Living, Winter

A Matter Of Rhythm: Slow Breakfast With Chestnut Flour Crepes Flavoured With Rosemary, Chestnut Honey, Orange Peel And Almonds

grossa* I am so happy to announce that I am one of the guest bloggers who are a part of Valentina Solfini’s ebook “La Dolce Vita Breakfast”. This recipe will be featured on the ebook and it will soon be available on Hortus Natural Cooking along with a lot of interesting recipes by some of the most talented bloggers!
(Ceramics are from ‘ ©TheFreakyRaku ‘ handmade production).

 I’m one of those people who intentionally ignores the sound of the alarm clock. I leave the clock well away from the bed so that I need to get up to turn the alarm off, but then I go back to bed without worrying about anything else because, in that moment, my warm and comfortable bed is what matters most in my life, and nothing else has priority. There is no encumbrance or daily task that seems to be more important, and it’s quite obvious to me that only half of my mental capacity is functioning properly. Sometimes, slipping into that sweet nothingness is easier than facing the bright morning light that’s like having my eyes fried like two eggs in the frying pan. Nevertheless, and especially in winter when the effort to get up is even bigger, I have always tried to think of something that would motivate me to wake up happily: I leave my clean clothes on the radiator so the next morning I find them nicely warm; or I have fresh ingredients for breakfast, or have something to do that fulfills me, but it hasn’t always been like this. There have been hellish years when the idea of throwing myself out at 6.45 in the morning, with the moon still high in the sky, reflecting on the frozen pavement, made me curse the whole human race. I have always believed that my school results had suffered because of this social rhythm being totally unsuitable for me.
Everything has its proper time, it’s like a rhythm that marks the progression of life. However, it isn’t always easy to find our own time. I know I have a slow rhythm in the morning and it is sacred.


I need ten minutes for feeling the slightly rough linen sheets on my skin, then ten minutes for curling up wrapped in my woolen blanket while the boiler is on, and a further ten minutes for everything else; one thing at a time.
I like looking through the window at the cold February light bouncing off the frosted lawn to make it look like a sparkling diamond, while the heat from the gas cooker warms my kitchen.
I think of the need to be able to take the time to experience a different kind of rhythm, to enjoy the slow pace of our own actions in order to get in touch with whom we are, honestly. Why do we give ourselves less and less time? Why do we feel guilty when we allow ourselves the pleasure of doing nothing, really nothing!
This reminds me of the elderly who sit on the benches of town centers, like those featured in classic Italian films. They just sit there and look around. They watch the cars passing by, the flying pigeons and the mums taking their children to schools. At that stage in their life, they can spend their time in that way, doing nothing in particular, and they might well deserve it if they had worked hard all their life. They can now reclaim their own time and rediscovering the art of living slowly.

Every stage and circumstance in life has its own rhythm, and I think this is also true for every form of art.
For every human being, time and nature has always been something of a puzzle. Perhaps, we should find a new rhythm in life, one that is most suited to our own true nature.
Mine is slow, relaxed and melancholy. Romanticism flows in my veins and I have an urge to be free from the daily routine. Thus, when possible, I like my mornings to be always different from one another.
This comfort-breakfast is a homage to slowing down; first, because of the required time for its preparation and second, for the enjoyable time one will spend eating it.



The crepes that I prefer are those made with flours different from the usual ones, such as buckwheat flour, for example, that I had already suggested for a recipe some time ago (link here).
For making these crepes, I have used chestnut flour, which reminds me of the castagnaccio cake, a typical humble cake of rural origins, because chestnuts were easy to find all over the countryside and were cheap but nourishing. The castagnaccio cake comes from the Apennines areas of Tuscany, Liguria, Emilia and Piedmont but is now widely spread all over Italy, although every region makes it differently. I like the Tuscan one best, because it is enriched with fresh rosemary …and that makes these crepes special and smelling so good.
During the time I spent in Paris, living a bit like a bohemian, breakfast was an important part of what is now a part of my memories of that time, my time and my rhythm… a time of squeaky wooden floor boards under my feet, the sound of distance voices in one of the Boulevards, Nina Simone‘s warm voice in the background, and that kitchen, full of cold draughts but where even the most modest meal tasted more delicious than ever. That was the kitchen where I really learnt how to make crepes.


Castagnaccio Crepes
(*made with chestnut flour and rosemary, coated with chestnut honey, orange peel and almonds)
(make 6/7 crepes)
  • 100g chestnut flour
  • 80g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 ml of cow milk or rice milk
  • 1 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of chestnut honey
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 knob of butter (for greasing the pan)
For the topping
(use as much quantity as you like)
  • Unwaxed organic orange peel
  • Sliced almonds
  • Chestnut honey
  • Chopped fresh rosemary
  1. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, then add the cold milk, a pinch of salt and the chestnut honey and stir well.
  2. Sift the two flours into the bowl, combine the unsweetened cocoa and whisk well together to remove any lumps to make a smooth and consistent batter.
  3. Finely chop the rosemary needles and add them to the batter.
  4. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave it to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  5. Grease a non-stick frying pan suitable for crepes with a knob of butter and put it on to high heat. Pour a generous spoonful of the batter over the center of the pan and tilt it until the pan is evenly coated.
  6. Cook for 1 minute until the crepe can easily be lifted. Flip it gently and cook the other side until golden.
  7. Repeat with the remaining batter, making sure you grease the pan each time.


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