Banana Breakfast

I remember the rhythm of waking before Fin swelled our little family to three.

Weekday mornings would snatch me with a gasp as the alarm clock reached into the deep waters of sleep, pulling my limp body up to the surface too fast, like a new baby taking that first painful breath and then yowling, "no! put me back!". Then I'd sink smoothly into reprieve for a few delicious minutes of stolen snooze, before the next ring sent me hurtling headlong into the bathroom and something smart and kooky to wear. Breakfast - humph! Gotta catch a bus and then a train and then sprint the last bit and hope I screech in before someone superior can give me that look again.

Weekends were a different matter, a long lazy summer afternoon of dozing and turning over until eventually my eyes opened voluntarily and I could regard the day stretching ahead with that peaceful anticipation of, 'time off'. My time, to drift as I would through a gentle brunch reading the papers into a long bath and then maybe think about grabbing the day by the horns - if that's what I felt like.

Of course, if I'm honest - this state was somewhat too often produced by my need to recover from the exuberance and lateness of the night before. But my point is - it was all my choice.

Now my mornings have an entirely different pattern and one that varies less, because it is determined by Dorset's most reliable alarm clock - Finley.

At 6.50am each morning - weekday or not - Fin arrives clutching an alarm clock and asks in a stage whisper if he can come in for a cuddle. Mostly I manage to surface long enough to nod at the alarm clock inches from my face, and he gets into bed to wriggle for ten minutes, all cold feet and hands, telling us about his dreams or just sharing random thoughts that neither of us can work our mouths well enough to respond to.

At 7am he decides to go downstairs and we start the ascent into waking, holding each other tight in the warmth and remembering how it feels to drift in and out of sleep without obligation or deadline, before we push the covers back and slide out of bed like a pair of spineless mollusks.

When I get downstairs, Fin is waiting with his beak open chirping,
"feed me, feed me, feed me".
So I ask him if he wants eggs or banana breakfast? And because he is having a growth spurt, the answer is always, "both".

A quick SCD breakfast that keeps you going can be tough if you don't want to eat lots of nut bread and don't have the time to make pancakes, muffins or a cooked breakfast. I often eat leftovers myself - soup is my favourite, but nobody else seems to share my enthusiasm for these savoury delights. In the summer we opted for smoothies as a grab and go meal - adding a spoonful of nut butter to beef them up a bit and remembering to chew them too - but as the frost settles on the grass overnight, something more satisfying and muesli-like is required.

My solution is the 'banana breakfast' - a delicious mixture of fruit, nuts and yoghurt that ticks the muesli box without ever even glancing at an oat flake. It's the sort of thing you can vary according to the fruit you have and dress up with additions such as dessicated or shredded coconut, chopped nuts, seeds and dried fruit. But beware SCD newbies - coconut, seeds, dried fruit and chopped nuts can be tough on the digestion, so don't add them until your system is calm and untroubled or you will be in for a windy day or worse.....

Banana Breakfast - per person

1 perfectly ripe banana with brown spots on the skin
1 piece of other fruit (fig, apple, plum, peach, half mango....)
2 desertspoons of ground nuts
few whole nuts, coconut, dried fruit etc
portion of SCD yogurt
spoonful of runny honey

I like to toast my ground nuts and keep them in a jar in the fridge. Toast a trayfull at a time in a moderate oven, stirring occasionally, until pale golden brown.

Chop your banana and toss it in a bowl with the toasted ground nuts. Spoon yoghurt into each serving bowl and place the nutty banana on top. Chop your chosen fruit and add this to the bowl. Add any extras and drizzle over a scant teaspoonful of runny honey if you feel you need it.

I have this breakfast without the yogurt, as I don't eat dairy. Just pour a little water or fruit juice over to moisten the nuts instead.