Quick breakfast: Nectarine Melba protein toast

Here’s some quick inspiration for a healthy summer breakfast: homemade spelt and sunflower seed bread, topped with vanilla protein soya yogurt*, nectarine and raspberries.

nectarine-melba-protein-toast

* For the protein soya yogurt I use 5 tsp of plain Alpro mixed with a 3/4 scoop of PHD Diet Whey vanilla protein powder. It’s my go-to breakfast protein boost that I rely on pretty much daily for my toast topping. The vanilla flavour works well with peaches, nectarines, raspberries, blueberries and grapes. And chocolate flavour protein powder is great paired with bananas and strawberries.

Two grain baked apple flavour porridge with cinnamon

Aaah autumn. The season of tea, soups and warming breakfast porridge. For tonight’s Saturday dinner I made baked apple porridge (because why the hell not) and it’s the ultimate winter warmer!

baked-apple-cinnamon-porridge

The combination of apple, cinnamon and a crunchy topping gives this porridge all the goodness of a baked apple dessert. And by cooking half the apple in the porridge until it breaks down and using the rest for the topping, and adding some roasted rye flakes and seeds as a topping, you get a wonderful mixture of textures. It’s seriously so, so good. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

For this one make sure you use whole (chunky) porridge oats and not the fine ones, because the porridge needs to cook a bit longer for the apple to break down.


TWO GRAIN BAKED APPLE PORRIDGE WITH CINNAMON
Makes one portion

For the porridge:
3 tbsp whole (chunky) porridge oats
1 tbsp rye flakes (for example from Holland & Barrett)
1/2 apple, peeled and chopped finely
200ml oat milk
100ml water
1 tsp honey (or to taste)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the topping:
1 tbsp rye flakes
1 tsp brown linseed
1/2 apple, sliced

Put all the porridge ingredients in a small pan and cook until the apple chunks start to break down. If the consistency gets too thick just add a splash more hot water as you go along.

While the porridge is cooking, roast the remaining rye flakes in a pan until golden and crispy. (This only takes about half a minute once the pan is hot so keep an eye on them!)

To serve, put the porridge in a bowl, sprinkle the linseed and crispy rye flakes over it, top with the apple slices and give the whole thing a dusting of cinnamon.

Vanilla protein porridge with banana and crunchy rye flakes

This year, ever since going back to veggie in summer, I’ve been experimenting with adding some whey protein to my food, because I just wasn’t getting enough protein for my level of training from my vegetarian diet. (My IBS-prone system puts a limit to how many pulses I can eat…) I’ve discovered a surprising number of tasty ways to add protein powder into my diet – because I’m not a fan of the shake – and throwing a scoop into my morning porridge is one of them. It has the added benefit of making this porridge super filling, so I don’t even feel the need to snack until lunchtime.

So here’s my new favourite porridge!

banana-vanilla-protein-two-grain-porridge

TWO GRAIN VANILLA PROTEIN PORRIDGE WITH BANANA AND CRUNCHY RYE FLAKES
Makes one portion

For the porridge:
3 tbsp whole porridge oats
1 tbsp rye flakes (for example from Holland & Barrett)
200ml oat milk
100 ml hot water
Up to 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use PhD Diet Whey)
1/2 banana

For the topping:
1 tbsp rye flakes
1 tsp brown linseed
1/2 banana

Peel and slice the banana. Set one half aside for the topping. The other half will be cooked in the porridge for extra flavour and creaminess.

Put all the porridge ingredients (except the vanilla protein) in a small pan and cook until the porridge has your favourite consistency.

While the porridge is cooking, roast the remaining rye flakes in a pan until golden and crispy. (This only takes about half a minute once the pan is hot so keep an eye on them!)

When the porridge is ready, add a scoop (or half a scoop) of vanilla protein and whisk until it has dissolved. If the consistency gets too thick, add a splash of hot water.

To serve, put the porridge in a bowl, top with the remaining banana and sprinkle the linseed and crispy rye flakes on top.

Avo hazelnut mocha: Sounds strange? Yep, strangely delicious

When it gets to afternoon I’m always torn between craving a huge, creamy latte and wanting something a bit more filling and chocolate-y. Today I really wanted a chocolate avocado smoothie, and really needed a little caffeine boost to wake me up for my pump class later. Avo or coffee…avo or coffee… In the end I decided to throw the two together.

AND IT WORKS.

