Breakfast is one of my favourite meals (along with lunch and dinner …). I like to have a big hearty breakfast, particularly in winter, but I dislike having to cook anything for any length of time (who can be fussed first thing in the morning?). So here is my recipe for a wonderful hot, hearty, easy to make Nonsuch breakfast – it is based on hundreds of years of traditional English peasant cooking.


A small amount of …

– dried peas – yellow, or split green peas.

– some lentils

– pearl barley

– herbs and spices to your liking

– powdered chicken stock if desired

– a tablespoon of oil (I use rice bran oil, but use whatever you like)

– bacon also if desired.

The night before, put a small handful of mixed peas and lentils into a saucepan, together with some pearl barley, and enough water to cover them well.

Add a mixture of herbs and spices to your liking: I generally add some mixed herbs, some dried garlic, perhaps some dried onion powder, and I also add a little chicken seasoning and a teaspoonful of dried chicken stock.

Mix well.

Leave to soak overnight.

On rising, add the oil, then put the saucepan and contents to simmering while you stumble about your morning business. It needs to simmer for about half an hour. I often slice up some bacon and add it at this point, too – absolutely amazing.

Stir occasionally, add any more water if you need to, and it is ready to serve once the pearl barley is soft and fluffy. I sometimes add a little cornflour mix to thicken it just before taking it off the heat.

This is low fat, high in protein and goodness, and will see you right through the morning.