Morning full of energy

March 2019

I love the start of a new day ~ the wake up, usually with a smile, dreaming how it will unfold and what it will bring…the morning tells a lot about the day. Making coffee is a special ritual for me, making breakfast is a precious part of it. Usually in the morning I’m not for something generous in quantity, rather for something small, delicious, somehow special and resonating with my mood. Light and nutritious. Ideally with a little intriguing flavour hint and some goodness for me. A fresh seasonal fruit (only mango is all seasons for me?I travel the globe with it), Bulgarian yoghurt, grains porridge, mini pancakes, syrniki (a dear memory from my Moscow years and one of the 3 things from Russian cuisine that I love preparing for breakfast). Or just some coffee with a date or two and some raw nuts or figs ~ when time is little and the previous night long and generous.

Natural yoghurt has lots of interpretations for breakfast to bring flavour diversity and inspiration. And Bulgarian yoghurt is so special for me ~ after traveling the world and tasting various yoghurts Bulgaria is the only place where I enjoy lightness and creaminess, fluidity and richness in a yoghurt at the same time. Divine for me. And not to forget its unique composition based on Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, the 2 beneficial bacteria making the real difference for our body! Combining raw crushed nuts with yoghurt is such a bliss and treasure too ~ a source of fibre, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Manganese, Vitamin E, Vitamins from B group, important fatty acids. I love hazelnuts ~ they are delicious and rich in the beneficial monounsaturated Oleic acid (Omega 9), also walnuts ~ a source of the essential polyunsaturated fatty acid Omega 3 ~ in September/ October when fresh they are fantastic. Pistachio is another beloved nut that fits perfect with yoghurt and is abundant in Omega 9, similar for the almonds. Sometimes I add honey, dates, dry figs, apricots or plums, or fresh fruit to elevate the pleasant sweet sensation and always a spoon of extra virgin olive oil to round the flavours. EVOO is healthy, rich in Omega 9 and unique with its phenolic compounds ~  with powerful antioxidant function, as well as a source of Vitamin E and K, Squalene ~ couldn’t be a better start of the day! Truly.

I prepare grain mix or just oat porridge often and in a very simple way ~ in a pot I add 3 spoonfulls of grain mix (1 part) and 2 parts of fresh water and cook at low heat for about 5 min. until getting a smooth porridge. I drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, mix together and cover the bowl with a small plate for a few minutes for the flavours to blend. I used to put some butter to bring more flavour and richness of the texture, yet lately I enjoy extra virgin olive oil that adds a health dimension, lightness and a very pleasant natural fresh flavour. And it’s a vegan option for the ones who prefer plant-based choices. I like EVOOs with a delicate fruitiness that pair delightfully with the porridge and round harmoniously the grains flavours. Arbequina variety from Catalonia/Spain, or Ogliarola from Puglia/Italy, or a Greek Koroneiki with light-medium fruitiness. An interesting combination turns with the Italian Mignola or Cellina di Nardo varieties with berries flavour sensation. The choices are many and everyone could find the one that makes the palate happy?For a final touch I compliment the porridge with some crushed nuts and seasonal fruits ~ options are enormous ~ pear, persimmon, mango, figs, dates, berries, steam boiled pumpkin, pomegranate and many more depending on the mood and season’s availability. A warm, nutritious and full of goodness breakfast on cooler days. And a cup of flavourful coffee with sparkling fruity notes (I do it with the Japanese dripping system Kalita) or a pampering smooth cappuccino?

For the more special days when I feel like doing a little celebration for breakfast I dedicate more time and add a special touch. These are the mornings for pancakes and syrniki. I prepare the pancakes with yoghurt and a pinch of baking soda ~ I always have these products at home and it makes the morning more spontaneous. Yoghurt brings a light, smooth and more indulgent texture. A key point when preparing the mix is to first sift the flour and to gradually mix the components, one by one in order the mix to stay fluffy. I adore Far East and Japan in particular and often add some Matcha tea (also sieved or mixed with a spoon of warm water to avoid granulation of the pancake mix). And some vanilla pods for an elevated sweet fruity flavour. A drop of extra virgin olive oil in the pan for each pancake. And they are ready. The most amazing thing is that these mini pancakes combine lovely in  sweet and salty options and make the breakfast generous and fulfilling!

The day unwinds with the morning…

Here is the recipe ~ Mini pancakes with Matcha ~ for 2 portions

~ 2 eggs

~ 2 spoonfulls of yoghurt, brought to a creamy texture

~ a pinch of baking soda added to the yoghurt cream and gently mixed for a fluffy texture

~ 2 spoonfulls of flour, sieved

~ a pinch of vanilla pods

~ a pinch of sea salt

~ ½ tea spoon of Matcha tea

~ extra virgin olive oil (a drop in a heated pan for each pancake)

Stir the eggs with the salt ~  add tenderly the yoghurt-soda fluffy mix ~ gradually add the sieved flour ~ add some vanilla pods and Matcha tea ~ pour 1 spoonfull of the pancake mix in the pan over a drop of EVOO ~ enjoy the pancakes with some nuts, honey, jam, fresh fruit, white sirene, cottage/cream cheese. They are tender and delightful and make the morning and day special.

Similar to pancakes ~ syrniki preparation is easy ~ I replace the yoghurt-soda mix with 5 spoonfuls of cottage cheese/ricotta and skip the Matcha tea. The mix becomes less liquid and more solid to allow shaping the syrniki in a spoon. After bringing them to golden colour on both sides we could enjoy them with honey, jam, sour cream & fruit, or any other compliment our fantasy suggests? they are truly delicious!

I wish you an ultimate delight for the senses!

~ We are what we live, we are what we eat, food for change ~