Posts Tagged: breakfast


22
Apr 11

Easter eggs

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It was always a breakfast to remember when I was growing up. We never
did a big breakfast at Christmas like some do, a few croissants maybe.
Birthdays the same – beautiful fresh orange juice, homemade jams.

But
Easter Sunday is always special. Somehow the soft boiled egg
is transformed into a celebration, accompanied by soldiers, generously
spread with butter. Some would add a lick of marmite, others anchovy
paste – rather grown up and maybe, if you’ll excuse the pun, over-egging
the cake.

I’m a purist – soft-boiled so the white is just set, the yolk runny
and golden. I peel the top – I don’t cut it as some do. I don’t know why -
maybe it’s the ceremony of it all. Anticipation. With each dunk or scoop
of the spoon I add more sea salt and pepper though so that each
mouthful is generously seasoned – eggs just cry
out for it.

The toast, too, is important. It must be white, but country
bread, not the sliced supermarket stuff. And the actual level of
toasting – I like a degree of variance in my soldiers, some very dark
and others ghostly pale – the perfect blend of textures and flavours.

So – although all your effort may go into a beautiful leg of lamb
studded with its traditional friends of garlic, anchovy and rosemary,
spare a thought for breakfast – and enjoy a perfect, runny, soft, dippy
egg.


30
Mar 11

A simple sandwich

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There are few foods as glorious as a bacon sandwich, few things as perfect in their simplicity that deliver on flavour in such huge swathes. I write this, of course, having realised I have no bread, no butter and no bacon in the house and my local butcher is, as most are, shut on a Sunday.

That combination of soft, pillow-like white bread, bacon thick enough that it needs a decent chomp to get through with fat crisped so it snaps, a generous layer of butter (for there are no health corners to be cut with this) spread thickly onto each slice of bread and then a good splurt from the ketchup bottle.

Leave the molecular gastronomy to Heston, to Ferran and to Thomas Keller. Give me a bacon sandwich any day of the week.


13
Oct 10

Middle Eastern Promise

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I’ve spent a week under the blazing sun in Abu Dhabi – a country of extremes of culture, landscape and, most importantly for me, cuisine. There’ve been surprises along the way – camel’s milk is one I won’t be repeating though! Lessons have been learnt through the common language that seems more common outside of England than in it – that of food.

Everywhere I travel I am constantly amazed by the passion and loyalty people have towards their food heritage. Maybe it is the essence of communal dining we have lost in our busy lives; shared meals are becoming more and more a thing of the past as we struggle to steal a moment here or there.

I for one have a few routines that I try and stick to – a weekly dinner with friends where we eat family style, sharing from large dishes for example, or a celebratory breakfast at the weekend. (even if it is just warm croissants and homemade damson jam or poached eggs sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper on toast, liberally spread with salted English butter.)

Food should be shared, enjoyed together – a communal experience and one that if possible we should linger over – dwell, enjoy and digest.

A little tip I picked up along the way in one such discussion. To make the smoothest, humus, that which you find in your local Lebanese restaurant don’t use the tinned variety. Instead, boil dried chickpeas with a pinch of bicarb – you will end up with a much smoother, softer chickpea that blends to a delicate puree with tahini, olive oil and a splash of lemon – perfect with warmed pitta.


11
Jun 09

The most important meal of the day

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I never used to eat breakfast. I’m not quite sure when I changed habits, but now I can’t live without it.

Scrambled or poached eggs are always welcome, but lately I’ve gone back to my childhood roots in more kitchen ways than one. The soft boiled egg is the current vogue in my house, sprinkled with salt and pepper and served with soldiers made from proper bread. 

A cooked breakfast is a thing of pleasure, and leisure, and generally much more enjoyable when someone else cooks it for you. Somehow a breakfast spread seems the right way to start the day, particularly on holiday or at the weekend. It’s a meal to celebrate, rather than a chore to get through. Even at seven on a grey mid-week morning, I will still make an effort to eat something delicious – porridge with summer berries and honey perhaps, or toast with homemade whisky marmalade.

On a recent break away in Berkshire at The Queen’s Arms breakfast was proper – little pots of fruit compote with vanilla flecked yogurt, a real cooked breakfast and a range of jams and conserves to rival my own collection (which takes some doing – I am a condiment collector!).

Pleasant surprise of the morning went to granola bars – which sound far too healthy to be so delicious. Chewy and dense with fruit and oats, these are a treat, and the chef was kind enough to let me steal the recipe, after I became somewhat addicted to them!

Granola Bars

Ingredients

•    500g rolled oats
•    125g pitted prunes, quartered
•    125g dried apricots, quartered
•    100g pecans, quartered
•    90g sunflower seeds
•    90g pumpkin seeds
•    125g sesame seeds
•    ½ dessert spoon mixed spice
•    ½ dessert spoon cinnamon
•    ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
•    350g runny honey
•    125g light brown sugar
•    340g butter
•    1 lemon, juice & zest

Method

Weigh out the dry ingredients together, chopping the apricots and pecans roughly.

Melt the honey, butter, sugar and lemon juice and zest in a pan over a low heat.

Mix all the ingredients together and place into a tray lined with silicon paper, smooth over the top and sprinkle with a little more sesame seeds.

Bake at 170°C for 15 minutes then remove and allow to cool.

When cooled cut into bars 3cm x 8cm.

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