Words by Jake Cooper

The above is a quote from A.A.Gill, a man revered and feared by any kitchen apron toting chef or cook worth their salt.  A journalist who knew his ragout from his ragu whose witty reviews and critiques of Britain’s culinary fares brought me great joy every Sunday before he was cruelly stripped from this world long before his time.

His words of wisdom precede him, and on breakfast, we should all be paying close attention. 

The idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day is not a new one, in the 30s, Dr John Harvey Kellogg was preaching, to anyone willing to listen, about the value of grains for breakfast, how he would roll in his grave at the site of that smiling tiger his name is now so synonymous with.  Whatever you think of Dr K, his original logic is sound, a grain heavy breakfast like porridge is full of carbohydrate for slow release energy keeping you full, and fibre to aid your digestion.  

Today the health benefits of a hot steamy bowl of porridge are as well documented as the way it corrupted young Goldilocks and led to her early demise at the hands of a family of grizzly bears.  We have all probably had some pretty miserable porridges in our time, the stodgy, jellylike blob generously dolloped out by hair net wearing catering staff on school trips to the British “countryside”. However, if done right, a bowl of porridge can tease and tingle the taste buds, with oats or grains bursting with sweet milk topped with crackling brown sugar and nuts or cut through with sharp fruit compotes and jams. 


80g Quaker Oats

600ml milk of your choice

a pinch of sea salt

1 teaspoon of raw cacao (more if using regular cocoa)

a pinch of cinnamon

150g blackberries (can use frozen)

1 tablespoon of honey

Nuts to top 


Add your milk to a pan and place on a medium low heat, pop in your oats and stir continuously or as regularly as you can until the oats start to soften.  If your milk is boiling, reduce the heat slightly. The aim of the game is to cook it low and slow to get a thick creamy porridge, don’t be afraid to add an extra splash of milk if you think it needs it. 

Once your porridge is almost cooked, add your cocoa nibs and a pinch of cinnamon and stir through, your porridge should be thick, runny and creamy with soft braised oats, be careful not to cook your porridge too quickly or you will end up with a stodgy porridge with leathery oats. 

Top your bowl with your blackberries (if you have used frozen ones there is normally a bit or syrup at the end of the bag which should never be wasted).  Top with the chopped nuts of choice and a generous drizzle of local honey (a game changer if you suffer from hay fever) and hey presto. 

Before Dr Kellog and his band of merry cereal characters though, the landed gentry of the British Edwardian era would often kick off a hard day of boar hunting and tithe collecting with a blood sausage fry-up and if we set aside the gout and the early deaths of that generation it’s hard to escape the joy of a cooked hot brekker.  

Nothing will warm your cockles on a chilly autumn morning like the flick of a kettle, the clang of a pan on the stove, the waft of a hot breakfast that precedes the audible crackle of cheeky bacon rasher hitting a hot pan as you enter your kitchen first thing in the morning.  Alas, while we all know about these simple life luxuries, few of us, myself included, find time for them outside of weekend hours.  So the top of those hot boiled eggs remain uncracked, and the golden brown buttery soldiers stay tucked in their bread bins 5 out of 7 days each week.  

There is a tiny percentage of Mexican blood running through my veins and I have had the pleasure of experiencing a hot Mexican breakfast and it is a thing of pure beauty, a little less heavy than the traditional English brekker our Edwardian forefather left for us and pretty speedy to cook too.  It works well with a little chilli so if you feel you can handle or even need a little belly fire first thing in the morning this is the dish for you!   


5cm section of chorizo 

2 eggs

2 tin of tomatoes 

2 anchovy fillets (optional) 

1/2 Onion finely chopped

1 clove of garlic 

Chilli flakes 

Olive Oil 


1 avocado

1 tablespoon of greek yoghurt 

½ lemon

Salt and pepper


Pop a pan on a medium heat and add a good glug of olive oil. Finely slice your chorizo and add to the pan.  Stir once and then leave your chorizo to cook, you can sub this out or use bacon, leaving it to crisp up and turn golden – just a note on bacon, stirring bacon regularly encourages the water in the bacon to escape and slows your process of crisping the bacon right down so pop it in give it one stir and leave it the hell alone.  

Next add your sliced onions, anchovy fillets, garlic and chilli flakes and reduce the temperature down. Once these are soft and sticky add in your tin of tomatoes add a little water to the tin to rinse out any remnants and chuck that in too. 

Once the tomatoes have come up to temperature use a spoon to create a little well in your tomato mix and crack an egg into it, repeat with your other egg then cover your pan and leave to simmer on a low heat for 5 -7mins. 

Mash your avocado on a plate (yes plate not bowl, use a fork and thank me later) with the lemon juice and then mix in the yoghurt and salt and pepper to taste. 

Plate up by spooning your tomato and poached egg into a bow, add a dollop of your avocado and top with a little coriander if that’s your bag and enjoy as it is or double down on the Mexican style and have it with a flour tortilla. 

While breakfast has been in and out of fashion over the last 20 years, it appears to me that our generation of desk bound office dwellers have lost our va va voom for breakfast, opting for the monotony of stodgy continental pastries, sugary juices and frothy coffee grabbed en route to the office.  I get it, you hand over a couple of pounds and in return you get a hot meal that you can eat en route to your desk brushing the crumbs off your sticky palms as you head into your first meeting of the day. 

I won’t try to fight this embedded routine but I would encourage you to try and cook something simple and delicious at home at least once a week. If this can incorporate an egg then all the better, as my PT pals tell me an egg is one of the best ways to start your day.  The recipe below is quick, delicious and healthy! 



2 tablespoons of rolled porridge oats 

1 ripe Banana

1 large egg 

1 tablespoon of greek yoghurt

Fresh or Frozen berries 

1 tablespoon of honey  


Mash your ripe banana and mix it in with your oats and your eggs, it won’t look appealing at this point but make sure everything is well mixed in.  If you have some dried fruit or nuts these can go in at this point too. 

Place a pan on a medium high heat and add a spall cube of butter or oil, it will also work in a dry non-stick pan if you want to be super healthy.  Take your tablespoon and add your mixture into the hot pan in scotch pancake sized dollops, these are your pancakes so 3 to a pan will be about your max. Flip them a couple of times until they are cooked through and brown on both sides, top with some berries and yoghurt and a drizzle of local honey and enjoy a hunger locked up ‘till lunch! 

So heed my warning and eat your brekker or end up like poor Goldilocks, staring down the barrel of 3 grizzly bears. I will leave you with the words of the sometimes dangerous American Nutritionist Adelle Davis, while I disagree with a lot of her takes on food and nutrition she got a few things right on brekker. 

 “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” –