Gluten/Dairy free Valentines Breakfast

Ok, Ok...You have read the title and already made an opinion. No Gluten or Dairy ....No thanks!

Stick with me here. l'm crazy about falvourful food and really believe there is no need to compromise if you cook with your heart and bring out the big guns.  By that l mean start stocking up on fantastic pantry items that can turn a so-so plate into a pinball one, don't be afraid to use good salt with sweet or savory, splurge on good Olive oil and start to use it as a finishing drizzle on most meals (with a dash of that good salt we just mentioned) and for the most attention to whats going on in the dairy aisle. There are some outrageously delicious alternatives that are not only good for you, lesser calories, and ....l think, taste that much more lush and creamier. 

So this morning l had planned to have friends over for a Valentines breakfast. Show them my appreciation for all the support, love, and giggles over the past year....and what better way to say it... than with food and a cosy kitchen.  Alas the umpteenth colossal snowfall this morning put a rather damper on things - so a rain check for all, but no harm no foul, l will cook for myself!

  • Quinoa Porridge with caramelized onions, country ham, and slow poached eggs
  • Strawberries macerated in lavender syrup, coconut yoghurt, and cocoa nibs.

The porridge was easy enough. Inspired from a David Chang recipe in Food and wine this month.

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1 cup Apple cider (l used the cider to soften the bitter taste of Quinoa, adding a little sweetness)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1/2 tspn Kosher salt
  • Ribbons of sliced ham
  • 1 Tb spoon alternative butter (l use Earth Balance)
  • Drizzle Soy Sauce
  • 1 fresh large brown egg - to poach
  • Dash of vinegar
  • Sprinkle of good finishing sea salt
  • Chopped Cilantro or Scallions
  1. Pop the Quinoa, stock and cider in a pan..or rice cooker. Bring to boil, lid on and heat down to simmer. All the water should be absorbed - 10-15minutes.
  2. While the grains cook, take a sauté pan Med heat and add your butter. Once the foam has subsided add the onion and a dash of salt. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until starting to become golden (not dark) then add the ham. After around 5 minutes take off the heat. You will add this to the grains once they have cooked.
  3. Boil water for the egg, add a dash of vinegar to help form the white. Turn heat way down and poach. l like a runny egg myself so 2 minutes and its done

Assemble: In a small bowl add the onions and ham to the grains. A drizzle of Soy sauce, topped with the egg, sprinkle of sea salt, cilantro or scallions if you wish. You could add a little hot sauce for a kick too. 

The dish has texture from the Quinoa, hint of sweet from the cider, creaminess from eggs and salty to finish from the Soy and sea salt. All the flavour profiles one needs in one dish! Oh and did l mention its good for you...Bingo


  • Organic Strawberries, washed and quartered
  • 5 Tb Sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tb dried lavender buds
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Yogurt (or any other alternative yogurt you like)
  • 1 Tb Cocoa Nibs
  • A wee Sprinkle of sea salt (it brings everything together flavour wise)

To make the syrup there are one of two methods. l always choose the easiest!

You could go the boiling in a pan method but that makes for more dishes to wash. So l take a jam jar or pickling jar..anything with a lid.  Add the water and sugar. Pop it in the microwave lid off for 30-45 seconds. You don't want it to boil over, so keep a close watch on it. Take it out and stir, add the lavender and let it steep over night with the lid on. Strain the liquid before using.


Assemble: 15 minutes before ready to eat them. Add the syrup to the fruit. Let it sit. Pop in a bowl, drizzle with yoghurt, cocoa nibs, and syrup left for the top and a sprinkle of good sea salt.

l heart me today.........Happy Valentines Beth x

Beth GibsonComment