Tag Archives: Haggis

Breakfast

For me, breakfast is an adventure whatever time zone you happen to be in. It is a ritual, a grand ceremony, a meal unlike any other, providing both sustenance and a fortifying effect to prepare for the day ahead.

Marmite spread

Marmite – divided opinion

I love how eclectic tastes become when we look across the continent. In Europe, there is a large divide: the Italians and French prefer dainty bites and espressos in the morning to the full blown works (in France, the main meal of the day is usually a long lunch); the Germans and Dutch wake up to flaky pastries, soft pancakes and dark seeded bread rolls.

Here in the UK it’s usually a mix of cooked breakfasts, perhaps on a lazy Sunday morning, tempered with cereals and toast, of which there are many topings; butter, jam, peanut butter, marmalade, honey. Sometimes all at once. Somerset Maugham once said that to eat well in England, “you should have breakfast three times a day”. Then there’s Marmite (“you either love it or you hate it”). Banned in Denmark (Danish law restricts products with fortified vitamin content) this dark, sticky yeast extract is half national obsession, half national nightmare. It’s a debate that is sure to rage on.

Scottish breakfasts are like the full English but with an extra helping of haggis and ‘tattie scones’ (flat potato portions cut into quadrants). Scottish food, in general, has historically received bad press. In the television show The Simpsons, Groundskeeper Willie said,“Get yer haggis right here! Chopped heart and lungs boiled in a wee sheep’s stomach! Tastes as good as it sounds”. Doesn’t sound like a recipe for success, but it really is.

Across the pond, the United States have some of the most calorific options; with a predilection for waffles, bacon, eggs, maple syrup and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! But this is just the tip of the iceberg. I hesitate to mention other sugar laden options like the eponymous Pop Tart or “Lucky Charms” breakfast cereal. For me, anything that makes the milk change colour like that simply can’t be good for your cholesterol levels, as many of the US demographic has illustrated.  That being said, I also cannot fail to mention Tropicana, from Florida, the best orange juice on the planet by a country mile.

peanutbutterhomemade_thumb.jpg

Homemade peanut butter on toast

Adding a futher international twist to our exploration, I’ve been fortunate enough to sample some wonderful breakfast dishes from all over the world; from hummus, pitta and olives in Israel to banana bread, mee goreng (fried noodles) and sticky rice in Kuala Lumpur.

So with all of this variety, what would I choose as my breakfast of kings? Well, some of you may be shocked and appalled, but for me, there’s only one breakfast dish that has stood the test of time: it’s Porridge. A steaming bowl of milky, thick-cut rolled oats, lightly salted and scattered with crushed nuts (or seeds) and some chopped dates. My vote has been firmly cast.

The recipes below (there are a few!) are some great examples you can try that are both healthy and quick to prepare.

Huevos Rancheros

Travelling in Spain, we often tried chocolate con churros, sugary deep-fried doughnuts with chocolate sauce. This recipe is also enjoyed in certain parts of Spain, but is chiefly a Mexican inspired dish, usually eaten in mid-morning. Huevos rancheros, or “ranchers eggs” consists of eggs and usually contains a tomato based sauce with refried beans, chilli, a fried egg and a flour tortilla. Avocado or guacamole is an optional addition.

This is my version.

Spanish breakfast

Serves 1 – 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 1 green chilli
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 100g black beans or kidney beans
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tortillla
  • fresh coriander, finely chopped

Directions 

  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan and add the onion, chilli, garlic and oregano.
  • Fry for about 5 minutes or until everything is soft. Add the tomatoes and beans and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile heat the remaining oil in a separate pan and fry the egg until cooked but the yolk still runny.
  • To serve, place the egg in the centre of the tortilla and spoon around the tomato and bean sauce.
  • Garnish with coriander and chilli

Porridge

I’ve offered up two recipes here representing a sweet and a savoury option.

…with blueberries (sweet)

Porridge with blueberries

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 150g rolled oats
  • 500ml milk or water
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey or golden syrup
  • A handful of blueberries or blackberries

Directions

  • Place the oats and the milk or water in a pan and put it on a medium heat.
  • Bring to a steady simmer for 5 minutes, stirring as often.
  • Once the milk has been absorbed and the oats are a thick and creamy consistency, serve into a bowl, adding the topping of berries with the honey/syrup.

…with spinach (savoury)

Porridge with spinach

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 150g rolled oats
  • 500ml milk or water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 200g washed spinach leaves

Directions

  • Place the oats and the milk or water in a pan with the salt and put it on a medium heat.
  • Repeat the cooking process as above but add the spinach half way through.