I’ve just had the most luxurious and delicious pick-me-up afternoon snack ever.

If you think I’ve lost it, try this one out for yourself!

avo-hazelnut-mocha-1

AVO HAZELNUT MOCHA
Makes one mug

1 shot of espresso
1/2 avocado
1 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
Around 200ml hazelnut milk
1/2 tsp maca (optional)
1 tsp coconut oil (optional)
Agave nectar to taste

Throw all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Sweeten to taste with agave.

avo-hazelnut-mocha-2

Thermomix recipe: Rye and spelt bread with seeds

This dark, crusty rye bread has become my absolute favourite over the winter. For the rye half I use whole rye grains and shred them in the Thermomix instead of milling them finely, but you can also use wholemeal rye flour if you can’t get the grains. And, as always, if you’re not working with a Thermomix just grab the ingredients and make the bread by hand!

rye-spelt-bread-seeds


RYE AND SPELT BREAD WITH SEEDS
Makes one loaf

INGREDIENTS
250g rye grains
1 tsp fennel seeds*
1 tsp coriander seeds*
250g spelt flour
2 1/2 tsp quick (easy bake) yeast
150g seeds (I use a mix of sunflower, pumpkin and linseed, or whatever I have available)
2 tsp salt
1 generous tbsp honey
420ml lukewarm water

 
TO MAKE THE BREAD

  1. Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Weigh the rye grains into the bowl, add the fennel and coriander seeds and shred for 20 seconds / speed 10.
  3. Add the spelt flour, yeast, seeds, salt, honey and water and mix for 4 minutes / kneading (interval) mode. Shake the dough out into the loaf tin, gently smooth it in to fill the tin evenly, and leave to rise in a warm place for around 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C.
  4. Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes at 200°C. Remove from the tin immediately, peel off the baking paper and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Storage tip: If kept in a plastic bag or sealed container the bread can go mouldy after a few days. To prevent this, wrap the loaf into several layers of clean dish towel – then ideally store it on a wooden table or in a bread box made of untreated wood. This way the excess moisture in the bread can escape and won’t cause any mould. Because this type of bread is quite dense and moist, with a thick crust, it keeps up to a week when stored this way.

* Or use 1tsp bread spice, which you can buy in German shops or make at home: Finely grind up 2 tsp caraway seeds, 2 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp anise and 1 tsp coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar and store in a clean jar.

Winter breakfast: vegan cacao-hazelnut and banana-coconut super porridge

There’s nothing as comforting as a big bowl of hot porridge when I roll out of bed on a cold, dark winter morning – but it has to be of the clean variety, with some extra flavour and goodness.

I use Koko Dairy Free for my porridge; it’s a light and delicately flavoured coconut milk that doesn’t dominate the flavours and creates a creamy porridge. Throw in the banana with your oats at the start (a trick I learned from Deliciously Ella) – it breaks down during the cooking, adding more flavour and making the porridge wonderfully puffy. Plus, cooking brings out all the natural sweetness of the banana, meaning you don’t need to add sweetener.

Here are two of my favourite porridge recipes based on banana.


cacao-hazelnut-porridge

CACAO AND HAZELNUT SUPER PORRIDGE
Serves 1

Around 5 tbsp whole rolled oats
250ml Koko Dairy Free coconut milk
1 banana, sliced
1-2 tsp cacao or cocoa powder
A handful of hazelnuts, halved

Optional: A squeeze of agave nectar (if you like it sweet)
Optional: 1/2 tsp of maca and baobab for a little energy and Vitamin C boost

Put the oats, banana slices and coconut milk into a pan, cook to the desired consistency (add a splash of hot water if the porridge gets too dry). Add the cacao and optional ingredients, stir thoroughly, and serve sprinkled with a little extra cacao and the hazelnuts.


banana-cocout-porridge

BANANA AND COCONUT SUPER PORRIDGE
Serves 1

Around 5 tbsp whole rolled oats
250ml Koko Dairy Free coconut milk
1 banana, sliced
A handful of coconut flakes
A little cinnamon, to serve

Optional: 1/2 tsp of maca and baobab for a little energy and Vitamin C boost

Put the oats, banana slices, coconut flakes and coconut milk into a pan, cook to the desired consistency (add a splash of hot water if the porridge gets too dry). Add the optional ingredients and stir in well. To serve, sprinkle with a little cinnamon and add some extra coconut flakes for texture.

