I have always been an early bird. If I sleep past 7 a.m I genuinely feel like I'm missing out, so it's no surprise really that breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. Unfortunately, trying to get two small humans out the door by 8a.m usually means that all too often my breakfast can consists of their leftovers. BUT when it comes to the weekend, I am all about that first meal of the day and I always make the time to breakfast like a King! Well, a Queen, but still... you get my drift. Here are a couple of my absolute favourite breakfast combos.
Triple decker arepa, sprinkled with chilli flakes and toasted seeds
Sometimes there is simply no point in reinventing the wheel. Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few years you'll know that avocado and egg, especially one with a runny yolk, are a winning combination. Add some wilted spinach tossed in olive oil and cushed garlic into the mix and some chilli flakes and voila, you have a breakfast that's truly hard to beat.
What makes this combo a little different is the lack of bread! Instead I introduce to you the mighty arepa. (You can take the girl out of Colombia, but you can't take Colombia out of the girl!) You can order the corn flour used to make these from Amazon - we usually go for Pan. Once you have the flour they are so easy to make, just add water, shape and cook on a griddle or dry pan. They are a brilliant option for coeliacs or simply if you're trying to cut down on bread.
The Minimalist Baker's 5 ingredient granola bars
The bars you see pictured are my own recipe, but I have never taken the time to write down the measurements of each ingredient, so I have found some that are very similar by the fabulous Minimalist Baker. These take a little time but are worth the effort, especially as you can prepare some at the weekend and have them ready for an 'on the go' breakfast for busy mornings.
- 220g medjool dates, pitted
- 88g maple syrup, agave nectar or honey
- 60g creamy salted natural peanut butter or almond butter
- 115g roasted unsalted almonds, loosely chopped
- 135g rolled oats
- optional additions: chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, banana chips, vanilla, etc.
Process dates in a food processor for about 1 minute. It should form a dough-like consistency (mine rolled into a ball.
Optional step: Toast your oats (and almonds if raw) in a 180 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Otherwise, leave them raw.
Place oats, almonds and dates in a large mixing bowl - set aside. Warm honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture and then mix, breaking up the dates to disperse throughout.
Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8x8-inch baking tray lined with greaseproof paper so they lift out easily. Press down firmly until uniformly flattened - you can use something flat, like a drinking glass, to press down and really pack the bars, which helps them hold together better. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let firm up in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes.
Remove bars from pan and chop into 10 even bars (or 9 squares). Store in an airtight container for up to a few days.
If you make the effort to make these you'll definitely thank yourself later in the week. They also make for a very yummy snack.
Cacao porridge oats topped with flaked almonds (and a dollop of peanut butter!)
This, for me, is the mother of all porridges! It's the breakfast that is guaranteed to gets me out of bed in deepest, darkest winter!
Prepare your porridge the normal way (if you've never made porridge check out a basic recipe here); of course you can use cow's milk but I like to mix it up and often use almond milk instead. While cooking the porridge, take a peeled banana and use a fork to mash it a bit before adding it to the pan. The banana makes the porridge naturally sweet and creamy. I also like to add a couple of teaspoons of cacao powder, because chocolate is always a good idea. Stir everything through well. Once the porridge is ready, serve in your favourite bowl and sprinkle some flaked almonds over the top (it's all about texture... smooth and crunchy!), and if you want to be a bit indulgent, add a nice dollop of peanut butter.
Egg on rye toast, with spring greens and asparagus
I like to call this my 'power plate' - it's my favourite breakfast on the Saturday mornings when my husband and I brave Park Run! I love spring greens; when they are available they make a nice (usually much cheaper) alternative to spinach and taste just as good. You can either steam the spring greens or fry in a little olive oil. The asparagus, I dress in some olive oil and season with Maldon sea salt, then cook them on a griddle or pan. It keeps them crispy, making them perfect for dipping in that runny egg yolk! I'm not a huge fan of fried tomatoes, and I like something really fresh to contrast the cooked breakfast, so I always add some chopped cherry tomatoes to the plate. There's not a lot you can't take on after a breakfast like that!
Hemsley and Hemsley blueberry pancakes
And here's one from Juliet! These fun blueberry pancakes are a total crowd pleaser and the perfect way to start a family Saturday. Hemsley and Hemsley use coconut flour for this recipe, making them gluten free. I've made them a couple of times with regular flour and also with spelt flour; both of which are perfect alternatives if you don't have coconut flour in the cupboard. They suggest using an egg ring to get the perfect american pancake shape - I don't have one, so I use metal cookie cutters, and sometimes have a bit of fun making different shapes, which the kids love! It also means I can cook more than one at a time, which saves a bit of faff in the kitchen and gets them to the table quicker!
2 tbsp coconut oil or butter
2–4 tbsp warm water
2 eggs at room temperature
1–1½ tbsp maple syrup
½tsp vanilla extract, or more if needed
2 tbsp coconut flour
¼tsp bicarbonate of soda
Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Melt the coconut oil or butter over a low heat in a frying pan and allow to cool. Meanwhile, beat the water, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and a tiny sprinkle of salt together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the coconut flour (or any flour of your choice) and bicarbonate of soda and blend with the melted coconut oil/butter to make a batter. Leave to sit for 5 minutes to thicken up.
Use a spatula to redistribute any leftover oil into the centre of frying pan and place a 10cm egg ring (or a couple of heatproof cookie cutters) in the centre. Place the pan over a medium and add 2 tablespoons of the batter. Push a few blueberries into the centre of the pancake. After a couple of minutes, the bottom will have set.
Carefully slide each pancake onto the prepared baking tray and remove the egg ring or cookie cutter. Once all the pancakes are cooked (the batter should make about six), pop the baking tray under the grill for a few minutes to finish them off. Serve with extra maple syrup and berries, or be like Hemsley and Hemsley and make a dairy-free mango cashew cream to go with them. Delicious!