Sometimes I want my breakfast to start with something palate-piquing and lively. Grapefruit fits the bill – and I’ve discovered it tastes even better with a pinch of seasoning. The black pepper is magical – it really enhances the fruit’s fragrant acidity.
1 large pink or ruby grapefruit
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt (optional)
Halve the grapefruit through the ‘equator’. Use a small, sharp knife (a special grapefruit knife is handy but by no means essential) to cut around the circumference of the fruit, separating the flesh from the pith. Then use the tip of the knife to cut down both sides of the membranes that separate the segments, releasing each juicy segment but leaving them neatly in place
Give the grapefruit a generous dusting of black pepper and a tiny sprinkling of salt, if you like, and it’s ready to eat.
Spiced berry salad
This lovely raw berry ‘compote’ is delicately aromatized with Chinese five-spice. You can whip it up in minutes, or make it in the evening for the following day’s breakfast.
1–2 teaspoons runny honey
A pinch or two of ground Chinese five-spice
Put about 150g of the raspberries in a dish. Mash them to a pulp with a fork, then trickle over 1 teaspoon honey and add a pinch (about 1⁄8 teaspoon) of five-spice. Stir well, so that the crushed raspberries release their juice and mix with the spice and honey.
Fold the remaining raspberries and the blueberries into the juicy raspberry mixture. Taste and tweak with a trickle more honey and a pinch more five-spice if you like (the berries vary quite a lot in their acidity and a little more sugar and spice will both help counter the tartness).
Eat straight away, or put it in the fridge overnight for tomorrow’s breakfast (let it come up to room temperature, or at least de-chill a little, to enjoy the flavors at their fullest).
This ‘carpaccio’ treatment turns the good old banana into an elegant breakfast. A trickle of honey or pinch of sugar makes the dish a touch more indulgent, but I actually prefer the pure, fruity flavors of the banana and lime alone. It’s best with bananas that are just ripe rather than very ripe. Lime is particularly special here but if you haven’t got one to hand, use half a lemon instead.
1 medium, just-ripe banana (about 150g)
A little honey or a pinch of soft light brown sugar (optional)
Peel the banana and slice it into discs, 4–5mm thick. I like to do this on a bit of an angle, so they are oval in cross-section rather than completely round.
Spread the banana slices out on a dinner plate, butting them up close to each other or overlapping ever so slightly. Finely grate the zest of the lime over the banana – the fragrant oils in the zest are what make this dish – then squeeze over some of the juice.
Add a tiny trickle of honey or pinch of sugar if you like. That’s it – eat without delay, before the banana gets a chance to brown.
Soaked almonds with strawberries
I do a fair bit of nut-soaking these days almonds for almond milk, for instance, and cashews for cashew cream and ice cream and I’ve noticed how delicious the nuts are to munch after a few hours in a bowl of water. They taste almost like fresh, straight-off-the-tree nuts, and the soaking helps to unlock their nutrients by making them more digestible. This easy combo – and the variations that follow – pair up these crisp but creamy nuts with very simply prepared fresh or dried fruit. Soak them overnight and they’re ready for breakfast the next morning
About 50g whole,
About 100g strawberries, quartered or roughly sliced
A trickle of runny honey, to finish
Put the almonds in a bowl, pour in cold water to cover and leave them to soak overnight, or for at least 4 hours. Then drain, rinse and drain again thoroughly.
Once soaked they are quite easy to peel with your fingers – but peeling’s definitely optional.
Put the soaked nuts, peeled if you like, in a bowl with the strawberries. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice and trickle over a teaspoon or so of honey. Stir, then leave for a few minutes if you have time, and stir again. Divide between two plates and serve.
Soaked walnuts with pear and honey Replace the whole almonds with walnut halves. Put the soaked walnuts into two serving bowls. Peel, quarter and core 1 large or 2 small ripe pears, then slice and distribute between the bowls. Finish with a trickle of honey if you like.
Soaked walnuts with prunes Replace the almonds with walnut halves. Put some prunes to soak in orange juice or tea at the same time you start soaking the walnuts – or just put them in the bowl with the soaking walnuts. Drain and serve with the nuts
Soaked hazelnuts with apple Replace the almonds with whole, skin-on hazelnuts. Remove the skins after soaking if you like – though it’s more of a faff than with almonds. Put the hazelnuts into two serving bowls. Quarter and core 1 large or 2 crisps, medium dessert apples, such as Cox’s (no need to peel) then slice fairly thinly, distributing the slices between the bowls. Finish with a trickle of honey if you fancy it.
This is a simple but hearty take on muesli, packed with surprising flavors, colors and textures. The tang of raspberries or blueberries and the crunch of the banana make a fun change from the usual muesli dried fruits, while a smattering of really good dark chocolate (optional, but highly recommended) adds an extra, bittersweet dimension. Use the least sweet chocolate you can find. And look out for organic banana chips, which don’t contain preservatives.
300g jumbo oats
25g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), chopped
100g hazelnuts, very roughly chopped
100g dried raspberries or blueberries
100g dried banana chips
Nut milk (bought or homemade) or oat milk, or apple juice Honey or maple syrup (optional)
Mix all the dry ingredients together and store in an airtight container until needed. To serve, spoon some of the dry mixes into a bowl. Top with your favorite dairy-free milk – and a trickle of honey or maple syrup if you like things sweet. Alternatively, you can pour a little apple juice over the muesli before tucking in (in this case, it definitely won’t need any extra sweetening).
With cacao nibs In place of the dark chocolate, raw cacao nibs make a very interesting and nutritious addition to this muesli. These shards of unsweetened cocoa bean have a bitterness that might not be to everyone’s taste but, alongside the sweet banana, I think they’re really quite delicious. You’ll find them in health food shops and some supermarkets too