Category Archives: Breakfast

Pump Street Bakery, Orford

Orford ness is one of our favourite places. We go there at least once a year, for a very long walk, a picnic, and chats. Even my youngest can manage to walk around the red and blue walk (not green though, it’s never been open when we’ve been there, we always time it wrong).

(For those on Fitbit, you can rack up about 15,000 steps, or six miles  walking those routes.)

What we like to do is get up really early and head out without breakfast, fantasising about what we’ll eat from the Pump Street Bakery, when we get there. The fact that such an amazing bakery exists in what is a tiny village in the middle of nowhere astounds and delights me. And makes me very jealous. I wish we had one where I live in Suffolk.

This is a tiny bakery, that is crammed into an old house. There are very few seats. But it is glorious. Please don’t miss it if you venture anywhere near Orford (which is a very pretty village). We’ve sampled the Bear’s Claws, the doughnuts, the brownies, the Eccles cakes and the almond croissants so far. You have to try the Eccles cake to believe that currants can be held in a puff pastry and be a thing of eye-watering beauty.

We have breakfast – cappuccinos (very good) with pastries dipped in them, perched on the benches outside.  I want to try a gibassier next time I’m there. I’m afraid the pastries are so good, I completely forget to photograph them, so the picture above is a photo of my feet on Orford ness beach. Probably my favourite beach in the world.

Not to be missed.

Zingy green smoothie: cucumber, spinach, apple, mint, lime, ginger

I know there are loads of debates about smoothies and how much sugar they contain. I agree that you should consume more vegetables than fruit. But, if you eat the whole fruit – either by actually eating it or blitzing it into a smoothie – then you get lots of fibre (both insoluble and soluble), vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The rise in diabetes isn’t due to people eating too much fruit in its whole, natural form; it’s eating too much refined sugar in sugary drinks and too many refined carbs that busts your pancreas.

Anyway, this smoothie is really zingy and my partner loved it, but my youngest struggled with it – she prefers something that contains banana/berries at its base.

I always put a cube of frozen spinach into my smoothies. Okay, not always, but mostly.

Anyway, for this one you need, for four small glasses:

About 20g frozen spinach (or fresh of course)

Half a thumb size of ginger – be careful, if it’s fresh and good it’ll be quite powerful. I used half a thumb size and it was a bit too much for the children, adults loved it though

The juice of one lime

Half a bunch of mint, you know those bunches you get in the supermarket that cost about 85p (rip off)

Half a small cucumber, washed, not peeled and cut into chunks

One medjool date to bump up the sweetness and fibre a bit but you can leave this out

Apple juice. I get mine from our local farmer’s market, it’s really good but if you can’t get really good apple juice then blend in an apple (not the pips) and some water

Put all the ingredients in a blender/Nutribullet and taste it: because lime sizes vary and the recipe isn’t precise, you may need to add that date, or a bit more apple juice or water or cucumber. The ginger and mint are strong tastes, the cucumber calms it all down, the apple juice adds liquid and sweetness.

i think this would be really good if you had a cold. I can still feel the zingy effects over an hour later.

 

My breakfast smoothie

Seriously, like we need another picture of a green smoothie. But, nevertheless, here is mine.

But I wanted to share this because I think it’s so nice, it’s healthy but it’s not so scary that it alienates perfectly ordinary people, like me and you. I absolutely love it and will either have it first thing (after my mad Italian woman habit of lemon and psyllium husks in hot water), or after I’ve had a ‘proper’ breakfast and at about 11am. Depending on what time I have it I will vary the ingredients. I don’t add spinach if it’s too early because WTF am I turning into? But. My big discovery is frozen spinach. The one you get chopped up in ‘pods’. This way you don’t have bags of fresh spinach going off in the salad drawer (yuk) mocking you; it’s always fresh, and adds a nice cold element to the smoothie.

