why you should eat breakfast

breakfast week

Did you know that it’s Breakfast Week?

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Breakfast Week is a campaign run by HGCA every year to raise awareness of the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast and to encourage people to think about where their breakfast food comes from. So, why should we eat breakfast? The NHS says

“Eating breakfast has long term health benefits.  It can reduce obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.”

 

Which seems a good enough reason to me. The problem with breakfast is that it needs to be fairly speedy. I’m sure that there are people who enjoy pottering about the kitchen first thing in the morning but for most of us it’s a case of get up, eat and get on with the day. Breakfast becomes no more than a fuel stop as we grab the same thing each morning with perhaps the only variation at weekends when there’s a little more time to linger.

seville orange curd with granola

Breakfast Week jolts me from my routine each January and I try to eat something different each morning instead of automatically reaching for the porridge oats and spurtle. At the weekend I made a batch of granola and instead of just sloshing milk over it we’ve eaten it with yoghurt and different fruit compotes that I froze in the summer. Yesterday we used the last of the Seville Orange Curd to dollop onto a bowl of yoghurt and scattered granola over the top. It was very good, if not the healthiest of breakfasts.
Below is the recipe I use for granola. I like a loose granola rather than hard clumps so I don’t usually add the apple puree, which binds it together a little. I used to add dried fruit to the granola after it had cooled but now I add it in the breakfast bowl so that I can match it to the topping. Somehow eating raisins in granola that’s topped with fresh fruit seems rather strange and anyway some days I feel like raisins and another I might prefer cranberries. I know, I’m fickle.

 

granola recipe

Are you a breakfast eater?

Do you know where your breakfast food comes from? The story from field to plate of my Eggs on Toast is HERE.

Five more breakfast recipes you might like to try:

 


a little pot of sunshine

seville orange curd for breakfast

 

 

Digging vegetables from the garden this month involves scraping a good quantity of heavy soil from them. The leeks have their roots and tops cut off and the outer leaves peeled off at the compost heap on the way back to the kitchen, the carrots are dunked into a trough of water (provided it’s not iced over) and the Jerusalem artichokes are soaked for a while in the hope of dislodging a little of the dirt that finds its way into every little crevice. Even the vegetables I buy seem a little lacklustre; much as I love root vegetables and cabbages it does seem as though that’s all we’ve eaten for ages. Warm days with young green salad leaves, the first tiny broad beans and baby carrots fresh from the garden seems an age away.

That, at least, is my justification for buying Seville oranges when I vowed that I wouldn’t make marmalade this year because I still have a 2013 jar on the shelf and have barely touched the 2014 batch. I’m not sure if it’s their vibrant colour or their slightly knobbly textured skin or just the fact that they seem to call “Hey, forget all those easy peeler citrus fruits that sit on the shelves all year – we’re only here for a few weeks. We may be gone tomorrow. Best buy a few now while you can.”

I bought the oranges, but I haven’t made marmalade. I used a few of them in place of lemons; they’re as sharp as lemons so make a good citrus self-saucing pudding or orange cake and I considered using them to make a Seville Orange Posset but I’m not sure that I like the idea of oranges with cream so I’ve put some oranges in the freezer should I decide to try it one day. The last orange I used to make a Seville Orange Curd. Perfect for breakfast but not marmalade. Seville Orange Curd needs to be eaten fairly quickly so there’s no guilt about the jars lined up on the pantry shelf and as it’s Farmhouse Breakfast Week it’s the ideal time to try something different for breakfast.

 

seville orange curd

 

Seville Orange Curd

50g butter

75g caster sugar

1 Seville orange – finely grated zest and juice

1 egg, beaten well

Put the butter and sugar into a small saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Finely grate the rind of the orange and add to the saucepan with the strained juice and the beaten egg. Mix them well and cook on a low heat for five to ten minutes until the curd has thickened to about the consistency of custard. Don’t turn up the heat or you’ll have orange flavoured scrambled egg. If the curd is a bit lumpy then sieve it.

Pour into a small sterilised jar and cover. Keep in the fridge and eat within a couple of weeks.

A little pot of sunshine for the breakfast table.


farmhouse breakfast week 2014

If we ate the same thing for supper every evening, week in week out, I would find it boring beyond belief, yet I’m content to have the same breakfast every weekday with a little variation at the weekends. Strange then, that on holiday breakfast is sometimes my favourite meal of the day with fresh fruit, smoked meats, cheese and wonderful breads. The best breakfasts I’ve eaten were at Stranraer Homestead on Kangaroo Island. The first morning, having feasted on beautifully laid out bowls of fresh fruit, compote, yoghurt, granola, pastries and buttermilk pancakes we were amazed when the “cooked” option then appeared. We managed to eat toasted muffin with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon but the next morning we paced ourselves!

When we’re away walking, I happily eat a cooked breakfast; maybe not the “full English” but certainly some of the sausage, bacon, black pudding, tomato, mushrooms, fried bread and egg.  We’ve found that, having eaten a farmhouse breakfast like this, we don’t get hungry again until well into the afternoon even though we may have walked fifteen miles or more. In contrast, after a breakfast of toast and marmalade, the biscuit tin looks very tempting by eleven o’clock. Maybe there is something in the old adage that we should breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dine like a pauper.

In the spirit of Farmhouse Breakfast Week*, which runs until Saturday 1st February, I’m trying to be a little more inventive with our breakfast. These are some of the things we’re eating for breakfast, based on porridge oats.

winter baked oats breakfast bar

Winter Baked Oats

I’ve made a batch of Winter Baked Oats  [click for the recipe] with dried fruits and seeds, cut them into bars and put them in the freezer, so all I need to do each morning is take out the requisite number, give them a whirl in the microwave oven for thirty seconds and breakfast is ready. They’re also good to pack for  Breakfast on the Go.

fruity oats
Fruity Oats

Half a cup of porridge oats mixed with half a cup of apple juice, left to soak overnight and then topped in the morning with yoghurt and fruit compote. A variation on last year’s banana, honey and walnut topping. If I had fresh fruit I’d mix a little fruit puree with the yoghurt and top it with fresh fruit.

porridge with apple and yoghurt
Porridge

Porridge with apple puree, yoghurt and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Sometimes I eat it with milk and a little brown sugar or I add some dried fruit when it’s cooking to sweeten the porridge.

Are you content to eat the same thing every day or do you like more variety? Or are you one of the many who skip breakfast altogether?

*Farmhouse Breakfast Week is run by HGCA on behalf of arable farmers who grow crops such as wheat, barley, oats and oilseed rape.  The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness of the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast and demonstrate the wealth of wonderful breakfast produce available around the country. [Read more about Farmhouse Breakfast Week.]

You might like to try these recipes: