Do you know what the most important thing is you should ask a possible love interest? "Are you a morning person." Yup. True, Do you like chocolate? and Do you like dogs? are very much up there, but in my opinion, whether a couple's sleeping habits are compatible is one of the single most important indicators of how smoothly their days gel in the relationship.
Me, I'm lucky. Not only did my husband buy me very expensive chocolate to impress me on his first trip to New Zealand to visit me, but we are the happy owners of two crazy dogs. Also, we're both not what you would call "morning people". Before the arrival of the Little Girl, we would regularly stay in bed until midday. Not necessarily sleeping. We would have cups of tea, read a bit, chat a lot, surf the internet, and generally just spend some time together. We were very happy when we were able to train the new puppies to sleep until 10. The Little Girl is doing very well with her occasional 9 'o clock mornings. (Very occasional).
So you can imagine that breakfast is not a regular occurence in our house. Usually we have some toast mid-morning, but that's about it. Maybe some scrambled eggs if somebody is feeling energetic. But you know what? When I picture "happy family", one of the key ingredients is having a fabulous breakfast together. So, when the Little Girl wakes up at, say, 6, and let's face it, if she ain't sleeping, then nobody's sleeping, I try to do something special for breakfast. Sometimes I make omelettes, or french toast, or The Fabulous Man's favourite: egg-in-a-hole. A popular South African breakfast is crumpets (called pikelets in New Zealand, pancakes in Australia), and it always seems as if you've gone through a lot of trouble when you make them. Thank goodness they're easy.
I've been keeping an eye on the popular Paper Chef challenge for a while now. The host choses 3 or 4 ingredients, and participants have to come up with a recipe showcasing them all. It smacks of Iron Chef, and let's be honest, everybody loves Iron Chef (the Japanese one, with the hillarious dubbing and theatrical gestures). This month's event was hosted by Prospect: the Pantry, and the ingredients are honey, ricotta, dill and honey, with New Beginnings as the theme. Sounds like breakfast crumpets, doesn't it?
Everybody can make a crumpet/pikelet/pancake. Everybody loves a crumpet/pikelet/pancake. But to elevate the lovely to the divine, add ricotta, and separate your eggs. Whip the egg whites, and fold it into the batter before making these little beauties. This ensures the crumpets turn out light and pillowy (of course that's a word!). The dill adds a lovely oomph to the crumpets, and drizzling some more runny honey over them before serving is the perfect finishing touch. A great beginning for a new day. Now, go play Happy Family.
Ricotta, dill and honey crumpets
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs, separated
1 cup ricotta
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons runny honey, and more for serving
small handful chopped dill
Sift together the flour and baking powder. Mix the eggs yolks and milk together, and add this to the flour. Mix in the ricotta, milk and honey and dill.
Beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold this into the batter.
Heat some oil or butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Pour in spoonfulls of batter into the pan. Fry until golden and done both sides. For me this took about 2 minutes a side, but start with only one crumpet at a time to make sure you get it right. Not all stovetops are the same.
Serve warm drizzled with some extra runny honey.