Is breakfast important?
Are smoothies good for me? What can I make for breakfast when I’m in a rush? are the types of questions I get asked on a daily basis as a chef. And I know the prospect of breakfast for some can be daunting, it’s how we start our day off, and the copious amounts of pressure to ‘have a good breakfast’ before work or school doesn’t particularly help. So I’m here to answer all your breakfast related conundrums and questions to ensure that everyone gets the right fuel to start their day (without burnt toast or soggy cereal).
1. Do you start your day with a hot/cold drink?
On rising, I have to admit that my go to is espresso Nescafe instant coffee. I find something incredibly comforting about this particular brand, the coffee is soft, light and smooth. Just what I need to wake me up. However, on the odd occasion I do like to alternate my morning coffee ritual for hot water and lemon, the perfect combination in my eyes.
2. Typical breakfast meal in a rush/on a lazy Sunday morning
Rush: Personally, I am very partial to eggs first thing in the morning as I find that they keep me full until lunchtime. And I have to say that I’ve definitely mastered the process of poached eggs to a tee. I leave a saucepan of water on the stove with a touch of vinegar, then I simply crack the eggs into a small bowl and immerse them into the boiling water. Depending on my mood, I’ll either go for runny and leave them for 3 minutes (that way you get amazing yolk porn! Take it from me!) or if I want them slightly harder I’ll opt for 4 mins. This usually sits alongside one of 3 favourites, beetroot, tomato or avocado. Delicious!
Lazy: For me, a lazy Sunday morning is never complete without one of my firm favourites, shakshuka. I especially love taking time when making the sauce, I’m not a fan of peppers so you’ll always find shitake mushrooms inside my sauce for that meaty flavour, accompanied by some softly sautéed onions. I leave the sauce to cook for about 30 minutes, until I’m ready to cook the eggs. And of course, no shakshuka can ever go a miss without some delicious gluten-free sourdough bread to mop up the delicious sauce. Mmmm.
3. What would you say to people who argue that they don’t have time for breakfast/would rather spend those extra 15 minutes in bed?
Breakfast is one of the most vital meal times of the day, literally meaning to break the fast. I understand and appreciate that many people are short for time in the morning, but that time does catch up with you. Hunger pangs can begin to set in throughout the latter half of the day and wrong choices can be made. I would suggest that mindfully preparing breakfast in advance the night before as a great way to prevent the ‘I have no time’ predicament many of us face on a daily basis. You could make overnight porridge oats, keep hard boiled eggs in the fridge and keep granola bars in your cupboard – these are just a few recommendations to avoid missing out on a vital mealtime. There are a few sayings that support my philosophy, my favourites being ‘start as you mean to go on’ and ‘eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’. They perfectly reinforce the importance of having breakfast and are sayings that I always like to keep in mind.
4. What quick and easy (but still healthy) breakfast would you recommend for my children?
I have a couple of suggestions – crepes and egg omelettes can always be made in advance and just reheated so are perfect for those busy school mornings. Frittata omelettes are great to keep on hand/in the fridge and you can ensure that they are filled with your children’s favourite vegetables, meat or fish. Also, a healthy bran muffin is always a good option for a treat.
5. What do you eat before/after going to the gym? Should I eat before/after going to the gym?
Personally, I’m not one who likes to eat before exercising. I prefer to exercise in the morning, therefore my morning coffee is essential to keep me going. Quite often I will think about what I’m going to eat for breakfast during my run. Recently, I’ve enjoyed making savoy cabbage scrambled eggs, although when I’m in the mood for something sweet, often I will have individual chia seed granola pots, as this is a great way to nutritionally balance a combination of protein, omega 3 and carbs.
6. What alternatives should I put in my smoothie that will ensure it is still healthy?
Always be mindful around making smoothies. I wouldn’t suggest having a smoothie every day, although it is a great way to use up fruits and nuts. And I often keep a variety of frozen fruits in the freezer. Try to make sure that you have a good balance of protein when making a smoothie to ensure its not just all fruit, sugar based and ultimately, is still nutritionally balanced and good for you.
7. If you are on the go, what do you take with you for breakfast?
If I’m on the run, a homemade granola bar is a great way to ensure that I’m getting all the nutrition I need and a homemade frittata is something that I love when I’m rushing; it’s a great way to use up vegetables and cheeses and is super easy to handle.
8. How do you prep the night before?
The thought of prepping the night before can always be somewhat daunting after just making dinner, especially when prepping for breakfast. But there’s nothing better than the feeling of opening the fridge several hours later to be greeted with what you made earlier. There are so many fantastic pots and Tupperware available today; I’m a huge fan of what Ikea has to offer in terms of storage. And you’ll often find me on a Sunday batch cooking around 4:00, I usually set aside a good two hours so that I can enjoy the rest of the evening, whether it be breakfast options, lunch or keeping my fridge organised to ensure nothing gets wasted. It’s definitely worth it.
9. What is the best recipe to make that will see me through for breakfast for the week on the go?
One of my favourite breakfast options has to be homemade granola, as it’s so versatile in terms of using up ingredients in your store cupboard. Whether it be used in chia seed individual granola pots, acai berry bowls, drenched in homemade nut milk or sprinkled on yoghurt. You’ll even find I’m happy to graze on a couple of handfuls of granola in my handbag.
10. If you’re going out for breakfast, what would you typically order?
Avocados are always a firm favourite whether its smashed, chopped diced or sliced, I’m a sucker for it. Having said that, no avocado is complete without accompanying with some eggs, poached, scrambled or baked.
11. What are typically the safest options to order when I am out?
Always alert the restaurant that you’re going to of your allergy. However, most restaurants today cater for gluten free requirements; just be careful of cross-contamination or pancakes, waffles as you can never be sure which flour they use. I find that I lean towards the egg option which is typically an omelette as I find they are very filling but tasty at the same time.
12. What items on the menu should I stay away from if I want to stay healthy?
Be careful with sugar coated cereals, anything fried or drenched in maple syrup- it may sound appealing and I know that there are days when people feel that a fry up can fix the feeling of fatigue. But don’t use tiredness as an excuse to indulge in a greasy fry up because I can guarantee you will be feeling worse than when you first walked in.