Days that feel long, though they lack light. Trees empty of leaves. Grass in patches of brown and green, grown up and trampled over like a head of hair smashed down by sleep. There’s no fruit left on the trees, or any fruit bearing thing left. The winter hasn’t yet become stark or bleak, but you can see the beginnings of a world stripped down. Fiery autumn has given way to a world in grey, green, and brown. You wonder why the colors of Christmas and New Years are bright and sparkling. We, huddled up next to the fire and dressed in layer upon layer of sweaters, do our best to bring sweetness and light heartedness to an often harsh time of year. So we reflect on what prettiness we can find in the world. The greens and reds of holly bushes and the winging sharp shape of pine cones. Snow glittering in moonlight. Icicles hanging from electricity lines all pointing down, bending and refracting light in the early morning. We dress our homes and Christmas trees in red bows, set candles in the window sills, paint strings of acorns and princess pine cones gold and silver, cover ourselves in sequins and velvet. In some way it enriches our sense of wonder in a cold world.
So I make myself a simple breakfast: rich, warming, and nourishing. Whisking the teff flour into milk, adding chocolate and spices, watching it set up. The house fills up with the sweet smell of cocoa, cardamom, cinnamon. Chocolate is another one of those things that lifts the spirit, that dries out a soggy, bored inner-child sulking from too many mornings of the same oatmeal or eggs. Chocolate in breakfast plays the same roll glass ornaments and tinsel play on a Christmas tree. The season is merrier for chocolate being in everything.
This recipe has become a staple for my mother, the original recipe wizard (and chocolate addict) in my family. She comes up with new, fabulous recipes all the time — and she’s a master of tons of classics. Both of my parents are rather health conscious. Not excessively, but they’ve both been gluten free since 2010 and they eat dairy only occasionally. My mum is the one who keeps them “on the path” if you will. She’s always teaching me new things about herbal supplements and vitamins, and sometimes she shares her recipes with me.
This recipe is 100% hers, edited only slightly by me. My mother has a chronic muscle disorder that has yet to be correctly diagnosed by doctors, which is part of why she’s so into nutrition. Teff is high in protein and iron — which she says helps her condition. It’s arguably an appetite suppressant as well. I never find I need more than a half cup before I feel satisfied. Which ultimately has me convinced that this porridge would make an incredible workout food — specifically for before a tough run, a brutal ashtanga yoga class, or lifting.
- 1 C Brown or Ivory Teff Flour
- 3 C Milk [Coconut or Almond is best]
- 6 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
- dash of salt
- 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon Cardamon
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla or Vanilla Bean seeds
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- Pour the almond or coconut milk into an unheated, cool cooking pot.
- Add all of the Teff Flour next.
- With a wire whisk blend the flour into the water until most lumps disappear.
- Whisk in the cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and vanilla.
- Place the pot over medium heat. Stir at first with a whisk, until lumps vanish. Then change to a metal or wooden spoon.
- Stir after a minute or two to prevent any of the mix from sticking on bottom or sides. After it begins to steam or bubble, stir constantly until it thickens. Once it thickens, stir in the coconut sugar. Remove from heat and cover for a few minutes, while you set out your bowls (or dessert cups, why not?).
- Once it has cooled enough to eat, spoon into your bowls carefully, as it can retain quite a lot of heat. It looses its glorious glossy look after only a minute or two, so serve immediately! Whipped coconut cream can be added for a festive touch, with curls of chocolate on top.
- Leftovers keep up to 4 days in the fridge (and thicken significantly! They can be reconstituted with ½ cup of coconut or almond milk and plenty of whisking over medium high heat.
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