Morning is a special time of day, it doesn’t matter what the season. Who doesn’t love rolling out of bed on a summer’s morning with the promise of a warm day ahead? Or waking to the sound of rain? Or getting up with the birds for a walk in the dawn light? But if you’re not a morning person and none of these appeal then surely breakfast is enough to get you enthusiastic! Breakfast can be anything you want it to be and the most exciting meal of the day. Forget soggy cereal or vegemite toast or an ‘on the go’ breakfast bar. (Ugh!) But before we go any further how about some foodie wisdom from Winnie the Pooh?
Now aren’t they wise words? What do you think exciting will happen to you today? If you lived in China it might be congee – a thick savoury rice porridge, but if you woke in Spain it would be to the call of chocolate con churros, doughnut type fritters dipped in chocolate. In Russia you would start the day with Kasha – their thick buckwheat and oat porridge – and in Japan, miso soup and pickled vegetables while shakshouka - a spicy dish of baked eggs and tomatoes is the staple breakfast of Moroccans and Egyptians. Sound enticing yet? What about a Parisian breakfast (Really the French can do no wrong with food!) of pain au chocolat or croissant? Or a traditional Anglo Saxon fry up of bacon, eggs, sausages, potatoes and black pudding? For something to truly warm on a cold day there is nothing like the Scots tradition of porridge with a tot of whisky. (Tried and tested in the Highlands of Scotland on a freezing summer morning – delicious!)
But here and now in Melbourne, Australia, what gets your taste buds going? A random selection of people have cited anything from cereal (we can’t seem to shake off our love affair with that stuff!) and toast to smashed avocado, smoked salmon and baked eggs to pancakes and French toast and anything and everything in between. All perfect depending on mood, time, budget, company and tastes and the beauty of a truly global breakfast culture.
But here is a breakfast offering of something fast and easy, amazingly delicious and, great bang for your buck, because it’s healthy as well! Coconut and Chia Pudding with Chai. Now chia seeds are all the rage for good reason – high in protein, fibre and good fats as well as loads of vitamins – but from a foodie perspective they are amazing too. The texture is slightly reminiscent of the long ago staple of the fifties housewife – sago pudding – but needs no cooking so is perfect for the kitchens of 2014. Simply mix with liquid, add some flavourings to taste, soak overnight and - voilà – an exciting breakfast that even Winnie the Pooh would love. Just make sure you add honey!
Coconut and Chia Pudding with Chai Tea
||2 hours, 10 minutes|
A fast, delicious and healthy breakfast, family friendly.
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 3/4 cups coconut milk
- 1/2 cup black chai tea
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon runny honey
- 1 cup natural yoghurt
- berries or poached fruit
- granola or mixed nuts and seeds
||Combine coconut, chia seeds, coconut cream, chai tea, vanilla and honey in a bowl and mix well. |
||Leave to soak several hours or overnight. |
||Spoon chia seed mix into individual glasses and layer with poached fruit or berries and yoghurt. |
||Sprinkle over granola or nut and seed mix and serve. |
A friend has just given me a big bag of lemons fresh from her tree. I am always envious of people with lemon trees. We grew up with a giant one in our garden and I have never quite shaken off the belief that you should always get your lemons for free! SoI am always a little resentful when I have to pay 50c each for them at the market and yet will happily pay a fortune for any good food!
Lemons are a must in the kitchen. A good zesting of lemon or a squeeze of zingy juice can liven up the dullest of dishes. Friends often ask me what I do with all the lemons I am given. Well!……….a spritz on the salad greens, a squeeze into dahl, a wedge with avocado and feta on sourdough, sliced and baked with a fillet of salmon, a spot of pectin in a bubbling pot of jam, homemade lemonade on a hot day, divine lemon curd, a very, very handy jar of preserved lemons, creamy lemon mayonnaise, tarte au citron, the essential lemon meringue pie, magical lemon delicious…….I could go on forever.
But a real winner is lemon ricotta. Whip up a bowl – ricotta, lemon juice and zest and a pinch of seasoning - and scatter it in salad, over steamed or roasted vegetables, over pizza, smear on crackers or a slice of fresh baguette, and of course, over pasta. Here it works beautifully with orecchiette and broccoli. Orecchiette is such an unusual pasta. The round, concave ‘little ears’ are soft and yet chewy and are perfect with vegetables, particularly broccoli, zucchini and peas. It takes longer to cook than other pastas so is not great for a quick dish but this easy sauce makes up for it. And of course, the zinging lemon ricotta makes it perfect!
Broccoli Orecchiette with Lemon Ricotta
- 200g ricotta
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon (juice and zest)
- 500g orecchiette
- 500g broccolini or broccoli (cut into florets)
- 3 anchovy fillets
- 1 spanish onion (finely chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1 red chilli
- 1/2 bunch continental parsley
||Place ricotta, 2 tblsps olive oil, juice of half the lemon and the lemon zest in a small bowl, season and combine. Set aside |
||Cook orecchiette in boiling, salted water until al dente |
||Add broccoli florets to orrechiette in the last 3 minutes, then drain well |
||Meanwhile, heat 2 tblsps olive oil in a large frying pan, add anchovies and cook until anchovies break up |
||Add onion, garlic and chilli and cook until soft |
||Add pasta and broccoli to the frying pan with the remaining lemon juice and parsley and toss well |
||Serve with the lemon ricotta scattered over the top and drizzle over extra olive oil |