started this blog when I was 16 years old and two years on, I feel like I’ve grown as a food writer, yet I’m still writing on this blog as that 16 year old, because it has been my comfort blanket for the past two years, I suppose, so I’ve become a little afraid to write differently. But this summer, for the first time in a long time I’ve had some time to really sit down and think and “find myself,” as they say (apologies for the cliché). It is time to express this self-discovery!

At this point, with these changes, it also feels right to finally change the name of my blog, something I have wanted to do for a while now for several reasons. I have had a few ideas but haven’t found ‘the one’ yet. So from this blog post, I’m hoping you’ll be able to grasp what I want this blog to be and perhaps come up with some suggestions? These changes will come gradually and I will eventually have a brand new blog – name, layout, logo and all! How exciting! 

So amongst all these rambles, I hope you understand where I’m coming from and are as excited as I am for this new chapter.

See you very soon! Thank you for your ongoing support, it means the world.