It’s easy to whip up delectable and trendy breakfast platters for the weekend when you concentrate on the right thing: seasons. Weekday mornings feel more enjoyable with modernized bircher muesli, fresh blackcurrant and ginger soda, and yogurt topped with sweet plum compote.
NORDIC BREAKFAST has been somewhat updated in recent years. In social media, ideas spread like wildfire, and many of these breakfasts are inspired by the delicious-looking photos by Danish cafés, particularly Atelier September, and their modern take on familiar ingredients. In Finland, one of the flagships for high-quality breakfast is Way Bakery.
Traditional chain hotels are often guilty of serving their guests with the same breakfast: a banana, an apple and a slice of watermelon regardless of taste, origin or the current season. Trendy restaurants have come up with a better solution: seasons and small local producers. Tomatoes taste best in August and asparagus in early spring. And, when the ingredients are locally sourced, they do not become tasteless while on their way to the restaurant.
Serving fruit is the easiest way to utilize the later-summer season in breakfast. You don’t even need an actual recipe. Just use the fruit that is currently at its best and available in the yard, forest or store, and then slice it carefully and serve it on a plate with herbs. For example, tomatoes, which are in season now, and the last, ripe peaches go great with peppery-tasting cress and basil.
It’s easy to replicate the minimalist plating style of restaurants in your own kitchen. Buy high-quality churned butter or, if you want to be particularly trendy, whip butter until it has an airy consistency and spreads easily. Rock-hard butter that’s just been taken out of the fridge is never easy to spread on bread. The secret is to thinly slice the butter. Get some high-quality organic eggs and buy sourdough bread from the local bakery for the weekend. Some regular supermarkets have also started to offer rustic sourdough bread. When selecting cheeses, go with aromatic Comté or Gouda and leave the super-smelly cheeses for meals other than breakfast.
Those who love a quick, easy and healthy breakfast can rejuvenate a retro delicacy and make bircher muesli, the predecessor of overnight oats. In the original recipe, rolled oats are first soaked in water in the fridge overnight and then mixed with a drop of cream, lemon juice and honey, and one grated apple. You can prepare a modern version of this by using, for instance, rolled spelt instead of oats and almond milk instead of water. Then, add some almond butter for protein and serve the porridge with nuts and berries, such as lingonberries, which are in season in the fall.
The bircher muesli is a quick, easy and healthy option for a weekday breakfast.
It’s also easy to make a compote using fruit and berries that ripen in early fall to be served with yogurt. First, brown butter lightly on a pan with cardamom and add the fruit with sugar only for a short while to soften it. Even though the compote is really quick to make, the butter and sugar caramelize the fruit nicely.
If you have ever wondered about the exciting-sounding flavors of soft drinks made by trendy cafés, such drinks are called Italian sodas. The recipe is simple: carbonated water and flavored syrup. Since syrup can be made of almost any fruit, berry or spice, the flavors can be quite peculiar. Why not try making blackcurrant and ginger syrup? Italian soda is a fresh alternative to the traditional breakfast orange juice. We recommend preparing the syrup in advance and putting it in the fridge and then mixing it with club soda just before drinking.
The recipes are easy to combine: you can serve the plum compote, for instance, with cheese or on top of muesli or serve some muesli with a boiled egg.
Ingredients for 1 serving:
35 g rolled oats
200 ml almond milk
1 tbsp almond butter
1 apple grated
(1–2 tsp honey for sweetening)
berries and nuts for serving
Do as follows:
On the evening before the breakfast, combine the rolled oats with almond milk in a jar with a lid and let the oats absorb the liquid in the fridge overnight. Grate the apple in the morning and mix it with the porridge. Then, add a spoonful of almond butter. Serve the porridge with berries, fruit or crushed nuts.
It is easy to double or triple the serving to make enough for several people. If you wish, you can replace the rolled oats with rolled spelt or rye and the almond butter with cashew or peanut butter.
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp ground cardamom
3 tbsp sugar
100 ml water
Do as follows:
Halve and pit the plums and slice the halves. Heat the butter on a frying pan until it foams. Then, add the cardamom to allow the hot butter to accentuate its flavor. Add the plums and sugar, let the plums soften for a while and add a drop of water on the pan to keep the plums from drying out.
Only cook the plums until they are soft to avoid them from turning into mush. Serve the plums with porridge, bircher muesli or thick Greek yogurt, for example. You can store the plums in the fridge for 4–5 days if you put them in a jar with a lid.
Blackcurrant and ginger soda
200 g blackcurrants (and a few leaves)
5 cm piece of ginger root
300 ml water
85–125 g sugar
For the soda:
Sodium-free club soda
Do as follows:
Rinse the blackcurrants and leaves and put them in a pot with the ginger (chopped, with peel) and water. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid into a pot and press the blackcurrants to collect all juice. Bring the juice to a boil to reduce the amount to 200 ml.
Add 85–125 g of sugar to the juice, depending on whether you want the syrup to be sweet or really sweet. Let the juice and sugar simmer for a moment until the mixture has thickened. You can store the syrup in the fridge for at least a month if you put it in a jar with a lid. Measure 1–2 tablespoons of syrup into a glass, pour club soda on it – and your fresh blackcurrant and ginger soda is ready!
Set the table
Design Stories contributor Suvi Kesäläinen is a photographer, who loves to create dishes that are not only delicious but also fast and easy to make. She’s passionate about the best seasonal ingredients, local food and intriguing culinary trends.
Text and photos: Suvi Kesäläinen