Breakfast bores me. I’m not talking about fabulous weekend pancakes or laid-back brunches. I’m talking about the daily grind. The stuff you eat before running to work and getting on with the day. The morning fuel.
The fact that I refer to food as fuel shames me!
See, I’m one of those people who needs a good 1 and 1/2 hours to wake up my stomach. In the morning, I get up, make some strong coffee, browse the net, iron the day’s outfit, grab my lunchbox and rush off to work. I normally give myself an hour for all this. No way I can fit breakfast into that. And no way my stomach would want to eat anything at that point.
So breakfast is an office thing. Where we have a microwave and ever-disappearing cutlery. The uncertainty of whether I’ll find a small spoon this morning or not is one of my daily thrills. Breakfast in the office has to be filling. It needs to satisfy my, by then rambling, stomach. It also needs to keep me going til lunchtime.
For a while it was porridge. Those Oat so Simple ones with Golden Syrup flavour. Delicious. But… the whole office knows I’m eating it, since the smell just hangs over the room like a volcano ash cloud. So in respect for my colleagues, I switched to granola.
That lasted for one morning. I hated that stuff. Dry, boring, not my thing. Next experiment: yoghurt. Yoghurt with a few granola sprinkles (gotta get through that massive granola bag now!), a few dried cranberries and a bad ass portion of honey sqeezed on top. Yum. But… I’m hungry again after an hour. Damn.
So I decided to go off the beaten breakfast track and try something new…
Whilst brainstorming for the next best breakfast, I remembered this amazing Semonlina Halva cake I had eaten in Istanbul. I didn’t have it for breakfast, but for desert at a local Kofte shop. I really loved its nutty flavour and caramel sweetness.
I had eaten it quite early on during my stay in Istanbul, and I really wanted a slice on my last day before leaving. But, things didn’t pan out that way. Before making may way to the airport, I sat down in this Kofte shop, ready to tuck into some nice meatballs followed by delicious Semolina Halva cake. But when I opened my wallet I realized that I had only enough money to pay for the Kofte! No Halva! Damn! Really, I should start turning on the accountant in me and actually monitor what I spend and how much is left. Alas, it was too late for that. I left Turkey without ever tasting that delicious Halva again…
But not so fast!
I came across this amazing post by Cenk from Cafe Fernando – Semolina Halva in a bowl (and not as a cake). Hell was I excited! The prospect of eating Halva again thrilled me so much that I ran home after work and immediately got cooking. And it didn’t disappoint, it was amazing! Sweet, nutty, and totally satisfying.
However, I ended up with 5 bowls in the fridge, wondering when to find the time and belly space to eat all that! So, I thought, what the heck, this is the next days’ breakfast!
Since cake is a bit decadent for breakfast, I had never considered eating Semolina Halva for breakfast. But since this didn’t look like a cake, it now had the ok to pass as breakfast in my books.
And boy, did this breakfast rock my world! And I hope it will rock yours too!
Pine Nut Halva
Makes 6 portions
80g unsalted butter
2 tbsp vegetable oil
400ml sweetened condensed milk
350ml boiling water
50g pine nuts, toasted
For the whipped cream:
250ml whipping cream
1 packet vanilla sugar (about 10g)
Place the butter and oil into a large pan and melt over a medium heat. Add the semolina and stir it until it becomes slightly golden and smells toasted. It took me about 10 mins. Cenk recommends 20mins, but I prefer the Halva to taste less roasted and more buttery sweet.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, mix the condensed milk with the boiling water over a meadium heat. You want it to become a smooth mix.
Once the semolina is lightly golden, add the hot milk. Stir it once, cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer over a low heat for about 5 minutes. I stirred it once every minute, since I don’t like it tasting too toasted. But if you like it toasty, just let it simmer for 5 minutes without interruption.
Take the pan off the heat and let the semolina rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the whipped cream (if you want it). Mix the cream and vanilla sugar on a high speed until it forms stiff peaks.
Stir the pine nuts into the halva, distribute into bowls and top off with whipped cream. If you take it to the office for breakfast, make sure to place it into the microwave for about 30 seconds and eat it warm.
Breakfast boredom no longer!