New Series Cook From Scratch – Continental Breakfast the Spanish Way.

A couple of years ago I ran a guest post series called Cook from Scratch with wonderful healthy recipes from around the world that not only included fresh ingredients but were flavour packed. I would love to invite any of you who have favourite recipes that you would like to share to get in touch at the email at the bottom of the post. And of course another chance to promote your work.

Most of us associate a  breakfast with cereals, breads, butter and jams, a fry up, boiled eggs or perhaps sliced meats and cheese. However, when living in Spain we adopted a different and delicious alternative which is toasted fresh baked bread with olive oil and a spread made from tomatoes.

tomato

It is something we would eat frequently when we were out for coffee instead of something sweet and because I tend to eat between 12.00 and 8.00pm each day as a form of intermittent fasting, it is my first meal of the day. (See yesterdays post on Intermittent Fasting).

Over the years I have developed various recipes for this simple dish and it is so easy to whip up and so delicious that I thought you might like to find out more about it.

Although the dish is really easy to make and serve, it is absolutely packed with nutrients that work on so many levels in your body and benefit virtually every major organ, your skeleton and your immune system.

Whilst it makes this post a little longer than a simple recipe I wanted to illustrate how nutritionally important this dish is for our health by giving you a brief overview of the ingredients too.

But first the recipe.

You can make several days’ worth and store in an airtight container in the fridge. As there are no artificial additives and refined sugars it is a great alternative to other spreads and you can enjoy any time of the day. We have eaten in the evening for a supper from time to time. When we have guests we might also add some lean chicken or a piece of roast beef to the top.

The Bread

I tend to use my own homemade Irish Soda bread which is yeast and sugar free. It can be a little crumbly but delicious with the tomatoes. (recipe coming next week).

Or you can buy a  wholegrain baguette from a bakery where it has been made on the premises (no additives)

tomatoes

Basic Tomato recipe.

You will need one tomato per serving. Using up tomatoes that have gone a little soft is great and just wash and take out the central stem. This recipe is based on four tomatoes cut into cubes and put into a blender. Add 1 dessert spoon of Extra Virgin Olive oil and a pinch of salt. Blend until a puree. The skin of the tomatoes will solidify the mix so scrape into a dish or a storage container to serve as soon as blended. If you would like to add some more depth to the spread you can add 1/2 teaspoon of Pimiento Dulce which is lovely and smokey.

peppers

Red pepper addition with onion and garlic.

To make the tomato spread especially rich and also even more nutritionally dense, chop up half a red pepper, half an onion and a clove of garlic and cook off with a little coconut oil or olive oil in a pan; or in a microwave without oil with a little water for 10 minutes. Add to your tomatoes and blitz it all up together.

Take a fairly thick slice of bread and toast both sides, or split a small sized wholegrain baquette and then drizzle a little olive oil over while hot. Use a spoon and add a good amount of the tomato spread making sure that it covers the surface of the toast.

Enjoy…

Here is a brief look at the health benefits and the nutrients that are packed into this easy to make and healthy alternative to a sugar laden breakfast. Although it contains fats they are healthy fats and if you need to lose weight just use less on your toast as there is plenty of flavour in the spread already.

olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil which is from the first pressing of the olives is the best oil to use as it contains higher levels of nutrients, particularly Vitamin E and Essential Fatty Acids.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are necessary fats that humans cannot synthesise and must be obtained through diet.

Omega-3 (Linolenic Acid) is the principal Omega-3 fatty acid and is used in the formation of cell walls, improving circulation and oxygen. A deficiency can lead to decreased immune system function; elevated levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat.

Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid) is the primary Omega-6 fatty acid. Omega-6 can improve rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis.

In a human trial it was found that polyphenol rich olive oil included in the diet improved the health of blood vessels which was not the case for another group of volunteers that included oil in their diet with the phenols removed. Obviously the healthier the blood vessels the more effective the entire circulatory system

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are another very nutritious food that tends to be taken for granted. We expect to see in the summer with salads but raw or cooked the tomato is a powerhouse of health benefits.

Tomatoes contain Vitamins A, C, and K. Folate and Potassium and provide good quantities of B Vitamins Thiamin, Niacin, B6 as well as the minerals magnesium, phosphorus and copper. With the addition of fibre, regular inclusion of tomatoes in your diet helps protect you against high blood pressure, too much oxidised low density lipoprotein cholesterol (the unhealthy kind) and heart disease.

Combine this with beta-carotene which is found in brightly coloured foods such as carrots, eating tomatoes offers some protection against sun damage. The lycopene content also has been show to make the skin less sensitive to UV light damage helping keep your skin looking younger.

As we age we also lose bone density and the Vitamin K, calcium and lycopene are essential in the production of new bone.

Red Peppers

Red peppers are packed with vitamin C, in fact more than most citrus fruits, and they have a high anti-oxidant level including Vitamin A, adding to that already present in the tomatoes. They also add more B vitamins into the recipe including B6 which makes neurotransmitters that might help inhibit the development of breast cancer.

As well as the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, red peppers have a good amount of manganese, needed for bone density and tendons and cartilage.

Onions and Garlic
 onionsOnions and garlic fit well into the category of ‘Superfood’ as they are both nutritional and can influence health in a very positive way.

The onion has a powerful sulphur-containing compound, which is responsible for the pungent odour and for the health benefits. Onions contain allyl propyl disulphide, chromium, Vitamin C and flavonoids, the most beneficial being Quercitin.

