After days of simple breakfasts like my beloved avocado toast (how cliché am I?), interspersed once or twice by a bowl of plain yogurt topped with homemade granola and slow-cooked fruit compote (rescued from the freezer), I fancied a change. It was a day off, after all. No make-up to put on, no matching shoes to find. The world was my oyster. Or my budget version of it: a mussel.
What I really fancied was a drive into nearby Stockbridge village to visit the bijou Swedish bakery Peter’s Yard, ostensibly to get a loaf of their crisp yet chewy sourdough levain bread – just one small loaf to last us the week: when it’s gone, it’s gone. But of course I would naturally be seduced into purchasing a cardamom laced blueberry custard bun, accompanied by a small but perfectly formed cappuccino. Suitably fortified and feeling rather yummy mummy in the douce surroundings I planned to zip back home, pound out some work then tackle the garden in readiness for spring planting.
Of course, I didn’t do any of this: not the bread buying, the coffee sipping, the bun scoffing or the garden tending. I did do the work pounding though. Five hours on a day’s off-worth. Ridiculous, I know.
As I have got older I find I just can’t do indulgent. I can’t do planned leisure. Or a least not without an internal fight with myself. I’m better if my OH instigates something, especially anything involving a long walk and a cafe stop. But it needs to be long walk to actually deserve that stop.
It’s not that I have an ulcer-inducing work ethic or anything. I can faff around and achieve nothing with the best of them. Homer Simpson has nothing on me, just ask my husband. But sipping coffee, eating a sticky bun (which, let’s face it, isn’t really me) and pecking about in the garden with a pair of secateurs like Monty Don is too much like hard work. It’s the guilt, you see. The ‘I should be doing this’, ‘I should be doing that’, not wasting time ON MYSELF. Basically the opposite of what I tell people on my workshops and those who I see one-to-one. How ridiculous am I? Please tell me you aren’t as pathetic.
I did manage to salvage something of the feel-good feeling of a day off, with breakfast. Despite my reluctance to treat myself with a rare bought bun and coffee I did make something pretty special. I treated myself to a rummage in the vegetable tray and a potter at the stove. And this is what I made. Nothing like a cardamom laced perfectly baked blueberry bun – did I mention it had custard under the berries? – but it did the job. Actually this very odd sounding savoury Japanese skillet breakfast is extremely good, if I do say so myself. I’m not brilliant at taking time for myself, but I am darn good at tooting my own horn. At least for today.
How do you treat yourself? Let us know. I need ideas!
Japanese Breakfast Skillet with Warm Tomato, Ginger and Miso Dressing
This is much less complicated than first appears. If you have a decent blender or food processor, the sauce takes just seconds. And the rest of the dish is really just chopping and stir-frying. You don’t even need to measure. This is perfectly satisfying as is but some of you may like this with toast, or even something like wet polenta – neither very Japanese. But then, neither am I.
2 tbsp oil of choice (I used extra virgin olive oil), divided use
150g (1 ½ cups) small dice sweet potatoes – see images, I didn’t measure
½ small onion (about ¼ cup), sliced
50g ( ½ cup) shiitake or chestnut mushrooms, sliced
150g (1 cup) small cherry/grape tomatoes
100g (about 6 cups), curly kale, chopped and ribs removed
½ small onion, finely diced
2 tbso light tahini OR neutral oil
1 tsp white miso (more to taste) OR tamari/soy sauce
2 tbsp finely minced ginger
1 ½ tbsp. tomato ketchup or tomato paste
8 cherry/grape tomatoes
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp ground turmeric
1-2 dates (2 if not using ketchup)
Optional – sliced toasted nori, togarashi, and/or chopped chillies for garnishing
1. First of all pop all of the sauce ingredients into a powerful blender (I use my trusty Froothie Optimum 9400) and blitz until completely smooth and warmed from the friction of the blender. Scrape into a bowl or jug, cover and set aside.
2. Heat half of the oil in a heavy-bottom skillet (I use a well-seasoned cast iron pan) over a medium flame. When medium-hot , throw in the onion and sauté for a couple of minutes, followed by the sweet potato and mushrooms. Stir frequently, cooking until the potato softens – about five minutes. Now turn up the heat a bit, push the other veg aside and add the tomatoes. Let these get a bit dark in places, shaking the pan occasionally. When all seems softened mix in the kale, adding a small splash of water if it appears anything might stick. Cover with a lid and turn off the heat.
3. In another, smaller, fry pan (or you could poach the eggs), heat the remaining oil and fry the eggs as you wish.
4. Serve by topping each serving (if sharing!) with two eggs, some of the sauce and any garnishes you wish. This kind of protein and fibre-rich dish should keep you well-fed until your next meal.
Note: adapt the vegetables to whatever you have – use any winter squash instead of the sweet potato, peppers if you like and any greens you fancy too.
Sauce Uses: this sauce is very versatile – use it as a salad dressing (especially hearty grain-based ones), glaze for tofu or tempeh, stir into Asian noodle and rice dishes. It’s also nice on steamed veg and slices of hard-boiled egg.
Similar (-ish) on Food To Glow:
Healthy Whole Food Breakfast Skillet Recipes From Others:
Kale and Potato Breakfast Hash – amuse your bouche
Southwestern Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet – eat live run
Power Greens Breakfast Skillet – my fitness pal
Breakfast Skillet – readers digest best health magazine (Canada edition)