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Star chef Michael Van de Elzen is on a mission to make breakfast a more exciting time of day. One of the stars of TV One’s Kiwi Living, Michael has teamed up with Weet-Bix to inspire Kiwi families to eat a Better Brekkie.
Busy running his Auckland restaurant Boy and Bird, filming TV shows and writing cookbooks, Michael knows how it can often seem as if there isn’t time for breakfast. But he’s learnt the hard way that starting the day on a cup of black coffee doesn’t pay off.
“In my profession I work very long shifts,” he explains. “It takes its toll on you and I notice I do get cranky if I don’t eat breakfast.”
Michael’s secret weapon? “I keep a pack of Weet-Bix at work and my go-to breakfast is three Weet-Bix with frozen blackberries that have been roasted in the oven for five minutes then left to soak in their juices overnight. It’s absolutely my favourite thing.”
Growing up on a farm in West Auckland, there was always something tasty for Michael’s breakfast. His mother would make pancakes or her special fried eggs with a thin slice of gouda cheese on top. “Breakfast was a big thing in the Van de Elzen family,” he recalls. “We’d sit down together at the table and there would be lots of bread, fruit, cheese and always some Weet-Bix.”
Now a dad himself, Michael has continued the tradition of an interesting, tasty breakfast for his daughters Hazel (5) and Ivy (3) “They get bored eating the same thig every single morning so the key is to keep changing it. I’m always looking for new ideas to fill the children’s’ breakfast bowls. The girls love Weet-Bix covered in hot milk with just a touch of cocoa powder on it - they think that’s a real treat. In summer we have smoothies made with banana, almond milk, cocoa powder and dates. For an on-the-go breakfast I crumble up some Weet-Bix to put in there too.”
Working with Weet-Bix on fresh ideas for wholesome and nutritious Better Brekkies, even Michael has been surprised at how versatile an ingredient the long-time breakfast favourite can be. “It makes a great, nutritious base and from there it’s so easy to build in the flavour.”
From a breakfast trifle and a wake-up shake, to Weet-Bix bircher muesli, porridge and pancakes, through his Better Brekkie recipes Michael has brought a chef’s flair to the first meal of the day. But his recipes are still quick, simple and family friendly.
“I want Kiwi children to wake up every morning and say, ‘Wow what’s it going to be today’.” says Michael.
For more information on the Better Brekkie see www.weetbix.co.nz/the-better-brekkie-programme/
Weet-Bix Wake-Up Shake
With all the goodness of bananas, dates and Weet-Bix, the Weet-Bix Wake-Up Shake delivers a source of iron and fibre.
2 Weet-Bix wheat biscuits
300ml So Good Almond Milk
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp chia seeds
Place the Weet-Bix into a blender with the So Good Almond Milk and let soak for a minute to soften.
Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
Weet-Bix Breakfast Trifle
Try Weet-Bix Breakfast Trifle for a treat that delivers fibre and fruit – while being just a little indulgent
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup unsweetened yogurt
4 Weet-Bix wheat biscuits
½ cup toasted pecans
Using a small saucepan, heat the blueberries and reduce for a couple minutes until thick.
Take a glass (approximately 270ml) and start to layer your trifle, starting with ½ crushed Weet-Bix followed by a spoonful of yogurt, then the blueberry mix and pecans. Repeating once again.
Finishing with a layer of the crushed pecan nuts. Sit for a few minutes to allow the Weet-Bix to soften before eating.