Breakfast is an important part of my day. I can never skip it. But I can’t sit down to a hearty breakfast still groggy-eyed and in my pj’s either. I start the day with a cup of tea and a digestive. Yes,that’s fuel for the heavy work to follow.
A half hour to one hour studies later, I’m off to make breakfast and lunch for boys and hubby. Waking them up, getting them fed and ready for school and work with packed meals in their bags requires copius amounts of energy. That’s where my tea and biscuit comes in handy. Ha.
Before I set to tackle the house which by this time looks like a whirlwind has passed through, I sit down for my proper breakfast. That is, I start cooking my morning meal. When you’re on a Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free diet that’s the most sensible thing to do.
It feels good to be back in this space after a long hiatus. I was away from the blog and social media enjoying a much needed break. I had taken a break from my studies too. ”What did she do? ” you may wonder. I read. Yes, a lot. I would go to my local library and bring as many books as I can carry. Fiction, Non- Fiction, Cookbooks. I read from morning to night. We each have different ways of relaxing,recouping. For me, it’s reading that does it. It’s theurapetic. I may not remember most of what I read now, nor I had the slightest idea to record the books I read. It’s the moments that mattered to me. The feeling that you get when you do what you enjoy, a time well spent.
I didn’t experiment much in the food front. I stuck to my comfy foods, foods that I know won’t cause me any insensitivies. But for some time now, I’ve been coming out of my comfort zone and trying different foods. Like the Hazelnut Bread recipe from ”The Ketogenic Kitchen” by Domini Kemp and Patricia Daly. The recipe for that will be coming soon. And this Granola. I should say that I’ve never been a ganola fan. Even when my husband was gorging on store-bought chocolate granola I stayed away. One reason was I couldn’t stomach the oats in it. And granola with milk didn’t appeal to me.
Here you see the texture of the oat bran. It has a nice chewy bite to it even after you cook. It doesn’t get completely gooey as the regular oatmeal. It should be great in soups and stews, I never tried it yet and will one of these days. If you prefer it with a bit of extra sweetness,you can add a dash of honey,maple syrup or date syrup, take your pick. The recipe is meant to be as a guideline only, tweaking it according your taste buds is entirely up-to you. You can even try a savory version. In that case, make sure to let me know how it turns out.
Cinnamon Oat Bran with Fruits,Nuts and Chocolate Chips
1 cup soya milk (any dairy or nut milk will work too)
1/4 cup oat bran
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 to 2 tsp of chocolate chips
sliced almonds,pistachios to garnish
Place milk, oat bran, salt, cinnamon powder in a small sauce pan over medium heat and let it come to a slow boil,stirring in between.
Once the cereal comes to a boil,reduce heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add raisins and let it simmer for 1 more minute.
Take off from fire, add the chocolate chips,about 2 tsp of chopped or sliced nuts and stir.
Serve warm garnished with dried cranberries and rest of the nuts.
The delicious red rice is a staple in my country.This long grain beauty clothed in a red husk is minimally processed and has a high nutritional value.When cooked it imparts a deep rich color which is an absolute beauty.I have tried cooking brown rice and every time it fails to satisfy me.Even if I soak it for hours and hours and add bucketfuls of water or stock it never gets done properly but the red rice cooks fast and has a nutty flavor(yeah,when I mean cooked,it’s fully cooked and not make you feel you’re tasting soaked rice after simmering for half an hour as in the case of brown rice.) .
If there’s one thing that’s staple in our Iftar menu,that has to be the Conjee,the warm and comforting rice porridge that will fill your belly and delight you after those long hours of fasting.I have to have at least a couple of spoonfuls or else I feel as if I haven’t had anything at all.
Back at home we have it all year around,specially for breakfast,made with red rice or herbs.An easy one pot meal that keeps you fully satisfied.And in Ramadan,it’s made in all the Muslim households for Iftar,mostly with some kind of meat and veggies.I still remember taking the warm conjee made by mom and aunt,to neighbors as it is a sign of good gesture.And we would taste the different varieties of Conjee and snacks received from our neighbors and relatives.All this porridge talk conjures up vivid memories of past that makes me want to live them again….hmmmm.I still make it here on weekends,specially on friday mornings and my DH and sons love it..
Conjee,aka rice porridge,aka jook is a staple in most rice based cultures specially in China,Malaysia,HongKong,SriLanka to name a few.Wikipedia has more info on this here.It’s one of the first weaning foods given to a baby.Even though it’s made with water or stock in other cuisines,back at home we add coconut milk for grownups.
Unfortunately ,I couldn’t find the white raw rice we use, here in Dubai.But luckily I found another alternative,which is Bulgur Wheat,easy and cooks in much less time than the rice cause it’s already parboiled and broken.
And now this is what I make everyday..till the end of Ramadan..Do I get bored eating the samething everyday? No,I use different meats and sometimes only fried onions.
- Soak the wheat in water for about 30 minutes.Wash and drain.
- In a pot,add the wheat and all the other ingredients except for coconut milk,cumin seeds and pepper corns.Add salt.
- Boil until the meat is cooked and water has evaporated.Don’t make it very dry.
- Add the coconut milk and crushed cumin seeds and pepper corns.Simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning.
- Serve it warm.
* You can spoon out the curry leaves,ginger and whole spices before serving.You sure don’t want to bite into a cardomom or clove!