I love breakfast. No, make that I LOVE BREAKFAST. It is without question my favourite meal. As you can tell from this blog I love other meals too. A lot. But breakfast is sine qua non to my daily happiness. Although it is rarely elaborate, and often involving no equipment other than a knife and hot overhead grill – or bowl and spoon – any sustenance is gratefully received. If ever I have to skip breakfast (I can’t remember when that last happened) I get seriously grumpy. Dropped pacifier, burst football, home team lost kind of grumpy. Stay the heck away if that happens is all I can say.
Breakfast could be a hot, cornmeal-dusted wholemeal muffin (recipe soon!), spread with smooshed ripe Haas avocado, and topped with cherry tomato halves and a (sneaky) crumble of Maldon salt. Or a weekend treat of the softest omelette, filled with herbs and love from my dear Miss R. On really cold days it’s often a workaday bowl of Scottish porridge, made special and more sustaining with a healthy dod of nubbly-sweet almond butter, whizzed up dates and a blanket of grated carrot. Odd perhaps, but good.
Although a quick-out-the-door food, I don’t often buy cereals. So my family is always very nice to me so that I (try to) keep the granola jar filled with one of two recipes that I tend to use – one fruity and one cocoa-ey. I however favour savoury, and primarily partake of granola as a bedtime snack on the rare occasion that I have eaten too lightly at dinner.
And so to this recipe. It ticks all of my breakfast boxes: protein, savoury, sustaining, nutritious. Have I missed out anything? Oh yes, delicious.
If by necessity, or choice, you are a bolt out the door with a piece of toast in your hand kind of person, this ain’t for you. Or at least during the working week. But, if you are able to spend a few extra minutes putting this together I will give you an iron-clad guarantee that this will pay back the effort in energy and tummy-stretching fullness. Protein, on top of protein, on top of protein = satisfaction. You will not, I repeat not, be reaching for an 11 o’clock Twix: no room down there. It’s still working on that healthy pile of protein, keeping your blood sugar levels steady eddie, staving off sugar cravings with a metaphorical pointy stick.
I have spent a previous post (along with a recipe for steamfried egg with smoked tofu & samphire – gorgeous) extolling the virtues of, and statistics on, eating breakfast, so I shan’t bore for Britain just now. But we do know that breakfast eaters tend to be slimmer without dieting, and that those who eat protein rather than carbs for breakfast even more so. Even if weight is not an issue for you, protein is usually more sustaining in the long run. Don’t believe me? Then do this: on one morning eat two pieces of toast with a scrape of butter (or butter-like substance, if you must) and jam. The next morning have the same type of bread toasted, but instead of butter use two tablespoons of almond butter or peanut butter. On both days see how long it takes until the first hunger pangs strike. The results may surprise you.
I have eaten all kinds of crazy things for breakfast (that’s another post) but this is the first time I have eaten lentils for breakfast. I will definitely be including it in my repertoire of things I like to eat often. I really did feel great after tucking in. One thing I will be sure to do – and I heartily recommend this – is to make a batch of lentils and keep them in the fridge or freezer. This one easy step brings this recipe – and others – into the realms of possibility for weekday eating. I cooked a HUGE batch of lentils for a Shepherdess Pie I made for my cancer nutrition workshop (and a wee one for us) and used some extra for this recipe. I popped portioned bags of the rest in the freezer to enjoy another day. I will just take out what I need and defrost overnight in the fridge (or you microwave owners could just decide in the morning). And then it’s just a question of poaching an egg, heating the lentils and slapping on the yogurt – with or without the added spice. Toast optional. Happiness guaranteed.
Breakfast with other bloggers:
Cafe Style Hotcakes with Homemade Ricotta (Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things)
Fig and Goats’ Cheese Bruschetta (Cook Eat Live Vegetarian)
Pineapple and Ginger Kale Smoothie (The Spicy RD)
Peachy Keen Quinoa Porridge (An Edible Mosaic)
Apple Cinnamon Overnight Baked French Toast (Everyday Maven)
Selected Food To Glow Breakfasts (see Index for loads more):
Breakfast and Snack Ideas: Easy, Nutritious, Delicious (from my cancer and nutrition section, but for anyone. Excuse the dodgy formatting. Must sort that)
I am popping this over to a new-to-me recipe roundup, the No Waste Food Challenge, hosted this month at Elizabeth’s Kitchen, and the brainchild of Kate at Turquoise Kitchen. The ingredient this month is Eggs. And if Mark of Javelin Warrior’s Cookin’ With Luv doesn’t mind, I will link up to his Made With Love Mondays as it is homemade and made with love. Finally, another new blogging challenge in the form of My Legume Love Affair #57 via PJ at Seduce Your Tastebuds, Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen, and Susan the host of Well-Seasoned Cook. This is always a vegetarian roundup so go over for some veggie inspiration.
