Breakfast Grains - Sweet Couscous.
Healthy, flavoursome start to your day ... Breakfast grains. Photo: James Brickwood

Jill Dupleix

What are they?

Grains for breakfast that go beyond the usual porridge and muesli, to incorporate pearl barley, bulghur, cous cous or farro. On-trend cafe menus are even going beyond grains, listing brekkie bowls of amaranth, lentils, tapioca, quinoa and fregola. We've come a long way from snap, crackle and pop.


Where are they?

At Cafe Mint in Sydney's Surry Hills, the Middle Eastern and Moroccan menu extends to a big bowl of breakfast cous cous with sweet spices, poached dry fruit compote, honey yoghurt and pistachios. ''When I first opened Fez in Darlinghurst in 1993, everyone thought it was wildly unusual,'' says owner Hugh Foster, who cleverly serves the lightly spiced cous cous with warm, steamed milk from the espresso machine.

In Melbourne's Flinders Lane, the Grain Store keeps a healthy vibe for the first meal of the day with a vegan offering of cauliflower with quinoa, goji berries, pumpkin hummus, celeriac and nigella seeds. ''I like to show there is more to breakfast than poached eggs on toast with bacon,'' says chef Ingo Meissner.

North Melbourne's Twenty & Six Espresso is serving up chilled summery breakfasts of coconut and tapioca pudding, says owner Majda Falan. ''People used to have granola and toast. Now they want tapioca and freekeh,'' she says.


Why do I care?

Because breakfast is the most important meal of the day, until lunch.

Can I do them at home?

Yes, do a balanced mix of grains and fresh fruit, adding things such as pistachios, sunflower seeds, flaked almonds, yoghurt, dates and currants as you see fit.


Sourcing

NSW

Cafe Mint, 579 Crown Street, Surry Hills 02 9319 0848 cafemint.com.au.

Victoria

The Grain Store, 517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne 03 9972 6993 grainstore.com.au

Twenty & Six Espresso, 594 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne 03 9329 0298 twentyandsix.com.au

Breakfast cous cous with berries and coconut

200g cous cous

1 tsp butter

200ml boiling water

250ml milk

2 tbsp shredded coconut

1 tbsp brown sugar, or honey to taste

1 tsp ground cinnamon

berries and sliced plums for serving

1 tbsp toasted flaked almonds


1.
Pour 200ml boiling water over the cous cous and butter, and leave for 5 minutes to absorb, then fluff up the cous cous with a fork.

2. Gently heat the milk with half the coconut, the sugar and cinnamon until hot, not boiling, whisking to dissolve sugar.

3. Divide the cous cous between four bowls and top with berries and sliced plums. Scatter with remaining coconut and flaked almonds; serve with the warm milk.

Serves 4