Fringe Box



Column: XX Notes – Muesli? Give Me a Breakie

Published on: 10 May, 2020
Updated on: 23 Jul, 2020

Maria Rayner

This is the second of Maria Rayner‘s fortnightly column from a woman’s perspective…

Are you getting your oats? Well, it’s still lockdown and life’s essentials are hard to come by.

More specifically, my favourite brand of bircher muesli is not available at the local supermarket, and even if it were, husband-on-a-health-kick would eat it all before the next visit. Fortunately, my son arrived back from uni during the “stockpiling” phase of this crisis and urged me to start prepping properly.

So we have three bags of porridge oats (great for the warm summer months) a massive bag of mixed nuts and a garage full of cider. Cider doesn’t mix well with muesli but it does make students feel better about being locked up. Short of making flapjack (no golden syrup), I turned to my “clean eating” cookbooks for advice.

I discovered six separate recipes, ranging from the Hairy Dieters low-sugar granola to Bill’s (I miss Bill’s!) toasted grain and nut cereal. But there was not one recipe for which I had the right ingredients. Time to turn inventive.

The Fast Day Muesli looked the closest to my regular. I raided the store cupboard for nuts and seeds, exchanging nigella for poppy, leaving out sunflower; pecan and cashew instead of almonds and hazelnuts; plenty of oats, ground almonds, sultanas and coconut. But what to do about oat bran?

Lockdown muesli

I scanned the cereal cupboard in desperation. Youngest son, who controls the Milk and More account, had added Weetabix to our regular order. One crumbled biscuit later and I’m quite impressed by my efforts. Lockdown muesli? I’m not sure I’ll ever go back (picture), Try it. What does your lockdown muesli contain?

Original recipe
100g whole oat flakes; 30g oat bran; 2tbsp ea of sunflower, pumpkin, linseed and poppy seeds; 2tbsp ea of almonds and hazelnuts; 2tbsp coconut flakes (for sweetness); 50g ground almonds. Serve with natural yoghurt and soft fruit. (from Fast Diet Recipe Book, Mimi Spencer)

Lockdown birthdays
If your birthday falls in lockdown that’s generally accepted as rotten luck. But people are getting quite inventive about The Birthday Party. Conducted over Zoom (other video apps are available), these consist of family and friends filling their glasses with their favourite tipple and shouting very loudly while peering at a small screen.

Zoom parties don’t last as long as normal parties because someone’s bandwidth will fail, someone else won’t quite have got to grips with the tech, teenagers don’t want to be anywhere in camera (or mic) shot, someone’s husband is desperate to watch the next episode of a Netflix boxset. And hand’s up who’s said something embarrassing when they thought the mic was muted?

My husband had a lockdown birthday last week. We didn’t subject him to a full-on Zoom party, just a link-up with our daughter, who’s opted to isolate with her boyfriend at uni.

Despite there being two virtual party guests and one under 18, I can confirm that it is still possible to upset the neighbours with loud music and a fire pit, fall asleep in a deckchair and imagine you are camping, then wake up next morning with a hangover.

We have another birthday party this weekend. The birthday girl has opted for cocktails on the lawn. The guests have submitted their favourite alcoholic concoctions and a menu has been drawn up.

The task was to source ingredients from the weekly shop/delivery/daily exercise walk/back of the drinks’ cupboard. Weather permitting, we’ll drink them in our back gardens on Friday, while Zooming. With London Fog, Dark and Stormy and Lychee Martini on the list, it should be an interesting night.

Entirely coincidentally, a message dropped into the Dragon inbox this week: “This gorgeous (sic) ice cream cocktail made using Percy Pig sauce (yes, it exists) and Tequila Rose is the indulgent treat you never knew you needed!

“It’s 100 per cent a must-try treat for the Bank Holiday weekend.” (Really?)

Percy Pigtini with Tequila Rose

Add to a blender –

  • 4/5 strawberries
  • 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream
  • 1 handful of Ice
  • 1 Tablespoon of Percy Pig sauce
  • 2 shots of Tequila Rose

Blend and decorate the glass with sauce, pour & garnish.

Personally, it looks too sweet for my bitter Negroni tastes but please, be my guinea pigs and let us know.

Even more of a coincidence, we had an Australian exchange student staying with us a few years ago. She loved Percy Pigs so much that my daughter took a backpack full of the M&S sweets to Melbourne on her return visit. If you’re reading this in Oz: Happy Lockdown Birthday, Grace. Your dream has come true.

Clean eating focuses on consuming whole foods that are minimally processed and as close to their natural form as possible. Adopting a clean eating plan can be a simple and effective way to lose weight and boost your overall health. (

Percy Pig is a British brand of pig-shaped gummy raspberry, strawberry, cherry, and grape-flavoured confectionery products made under licence in Germany for Marks & Spencer and which first appeared in stores in 1992. (Wikipedia)

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Responses to Column: XX Notes – Muesli? Give Me a Breakie

  1. Emily Woodhams Reply

    May 10, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    This cocktail sounds delicious.

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