Up and at 'em: Bill Granger's breakfast bakes get even the surliest teenager to rise (and if there are leftovers, they're perfect for lunch)

 

We're opening a new Granger & Co in London's Clerkenwell in the spring and seeing as it's in a more business-y area, I've been baking away, experimenting with things people can grab on their way to the office. So much of what's on offer out there tends to be on the wrong side of healthy and I definitely want to avoid that.

Many of the recipes I've been testing started life on the kitchen counter at home. Not so much as breakfasts on the go, but interesting weekend dishes that get us away from the usual eggs, while delivering the added bonus that they travel well, so any leftovers can be popped into the girls' lunch bags over the week.

They do take a bit of effort and time, but before anyone goes accusing me of getting too aspirational, let me pass on a little restaurant tip that translates well for the home: before going to bed the night before, have all the ingredients weighed out in bowls. It might sound silly, but it makes the difference between thinking it might be fun to bake something for breakfast for the family, and actually getting round to doing it.

In my experience, the wonderful aroma baking fills the house with is a sure way of getting the whole family to gravitate happily towards the kitchen table at a decent time. Yes, even the teenager…

Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111, grangerandco.com

Spinach, pine-nut and feta buns

It takes about one-and-a-half hours to make these buns from start to finish, so my trick to speed up the process is to make the dough the night before, cover the bowl with clingfilm and pop it in the fridge. By morning it will be risen, then, with 30 minutes in a warm place to come to room temperature, ready to use. Serve with spiced home-baked beans for a really substantial breakfast.

Makes 18 buns

For the dough

85g unsalted butter
675g plain flour
1½ tsp salt
375ml milk
2 tbsp Greek-style yoghurt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp instant yeast

For the filling and topping

200g baby spinach
75g pine nuts, toasted
200g feta cheese, crumbled
Oil, for greasing
1 lightly beaten egg
3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan

Start with the dough. Rub the butter, flour and salt together in a large bowl until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Warm the milk to scalding point. Pour into a separate bowl with the yoghurt, egg and yeast. Whisk to combine then pour into the dry mixture. Mix to form a very sticky dough. Cover the bowl and leave to rise for 1 hour.

Knead the dough on a floured worktop for a few seconds, to knock out any air. Cover and leave in a warm place for a further 15 minutes.

Roll the dough out on to a floured surface to a rectangle of about 30cm x 40cm. Scatter with spinach, pine nuts and feta. Roll up tightly like a Swiss roll and cut into 18 buns.

Lightly grease a large baking tin with oil. Place the buns inside the tin, keeping 1cm between each. Leave covered to rise for 30 minutes. Glaze with egg and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake at 220C/425F/Gas7 for 18 to 20 minutes or till cooked through.

Healthy version: Bill's carrot, banana and sultana muffins (Laura Edwards) Healthy version: Bill's carrot, banana and sultana muffins (Laura Edwards)
Carrot, banana and sultana muffin

I find muffins can be quite junky and often taste pretty much the same. To make this version healthier and less cakey, I've added some brown flour, popped in a grated carrot and used buttermilk to give it a lovely tang. Any leftovers will freeze well.

Makes 12 muffins

150g plain flour
75g plain wholemeal flour
115g caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
2 tbsp light-flavoured oil
200ml buttermilk
2 ripe bananas, 1 roughly mashed, 1 thinly sliced
1 carrot, grated
90g sultanas
2½ tbsp demerara sugar

Line a 12-hole, 80ml capacity muffin tin with paper cases or squares of baking-parchment. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/ Gas4. Now sieve the flours, sugar and baking powder into a large bowl. Lightly whisk the eggs, oil and buttermilk together and roughly fold this mixture into the dry ingredients. Stop folding once you have a lumpy dough, with pockets of flour. Fold in the mashed banana, carrot and sultanas.

Spoon into the prepared muffin tin, top with the sliced banana and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Bill serves his date-and-coconut slices with a bowl of yoghurt and some fresh ripe papaya (Laura Edwards) Bill serves his date-and-coconut slices with a bowl of yoghurt and some fresh ripe papaya (Laura Edwards)
Date-and-coconut slices

I love these with a bowl of yoghurt and some fresh ripe papaya.

Makes 14

450g stoned medjool dates, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g unsalted butter
120g soft brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
100g plain flour
100g desiccated coconut
150g rolled oats
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g white chocolate, broken into chunks

Place the dates in a bowl. Pour over 200ml boiling water from the kettle and set aside for 20 minutes, until the dates are soft and the water absorbed. Stir in the vanilla extract. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Line a 20cm x 30cm shallow baking tin with baking paper and set aside.

Place the butter, sugar and honey in a small pan and heat gently until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, coconut, oats and bicarbonate of soda. Pour the melted butter mixture over the top and stir to combine. Press half the mixture into the base of the prepared tin. Spread with the dates then top with the remaining oat-and-coconut mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden. Leave to cool in the tin.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and drizzle over the cooled bake then cut into slices.

Food preparation: Marina Filippelli; Props merchandising: Rachel Jukes

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