Archives For Breakfast

Pearl Barley and Vegetable Soup with Shiitake and Kombu stock

Pearl Barley and Vegetable Soup with Shiitake and Kombu stock

This morning I had Pearl Barley soup for breakfast. It’s not a first, in fact whenever I feel like my digestion is particularly sluggish – lately caused by many rich dinners out, with probably a few too many wines – I often will have soup for breakfast.

Soups are naturally easier to digest, and are a great way to get a bunch of healthy seasonal vegetables and herbs in one tasty shot. I’ve made this soup extra nutritious by adding immuno-protective shiitake mushrooms and kombu*. Plus they give the stock added flavour. I always keep them on hand for this reason.

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Chai spiced porridge with honey and soy milk. Recipe below

Chai spiced porridge with honey and soy milk. Recipe below

I hate that name. Porridge. It’s a word from story books, synonymous with caged up princesses, old fashioned, bland, and gruel (an even less alluring name). A whiny voiced, face screwed up you’re feeding me what, mum? 

It’s an underwhelming name for one of the sexiest things you can eat for breakfast. Dressed up, dressed down, having a porridge-based breakfast can literally sustain a fun filled, action packed, socially-crammed life.

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Cannellini bean smash, avocado, preserved lemon from Milkwood, Melbourne.

Cannellini bean smash, avocado, preserved lemon from Milkwood, Melbourne.

I’m making a stand for breakfasts in 2014. Long ignored and often forgotten as we rush off to work. I want to challenge you right here and now, to make a commitment to eat breakfast every single day of January.

That’s a whole 31 days of breakfasts.

Sounds easy? Reflect back on the past couple of months. How many times have you rushed out the door on an empty stomach, eaten toast in the car, gulped cereal at your desk? I see it far too often than I like in clinic. The people who need to nurture their health the most, presenting with crippling ailments have a history of skipping breakfast.

Eating breakfast is one of the most straight forward actions you can make towards better digestion, more energy, better coping skills, balanced emotions, clearer skin, and losing weight.

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Breakfast sugar free granola made by my gorgeous sister-in-law.

Breakfast sugar free granola made by my gorgeous sister-in-law.

Being a breakfast worshiper, the importance of eating time has been an influencing reason to my love of the first meal. It’s no new concept, the Chinese knew that eating too late – related to the horary cycle, circadian rhythms, and being too close to bed time – will slow down digestion. Actually, we have a saying:

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a merchant, and dinner like a pauper.

What happens when digestion is slowed down? We put on weight. It’s kinda repetitive for me to say this, but I’ll say it again for impact: when the digestion is slowed down, we can’t process our food. When we can’t process our food in the manner of extracting nutrients and expelling waste, all that we eat gets pushed out into our system as a toxic, dirty, repugnant waste to get stored between our fat cells…making us fatter.

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Shakshouka from Cumulus Inc. It’s baked eggs with roasted peppers and shanklish

Baking food is the way to go in Autumn months. If you think about it in Chinese Medicine terms, Autumn is when the direction of our body’s natural energy turns inwards – our intelligent biology knows it’s time to prepare for cooler months. That’s why it’s that little bit harder to get out of bed and naturally, we spend less time outdoors. And that’s ok! This is something we can’t control, and trying to force the opposite, well it will drain the energy faster than you can say “is it winter yet?”.

One way to get more bakin’ is breakfast time. I don’t know why it became the norm to socialise before 12pm on a weekend.  Somewhere along the lines it did, and that’s exactly what us Melbournians do en-masse come the Saturday. So Melbourne chefs had to get up earlier and get creative…not that this little foodie is complaining. Breakfast worship is my thing.

Trusty eggs benedict has been superseded by Turkish baked eggs, which I see on menus we are now using it’s “proper” name, Shakshouka. Essentially you have the same thing: Arabic spiced tomato base, crack in a couple of eggs, bake in clay pot, then serving with crusty bread and warning not to touch the pan.

Doctors orders this Autumn is to bake, braise and stir fry. Lots of fragrances stimulate the metal element – being our Lungs – and another little trick from 5,000 years ago to ward off the lurgy.

Look after yourself this Autumn,
Becki xx

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Typical Sardinian Breakfast. My version sans poached eggs. Because I suck at poached eggs.

Sardina. Located off the west coast of Italy and second largest island in the great salty pond known as the Mediterranean, to Sicily. Known for it’s long living folk who feast off simple meals with bountiful fresh produce grown locally.

Sounds like a great way to start the morning.

