Blueberry Oat Breakfast Crumble

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The forgotten satisfaction of a textural orchestra first thing in the morning.

A crisp blueberry oat breakfast crumble. A warm middle, roasted and earthy, bleeding with blueberries, crying golden, glistening. 

Different mornings must heed to different needs. It’s like lunchtimes away from the office, discovering the magical brilliance about the combination of eggplant (qie zi), lotus root (lian ou), overcooked white rice, tofu (dou fu) and broccoli (xi lan hua). But mornings are the best. Sometimes it’s a dripping bowl of warm oats with a cold splash of almond milk. Other times it must be crunch-and-cream action, like crispy brown toast dipped into thick coconut yoghurt, opaque and lustful. Just this morning I indulged in the simple pleasure of crispy brown toast topped with tahini and marmalade. Nowadays I’ve tended to be more inclined to a scene of willing sogginess, dipping toast into coffee or letting my cereal and granola soak for a little too long in milk, sugars seeping out to sheen the white pool.

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It bubbles and glistens. This crumble offers it all. There is no need for time to drag crunch to sog like in the case of morning cereal.

As I dug into the gooey bottomed crumbled with a crisp, sugared top, creamy coconut yoghurt glazing all edges of my spoon and crumble, it occurred to me once again how much I adore the solitude and satisfaction of breakfast.

When I know breakfasts like these are good for me and the planet, there is simply no loss. It’s good to be a little aware, you know, of what you put inside yourself and how you feel about every bite. I used to think it so stupid and time-wasting to care so much. But you only start to care when you question. Which is more eco-friendly– the paper towel or blast dryer? These are actually very important questions.

I therefore take no shame in vaunting this one.

Blueberry Oat Breakfast Crumble (makes one or two small servings)

Ingredients 

3.5 tbsp coconut/oat/plain flour

3.5 tbsp whole rolled oats

pinch salt

1.5 tbsp maple syrup

120ml plant milk of choice (almond/rice/coconut/hemp etc, I used almond!)

handful of fresh blueberries

 

Directions

Preheat your oven to 180C. In a large ramekin (or two smaller ones), mix all the crumble ingredients together with a fork. Bake in the oven for 20-22 minutes. Once out let cool a while before digging in with some coconut yoghurt or ice cream!!

Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast in a Bowl

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Nothing like listening to Dvorak’s Violin Concerto in A Minor and eating something almost as enlightening. Like my new take on one of my absolute favourite things to eat in the morning– french toast. But not just french toast cooked up and served as two or three slabs of bread on a plate. I agree such a put-together is beautiful, but you know what makes it even more special?

Cutting it up, putting it into a bowl, and dousing everything in cold (or hot, it’s your breakfast game after all) milk.

Then topping it with bits of cheesecake, strawberries, and honey or maple syrup.

That’s all you have to do, and I know one picture isn’t enough to justify this process; I was much too excited after pouring that milk. And then I got so excited over breakfast I knew I had to dedicate a (rather late) blogpost just spilling the beans. I have written a previous post on the delight of eating french toast out of a bowl here, and I think if you haven’t already, now’s the time to heat up your pan for something a little different.

This time I used my favourite eggless french toast recipe for the base, and you can even make it vegan by substituting the normal milk I like to use with almond, rice or any other vegan substitute. The eggless recipe is actually my favourite to use for my french toast bowls, because the final consistency is almost chewy and caramelised on the outside, with the softest, fluffiest, milk-saturated middle. It’s what makes this whole thing so good.

Totally delicious, completely customisable.

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Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast in a Bowl (serves 1)

Directions

Make french toast as you normally would, or try this one if you haven’t already. I like to use 2 slices of soft whole grain/ brioche/ classic white bloomers for this.

Cut your french toast into small chunks, put into a bowl, top with crumbled bits of cheesecake (homemade/ store-bought), fresh strawberries and whatever toppings you like (I used nut butter, honey, and some chopped nuts and chocolate). Douse in hot or cold milk. I like to let the toast soak in the milk and sweetener for a while before digging right in.

Citrus Curd Yoghurt Pillow Pancakes

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Pancake Alex struck again at precisely 6am yesterday morning. I decided it had been a while since I did a post on my pillow pancake series specifically, so today I present to you a modification on my all-time favourite pancake recipe

Thick and fluffy (it’s a little ridiculous) pancakes made with yoghurt and citrus curd. I used lime here, but grapefruit/lemon would work just as well.  The morning was ripe with possibility, and pancakes make everything else in your day that much more worth looking forward to.

