Tag Archives: smoothie

breakfast borscht

8 Jul

beetroot raspberry smoothie

There was a woman falling asleep on the metro today. Her head nodded slowly towards the shoulder of the man next to her until she would catch herself, then stumble again into sleep. At one point she leant over so far that you could see her name, ADELE, handwritten on the label of her brown dress. Her black, patent-leather shoes were coming apart a little at the seams.

That’s about how I feel in the mornings, even though I no longer leave with the first metro. Now I allow myself a full fifteen minutes to roll out of bed. Enough time to at least bring breakfast with me instead of relying on croissants. Most days that is a variation on a beetroot smoothie, in an attempt to balance out the inevitable charcuterie plate-rosé that is a Paris summer supper, on a terrasse or in a park. (Because of the heatwave – la canicule – that Parisians are so enjoying complaining about, a few of the biggest parks are going to be open all night on weekends, including les Buttes-Chaumont just up the hill. Which means no more park guardians with whistles peremptorily ordering us out mid-picnic. Which means more rosé! Less sleep!)

In the fridge, we normally have a packet of steamed beetroot, and raspberries in the freezer. Then whatever other fresh fruit and dairy lying around gets thrown in as well. Just the right balance of sweet/tart/earthy/creamy. I like to think of it as breakfast borscht, not least because the French way of pronouncing smoothie – smoo-zee – makes me a little twitchy. And it is a bright wake-me-up pink, cold and fresh enough to stop me nodding off in the metro.


Not really a recipe for a beetroot smoothie

serves 1

One small cooked beetroot. A handful of frozen raspberries. Something juicy (a ripe peach, half a peeled cucumber, a large chunk of watermelon). A few tablespoons yoghurt, fromage blanc or lait fermenté. A splash of apple juice or water to thin it to desired consistency. Blend in a large widemouth jar until smooth. Add straw and screw on lid for portable breakfast. Done.

espresso banana smoothie

23 Mar

espresso banana smoothie - illustrated recipe

Once I asked a Japanese colleague, in a mixture of French and English and mime, why she had begun her career as a pastry chef. She thought about it and said,

“Butter…sugar…flour…” (points at each) “….MAGIC! (stretches arms out wide)

I felt the same – and still do, luckily – about patisserie. And this smoothie inspires the same emotions. Such simple ingredients, disproportionately delicious together. Espresso, banana, almond and coconut milks. Cinnamon optional. How have I never thought to put coffee in a smoothie before?

A friend served it at an elegant brunch the other day – with pancakes and four kinds of maple syrup. But it also works on its own, before you rush out the door to work.

It helps me pretend I am succeeding at adulthood. A nutritious, caffeinated breakfast I can make in two minutes. (I get the same smug feeling when I remember my past self has hidden lunch for me in the freezer: chicken mole or the Wednesday Chef’s Chinese celery and beef were recent, happy discoveries.)

Plus it saves on expensive-chain-store-coffee-drinks. And it’s vegan! Everyone is happy. Except the chain-store-coffee people. Win-win-win.


Espresso-banana smoothie

adapted from CocoJenalle – I’ve doubled the amount of coffee, because. Use any combination of milks you prefer – soy, normal, rice etc – but the coconut does add a nice richness.

makes 1 large breakfast-size, or 2 small brunch-accompaniment-size

1 banana, frozen*

60ml espresso (2 shots)

125ml almond milk

125ml coconut milk

Optional additions: 

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp chia seeds

If you are super organised, the night before: peel and chop banana into small chunks. (Your blender will thank you for it.) Freeze. Make your espresso according to your preferred method.

In the morning: blend banana, coffee, milks until smooth. Taste. I like it plain. But add maple syrup if you have a sweet tooth. Cinnamon if you wish. More coffee if you are a caffeine addict. Chia seeds if you are a health nut. Blend again, serve.

*If you forget to freeze the banana, just add a few icecubes when serving.

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