(Soundbite of alarm clock)
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
Ah, yes, the sound of the morning. And for some us at MORNING EDIITION, it comes a little bit earlier than other people. It's all most of us can do the shower and get out of the door and never mind a healthy breakfast.
Today, that ends. We've called on celebrity chef Nigella Lawson to help us figure out a way to start the day with a quick and tasty meal. Her new cookbook is called "Nigella Express." She is in our New York studios and joins us now.
Ms. NIGELLA LAWSON (Author, "Nigella Express"): Good morning to you.
MONTAGNE: So, to check on how someone's voice sounds on the line, we here at NPR often asks, you know, what did you have for breakfast? People often say, well, I didn't eat breakfast.
Ms. LAWSON: I know. That's terrible. Is it because they are too embarrassed to admit it was unhealthy thing they really ate for breakfast, do you think? Although I do know people who don't eat breakfast, and funnily enough, I'm pretty much hungry all the time. It's only time of day, really, when I make myself eat. Because although I need breakfast, I often find if I get up very early, it's quite hard to eat first thing, but I have made that ultimate sacrifice.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Ms. LAWSON: And I do. But I recently learned that one of things they do to sumo wrestlers to help them put on weight is stop them eating breakfast. Because apparently if you don't eat breakfast your metabolism drops, so everything you eat thereafter will not be burned up as efficiently. So maybe that would be more of a, sort of, inspirational force.
MONTAGNE: The notion that not eating breakfast could make one heavier is, as you suggested, possibly a brilliant inspiration for a lot of people. The book, of course, is premised on the notion that being able to cook breakfast fast would be a great encouragement. We've actually prepared a couple...
Ms. LAWSON: That's very nice of you.
MONTAGNE: ...of your recipes. And let's start with the savory one.
Ms. LAWSON: Yes.
MONTAGNE: And I'm sitting here looking at avocado bruschetta. Now tell us about this one.
Ms. LAWSON: I think there is something about avocado that really keeps you going for a long time. I remember once when I was young reading that dogs that lived on avocado orchards had lovely, glossy coats, and I thought, well, that's a very good thing. I like the notion of eating something that's going to do a lovely, glossy coat. And I guess that an avocado is one of those love it or loath it ingredients, because for some people, the texture is just too buttery. And actually, I like butter, so I love that. And it seems to make it - funnily enough, it seems suitable to be spread on toast - obviously, if it isn't incredibly hot. And I find - I just sour it up with a bit of lime juice and add some salt, and spread it over some toast, and it's just a very good way of starting the day, because you feel immensely satisfied. It's being very quick.
MONTAGNE: Okay, I'm in to take a taste.
Ms. LAWSON: (unintelligible) nice taste. I can tell.
MONTAGNE: It's very - you mentioned butter.
Ms. LAWSON: Mm-hmm.
MONTAGNE: It has that soothing, just enough taste - a little hint of lime.
Ms. LAWSON: Yeah.
MONTAGNE: I can taste the lime now. And I just got a little - and that's quite nice.
Ms. LAWSON: I guess it would be an - you wouldn't naturally think of having it with some coffee, but if you have, say, the - to have a bit of green tea, it would be very pleasant with it.
MONTAGNE: On to the sweet.
Ms. LAWSON: Yeah.
MONTAGNE: And I have to my - I have in my hands right now breakfast bars.
Ms. LAWSON: Yes.
MONTAGNE: Tell us, before I bite in, what's in here or...
Ms. LAWSON: I will. I will, and how they - I will, and I will explain how they came to be.
A breakfast bars is something you can often buy in stores, and it's really like a granola bar, in a sense, and that's a very good idea. And I thought, well, if you can buy them, you can make them. And I did a lot of research, and all the recipes seem to have something quite complicated dealing with making syrups.
And it suddenly occurred to me that, in a way, when you eat your breakfast cereal, you have it with milk. Therefore, if I use condensed milk, you would still be getting the calcium in it. And you would, in way, what it is milk syrup, isn't it? It's certainly very sweet. Put a bit of sugar, it can be what you need in the morning. And so I just put the condensed milk in a pan and then add various ingredients.
I mean, I use proper oats, not instant oats. I use some shredded coconut. I use some dried fruit, normally cranberries, and some mixed seeds. And if I can get pumpkin seeds, sunflower, sesame, so much the better, but it's what seeds I can get. Out of that one time of baking for about an hour, you have 16 breakfast bars. So, in fact, you've got your breakfast or breakfast for your children made easily ahead. You just stick them in an airtight tin and dole them out or just crunch away through them as desired.
MONTAGNE: Now I'm sure just by looking at these that they are delicious, so it's almost ridiculous for me to bite in and say, wow, that really tastes good. But I'm also thoroughly enjoying this.
Ms. LAWSON: You have to chew quite a lot, see you do feel - it feels like a meal, even though it's something you're not eating with a knife and fork. And that is also important because these are - I suppose both instances, both the bruschetta and the bars are instances of - you can eat them in a hurry, and we often are in a hurry in the morning. But you don't feel, oh well, that wasn't really breakfast, so I've got to eat something else in a minute. And that's quite important, so it is a meal even though there's no cutlery involved.
MONTAGNE: Do you even have time to cook for yourself and your family anymore?
Ms. LAWSON: Yes, yes. Funny enough, the only I find it difficult to cook is when I'm filming, because the hours are so long. Even so, I do, because I don't know - this is not a - this isn't a particularly pleasant analogy, but when I get into home, I feel I need to cook like cats need to spray their territory. And I feel I need to get in there and stir some dishes and put a pan on the heat. So I do, but, you know, the thing is - and I suppose this is partly what the book's about - is that you can cook very well for yourself without it being strenuous or time consuming.
MONTAGNE: Actually, I'm thinking of dinner already.
Ms. LAWSON: Ha. I'm always thinking of dinner.
(Soundbite of laughter)
MONTAGNE: Thank you very much for joining us.
Ms. LAWSON: Oh, I really loved it.
MONTAGNE: Nigella Lawson is the author of "Nigella Express: 130 Recipes for Good Food Fast."
(Soundbite of music)
MONTAGNE: And if you want to try your hand at making breakfast bruschetta and breakfast bars, you'll find Nigella Lawson's recipes at npr.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
It's all most of us can do to shower and get out of the door in the morning, never mind starting the day with a healthy breakfast. But celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has ideas for a quick and tasty morning meal.
These days, it seems everyone's in a rush in the morning. It's all most of us can do to shower and get out of the door, never mind starting the day with a healthy breakfast. But celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has ideas for a quick and tasty morning meal.
In her new cookbook, called Nigella Express, Lawson offers 130 recipes for preparing foods fast.
"It's the only time of day, really, when I make myself eat," she tells Renee Montagne. "Because although I need breakfast, I often find if I get up very early, it's quite hard to eat first thing. But I have made that ultimate sacrifice."
Lawson says two of her recipes — for buttery avocado bruschetta and healthy breakfast bars ("If you can buy them, you can make them," she says) — are substantive enough to feel like a meal even though no knives or forks are involved in eating them.
"You can cook very well for yourself without it being strenuous or time-consuming," Lawson says.