The best way to keep your diet healthy is to cook your own food, and the best way to do that is to keep the preparation of it as easy and simple as possible. For me, this has resulted in quite a few of my meals being “variations on a theme”. For breakfast, this theme (I’d go so far as to call it a “formula”) is simple: eggs + vegetables, followed by a cup of coffee and some kind of nut butter.
A few months ago I went through a phase of taking photos of my breakfast with the intention of doing a post about ways to make eggs more interesting, and now, partly due to the fact that I have a new phone and am going through photos from the old one, but mostly because I’ve just been asked what I normally eat for breakfast (I’m the kind of gal who likes to craft a long-winded answer to an incredibly simple question) the time for that post has arrived.
Here are some photos of my favourite meal of the day (which I eat pretty much as soon as I wake up, as I’m always hungry, even when it’s 6am and I really should try and get back to sleep again…).
One of my top two breakfasts: steamed vegetables (in this case some frozen spinach and broccoli) with fried eggs. To make my life even easier, I let the frying pan heat up, then run a stick of butter over the inside (like PrittStick… ButtStick if you like) to save messing around with oil. That said, sometimes I go nuts and use coconut oil instead. I eat a lot of frozen veg, mostly spinach and mixed veg (peas, carrots, sweetcorn) but not broccoli and cauliflower as they have a weird mushy texture once cooked.
In equal top position on my Brekkie Top 10 is some kind of omelette. Steam or stir-fry the vegetables first (you could also use leftovers), whisk eggs, cook in pan for a bit and either flip (if you’re feeling brave) or finish under the grill.
This was a particularly creative day: a fried egg/omelette combo. Go me! (Actually it was mostly because cooking everything in one pan meant less washing up)
Weekend breakfast: smoked salmon omelette with leftover peas. Rawk.
Getting some extra fat in the form of fried slices of chorizo (great to fry the eggs in the chorizo fat)
Another wild day, this time a broc AND pea omelette. Will the madness ever end?!
Now these things are cool: egg muffins. Break eggs into a bowl, add stuff (onions, mushrooms, peppers, cheese, whatever) and pour into a muffin tin and bake in the oven. Very handy if you have to leave the house early and want to take breakfast with you. If you’re curious, google “egg muffins” (not “egg mcmuffins”) and you’ll get some good recipes.
This is a wild garlic omelette . The garlic grows in abundance in one of the places I run in, and if I’m out with my trail pack I stuff in an extra plastic bag so I can stop on the way home and pick some. It also has the bonus that between my sweaty self and a honking bag of alliums, I pretty much get the whole carriage to myself on the train home.
Classic! British breakfast without the good bits ;)
Oh – I usually add some stock powder to the vegetables and sometimes things like soya sauce or garlic in a tube, which I’m a little bit addicted to.
And just so you don’t think I’m mad (actually, maybe you will after this recipe) this one is more of a pancake… Mash one banana, add an egg, whisk till smooth, crumble in some dark chocolate and fry in coconut oil or butter. You will just have to trust me that this is totally and utterly delicious.
I find that strong coffee kills the taste of the food, so drink my coffee (which I make whilst the eggs cook) afterwards. Lavazza made in a cafetiere with whole fat milk (or cream). I have a spoonful of nut butter with it – almond if I’m running that day (I find peanuts make me extra mucus-y) or crunchy Whole Earth if I’m not.
There is one exception to this rule: once or twice a week I go for a run before breakfast. This is usually a short and intense one – about 5 – 7km and usually involving either hill runs or track work. In these instances I just have the coffee. I used to have the almond butter too, but have recently swapped this for three dates to get a pre-training sugar boost (it’s Ramadan so dates are stupidly cheap, which was a driving factor around this switch). When I come back I have oats (which I leave to soak whilst I’m out so the cook quicker), cooked in water with electrolyte powder in (what?! it’s just like salt!). I cook the oats in a pan, and when they’re cooked take it off the heat and whisk in… a couple of eggs. Yes, I am aware how weird that is, but think about it: thick custardy eggs, tasty extra fat, more protein, more filling and just goddamn delicious. Seriously. Try it after you’ve built up some trust in me with the banana pancake first.
In defense of this weirdness, the egg thing was something I started when I was living in Japan (I originally started this blog when I moved out there in 2008). There is a dish there called o-kayu which is pretty much rice soup with an egg stirred in right before serving. Mushy rice and a just cooked egg. Yum. It’s a real comfort food and people often eat it when they’re ill. Being a creative type I figured it would work with porridge, and you know what? It damn well does.
If you are from the old-school (can I say “ignorant school”…?) of thought who believes that eating eggs and saturated fat will make your arteries clog up and you keel over of a heart attack, I suggest you use that mushy grey shit inside your skull and do some reading on the subject. I can be particularly smug about this point as a recent cholesterol check (part of my on-going health saga) revealed that my levels are so good to actually be seldom seen in the general population. When I told my doctor this was because I ate eggs fried in butter every morning I don’t think he believed me. (Although I suspect that a low sugar consumption is to thank for this and much as the unborn chickens).
If you have any suggestions for eggy delights that I can try of a morning, please do leave me a comment and I’ll report back. The weirder the better!