Photo by Tam West
Halva, to me as a kid, was always a very sweet, Middle Eastern treat, generally made from tahini or other nut butters with loads of sugar, and sometimes lovely green pistachio nuts. Tooth-stickingly tasty and rich, but not everyday food. It was also the cooked semolina dessert with raisins that we used to get at the local Hare Krishna restaurant.
When I stop to think about the breakfast I’ve most been enjoying lately, I realise it’s probably because it’s my new healthier take on that childhood memory. I start with a finely ground mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, made into a paste with soy milk and layered with a bit of dried coconut. This makes a satisfying base that also happens to be gluten-free and paleo-friendly, it’s like a raw seed porridge.
Whatever nice in-season fruit I can find gets chopped on top, then a dollop of my perennial favourite — coconut yoghurt. The strong echo of childhood comes in when I sprinkle a stripe of crushed toasted sesame on top. It gives that rich aroma and the dark intensity of halva, with the sweetness coming from the goodness of the fruit below. And just possibly also from a dash of maple syrup drizzled on top if the occasion deserves it, which it often does.
- To make the seed mix, grind all ingredients in a food processor/blender/coffee grinder until finely ground, then store in a container in the pantry until needed.
- Put ½ a cup of seed mix in a bowl and stir in 3 Tbsp soy milk to make a porridge consistency, then sprinkle with dried coconut.
- Chop your chosen fruit into bite-sized pieces and arrange on top, then pour on coconut cream/yoghurt, sprinkle with cocoa nibs and toasted sesame, and finish with a dash of maple syrup.