Quick cheat: Healthy hazelnut butter nutella

Bu now I’m largely living without chocolate, sweets and processed sugar (aside from the occasional cake and emegency KitKat), but one thing I found really hard to give up is Nutella. Nutella is basically my crack. I can’t have a jar of the stuff in the house because I will eat the lot, with a spoon, in a day (or less).

In my search for alternatives I tried Deliciously Ella’s healhty nutella recipe and it was m delicious, but the joy didn’t last long because it went mouldy within a few days. I think that was due to the water being added to the nuts in her recipe. (I have since learned that water is the death of all nut butters.) 

So this time I tried a simpler approach, grabbed a jar or Meridian’s crunchy hazelnut butter, stirred in 2 tsp of raw cacao powder and some maple syrup (just adjust to taste depending on how sweet you like it) AND IT IS AMAZING. 

So there, I’m saved. I don’t have to give up Nutella and I’ve found a better, healthier version. With crunch. 

  
And I just happen to have some fresh, homemade German rye and hazelnut bread in the house…so that’s my meals sorted for the weekend!

Mixed whole grain bread with sunflower and pumpkin seeds

German mixed grain and seed bread

As a German living in the UK I’ve found the only way to have decent bread in my life is to make my own. I tried using a breadmaker for a while, but whatever recipe I used (from the book that came with it), I always ended up with light-as-air, soft-crusted, doesn’t-really-feed-you kind of loaves that I could as well have bought in the supermarket and that have become the terror of my British breakfasts.

My live saver arrived on my 30th birthday in the shape of a Thermomix and it has changed – well, if not my life then certainly my kitchen, my eating and most of all my bread-making. Because I’m finally equipped with the kit and the recipes to make German bread just like the ones I grew up with – and all without having to spend a fortune at posh delis or markets.

German mixed grain and seed bread

Here’s the recipe for one of my favourite breads, using a combination of wheat, rye and spelt for a more interesting flavour and texture, and a wonderfully firm and crusty crust. You can vary the amounts – half/half spelt and white works very well – but don’t use more than one quarter rye as you’ll end up with a very collapsed, dense bread.


MIXED WHOLE GRAIN BREAD WITH SUNFLOWER AND PUMPKIN SEEDS

I’m giving you the recipe for ready ground flours as they’re easier to come by in the UK, but you can also buy whole grains and grind them in the Thermomix, in batches of up to 250g, 1 minute / speed 10.

INGREDIENTS
150g strong white bread flour
100g whole grain wheat flour
100g whole grain rye flour
250g whole grain spelt flour
1 tsp bread spice*
100g banana
150g yogurt
150g sunflower seeds
50g pumpkin seeds
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
180ml water
2 1/2 tsp quick / easy bake yeast

 
TO MAKE THE BREAD

  1. Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Weigh the white flour and banana into the mixing bowl and chop the banana for 5 seconds / speed 4.
  3. Add the whole grain flours, yogurt, seeds, salt, sugar, yeast and water and work into a dough for 3 minutes / kneading (interval) mode. Shake the dough out into the loaf tin, gently smooth it in to fill the tin evenly, and leave to rise in a warm place for around 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C.
  4. Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes at 200°C. Remove from the tin immediately, peel off the greaseproof paper and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  5. Eat a cheeky slice while it’s still warm for 100% bread happiness.

whole grain and seed love

* You can buy bread spice in German shops or make your own: Finely grind up 2 tsp caraway seeds, 2 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp anise and 1 tsp coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar and store in a clean jar.

Clean snack: Barbecued peach as a jam alternative

This morning while making breakfast I found a leftover barbecued peach from last night’s BBQ sitting in the fridge. It looked a bit sad and not particularly inviting, but I hate to throw food away so I thought I’d try to integrate it into my breakfast – which was supposed to be spelt bread with almond butter (both homemade) and jam.

So I took the burnt skin off the sad little BBQ peach, sliced it up and stuck it on top of my almond butter bread. With a few coconut flakes sprinkled over the top to make it look a bit more inviting.

And I can’t even tell you how good it was!

barbecued peach on almond butter bread

I eat fresh fruit on bread a lot (as a healthy alternative to jam), but so far nothing compares to the sweet, soft goodness of the barbecued peach. I guess I’ll be loading the BBQ with a view towards breakfast from now on.

Give it a try – and happy BBQ season!