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I mean, I’ve done lots of pancake variations, and have mixed up the ratios of flour, sugar, eggs, melted butter and what have yous many a time, but it’s this dry mix ratio of 1.5 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda and a generous pinch of salt that makes this recipe live finely up to its name. They aren’t called pillow pancakes for nothing. They have body. They have soul.

So it’s simple as that in the beginning. Whisk together your dry ingredients in a larger bowl, whisk together your wet ingredients in a separate bowl, pour wet into dry with a generous puddle of melted, unsalted butter, mix briefly, ladle.

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The only real difference here is in the wet mix. It differs from my favourite classic pancake recipe by incorporating, of course, yoghurt, which is what produces a slightly stickier, almost yeast batter-like texture, and citrus curd. In this case, a whole 1/4 cup of lime curd, and I shamelessly use cups here because this tried-and-tested recipe works every time I use cups; you just have to make sure that you gently level off the top of the cup (when it comes to flour and such) using the back of a knife. Other minor changes involve a slightly reduced amount of melted butter (the yoghurt and curd compensate for that nicely), as well as half the amount of milk needed.

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So fluffy, so perfect with an extra dollop of yoghurt and a drizzle of honey and maple syrup. The fluff.

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Thought it would be nice to end off with a little glimpse into my common commute to Charing Cross hospital, through Margravine cemetery. All sounds a bit austere, but it’s really one of the most beautiful walks.

Citrus Curd Yoghurt Pillow Pancakes (makes 6-8 medium pancakes)

Directions

Follow the steps for making my classic pillow pancakes here, but this time substitute the wet mix with 1/2 cup (120ml) milk of choice, 1/2 cup whole milk yoghurt, 1/4 cup citrus curd of choice, 1 egg (as per usual) and 4 tbsp (60g) melted butter.

Tip: Make sure to spread out the thick batter after ladling into the pan, else one side will cook too fast.

Serve with fresh fruit, yoghurt and a drizzle of honey.

 

Try This Toast Combination Now

When the going gets tough, it’s easy to give up on a lot. But fret not, for you’ll have a slice of toast that will get you over that hump.

It’s the perfect little snack, or breakfast if you have a birdy appetite, like me on some days. I can attest to its pre-yoga workout effectiveness. Energy boosting, almost wholesome. Here is a slice of whole wheat toast, half slathered in tahini, maple syrup and salt, half with a generous coat of butter and marmalade. 

The second bit is a classic, the sort of thing you might fall back on at an endless breakfast buffet (or if you’re a plain old novice). I love love love butter and jam on most days, and some days it’s good old almond/peanut butter, honey and a pinch of maldon salt. Today demanded a switch in routine, and so this was born.

Directions (because the ‘Ingredients’ bit isn’t necessary, right?)

Take one slice of any sort of bread you like (preferable whole wheat, sourdough or a dark rye), and toast in your toaster. Cut in half any which way, then top half with butter and marmalade (or jam, if you don’t have any marmalade, but marmalade is still the best option!), and the other half with tahini, maple syrup, and  apinch of coarse salt (Maldon). Eat the halves separately or, for optimal pleasure, sandwich together and bite. Savour that crunch, then the nuttiness mixing with the sweet jammy middle. A tick of salt at the end. Savour, swallow, maybe repeat.

Ultimate Mango Almond Smoothie

Skepticism hits hard when I see ‘best’ and ‘ultimate’ and ‘crazy-good-scrumptious’. Really? How good does good have to be before the ultimate (haha) mainstream adjective succumbs to usage?

…Well, I guess it’s just that good then.

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There’s not much to it, yet there’s everything to it.

One simple base recipe accompanied by a myriad very suitable toppings, some of which you may feel free to leave out. It’s a quickie-breakfast-morning kind of thing, the best excuse to chuck a couple of things into your blender and emerge from the kitchen triumphant. No sweat. I’ll keep this one short and sweet, so you can indulge in something short and sweet, yes?

Mango Almond Smoothie (serves 1)

Ingredients

half a frozen banana

160g frozen mango

60ml almond milk (or any milk of choice)

one tablespoon almond butter (or any nut butter)

In a blender, blend the above listed ingredients. Top with creme fraiche, frozen raspberries, more almond butter, and, in my case, granola and matcha powder (!!) That part is unorthodox and optional, but if you have those lying around, then give it a shot. The bitter and fragrant powder elevates the sophistication of this otherwise simple (and obviously healthy) breakfast. Or leave it out!