Anna Jones’ overnight oats
have always thought I would grow into mornings. That one day I’d suddenly be grown up enough to witness that moment of before-theworld-has-woken peacefulness. That one day, I too might sit on the back step with a pot of coffee and a notebook, or that I might spring out of bed to tend my (fictitious) dewy allotment ...
Now that I can safely (if very hesitantly) consider myself a grown-up, I have had to accept my fate: I’m not a morning person. And besides, mornings have changed immeasurably since my son arrived just half a year ago. They have become a lot brighter – being greeted with a small person’s smile makes even a 5am wake up pretty magical – but I still haven’t quite got the hang of a tranquil morning. If I manage to get a piece of toast and a cup of tea down before leaving the house, it’s been a pretty good morning. So I have had to get a bit smarter, as missing breakfast is just not something I am prepared to do.
Breakfast these days is usually put together the night before. A line-up of jars – grains, seeds and oats – march then tumble their way into a big screwtop jar or mixing bowl, followed by some milk or juice and some subtle flavourings. These ingredients are then left to soak and meld together overnight. By the morning, they have become creamy and comforting. It’s the work of a few minutes at a time of day to which I am much more suited. I top the bowls with a little fruit,
Iquickly chopped, to brighten things. Sometimes it’s eaten at my kitchen table, other mornings packed into a screwtop jar or Tupperware and into my handbag to eat on the move, but, most often, its quickly squirrelled leaning against the worksurface.
These kind of overnight breakfasts are especially good at this time of year when smashable berries and early stone fruits are around. The following two recipes are my favourite overnight breakfasts for this time of year.
The first uses a base of chia seeds. Don’t roll your eyes just yet! These ancient seeds are high in fibre and omega-3s, making this one of the simplest and most energising breakfasts I know and – with the addition of the roasted strawberries – the most delicious. A whole packet of chia seeds may seem expensive, but they double in size when soaked so you only need a couple of tablespoons of them each morning, which will set you back around 50-60p.
If you’re not tempted to try chia, the second recipe is a simple bircher muesli, gently pepped with lemon, apples and sweetness before an overnight soak.
Both of these breakfasts are so adaptable, I’ve given a basic master recipe to follow (see Flavour Map, top right) and a few suggestions of favourite flavours for you to try as the seasons change. I hope that these breakfasts can please and fortify and provide a little pat-on-the-back calmness to your mornings.
Roasted strawberry and chia bowls
I usually double this recipe and make enough for two days. The night before, stick a tray of these roasted strawberries in the oven for spooning on top the next day. The syrupy red strawberries take this breakfast from