There are three key ingredients, to my mind, to make this smoothie really nice and friendly. And those are the almond butter, the cinnamon (who would have thought I’d become obsessed with cinnamon?) and the dates which must be those lovely expensive medjool dates. I buy mine from the market and £3 worth last me, easily, all week. I would probably also add banana as a must have. Remember that if you don’t fancy a whole banana, you can freeze it, chopped up in pieces, in a box in the freezer to add to subsequent smoothies.

So this is my basic smoothie:

One and a half medjool dates, two if you like

One banana, nice and ripe if possible

One teaspoon of cinnamon – don’t skimp on this

A big old tablespoon of almond butter

Handful of blueberries

200ml or so of almond milk or milk of your choice. I fill it up to the ‘max’ on my Nutribullet container. If you like a thicker smoothie add less, if you like it runnier add more etc.

You can blend it up now for a minute or so until smooth. But, if you want to ramp up the nutrient content you can add any, or all, of the following.

quarter of a teaspoon of spirulina

half a tablespoon of linseeds

big pinch of hemp seeds

1-2  tablespoons of oat flakes

some kefir if you culture it – I add two tablespoons

a pod of frozen spinach

The spirulina makes everything go really green. Don’t be scared. And you don’t have to add it if you don’t want to.

Just remember to blend until really smooth. I do it for about 30-45 seconds in my Nutribullet.

This fills you up for, ooh, maybe 30 minutes. Seriously it doesn’t fill me up for long in that ‘full up’ way. But I do feel REALLY good after drinking it. Until I pollute my body with a cappuccino. Sssh.

 

A chocolatey coffee warming smoothie for the morning

Something you may not know about me, I eat really healthily a lot of the time. I drink green smoothies with my children when they come home from school. I regularly fast. This is to mitigate when I do eat sugar, butter and flour made into cake and cookie form. But since I got into nutrition in a major way in 2002 even the crap I eat is pretty good. I think what you put into your body is really important.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and I’m not here to sound super worthy cos I don’t want anyone to visit my blog and feel bad about themselves. I know all about that, too.

Anyway. However much I may like green smoothies, there is no way on God’s earth I am eating one first thing in the morning, in winter. It just all feels too cold and unfriendly. I never feel hungry first thing in the morning, and yet sometimes I must leave the house for a full day of knitting words together into meaningful sentences. And I can’t do that on an empty head. Sometimes I need something nutritious, quick, easy to go down and that, even if it doesn’t fill me up til lunch (few things do), I will know that I’ve had some nutrition that morning.

I got this recipe from Dale Pinnnock’s Healthy Everyday book. I haven’t really made much else from it, but my interest in the book piqued when I read this recipe and it involved both chocolate and coffee. I thought, here is a my kinda book, a man who understands that to be healthy you don’t need to be eating cardboard.

I have adapted it slightly to suit my selfish needs and despite the milk making it ‘cold’, it somehow manages to be warming at the same time.

(no picture yet but there will be soon)

225ml almond milk (this is what I use but oat milk should work well too)

1 banana

1 heaped tablespoon of raw cacao – this is my favourite bit and I really do put a heaped tablespoon in. It’s worth buying raw cacao in bulk as it works out cheaper than really high quality cocoa from the supermarket and it’s much better for you.

2 heaped tablespoons of oats

4 almonds

1 teaspoon of raw honey or maple syrup

1 shot of espresso

a quarter of teaspoon of cayenne pepper (essential!)

You just put the whole lot into a blender (I use a Nutribullet) and whizz up until really smooth and drink it. YUM.

 

How I make porridge

People are quite often scared to cook pasta for me, on account of me being Italian. I think they think I spend my whole time at home making pasta from scratch and that my kitchen is covered with spaghetti drying from the ceiling.

I never really understood this intimidation, until I started getting into porridge. For such a simple food, there seem to be an awful lot of rules about how you should make it. Porridge features not at all in the Italian diet, so I didn’t have any claim to it.

All I knew is that whenever you read about how to make porridge it would say forceful things such as “all you need is water and salt, anything else isn’t porridge”.

