Breakfast Loaf

Breakfast when you're paleo or gluten/dairy free can be quite a challenge.  You eventually tire of smoothies and porridges, and sometimes would just like something on toast.  This breakfast loaf has got you covered.  It's quite close textured and similar to rye bread.  It's high in protein thanks to the eggs and serves up a helping of veggies, making it a bit of an all rounder.  I love to eat it with avocado, an egg and a little sprinkling of sea salt and pepper.  

Ingredients
Makes 1 loaf

200g sunflower seeds, ground
50g linseeds – ground or ground flax
180g kale
4 eggs
Generous pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper

Optional – 2tbsp pesto

Method

- Preheat your oven to 180C.

- Line a loaf and with greaseproof paper.

- Blitz the sunflower seeds in a food processor until you have a fine crumb.

- Blitz the linseeds in a food processor, or if using, add the ground flax to sunflower seeds.

- Add the kale to the food processor with the sunflower seeds and linseeds and blitz until everything is roughly the same size.

- Add the eggs, salt, pepper and pesto (if using) and blitz one last time until well incorporated.

- Spoon into the lined loaf tin and level off with a spatula or the back of a spoon.

- Bake in the oven for 50-55minutes, until it is dark golden and has a firm crust.

- Cool in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Paleo Carrot Cake Porridge

I am currently experimenting with grain free eating and have chosen the worst season to start... PORRIDGE SEASON!  Naturally, I had to find a grain free alternative to warm my cockles on these freezing mornings.

Carrots would seem like the obvious choice here, just look at the title.  But I find sweet potato/winter squash give a creamier/smoother and more indulgent porridge.

Ingredients
Serves 1

75g winter squash/sweet potato
35g apple (optional)
30g crushed macadamias (other nuts and seeds also work)
Pinch sea salt
Large pinch ground cinnamon
Large pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch sea salt
Zest ½ orange
50ml cashew (or other plant based) milk
80ml coconut cream
1 egg, whisked

Method

-        Grate the carrot and apple, or blitz in a food processor.

-        Crush the macadamias in a bag with a rolling pin, in a pestle and mortar or in a food processor, until you have a fine-medium crumb.

-        Place all ingredients, minus the egg, into a saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the carrot is soft.

-        In the final few minutes, add the egg and stir vigorously to combine.  Cook for a further 2 minutes.

-        Serve with coconut yoghurt, (toasted) pecans and any fruit topping of choice.

Get ahead…

The night before:

-        In a saucepan over a medium heat, cook a batch of grated apple and carrot with the spices and milks until soft andcpurée like.  Cool and refrigerate until the next morning (this purée will last in the fridge for a couple of days so can be used for the next few mornings.  You could even freeze in batches and defrost overnight).

-        Crush the macadamias and keep in the fridge or freezer.

The morning of:

-        Heat the purée with the macadamias.

-        Add the egg in the final few minutes.

Moringa Rice Porridge

This is a great way to use up leftover rice.  it makes for the perfect meal, any time of day.

Moringa is a deliciously green superleaf which is high in protein and fibre, as well as a whole host of vitamins and minerals which boost energy, skin health and immunity, whilst aiding digestion and stress reduction.  Find out more about this superfood here.

Ingredients
Serves 2

2 cups pre-cooked short grain brown rice
1 cup coconut cream
Splash water
1-2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
1tsp Moringa powder
Generous pinch sea salt
Cracked black pepper
2 small handfuls spinach, chopped
Garnish: toasted coconut flakes, chopped spinach, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds

Method

- Put the rice, coconut cream, water and Moringa in a small saucepan. 

- Heat on a medium flame, stirring occasionally, until gently bubbling. 

- Add the chopped spinach and stir to combine.

- Season to taste.

- Cook until piping hot.

- Garnish and serve.

Blackberry Apple Bircher Muesli

The change in weather lessens the appeal of smoothies and has me hankering after bowls of oats, in whatever form.  Not one to wake a minute before absolutely necessary, overnight oats, or Bircher muesli, are the perfect solution.  These will keep in the fridge for a few days, so do yourself a favour and make a batch.

