Nowadays, I thoroughly enjoy my breakfasts, but I was not always a breakfast person. Following my countrymen’s trend, my breakfast for a period was just an espresso, until I got to the conclusion that I am not a coffee person, either. I started having breakfast again when I learned that it was crucial for the PCOS diet, as it seems that a concentration of calories in the earlier part of the day is helpful in reducing the symptoms.
Breakfast became a quiet moment with myself, a brief 10 minutes in which it was just me, the stove, and the early sunlight of 7am, and I was the first in the house to be up. Breakfast was a blessing, an intimate moment between me and my gestures: making barley coffee, making almond milk, or making tea, while toasting some rye bread or retrieving the oats from the fridge. Every single movement feels like a meditation, in which the world is calm and quiet.
Because this was an alone moment, I never thought of sharing breakfast with someone else. I did not even think I’d find someone who liked oats within a 50-mile radius. And even more so, I never thought I would ever have breakfast in bed on the weekends. But that is what happened, and I cannot even begin to describe how happy I am.
On Sundays, Enrico jumps out of bed to make me breakfast. It is usually the simple, nutritious breakfast I am in love with: nuts, coffee with some plant milk, fresh fruit, oat cookies, or whole bread with the homemade jam I made. Sometimes he might go out and grab a couple whole-spelt or quinoa brioches and cappuccinos from the nearby bakery, but most of the time he prepares everything himself and he makes a killer caffe latte. I never asked for it, and I never thought something like this would happen. But I am incredibly happy this is happening, and it is now the moment of the weekend I treasure the most.
“I’ll make breakfast for you too when we live together,” I keep telling him. “I want to make something … different. Something you never tried, like pancakes or French toast. Healthified, of course.”
Oh, what would I do if he wasn’t a health freak like me.
“You know I’d eat anything you make,” he says. “I am a lucky man.”
And I wish I could express how lucky I feel, but I’m not very good with words so I cook instead. He’s a healthy foodie too, of course!
This post is an idea from Evencki, a German company that makes these beautiful bed linens you see in the photos. I think it is a gorgeous idea, and I am super happy that I actually do have breakfast in bed now, so this post makes sense. These sheets are not only an incredible color, but they are also the softest fabric I have ever touched.
Another thing that I am featuring in this post is this incredible Innocente Barley coffee. As I already stated, I am not a coffee person, but I do love coffee made out of toasted barley. Barley coffee is a super Italian thing, but it is still not well known outside of Italy, and this Siena-based company wants to expand the trend. Theirs is seriously the best barley coffee I have ever had. If you are interested in trying it, do check them out!
I love crepes, they’re super easy to healthify and they can be stuffed with pretty much anything, and that’s why I think they make a wonderful breakfast food. Though a French staple, crepes hold a special place in the heart of every Italian. They are hardly seen as a dessert—they are more thought of as a Sunday treat to have in the morning or afternoon.
I love them stuffed with fruit for breakfast, and with chocolate if I’m feeling really decadent. I wish I could say these peaches come from my garden, but I just found out that we have four peach trees and that three of them are nearly dead. But I do have plums! So I used peaches, apricots, and plums for the filling, but you can really use any fruit you like.
I like crepes for these hot summer days. On weekends, we enjoy our alternative breakfast and head to the beach. It’s a real blessing to live both close to the beach and the countryside!
1⁄2 cup almond milk
1 scant tbsp honey
1 tsp coconut oil, melted + more for the pan
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup (40g) stone-milled flour or spelt flour
3 tbsp (20g) whole rye flour
A small pinch of salt
1 large peach + 2 plums or apricots (or other fruit), sliced lengthwise
1 heaping tsp honey
The juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp elderflower cordial
½ tsp vanilla extract
Coconut cream or cream of choice, or yogurt of choice
Dark chocolate shavings or melted chocolate
Chopped nuts of choice (I like pistachios here!)
- Beat the eggs and milk until foamy. You can do so with a hand mixer or with a blender.
- Add coconut oil and vanilla, blend briefly, then add the flour and blend until well mixed.
- Lightly oil a 6″ or 8″ pan and drop ⅓ cupfuls of batter at a time, swirling the pan to distribute the batter evenly. After 40 seconds/ 1 minute or so, the edges should start to cook and detach from the pan. Lift the edges with a spatula, and either turn the crepe with the spatula or do like me and just turn them with your hands, by delicately holding the edges. Cook the other side for another minute and a half. Line on a plate and proceed with the next, oiling the pan very lightly again. You should obtain 4-6 crepes.
- Be careful not to overcook them or the edges will crisp up (as mine did, d’oh). If not using straight away, stack them, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for a day.
- Add the sliced fruit to a pan with all the other ingredients and cook briefly, until softened, about 5 minutes. As it cools, the syrup produced by the fruit will get thicker.
- Stuff the crepes with the compote and either roll them or fold them in triangles. Garnish with chocolate, chopped pistachios or hazelnuts, and some yogurt/coconut milk if you like. They are also great stuffed with a bit of fresh ricotta.
Valentina is a 25-year-old Italian ex-graphic designer who, like many designers, got seduced by food photography. She runs Hortus Cuisine, a blog where she shares Italian natural vegetarian recipes from the Italian countryside. She loves green tea, hates cilantro, and considers handmade pasta a form of art. Follow along on Instagram @HortusCuisine.