But I don’t like porridge made with water and salt and it’s taken me years to admit this. Furthermore, feeling that that’s the only way to eat porridge isn’t really helpful because porridge is really good for you, so it’s worth working out how YOU like to eat it. After all, I know some people who eat pasta with ketchup and do I judge?

You guess.

Anyway, this is how I make, and eat, porridge.

For one portion. I put the saucepan directly on my digital scales and weigh everything.

30g porridge oats

100g of milk

150g water

a pinch of salt

half a teaspoon of cinnamon (I didn’t think I liked cinnamon but it really works)

Some berries

Maple syrup

Nut butter of your choice

Weigh the porridge, water and milk straight into a saucepan, then add the cinnamon and salt and put on the stove. It seems quite a lot of liquid but this is the key (I’ve found) to making a lovely creamy porridge.

Simmer and stir for quite a long time, 5-10 mins. You can leave it periodically and come back to it and I find it meditative and I like to think about the day ahead whilst doing it. Also whilst doing it I can’t POSSIBLY do anything else so I say to my partner “the children need breakfast, I can’t POSSIBLY do it because I’m stirring my porridge”.

Once the milk and water has been largely, but not totally, absorbed – you will still have a fairly wet porridge – take it off the heat and leave it for a minute whilst you plate up your berries and nut butter. I nearly always have blueberries. In the winter I buy frozen ones and stick them in the porridge for that last minute standing time.

I also add to the plate a large – very large – tablespoon of nut butter, usually cashew or almond and always Meridian as it’s the best by far AND I LOVE IT. This is because, contrary to popular opinion, porridge on its own does not, and never has, filled me up til lunch time. If I eat porridge with no protein in it (i.e. the nut butter) I am as hungry as a pregnant woman in the first trimester by 10am. Sometimes 9am. But adding a huge dollop of nut butter not only adds useful nutrients and good fats, but helps fill me up.

On top of the porridge, berries and nut butter I add a teaspoon of maple syrup. A teaspoon of maple syrup has 30 calories which is nothing really, but it really adds to the yummyness of the porridge.

This is how I make porridge.

Egg and bacon pies

This little recipe was from one of Donna Hay’s books – Fast, Fresh, Simple. It makes for a great Saturday lunch but involves no pastry (sorry) – perfect for when when you want something hot, tasty and quick but would prefer to avoid falling into the predictability of sandwiches.

Obviously my children hated this and just ate the buttered sourdough I provided as a prop, and the bacon. But hey-ho. We loved it.

The recipe is here. But for convenience this is what you need for four people:

6 rashers of thin cut bacon

6 eggs

240g creme fraiche (I used a jar of it that was slightly less than that)

2 tablespoons of flat leaf parsley (I use frozen Waitrose herbs they are great for this sort of thing).

Oven preheated to 180C. You need four small oven proof dishes/tins of about 10cm across. We used these little ceramic ones we got some free pate or desserts in years ago. We seem to have accumulated hundreds of these dishes, hardly any of which are the same size. Butter said dishes and place on a baking tray.

Put the rashers around the dishes, one and a half in each, so they make a rim. Whisk together the eggs, creme fraiche and parsley and decant equally into each dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked but firm to the touch. They puff up like little souffles.

 

 

Monday morning bread, aka chocolate sourdough

I need a bit of help on a Monday morning. Weekends are usually cosy, engaged, involved, family affairs and splitting us all up on a Monday morning can hurt. Even though I do a job I love, and I work mostly from home – so am incredibly fortunate – Monday mornings sometimes need a bit of easing into.

Thus it is that I decided to corrupt one of the baguettes I was making last night, for baking this morning, by rolling the dough around a few pieces of chocolate (a high cocoa content milk chocolate). Everything else stayed the same. But this morning, the promise of these served warm from the oven, aside a bowl of caffe latte for dunking into, just helped get us all downstairs.