Ingredients
Serves 2

1 mug rolled oats (GF)
2tbsp mixed pumpkin and sunflower seeds
2 apples, grated
1.5 mugs water or plant based milk
1 mug blackberries
1tsp cinnamon
Pinch grated nutmeg
2tsp raw honey
3tbsp coconut yoghurt

Garnish: coconut yoghurt, blackberries, toasted coconut flakes, pumpkin & sunflower seeds, pomegranate seeds, cacao nibs

Method

- The night before: place the oats, seeds, grated apple and water/milk into a bowl, stir and cover.  Soak overnight.

- The morning of: add the blackberries, spices, honey and yoghurt to the soaked oats and stir well to combine.

- Serve with a dollop of coconut yoghurt and plenty of sprinkles.

NB: this can be eaten cold, at room temperature, or gently warmed through.

Gooseberry Chia Breakfast Pudding

It's old news but this weather has me completely thrown off.  I usually enjoy smoothies in the summer and porridge in the winter, though neither seem appropriate for this "British summer".  I warmed some chia pudding through the other day and bingo! This is me set until porridge season kicks in.

I make my chia pudding 1 part seeds to 4 parts liquid, but feel free to fiddle with the ratio to get your desired consistency.  I also do mine by eye but have provided more accurate measurements below.

image.jpg

Ingredients
Serves 2

60ml chia seeds (use a jug to measure.  Measured in ml for ratio's sake)
40ml - half coconut milk half rice milk, or your choice of plant based milk
Gooseberry fridge jam

Method

- Make the chia pudding the night before - it's a good idea to make a couple of days worth at once.  Make it by pouring both the seeds and milk(s) into a jar/jug/container.  Use a fork to whisk, avoiding any large clumps from forming.  Do this until you can see the chia seeds starting to swell.  Pop the lid on/cover and refrigerate overnight.

- In the morning, gently warm your serving of chia pudding hrough in a saucepan over a low heat.  Layer with gooseberry jam and enjoy!  It's also delicious cold if you prefer it that way.

Banana Pecan Crunch Granola

If you love granola but but hate sugar laden breakfasts then this is for you.  If you like to start the day with protein but struggle to eat eggs or meat everyday, then this is for you too...

Ingredients
Makes enough for 2 weeks (1 person)

150g chia seeds
230ml plant based milk
600g oats (gluten free)
150g linseeds
100g shelled hemp seeds
300g pecans
1tsp vanilla powder (or seeds from 1 pod)
3/4tsp salt
125g coconut oil
75g smooth nut butter (cashew, almond etc.)
2tbsp brown rice syrup + 1tsp to drizzle
4 bananas, mashed

Method

- Preheat oven to 170C

- Mix the chia seeds and milk together in a medium bowl, using a fork.  Put to one side.

- Mix the oats, linseeds, hemp seeds, pecans, vanilla and salt together in a large bowl.

- Melt the coconut oil, nut butter and brown rice syrup together and pour over the oat mixture.  Stir well to coat. 

- Add the mashed banana and mix well to distribute.

- Using a teaspoon, dollop the chia seed mix into the oats, stirring to combine each time you use a quarter of the mixture.  When baked, they will provide a lovely crunch as well as helping the mixture to stick together.

- Spread the mixture evenly onto lined baking sheets – you will probably need 3 or 4.  Break up any clusters that look too big and lightly drizzle with the last teaspoon of brown rice syrup.

- Bake for 30-mins, remove and gently turn the mixture over.  Bake for a further 20-30 minutes until the mixture is golden and the chia/banana has dried out.

- Leave to cool on the trays before transferring to an airtight jar where the granola will keep for 1-month (if it lasts that long…)


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Christmas Morning Baked Eggs

Christmas Day breakfast, to me, is the most magical meal of the day.  There's the excitment of having just opened, or the anticipation of being just about to, open your presents and delve into your stockings.  Everyone's sleepy and grateful, happy and warm.  You're surrounded by your most precious people and the thought of spending uninterrupted quality time with them all day is just too good not to cherish.

My family goes by the tradition of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.  This year, I'm throwing caution to the wind and serving something slightly different.  Baked eggs in as may ways as one can imagine.

