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5-star Muesli

An unexpected side effect of this no-supermarket challenge is that I’m getting much better at thinking ahead.  Instead of going into a supermarket with an étonne-moi  attitude, you look around to see how you can make the best of what you’ve got.

As an example, this week I finally followed the advice given to me 22 years ago by a  Swiss-Italian guy called Stefano, and left a bowl of muesli to soak in the fridge overnight in a pool of the juice of an orange and some low fat yoghurt thinned out with some milk. The result in the morning was so delicious, especially once I’d thrown on a banana, sunflower seeds & almonds, that I kicked myself for having ignored the advice for so long.  The thing is, when you soak muesli, even in low-fat milk or yoghurt & juice, it becomes sweeter and creamier of its own accord.  It turns from a dry, orthorexic punishment into a luxurious, pudding-like pleasure. This is what you’ll get in a 5-star hotel advertised as ‘Bircher Muesli’.  In fact, this isn’t some luxury version of muesli, it’s what the Swiss call it anyway, named after the man who invented muesli in the first place, the Kellogg of the alps Maximillian Bircher -Benner.

Stefano could never understand why the English ate muesli at all, if they were going to eat it dry, cold and unloved as they do.  My ‘recipe’ for muesli is roughly this:


  • Holland & Barratt’s muesli base (no fruit or nuts in it)
  • An orange
  • Skimmed milk
  • Low fat yoghurt
  • Fresh or dried fruit / nuts as you like
  1. With a very sharp paring knife, peel an orange over the bowl that you’re going to put the muesli in, so that the juice lands in the bowl. Then holding the orange over the bowl (to catch the juice again) slice the orange into segments over the bowl. Either put the segments aside, or leave them in the bowl.
  2. Add a handful of muesli base
  3. Add some milk & yoghurt to make up the liquid so that when you stir it, it’s about half muesli half liquid.
  4. Leave in the fridge overnight with a plate over the top.
  5. In the morning, add fruit & nuts if you want.

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Jonathan Still, ballet pianist