Rocking your toast with ricotta and blackberries

To everything turn, turn, turn
There is a season turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose........A time to build up
A time to break down.... 

The immortal words of a song written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s and first recorded in 1959. The lyrics – except for the title, which is repeated throughout the song, and the final two lines – consist of the first eight verses of the third chapter of the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes. The song became an international hit in late 1965 when it was adapted by the American folk rock group the Byrds.

Well the season has turned. It’s unwaveringly autumn now and even I have to acknowledge it. A summer-loving man who has to surrender to kicking his flipflops to the dusty back corner of the wardrobe. The clocks have changed. The light is lower each afternoon, the mornings darker. I’m trying to soak up what’s good about this one. The splash of colours on trees, the clarity of sunlight through bare branches. Autumn is a beauty to behold. We only need to appreciate its brilliant golds and reds. The startling turn of trees from one day to the next. Bright reds and vibrant oranges of autumn, a far cry from the subtle shades of  a verdant spring. Fresh summer produce disappears too and more robust, hearty vegetables fill our shopping baskets .Salad tomatoes and cucumbers, courgettes and aubergines, give way to root vegetables, beetroot, squash, pumpkin, turnip. We have to turn our minds to adapting our favourite recipes to the seasonal supply chain. Summer salad becomes winter salad. Instead of raw vegetables and salad leaves we can make a delicious salad of roasted vegetables and croutons made with day old bread. In Portugal, rootling around in the bread bin, it will never be too hard to find day old bread, for which there are dozens of uses .Not being in the mood for migas, crispy homemade croutons tossed with olive oil, and herbes de Provence immediately come to mind,  and this would add the baker´s touch to a born again salad of roasted vegetables, a touch of fennel and some sprigs of thyme. A simple yet scrumptious salad. When it comes to the crunch who would have thought brussel sprout leaves partnered with cous cous and almonds would make a delicious autumnal salad .Some people grow up being able to throw things together in the kitchen. If you ask them to share a recipe, they’ll have to think carefully about what they actually did to create the celestial meal you just devoured, others need a a helping hand and or a recipe book. If you consider yourself in the latter category, learning groups of two or three ingredients that go well together is a good starting point. You can probably already list many: a summer trinity would be “Basil, Tomatoes, Mozzarella,” in winter this can become “Ham, Cheddar, and Apple.” Broad bean and garden pea risotto with mascarpone or ricotta becomes more robust for winter with pumpkin or butternut squash. Fresh herbs like basil can be substituted with dry warm spices, cumin, coriander and fennel. I have plenty of fresh new ideas lined up for new autumnal dishes, but today I am going to start with the first meal of the day, and one of the most important ones nutritionally. I have taken one of my favourite summer breakfasts which doubles up as dessert to to give an autumn make over to. Strawberries with ricotta and honey on a bruschetta I have translated into autumn with blackberries .Creamy ricotta and tart blackberries will have you craving this toast every morning! It’s an easy breakfast recipe with plenty of protein to keep you satisfied all morning, and it only takes a few minutes to make! Feel free to add some more seasonal fruit like pomegranate, blueberries or cranberries as they become available. Walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds add contrasting texture too.

Ricotta toast with honey and blackberries

This recipe will rock your idea of breakfast! Toast topped with ricotta cheese and blackberries is a quick and delicious option that will make cereal look just ordinary. Some fresh thyme adds an additional burst of colour and flavour, while an elegant drizzle of honey finishes off the masterpiece .Add a sprinkle of sea salt to amplify the combination of flavours.

    2 slices of whole wheat bread
    1/4 cup ricotta cheese
    1/4 cup blackberries
    1 teaspoon honey more to your taste
    sprinkling of thyme leaves
    Pinch of Flor de sal
    Toast your bread until it’s lightly browned
    Spread two tablespoons of ricotta onto each piece of bread.
    Top with blackberries and basil, then drizzle with honey.
    Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.


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