Breakfast mate

Breakfast Cereal and Coronation Chicken Sauce… what the!!

Crowes Grocers in Port Fairy in my youth had a very limited selection of breakfast cereal, as I recall Wheeties, Cornflakes and later maybe some Weetabix or was that called Wheet-a-bix. You could of course buy rolled oats in maybe two or three different styles. And that was that.  In our house it was Wheeties and Porridge that was occasionally on the table along with Farax, a Glaxo product made from ground white rice and thought of as a baby food, but I loved it, but in the main it was toast.  Mum I think had Wheaties in the cupboard as she liked to roll her biscuits in them for some extra crunch, porridge was there because it was known to fill you up and keep you warm on the cold winter days. Since I have never been a devotee of milk. mostly have abhorred the stuff, I was hardly ever to be found eating breakfast cereal… until that is, I was introduced to having stewed fruit with cereal, by I think my father who had a variety of ways of making a sweet course when mum simply refused. I also recall how he loved to have a bowl of rice topped with some jam and cream.

Let me digress just a tiny bit, Mums idea of a curry was Keens curry powder(nothing wrong with that I hear you say), meat of some description, perhaps some onion and then when the curry was sufficiently yellow, she would toss in a big handful of sultanas, some chopped apple and towards the end of cooking, some banana and a scattering of desiccated coconut. This was served with a mini scoop of rice that had been overcooked to hell and back. It was, to say the least a nasty experience, something that I am not prone to say about the blessed Iris’s food. Mind you the Curry Sauce served at the Coronation of Eliz 2, was also a thing of great wonderment.

Coronation Chicken Recipe— not my recipe. I take no responsibility if you try it.


Coronation chicken was designed for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II as a representation of the, then, colonial nature of the British Empire so includes fruit, curry and mayonnaise.



1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 tbsp mild curry paste

1 tsp tomato puree

1 tbsp red wine

¼ pint / 125ml chicken stock

1 bay leaf

Sea salt and black pepper

1 tsp sugar

Juice of ½ a lemon

1 pint /450ml good quality mayonnaise

4 tbsp apricot jam

2 tbsp double cream, lightly whipped

1 lb/ 450g free-range cooked chicken, diced

2 tbsp toasted flaked almonds



In a frying pan, heat the oil to hot not burning. Add the onion and cook on a low heat for 3- 4 minutes. Stir in curry paste and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Remove from the heat and stir in the red wine, chicken stock and bay leaf. Season with sea salt and black pepper return to the heat and bring to a fast boil. Stir in the sugar followed by the lemon juice and simmer on a gentle boil for 5 – 10 minutes. Strain the sauce through a sieve into a jug and leave to cool.

Slowly add the curry sauce mixture to the mayonnaise, stir in the apricot jam and fold in the cream. Place the cooked chicken into a large bow, pour over enough sauce to coat the chicken.

Back to breakfast cereals. It happened like this, I have been a bit off my much used, not to say, celebrated porridge which I have credited with many miraculous cures, weight loss etc etc, mind you it failed me badly when I managed a dose of bacterial Pneumonia last year. But that was another tale. I needed something over the summer and I remembered how Mum was a great little fruit stewer, if it stood still for any length of time, it was sprinkled in sugar and plopped into a saucepan with a lick of water and made delicious. Pears and apples always had a clove or two, plums a bit of cinnamon (I also love love love plums stewed with Star Anise… delicious).

The muesli we did for a lot of years with such pride and joy was, not to put to fine a point on it, simply not as appreciated as it should have been, so last year it was stopped. That is something I continue to regret because I always thought of myself as a latter day Dr Bircher, it always filled me with warm feelings of joy at being able to think I was making a difference to the lives of mundane folk, incapable of making their own muesli. I was taught a salutary lesson… muck off smart ass was the tone.

The porridge is still there, but since we have just begun to emerge from the long hot Australian summer it has not been appreciated as it should. Myself, I have discovered the delights of a crisp breakfast cereal with the delectableness of stewed (plums, apples, pears, nashi, cherries, quinces, peaches, apricots, pineapple and latterly figs) fruits, this summer my cereal of choice has been Special K, and for one exceptional reason, it does not go soggy, well if you eat it fast enough it wont.

Call me old fashioned and maybe I have the muesli/Dr Bircher hang up, but for me the Sanitarium brand also conjured up pictures of religious folk, deeply caring not only for the welfare of my soul, but my body as well. But my dears, Weetabix are soggy heaven for those who like that. Not for me, although I did discover that they can be delicious just buttered and eaten as a biscuit. But why oh why does Sanitarium have to make breakfast cereal so dammed sweet?

Today I stood in the breakfast cereal aisle of the supermarket and just got hideously confused… like you I have also listened to experts telling me too much sugar, too much salt, too much fat and many other things deleterious to health. How in the name of all that’s holy does one make a choice, there must have been a good thirty or forty cereals on offer. I was like an innocent child, confused, dazed, bewildered. In the past I have just grabbed for another bag of Special K and ran. Today I was determined to succumb to the giddy delights of advertising I was willing myself to believe all that I was told on television. It didn’t work. I reverted to Sanitarium again. I am imprinted.

But I now have decided that I am going to take another look at the whole grain/muesli/what to eat for breakfast thingie. I cannot take this confusion for another minute, I was right to see myself as a knight in shining Bircher armour. But this time I am going to look at things a little differently. More later.

I do suggest that a definitive work on breakfast cereals and a guide is long overdue. I have even been canvassing friends in far flung regions of the world and it is fascinating just what people do eat for the first meal of the day. In the Asian worlds, rice is the predominate feature in many guises, congee, sticky rice, fried rice. Remember too that many Asian countries do not have fresh milk, so such delights as Condensed Milk (yes, they even have a chocolate flavoured version) and powdered milk are used. Europe seems not to have fallen in with the USA and UK when it comes to a reliance on cereals for breakfast, but they do love a sweet cake or two. I suspect that Australians have fallen in with the whole convenience thing, sliced bread.. ( small comment, Nigella Lawson has simpered that she quite likes using sliced bread for a few things… if anyone knows what brand it is or indeed any brand that remotely tastes like bread in Australia, please advise) and packets of ready to eat, just add milk cereal.

How come they are, in the main, so hideously sweet, so salty and so much fat. I have railed previously about deep fried muesli, sold as crunchy. Even the caring religious at Sanitarium do not seem to mind a bowl of over sweet cereal. Again, I seem to have made a decent choice in my summer addiction to Special K, it is even recommended on the Diabetes list of foods.

I urge all you fellow foodophiles to be careful, do not allow yourselves to be seduced by much of the hype put across on various advertising media. Much of this is spin doctor and not a lot about truth. There is also some suspicion that a 54% price hike in the last little while is further evidence that the campaigns for our stomachs, is being successful. We battle, world wide, a vile epidemic of Diabetes which is still to be explained. We consume way too much chemical in our foods and we seem content to allow what we eat to be dictated by supermarket executives.

Rise up… please…

~ by peterwatson on April 19, 2011.

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