Ingredients
Per person

Base recipe:
Olive oil
2 free range eggs
Salt & pepper

Flavour variations (photographed):
Prosciutto, mushroom and parsley
Smoked salmon, avocado and dill
Spinach and mushroom

Extras (photographed):
Roasted asparagus
Seedy bread
Extra prosciutto and salmon

Method

- Preheat the oven to 220C or as high as it will go

- Lightly grease an ovenproof dish with olive oil

- Place chosen filling in the dish

- Crack two eggs on top of the filling and season if necessary

- Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes


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Parsnip Pancakes with Stewed Apples

I have been making these as carrot cake pancakes for a while, but when all I had to hand was a parsnip, a parsnip it was going to be.  And I'm a pancake recipe better off for it!

Ingredients
Makes 6-8

75g chestnut flour (buckwheat flour would also work)
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch Himalayan/sea salt
1/4tsp ground ginger
1/2tsp cinnamon
Pinch grated nutmeg
1 egg
1/2 parsnip, peeled & grated
150ml plant based milk - I used almond
1tsp coconut oil, for frying

1 eating apple, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
Pinch grated nutmeg

Method

- Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl and make a well in the middle

- Break the egg into the well and pour in the milk.  Whisk with a fork until the batter is smooth.

- Grate in the parsnip and stir to combine.  Put aside whilst you stew the apple.

- Heat a little water in the same frying pan as you will cook the pancakes in.  Cook over a low-medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until soft.

- Remove the apples and set aside in a bowl along with any liquid.

- Melt the coconut oil in the frying pan over a medium heat.  Spoon about 3tbsp of batter per pancake into the pan.  Fry on one side for 2-3 minutes and flip.  Fry for another 2 minutes.  Remove from the pan and set aside – cover with a tea towel to keep warm.  - - Repeat until all the batter has been used.

Serve the pancakes with the apples, some toasted almonds and a grating of nutmeg.


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Pear & Blackberry Porridge

When there's free food on offer, I'm the first to say yes!  Especially when it comes from the trees/bushes in and around my garden.  I'm always looking for ways to use what I pick that will make the ingredient shine, and what better way could I celebrate the coming of autumn than with this Pear & Blackberry Porridge.

I really love combining oats with amaranth/quinoa.  Both add a great bite to the porridge and are high in protein too.

Ingredients
Serves 2

1/3 mug GF rolled porridge oats
1/4 mug amaranth (quinoa would also work)
2 mugs plant based milk
1 pear
Pinch Himalayan/Sea salt

For the blackberry jam
2 handfuls blackberries
3tbsp chia seeds

Garnish
Pumpkin seeds
Ground cinnamon

Method

- Place the oats, amaranth, milk, salt and half the pear (grated) into a saucepan.  Warm over a medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Cook for approx. 7 minutes, until all the milk has been absorbed and the oats and amaranth are soft (the amaranth will still have a little bite to it).  It may take a little longer if you are using quinoa.

- Whilst the oats are cooking, make the jam.  Heat the berries in a saucepan with a little water until soft.  Add the chia seeds and stir with a fork to avoid any lumps.  Store any left over in an airtight container in the fridge.  I don't sweeten my blackberry jam but if you want to, try using a little raw honey/brown rice syrup.

- Serve the porridge in bowls with a dollop of jam, the other half of the pear, sliced, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and pumpkin seeds.

NB: Amaranth can be found in some supermarkets, health food shops and online.


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Spiced Brunch Hash

I don't think there's a better way to spend a Sunday morning than with friends, enjoying a long and lazy brunch.  

Ingredients
Serves 4

Spice Mix
1tsp Szechuan pepper
2 cloves
2 star anise
1/2tsp fennel
3/4tsp sumac
1/2tsp cinnamon

650g butternut squash or sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
250g puy lentils
2 leeks, trimmed and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
100g Cavelo Nero, kale or spinach
150g peas
Olive oil

Sea salt & cracked black pepper
4 free range eggs

Method

- Preheat oven to 180C

- To make the spice mix: grind all ingredients in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar until you have a powder somewhere between coarse and fine.

- Place the squash and onion into a large ovenproof pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with 2tsp of the spice mix.  Roast for 40 minutes or until soft and beginning to caramalise.