Before I get on with the recipe I will make a public service announcement to my Edinburgh, Fife and West Lothian (and Renfrewshire?) readers. On Sunday, 17th March (this Sunday), beautiful Linlithgow Palace is hosting a ‘takedown’, which is a democratic food competition where the punters get to choose their favourite dishes as they are cooked. The theme is ‘Scottish Soul Food’ and it will see top Scottish chefs go head to head using the very best local and seasonal ingredients. There will also be talks and a chance to meet the chefs. Entry is £10 and this entitles you to a taste from all of the chef’s dishes.
I am going to try and get along to this as it sounds great. I think it is a first in Scotland. It’s been organised as part of a documentary series for the BBC, following a group of Linlithgow Academy 6th years (17 year olds) as they set up a healthy ‘pop-up’ takeaway business from their school’s kitchen. So if you fancy it, come along between 1 and 3 to eat a selection of amazing dishes from great chefs like Neil Forbes and Mark Greenaway. I would get there early as the chefs will draw their own groupies too. For more info, and to purchase online tickets go to scottishsoulfood.bpt.me. Hope to see you there!
This Week in 2011: Turkey and Root Vegetable Meatloaf
Miss R’s Track of the Week: Retrograde by James Blake – oh my days, I love this
Like some of my other recipes this slightly unusual breakfast has overtones of both India and the Middle East. But, if you don’t want something so exotic for breakfast, strip out the spices and enjoy as is. French – or Puy – lentils have loads of earthy taste without extra titivation.
I have given instructions for both a longer, more leisurely weekend recipe, and a quick and dirty work week version too. Make either even more quickly by cooking a batch of lentils ahead of time and stashing them in the fridge or freezer. I try and remember to do this any time I cook up legumes and wholegrains. It makes eating well much more spontaneous. You could of course use tinned or ‘pouch’ lentils and cut out the whole cooking thing altogether.
½ tsp cider vinegar (for egg poaching)
First of all if you are using raw lentils, wash them, pop into a saucepan and cover with three times their volume of fresh water. Bring to the boil, turn down to a fast simmer, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.
While the lentils are simmering heat the oil in a sauté pan and add the onions. Saute gently on a low-ish heat until they are soft, stir in the cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric and chopped greens. Or you may choose not to use spices. Increase the heat and stir occasionally. You want to just wilt the greens. Spinach will take the least amount of time. You may want to add a splash of water if using other, less tender, greens. Cover and leave while you organise the yogurt and eggs.
In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, feta and paprika. Maybe add a squeeze of lemon if you like.
Finally, the eggs. Poach or fry, as you like. I like to poach them slightly differently to others as I don’t find that swirling the water is necessary and can even make the white all ‘strandy’ if you are too vigourous. I just simmer a small pan of water, add the vinegar, break the eggs into a teacup each, and slide them into the simmering water. Set the timer for 2 minutes, then when the time is up let them sit in the water as I put a spoon of lentils on a plate, dollop on half the yogurt, top with more lentils and finally scoop out an egg from the water with a slotted spoon and lay the egg on the pile of lentils. Do another plate of the same. Sprinkle over whatever herb you have chopped and crumble over some salt if you like.
Quick and Dirty Version
Heat half a pouch of lentils or some tinned lentils with chopped greens or even chopped tomatoes, stir in a smidge of curry paste, a splash of soy sauce or even some balsamic vinegar, tamarind paste or lemon – whatever you fancy. Pop on a plate and top with a cooked egg and a dollop of good yogurt. A flurry of chopped herbs lifts the whole dish, but aren’t essential.
Serves 2, heartily.