Aside from the weekends, I never eat breakfast. It takes me all my time to get my three kids up, washed, packed and walked to school but only after making THEM a decent brekkie.
Oh yes, I know its the most important meal of the day and my mob eat like emperors. One day its boiled eggs and soldiers; another, fruity muesli; another, omelettes; then baked beans on cheese and toast; and then on the fifth day, whichever sugar-laden cereal they like (because theyve earned a treat after being so virtuous for the rest of the week).
Unfortunately, this leaves me with next to no time to prep something for myself before I launch myself into the tedium of a housedads day. (Lets not mention my wife: she somehow seems to manage to exist on a coffee and a banana in the mornings). But this week, Im determined to turn over a new leaf after being told about the benefits of breakfast by the folks behind Farmhouse Breakfast Week.
According to their research, nearly half of us skip breakfast at some point during the week (guilty as charged!) so theyre on a mission to persuade us to make the first meal of the day the most important meal of the day.
To support this worthwhile cause, Im resolving to eat breakfast every day during Farmhouse Breakfast Week, which starts on January 26 especially as I need to take care of myself a bit better, given that Ill turn 50 next week! Gulp!
According to the FBW chaps and chappesses: œIt has been shown that breakfast eaters have more energy, feel less stressed and can concentrate better, so in a nutshell, breakfast eaters are happier, healthier and more energetic people.
They go on: œBreakfast also boosts your brain with much needed nutrients and there is even evidence to link eating breakfast with a smaller waistline!
œEating breakfast tops up your energy stores for the day and helps to regulate blood sugar. Experts recommend that around 25 per cent of your daily food intake should come from breakfast ideally from wholegrain foods like wholemeal bread or wholegrain cereal e.g. porridge or muesli.
Yes, yes, yes, thats all fine and dandy, but who has the TIME?
FBW responded: œIt doesnt have to be complicated, follow these simple steps to keep you going until lunchtime:
1. To help keep you full and give you maximum energy, combine protein such as yogurt, milk and eggs with a carbohydrate such as cereal, oats or bread.
2. Wholegrain cereals or toast can help you feel fuller for longer. A simple bowl of cereal with milk is an easy way to top up your calcium, iron, fibre and B vitamins.
3. Try and get one of your 5-a-day of fruit and veg in early if you can, a glass of fruit juice, a handful of berries, some tomatoes, baked beans or a banana are just a few easy ways to do this.
4. Pack a portable breakfast and take it with you: from a piece of toast or a muffin through to some cereal to have in the office.
Anyway, the organisers of Farmhouse Breakfast Week have sent me a box of goodies, plus recipes, that will keep the whole family sustained for a good couple of weeks.
Heres a pic (the Bloody Mary Ketchup is where Ill be heading soon!).
But as much as Im grateful for the offering, I prefer to go off piste and do my own thing, so Ive created this magnificent concoction.
It might not be the healthiest breakfast on the planet but, my word, its the tastiest.
Ive used umami-rich ingredients (smoked bacon, cheese and mushrooms) along with toasted wholegrain bread but Ive enhanced it with a secret ingredient Umami Paste.
This stuff is a revelation to me. It was given to me by Dave, my next-door-neighbour. Its called Laura Santtini #5 Taste, because umami is the fifth taste that our tongues experience (along with salt, sweet, sour and bitter).
Umami is savoury, and this paste (from www.laurasanttini.com) is packed with loads of umami-rich ingredients: ripe tomatoes, anchovies, Parmesan, porcini mushrooms, black olives, balsamic vinegar (plus sugar and salt, for the record).
Ill be writing more about it in future posts because Im blown away by it (and, yes, it has been given to me, but not by the manufacturers by my foodie friend Dave a brilliant jazz drummer, by the way!).
Ive used it in this recipe to celebrate Farmhouse Breakfast Week, but if you dont have any or cant get hold of it (Waitrose sell it, apparently), then this recipe still works without it and it is still fit for my little emperors.
For 1 (multiply accordingly)
1 slice wholegrain bread
1 tbsp olive olive
Knob of butter
2-3 rashers smoked streaky bacon
3-4 chestnut mushrooms
50g crumbly cheese (I used Butlers Farmhouse Lancashire)
Squirt of Umami #5 Taste paste(optional)
1. Pre-heat the grill.
2. Chop the bacon and cook in a large frying pan until starting to crisp, approx. 3 mins.
3. Chop the mushrooms into chunks and add to the pan. Cook for 2 mins.
4. Crumble the cheese and add to the bacon and mushrooms.
5. Add a squirt of umami paste and stir through.
6. Meanwhile, toast the bread on both sides under the gril.
7. Remove the toast from under the grill and top with the bacon-mushroom-cheesy-umami mixture. Stunning.
¢ If you dont fancy what Ive done, or you need more inspiration for breakfast recipes head over to www.shakeupyourwakeup.com.