- Whilst the squash is cooking, place the lentils in a saucepan with double the water (cold) and gently boil until soft or for 25-30 minutes, or as per the packet instructions.  Drain and set aside.

- Remove the squash from the oven and turn it off.  Place the pan on the stovetop and set a medium heat.  Add a little more olive oil (if necessary) along with the leeks, garlic, Cavelo Nero and 1tsp of the spice mix.  Gently fry until soft, stirring every now and then. 

- Add the cooked lentils and peas, stir and then press down with the back of the spoon/slice.  Allow to fry, as you would bubble and squeak, until it begins to caramalise at the bottom, before hashing up with the spoon and pressing down again, allowing it to carmalise some more.  Repeat until desired level of caramelisation is reached.  Season to taste.

- Crack the eggs on top of the hash then place a lid on the pan, allowing the eggs to cook for approx 4. minutes.

- Serve for a long and lazy brunch, whilst the yolks are still soft.

This recipe was created for Eight Hour Studio -  'Rest'.

Beetroot & Carrot Breakfast Muffins

We've all had days where we've woken up late, taken a cold shower, been unable to find keys/wallet and then missed the train.  It's on these days that a breakfast muffin is just the perfect thing... and this is not just any breakfast muffin (sorry M&S), it's a beetroot & carrot breakfast muffin.  With veggies for breakfast, even the worst starts can be turned into a good day...

Ingredients
Makes 12

85g beetroot, peeled (if not organic) & grated
220g carrot, peeled (if not organic) & grated
2 small apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 flax eggs
3tbsp coconut oil
155ml coconut milk
Zest & juice 1 lemon
2tbsp brown rice syrup or honey
Pinch salt
1tsp ground cinnamon
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
210g chestnut flour (teff or buckwheat flour would also work)
30g pumpkin seeds, plus extra for sprinkling on top
1tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method

- Preheat the oven to 170C
- Line 1 x 12 hole or 2 x 6 hole muffin tins with muffin cases
- Mix the wet ingredients together until well combined
- Add the dry ingredients, save the bicarbonate of soda.  Mix well to combine
- Lastly, add the bicarbonate of soda, mix to combine and quickly transfer to the muffin tin (the bicarb will begin to react with the lemon juice and you want to get them in the oven as quickly as possible so not to loose the air created.) 
- Smooth the top of each muffin and sprinkle with a few pumpkin seeds
- Place in the oven and bake for 40-50minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean
- Once cooked, allow to cool in the tin for 20-30 minutes, before cooling completely on a wire rack
- Eat for breakfast, cold or warm and spread with a little coconut oil/butter

Store in an airtight container and these will keep for 4 days (if you can make them last that long!)  They also freeze well too...


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Buckwheat Porridge

I've been making this porridge for a good while now and it's actually one of the first things I made with buckwheat, which is a naturally gluten free pseudograin/pseudocereal.  This porridge is really creamy and warming without being too heavy, so it's perfect for the not so hot spring/summer mornings.

Ingredients
Makes 1 serve

1 mug buckwheat groats
2 mugs plant based milk – rice or almond are my milks of choice
1/2 mug of frozen blueberries
A handful of toasted almonds
1tbsp (heaped) coconut cream
A sprinkle of ground cinnamon

Method
Put the buckwheat and milk into a saucepan.  Bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer.  Cook until all the liquid has been absorbed and the buckwheat is soft.  Remove from the heat and stir in a little of the coconut cream.  Put the frozen blueberries in a bowl.  Top with the porridge, the rest of the coconut cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.  You could add a touch of raw honey too, if desired.

The porridge will begin to defrost the blueberries so you’ll have a lovely, fruity surprise at the bottom of the bowl.


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Rhubarb Chia Breakfast Sundae

Chia seeds seem to be the food to eat at the moment.  It's no wonder considering their health benefits (high in protein, fibre and omega 3).  As it's rhubarb season, I thought I'd combine the two to make a super tasty breakfast... although this could easily be eaten as a pudding too.  It's sweet and creamy, with a kick of ginger to get you going in the morning.

This recipe includes enough for 3 days, making the time spent creating it totally worth it.  Besides, all the work is done in advance.  It's the perfect breakfast to take with you and eat after your morning workout/on the train/bus/tube, meaning you can spend an extra 5 minutes in bed... and I'm all for that.