Allyl propyl disulphide lowers blood sugar levels by competing with insulin, which is also a disulphide for space in the liver where insulin is normally deactivated. This results in an increase in the amount of insulin available to move glucose into cells causing a lowering of blood sugar. Chromium is a mineral that also helps cells respond efficiently to insulin, which in turn decreases blood sugar levels. These two properties in the onion make it a vegetable worth including in our daily diet as we get older to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Chromium has also been shown to improve glucose tolerance, lower insulin levels, and decrease total cholesterol levels whilst increasing levels of the healthy cholesterol (HDL).

Garlic contains many helpful compounds including thiosulfinates such as allicin, sulphates including alliin and dithins the most researched being ajoene.
(Just a quick note on the addition of garlic you might want to time this ingredient so that it does not clash with a business meeting or a romantic date….)

Research has identified that garlic lowers blood pressure, decreases the ability of platelets to clump together forming clots, reduces blood levels of lousy cholesterol (LDL) whilst increasing levels of healthy cholesterol (HDL). It also helps our blood vessels relax which prevents atherosclerosis, heart disease and the risks of heart attacks and strokes.

garlic

Garlic, like the onion is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. With the current concerns that we have about potential ‘Super bugs’ it is interesting that garlic appears to be an effective antibiotic, even against some of these resistant strains.

Cancer protection is essential for all of us. The compound ajoene might be effective in the treatment of skin cancer and eating two or more servings a week of garlic may help prevent colon cancer.

To find a list of all the major nutrients that the body needs to be healthy and the foods that provide them click on this link.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/nutrient-directory-a-brief-overview-of-the-nutrients-we-need-and-the-foods-that-supply-them/

Photo Tomato y Pan – Flickr

I would love to have your recipes that are cook from scratch and made with healthy ingredients. I will add your links and that includes to your books and blog so an excellent way to showcase your work.. Contact me sally.cronin@moyhill.com

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34 thoughts on “New Series Cook From Scratch – Continental Breakfast the Spanish Way.

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Health – Continental Breakfast the Spanish Way. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  2. What an interesting idea for a series, Sally: Cook from Scratch, and soliciting healthy recipes from others. I look forward to future posts – but most of what I cook is a hodge-podge of adaptations from the recipes of others, based on whatever is in the pantry at the time, so I will be a fan and not a contributor.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: New Series Cook From Scratch – Continental Breakfast the Spanish Way. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  4. We have also adopted the tostada y tomato for a more healthy snack. I still have my oatmeal with fruit and walnuts for breakfast but since we enjoy going for a coffee mid day this works well for me. I haven´t made my own tomato puree yet as I don´t have a blender. I guess I could just squash a ripe tomato. (or buy a blender) Love this idea and will send you a recipe soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This looks and sounds delicious, Sally. I’m always looking for breakfast alternatives that are not full of sugar and are nutritious. Also easy! I am excited about your new series. Cooking from scratch is the best way to not only know what you are eating but to avoid unhealthy additives.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fascinating Jane… seems to be a lot of chocolate milk and chocolate toast.. I know having worked with children and talking to their mothers that there is definitely a connection to food during pregnancy and childhood obesity. Especially if that is reinforced after birth with the majority of formulas that are sweetened. No wonder they are not keen on Brussel sprouts and fermented foods. Thanks for the link.. hugs Sally

      Liked by 1 person

      • Morning, Sally! Having your healthy breakfast about now?
        I didn’t notice too many recipes with chocolate but I did notice quite a few where vegetables were featured in the breakfast!

        Here’s an extremely popular Israeli breakfast called, what else, “Israeli salad.” It uses almost all of the ingredients above.
        chop up tomatoes
        chop up cucumbers
        chop up small amount of parsley
        chop up small amount of onions
        mix together in a bowl; add small amt of salt and olive oil; squeeze lemon into the mix.
        Voila. Add some hummos and pita bread, possibly leban (yogurt-like), and you have breakfast!

        And you can make the same thing as a side dish for dinner as well. (And yes if you want you can add peppers but I see them mainly in the dinner version…)

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is a great way to start the day..thanks Jane.. this business of having breakfast cereals every morning was a very clever marketing ploy.. And even more so when they added chocolate coated cereal into the mix.. why not send your child off to school hard wired!!! Advertising at its worst.. hugs xxx

        Like

  6. Great news about tomatoes as I love them. I have them in everything I cook, tinned ones and tomato puree in a tube I can snack on lol. I also love peppers but they don’t like me, coming back on me dreadfully. I wonder if it is the skins?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Adele.. glad you enjoy tomatoes and since they don’t seem to be causing you a problem but peppers are you might be intolerant to the nightshade family that both these belong to. Cooked and ripe tomatoes do not cause as much of a problem as they have less toxic content but peppers have an increased amount and can cause digestive problems.. they may be inplicated in the causes of leaky gut. My advice is to only eat the red ones and cook them. Do not eat for the next 5 days and then try a small amount of cooked red pepper and see if you react in anyway.. if you don’t then you might be able to tolerate once a week or so. I stay away from other coloured peppers because they cause me indigestion and gastric cramps. hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This brought back a happy memory… In my grandmas’s kitchen slicing the freshly baked bread hot from the oven, drizzling olive oil on each slice and sprinkling with grated Parmesan cheese. A great alternative to tomatoes, since I need to avoid nightshade vegetables. Hot freshly baked bread is also delicious with butter, but not nearly as nutritious as your recipe 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  9. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Evolution, Rebellion and The Colour of Life | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

I would be delighted to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

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