I've been slacking a bit on the food front recently, but I've got a delicious breakfast recipe to share with you today. I have been on a kefir kick for the past couple of months, as mentioned in my March Basics post. Needless to say, I decided to start making my own kefir at home using grains that I purchased from Happy Kombucha (recommended by the lovely Dr Megan Rossi). I think I'll have to do a 'how to' post for fermenting kefir in future. This breakfast bowl is a current favourite of mine that made use of the lovely blood oranges and grapefruits that I’ve been receiving in my Abel & Cole box each week - tangy kefir paired with a variety of citrus fruits, raspberries, a drizzle of honey for sweetness, and the most delicious crunchy pistachio granola to top it off. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do!
What is kefir?
Kefir is a fermented milk product with an acidic, tangy taste, a slight natural fizz, and a creamy consistency. It is produced by fermenting milk with kefir grains, which are white-yellow in colour, slightly gelatinous, and look a bit like tiny cauliflower florets. These grains are composed of a microbial symbiotic mixture of lactic acid bacteria, yeast, and acetic acid bacteria stuck to a polysaccharide matrix. Kefir grains are pretty amazing because they grow bigger during the fermentation process and can be used repeatedly, kind of like the gift that keeps on giving. Kefir can be brewed at home by adding grains to milk in a clean jar, leaving it at room temperature for a few days before straining it and storing it in the fridge.
Kefir is said to originate from Eastern Europe, where it has been recommended for years due to its perceived health benefits. The main nutritional components of kefir include carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and some nutraceutical components. Kefir is considered to be a probiotic as it introduces living bacteria into the human gut when consumed (although I don't think it can be labeled as such here in the UK, as the exact types of bacteria found in Kefir, the exact numbers that reach the colon, and their effects on health are not well known).
There is some interesting research that suggests that some probiotic strains found in kefir have the capacity to naturally lower cholesterol levels, however, these studies have been quite small and other research has not supported these findings. Larger, better-controlled studies will need to be conducted in future to determine the true effect of kefir on blood cholesterol levels. A number of key studies reported in this review have also been done in vitro or in animal models using isolated strains of bacteria found in kefir that have reported biological activities including:
- Cholesterol-lowering effect (Lactobacillus plantarum MA2)
- Inhibited cholesterol absorption (Lactobacillus plantarum Lp27)
- Inhibition of the growth of Shigella sonnei and the cytotoxicity of Clostridium difficile toxins (Lactobacillus plantarum CIDCA 83114, Lactobacillus kefir CIDCA 8348, Lactobacillus lactis CIDCA 8221, Kluveromyces marxianus CIDCA 8154)
- Antiallergenic effect (Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens K1)
- Activity against food spoilage bacteria (Lactobacillus lactis ssp. cremoris )
Makes: 1 1/2 cups
- 1 cup oats
- 1/2 cup pistachios, raw
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 c honey
- 1/8 c olive oil
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 150˚C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Roughly chop the pistachios before placing them in a large mixing bowl with the oats and cinnamon.
- Whisk together the honey, olive oil, and vanilla extract. Add to the large mixing bowl and mix together with the oats and pistachios to coat.
- Spread the mixture evenly over the parchment paper and press down lightly. Bake in the oven for 20 mins. Remove the tray from the oven to stir the granola a bit halfway through to ensure even browning.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully before eating or storing in an airtight jar.
Tangy Citrus Kefir Bowl
Tangy, fresh, creamy and paired with the perfect crunchy pistachio granola. This kefir bowl is perfect for a Spring or Summer breakfast that’ll satisfy your tastebuds and tummy.
Makes: 2 servings
- 1-1 1/2 cups kefir
- 1 orange
- 1 grapefruit
- 1 blood orange
- 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
- 2 tsp honey (optional)
- 1-1 1/2 cups pistachio granola
- Peel and slice the oranges and grapefruit.
- Pour kefir into two bowls. Top with slices of orange, grapefruit, frozen raspberries, and granola. Drizzle with honey if using.
- Prado MR, Blandón LM, Vandenberghe LPS, Rodrigues C, Castro GR, Thomaz-Soccol V, Soccol CR. Milk kefir: composition, microbial cultures, biological activities, and related products. Front Microbiol. 2015;6:1177. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4626640/
- Ahmed Z, Wang Y, Ahmad A, Khan ST, Nisa M, Ahmad H, Afreen A. Kefir and Health: A Contemporary Perspective. Crit Rev Food Sci. 2013;53(5):422-34. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235421071_Kefir_and_Health_A_Contemporary_Perspective