orange + ricotta spelt pancakes

I have a thing for breakfast. Surely, by now, its evident yeah? I often go to bed with the thought of the impending morning’s breakfast. From a nutritional point of view, it’s crucial. It just has to happen in order for you to function well, and to be a remotely enjoyable person being to be around. I’m sure some of you are thinking ‘what? nah, coffee is what makes me human each morning’, but breakfast is to me what coffee is to most. And I mean, food’s gotta happen within 20 minutes of me waking, or else. Whatever your desires, make sure you eat a lil’ something each morning, as you are literally ‘breaking the fast’, revving up your metabolism to support you throughout the day. All you need is a piece of fruit or some nuts…or maybe these!

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Smitten Kitchen has to be one of my favourite food blogs. Her witty writing and delectable recipes have won me over, and I’m yet to try a dish of hers that I don’t like. So it’s only logical that these little morsels originate from her site. I’ve chopped and changed it slightly, both to suit my tastes and to amp up the nutrition factor. I’ve swapped out the plain flour for wholemeal spelt, used raw sugar and substituted orange zest for the lemon. Abundant in protein and rich fats, these are bound to keep you going until lunchtime. Try serving these with berries and mint as I have, with a healthy dollop of natural yoghurt (flavoured with vanilla bean) on the side. Although, I do hear mascarpone could be a strong candidate…

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orange + ricotta spelt pancakes – adapted from smitten kitchen – serves 3-4; wheat free

you’ll need…

  • 4 free-range eggs, separated
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 tblsp raw sugar
  • 1 1/2 tblsp orange zest (from about 2 oranges)
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal spelt flour
  • butter/ghee for the pan
  • to serve: fresh berries (or defrosted frozen ones), vanilla yoghurt (I stirred through vanilla powder), mint

here’s what you do…

  1. Preheat oven to its lowest temperature setting. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, ricotta, sugar and zest. Sift in the flour, stirring until just combined.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer or using hand beaters, whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Whisk a third of the egg whites into the egg yolk mix to loosen, then fold in remaining egg whites gently until just combined.
  3. Heat your pan on medium with a knob of butter, and place 1/4 cup measurements of the batter into the pan, cooking 3 at a time so as not to overcrowd. They’ll need 2 or so minutes each side, until golden brown. Transfer cooked pancakes to oven to keep warm while you make the rest.
  4. Serve with berries, yoghurt and maybe some crunchy chia or nuts, finally scattering with mint.

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pea + ricotta fritters with avocado salsa

Nothing beats a light lunch. Especially after you’ve been devouring hot cross buns all morning. There’s something about green meals that can magically undo any cheeky over-indulging you may have done in recent days. And as I hang onto the last of the fleeting summer days, this meal is light enough to sustain you for a warm day’s lunch or it can be paired with poached eggs for a cool morning’s breakfast. Take your pick!

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The recipe calls for firm ricotta, and as that seemed harder to find than a rainbow’s leprechaun guarding his gold, I settled for the soft stuff, and the results were pillowy, golden fritters that worked well. Mundella is my brand of choice – no weird additives or preservatives. These beauties are protein rich from the cheese and peas, as well as boasting plenty of healthy fats from the avocado plus vitamin C from the tomatoes. And remember, opt for full fat dairy as it’s less processed, and the fat is vital to absorb the vitamin D present.

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pea + ricotta fritters with avocado salsa – adapted from Coles – serves 3/4 for a light lunch, or 2 for a more substantial meal

you’ll need…

  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
  • 350g fresh ricotta
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 1/4 (35g) cup plain flour
  • olive oil, for frying
  • 1 avocado, ripe but fairly firm, stoned, peeled, chopped
  • 200g cherry/grape tomatoes
  • 1 tbs lime juice, plus zest of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, plus extra for serving
  • black sesame seeds

here’s what you do…

  1. Cook the peas for 2 minutes in boiling water, or until tender. Drain, and add half to a large mixing bowl. Mash coarsely, then add in whole peas, egg, ricotta, parmesan and flour. Mix to combine, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 1 tblsp of oil per batch, ensuring the pan never smokes. With the pan on medium heat, place 1/4 cup of batter in the pan for each fritter, frying 3 per batch. Cook for 3 minutes or until golden, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes or until golden. Keep the fritters rather compact instead of spreading them out thinly, which ensures they stay together.
  3. For the salsa, combine the avocado, tomatoes, lime juice and zest and mint leaves, tossing to combine. Season well, finishing with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds.
  4. To serve, place 2-3 fritters on each plate (depending on how many people you are serving), top with mint leaves and a squeeze of lime, and serve with the salsa.

quinoa, maple + date porridge with fresh banana

I know what you’re thinking. What on earth is this warm, snuggly bowl of porridge doing popping up in my feed in the residual summer heat? Well, autumn is one step closer to winter, and sometimes the mornings can be a bit chilly. Plus, this is light yet sustaining and filling all at the same time, so this recipe comes in handy when your brekky needs a do-over.

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This baby is gluten free, dairy free (if you use dairyfree yoghurt or omit altogether) and super easy to whip up. Quinoa flakes cook in next to no time, packing a real nutritious protein-punch. Oh, and did you know quinoa is a complete protein? That means it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs, perfect for all you vegans and vego’s out there. Add to that the beautiful fats + vitamin D from the yoghurt and the energy-rich bananas + dates, and you’re on your way to beginning the day on a positive note! I’ve sprinkled some homemade orange and coconut granola on top but you can use any other granola you have, or even some macadamias, almonds, walnuts…

quinoa, maple + date porridge with fresh banana – serves 1 – dairyfree/glutenfree

you’ll need…

  • 1/3 cup quinoa flakes
  • 2/3 cup almond milk (plus extra for serving)
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup (plus extra for drizzling)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2-3 chopped dates
  • banana
  • natural yoghurt
  • optional: granola/crushed nuts for serving

here’s what you do…

  1. Place quinoa flakes, almond milk, maple syrup and salt into a small saucepan and simmer for 2-3 min, or until flakes are tender.
  2. Serve in bowl with dates, sliced banana, dollop of yoghurt, granola/nuts and maybe a cheeky drizzle of maple syrup and extra milk if desired.