Breakfast with Spelt Bread – 2 Ways

breakfast, yoghurt, za'tar, tahini, date syrup

There are certain habits you naturally inherit from your parents. Some may be good, others, well not so. Food usually features quite strongly in that. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t inherited my sweet tooth from both my parents, it would have made life a lot easier! However to be fair, they did teach me that sweets should be consumed on special occasions or as treats. A piece of cake used to be a true luxury, compared to the common tea-time ritual that has become so common nowadays. Thankfully, one of those inherited habits was my father’s call to have breakfast together. He used to prepare the table, heat our delicious buffalo milk and on some days lovingly stir tahini (tahina in Arabic) with date syrup. “Who’s for some dibbis wa rashi?” he would call out. Dibbis – is the Iraqi dialect for date syrup. Rashi – the Iraqi dialect for tahini (sesame paste). This mixture is very much comparable to peanut butter and jam. Oh how I miss those days.

Tahini is made from soaked sesame seeds which are ground into a smooth paste. Middle-eastern, North African, Turkish and Greek tahini is made from hulled sesame seeds resulting in a much lighter colour and consistency with a less profound taste. Darker shades of tahini (found in health shops) are made from unhulled sesame seeds producing a much stronger, nuttier thick paste. The unhulled version would obviously have more fibre, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin B1 and iron intact as more of the bran would be present. Nevertheless, the milder middle-eastern tahini is not shy of nutritional values either.

All this, teamed up with date syrup creates this velvety, smooth, nutty and not overly sweet texture. It also, theoretically, shouldn’t give you a spike in your blood sugar levels due to the natural fibre, protein and omega-3 fatty acids found in tahini. 

tahini, date syrup

Tahini and date syrup – Serves 1

  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1-2 tablespoons date syrup 
  • 1-2 thin slices of rustic bread, eg. Spelt Soda Bread

Pour tahini into your plate. Drizzle date syrup on top and make an artistic pattern to bring a smile to your face. My daughter likes to mix it all up to pretend she’s eating her own chocolate spread. Dunk your rustic bread and enjoy with a cup of your chosen tea. Personally I wouldn’t drink milk with it, as it would give me stomach upsets. It took me a while to figure this out! This breakfast should keep you sustained and satisfied until lunch time or there after. 

yoghurt, za'tar

Yoghurt with Za’tar, olive oil and olives – Serves 1

Although I do have a sweet tooth I mostly prefer savoury breakfasts. This is a very famous middle-eastern concoction enjoyed by many.

  • 3-4 tablespoons thick Greek yoghurt (or labneh, i.e. strained yoghurt)
  • A generous sprinkle of za’tar (found in middle-eastern shops or some online delis)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • A few of your favourite olives, optional
  • 1-2 thin slices of rustic bread, eg. Spelt Soda Bread

Spoon the yoghurt on a plate, sprinkle with za’tar and drizzle with olive oil. Serve alongside olives, if desired, and some rustic bread. Enjoy with a cup of your favourite tea. 

Other bread topper/spreads:

  • Eggs! – Can’t go wrong there.
  • Cheese, soaked walnuts and fresh mint
  • Nut butter and Manuka honey
  • Good old butter and jam
  • Clotted cream and date syrup – another traditional Iraqi dish usually eaten on special occasions such as Eid or Christmas. 

Zayneb

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