mint, granola and doughnut season: breakfast lately

I fear to write too much as I don't want to complain about the weather. It really isn't my intention and yet if I put too many words in this post I doubt that I will be able to resist. And so I will write about breakfast instead. I'll take breakfast talk over complaining about the weather any day. I'll just say for now that I thought that I had gotten through this winter without getting sick. I also thought that I had gotten through this winter, but the past few days have proved me wrong on both accounts. Let's just say, thank god that Alphonso mango season has begun. 

But because mango season has just begun, mangoes are only starting to make an appearance on my breakfast table. Instead, oatmeal has been a staple throughout the past few months and I have rediscovered an oatmeal classic from my childhood: cinnamon raisin oatmeal. I have fond memories of this flavour combination as, even though I admit that this oatmeal came in a package and was made just by boiling water in a kettle, it is a breakfast that I often ate on winter weekends when I stayed over at my grandparents. My grandparents always had a well stocked pantry and come winter that pantry had a large share of packages of cinnamon raisin oatmeal, as well as peaches n' cream. In addition to eating with all of our senses, I eat with all of my memories.

I've been surviving winter with lots of fresh, broiled and roasted  fruit. Fresh blood oranges. Broiled grapefruit. Roasted bananas. Something magical happens when you put a banana into the oven for a few minutes. Somehow, just don't ask me how, it tastes even more like a banana when hot and slightly caramelized. I've been eating roasted bananas with yogurt, with shaved chocolate and sometimes with a sprinkling of granola. In fact, I've also been adding granola to everything I can, from on top of smoothies to in Bircher Muesli and from fruit salads to garnished on oatmeal.  

At breakfast I've been sticking to granola sweetened with maple syrup or honey. However, this NY Times article, "Granola is Sowing Its Wild Oats", discusses chefs who are transforming what was once considered hippie food into classy, experimental dishes. Granola tossed over a root vegetable salad adds some crunch and additional flavour (granola with honey and black pepper sounds particularly enticing). And then there is granola with foie gras. If Montreal's landmark restaurant Au Pied de Cochon has taught us anything it is that there is always room for foie gras in almost any dish. I certainly haven't been as brave in how I combine granola with other foods. I admit that compared to granola specked foie gras, granola on top of a smoothie feels rather conservative, but this article has me definitely inspired to make a savoury batch to use beyond breakfast. Or maybe even with a savoury breakfast? 

Luckily the harshest period of winter in Bavaria coincides with the weeks before Lent and these weeks, I've discovered, count as their own season: doughnut season. Doughnuts filled with jams go by many different names in Germany and are probably best known as Berliners. However, in Bavaria they are called Krapfen. Interestingly enough, the Venetian version of a doughnut - two pieces of dough filled with a towering dollop of whipped cream - is also called a Krapfen.

Carnival is a big thing in South-west Germany and although in Munich things are much quieter compared to the wild party days in Cologne, the city still gets into the Carnival spirit and this is mainly done with Krapfen. After eating way too many of these jam stuffed doughnuts in January and early February, it is quite easy to understand how one could then give up sweets for Lent. Lent seems much less disciplined when you realize that people are giving up something that they probably over-indulged in in the weeks prior to. In fact, this is believed to be the reason why the weeks leading up to Lent are doughnut season here in Catholic Bavaria. The aim was exactly that: to fatten up before Lent in order to survive fasting.

I'm not even Catholic and I decided that I too would give up Krapfen this February. Lent wasn't the reason. Instead it was due to a lack of self-discipline that came from discovering that South Germany has a doughnut season. Yes, the country that has a separate meal for cake and coffee even has a separate season for doughnuts, or at least in parts of this wonderful, oh-so-hard-to-resist, I-swear-I'll-just-have-one-more-bite, sweet country.

Breakfast Lately

Bircher Muesli with fresh mint and almond milk, and with some crunchy granola on top

Sarah's life-changing loaf of bread 

stewed prunes with blood oranges served on hot buckwheat 

roasted bananas with cinnamon and honey, sometimes also with yogurt and walnuts

blood oranges and blood orange juice (sometimes with prosecco)

banana bread, vegan and with chocolate

mango-tahini smoothie with granola and pomegranate

cinnamon raisin oatmeal with apple

pear and ginger jam

avocado toast

egg, bacon and potatoes

Krapfen and coffee

almond milk sweetened with a medjool date

raw buckwheat porridge with mango, coconut and granola 

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