Ingredients
Makes enough for 2-3 days (depending on your appetite)

Cashew cream
125g cashew nuts
4tbsp rice/almond milk
2tsp brown rice syrup
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod

Roasted buckwheat
40g buckwheat groats
100ml water
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp coconut oil

Roasted rhubarb
400g rhubarb, cut into thumb sized pieces
1 thumb sized piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1-2tbsb brown rice syrup

Soaked oats
75g GF oats
200ml rice/almond milk
Seeds of 3 cardamom pods, ground

Chia pudding
75g chia seeds
120ml rice milk

NB: I have recommended using rice milk or a rice/almond milk blend for its natural sweetness.  My brand of choice (if not making your own) is Rude Health, due to the fact that they add no sweeteners, thickeners or stabilisers.  It is also easily available in most supermarkets.

Method
To be prepared the night before

Preheat oven to 140C

Cashew cream
Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with water.  Allow to soak for 4 or more hours.  Drain and rinse before blending on high speed.  Add the milk a little at a time, until you have the consistency of thick double cream.  Add the brown rice syrup and vanilla and blend to combine.  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until needed.

Roasted buckwheat
Place the buckwheat in a saucepan and cover with the water.  Bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes, or until soft.  Drain and transfer to a roasting tin, spreading to an even layer. Add the coconut oil and allow the heat from the buckwheat to melt it.  Sprinkle with ground ginger and stir until the coconut oil has melted and the buckwheat is well coated in both the oil and ground ginger.  Place in the oven and roast for 40-50 minutes, or until the buckwheat is crisp.  Remove and use a fork to break into clusters.  Allow to cool before transferring to an airtight container.

Roasted rhubarb
Place the chopped rhubarb in a roasting tray, distributing in an even layer.  Add the chopped ginger and brown rice syrup, stir to coat.  Roast in the oven for 20 minutes (it can go in for the final 20 minutes of the buckwheat’s cooking time).  Remove and allow to cool before transferring to an airtight container.  Keep in the fridge until needed.

Soaked oats
Heat the milk and cardamom in a saucepan, bring to a simmer, removing from the heat after 3 minutes.  Add the oats, stir to combine and allow to cool – the oats will absorb the milk. and become soft  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until needed.

Chia pudding
Pour the chia seeds into a bowl, followed by the rice milk.  Whisk with a fork to break up any lumps.  The chia seeds will absorb the liquid and become gelatinious.  Cover and place in the fridge until needed.

The next day, layer the chia, oats, rhubarb and cashew cream in a jar or bowl and top with the roasted buckwheat.  


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Granola

Breakfast is the only meal where I'm happy to eat the same each day, or variations on a theme.  I find it a comfort not to have to think too much about it, knowing that each morning I will have something good to eat.  I do make tweaks here and there to keep it interesting, whether it be toppings, milks or spices.  I became really quite addicted to my porridge this winter!  I thought I'd never want to give it up but as soon as the weather changed, I could no longer finish my bowl and had to find a worthy replacement.  Whilst I love a green juice or smoothie in the morning, I also love texture and variety in a bowl.  I spent a little time putting this granola together which will last me a good week, maybe two.  Serve on it's own, as a smoothie topping or sprinkle on your dessert.

The ingredients and quantities are really up to you, for example, if you don't like a certain nut then sub it out for another - below is my favourite granola combination.

Ingredients

100g almonds
100g Brazil nuts
50g cashews
75g pecans
30g linseeds
3tbsp chia seeds
75g sunflower seeds
100g pumpkin seeds
50g shredded coconut
300g gluten free oats
2.5tbsp coconut oil
3tbsp almond butter
4tbsp brown rice syrup
3/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1tbsp cinnamon

Method
Oven temp 160C

Mix together all ingredients - I find it easiest to use a food processor with a plastic blade (i.e. one that won't break down the ingredients).  If you prefer to mix by hand then melt the coconut oil, almond butter and brown rice syrup together before pouring over the dry ingredients and mixing.
Spread the mixture evenly and in a thin layer over two lined baking sheets.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn and lightly toss once or twice during the cooking time.


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