This breakfast was made for me recently and adapted from A Sardinian Cookbook by Giovanni Pilu and Roberta Muir. I have to say the Turkish can reclaim their baked eggs and the whoever’s, their eggs benedict*. Me? I’m all Sardinian (even though I’m a bastard breed of Northern Italian and whatever goes into making up Australian).

Ahem, anyways onto the recipe. Quite easy. All you need is pane carasau / pane di musica…not that economical, quick to make or easy to find, so I substituted with split and toasted wholemeal pitas – I used the mini kind – or you can try Lavosh. Layer 4 pieces per serve with a good quality passata, which I used my own by first soaking tomatoes in boiling water (about 1 minute) then peeling and seeding. Roughly chop the flesh and simmer for 20 – 40 mins with a pinch of salt and a bay leaf. More economical if doing in large batches and buying end-of-season, not-quite-perfect tomatoes. Also add shaved parmesan and fresh basil in the layers. If you’re like me and don’t have fresh basil on hand, but have salvaged bunches of basil before it goes off and minced in a food processor and drowned in olive oil and pinch of salt to be stored in the refrigerator, you’re going to be in luck.

Ideally you want to top with a couple of poached eggs since this particular morning I couldn’t poach an egg if my life depended on it. I took the picture above sans poached eggs (but still ate the little rascals anyway).

world's worst poached eggs

It takes pure talent to achieve poached eggs like this.

What makes this simple breakfast so delectable, I reckon is the slathering of tomatoes that are rich in umami…that I-can’t-get-enough-of-it savoury yumminess. I also happens to be filling and uncomplicated. Kinda like how I prefer my men.

Sardinian breakfast. Tomato passata, parmesan, basil, pane di musica, poached eggs

Possibly better looking than mine. But both were as tasty as each other.

*Wikipedia doesn’t know the originator of eggs benedict, therefore subsequently, neither do I.

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Today I put on my pants – ones that recently I had room to move in – and that uncomfortable tightness enveloped my legs and constricted my waist, making me feel really grumpy. I’ve been noticing a slow but steady weight gain for a few weeks now, and on reviewing what’s different the only thing is protein shakes in the morning. Yep, I’ve been running and cycling, chewing my food and drinking warm water. I cant ignore it anymore, it’s the only thing that has changed in my diet, and it’s making me fat!
I decided to give the whole protein thing a go.

Not really a subscriber to the notion – but it’s good to try these things – after all the masses can’t be wrong, surely? After doing some research, I got onto pea protein isolate, the highest known plant source of protein and easier to digest than animal based proteins.

I just feel dense. Like veganism and vegetarianism, I tried it, I committed, but in the end it kicked my arse. Back to oats in the morning.

Search “breakfasts” for why oats are a good start.

Nutrition Express

January 19, 2013 — 2 Comments

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Combine fruits in season (eg. mango), oats, linseed, coconut oil with pea protein isolate and super greens powder. Blend with water.

Make sure you use warm water; 1 part boiling to 2 parts cold (or simply boil the kettle, interrupting it before it gets too hot) to protect your digestion.

Feel good foods

January 8, 2013 — 4 Comments
Raw buckwheat porridge

Raw buckwheat porridge

Everyday feel good foods: You’d be forgiven for expecting me to write about downing a bottle of wine here. It’s kinda what I feel like now. But in the long run…wait strike that, the short run too…the Liver gets stressed and Qi stagnation will result, exasperating the blues. Melancholy, despair and depression are experienced in the mind but rooted in stagnant Liver energy. I woke up a little Qi stagnant today.

Everyone experiences mild depression occasionally. So what does one reach for when you want to gnaw on something so your emotions don’t gnaw away at you? Brown rice, cucumber, apples, cabbage, fresh wheat germ, green foods, apple cider vinegar all have a calming effect on the mind. A little tip if you’re feeling  “stagnant” like me: take 1 teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar in a little water up to 3 times daily.

Whole grains are rich in magnesium which settles the nerves and heals the physical heart. They are also rich in an important amino acid, L-tryptophan, that has an effect on the brain bringing about calmness and sound sleep. Try raw buckwheat porridge topped with fresh fruit.

~ Recipe ~

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Energy Porridge

May 27, 2012 — Leave a comment
Mulberries and Goji berries are added to porridge in the last 2 minutes of cooking

Mulberries and Goji berries are added to porridge in the last 2 minutes of cooking

Mulberries (Sang Shen) and Goji berries (Gou Qi Zi) are part of the TCM material medica. Don’t limit their use to medicinal teas, these berries can be used in your daily diet.

Both are excellent blood and Yin tonics which will help improve your energy. Goji’s don’t have much of a flavour, while the Mulberries impart a sweet caramelyness.

I’ve added both to my morning porridge, turning my breakfast into an energy charged meal.