Eggs Benedict

The best hangover cure around. A soft poached egg on a toasted English muffin with bacon (or spinach if you’ve vegetarian) and buttery hollandaise sauce.

Origin: The dish  is said to derive its name from either Lemuel benedict, a wall street broker, or Pope Benedict XIII.

Eggs benedict closeup

The trick with the hollandaise in this recipe is not to let it curdle by heating it too severely but also to keep it warm at the same time.

Serves 1 – 2

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 English muffins, sliced in half
  • 2 bacon rashers

For the hollandaise sauce

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100g butter
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions

  • For the hollandaise sauce, place the egg yolks into a bowl then tip them into a food processor.
  • Blend the yolks together for about 1 minute and then season with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, heat the lemon juice and white wine vinegar together in a pan and, when hot and bubbling, combine with the yolks in the food processor in a slow steady stream. Continue to blend for a few seconds.
  • In the same pan, melt the butter gently. Once it starts to bubble and foam pour it quickly into a pouring jug. Turn the food processor on again and then slowly add the hot butter in a steady stream.
  • Pulse for a few seconds more and then set aside, ensuring the food processor lid is on to keep the mixture warm.
  • For the next stage, Pre-heat the grill on a high heat and place the bacon rashers underneath on a baking tray.
  • Bring a pan of water to the boil and gently crack the eggs in. Poach for about 2 minutes or until cooked.
  • Place the muffin halves under the grill with the bacon for 1 minute to toast them. Remove from under the grill and place one muffin half onto a plate with the bacon on top.
  • Put a poached egg on top of the bacon and spoon over the hollandaise, covering the egg.
  • Flash the dish under the grill for just 20 seconds. Then serve.

Brie, tomato and onion omelette

Omelettes often intimidate people who have never lifted a whisk or a spatula in their lives, but they are very straightforward. If you can make scrambled eggs you can make an omelette.

Omelette with brie and tomato

Serves 1 – 2

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 25g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 – 3 slices of brie, 5cm lengthways
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  • Pre-heat the grill to 150C.
  • Crack the eggs into a glass mixing bowl with the milk and beat them until they turn a pale yellow colour.
  • Heat a non-stick medium pan over a medium heat and add the butter and oil. Once the liquid starts to sizzle, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Whisk the egg mixture (put some elbow grease into it – you want to try and get as much air into the eggs as you can). Add the egg mixture to the onions and swirl to coat the entire base of the pan.
  • Turn the heat down slightly and cook gently for about 8 minutes. Then layer the tomato slices  on top of the omelette and add the brie.
  • Place the pan under the grill for 5 minutes to finish the cooking process.
  • Garnish with finely chopped parsley or coriander, gently ‘fold’ one half of the omelette over the over then serve.

Marmite on toast

This spread made from yeast extract comes with the marketing slogan: “Love it or hate it”, primarily because of its punchy, salty taste.

It was originally intended as a vegetarian alternative to beef extract as a spread on toast or in a hot drink but has found many other culinary uses over the years.

Marmite on homemade bread

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • Marmite
  • 1 – 2 slices of thick white or brown bread
  • Butter (optional)

Directions

  • Toast the slices of bread in a toaster
  • Spread on the butter (optional) followed by the Marmite, to taste

French toast with cottage cheese and honey

‘Eggy bread’, or french toast as it is more commonly known, has been around for centuries.

It’s a very practical way of using old stale bread and can be utilised as a savoury or sweet option.

French toast with cottage cheese and honey

Serves 1 – 2

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 x 2cm-thick slices of stale, good-quality white bread
  • 25g butter
  • 60g cottage cheese
  • a drizzle of honey

Directions

  • Beat the eggs in a wide, shallow bowl, and then whisk in the salt and the milk.  Stir a little of this into the flour to make a paste, then beat back into the egg mixture until smooth.
  • Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium-high heat.
  • Soak the bread in the egg mixture for a few seconds until well coated.
  • Place each bread slice in the hot pan and allow to cook undisturbed for about two minutes until golden and crisp. Repeat with the opposite side of each slice.
  • Serve alongside the cottage cheese and drizzle over the honey.

Homemade granola

This muesli-like breakfast option is one of Georgie’s absolute favourites. Granola usually contains plenty of nuts, oats, seeds and fruit and will often set you back around £5 for a decent shop-bought box these days. However, this is a useful homemade alternative.

I’ve used two types of nuts, with raisins, dried apricots, pumpkin seeds and oats, with just enough golden syrup to bind it together.

The granola can be stored in an airtight contained for up to a month.

Granola homemade

Ingredients

  • 215ml golden syrup
  • 200g rolled oats
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 100g dried apricots
  • 100g raisins or sultanas
  • 150g nuts (whole almonds and pistachios)

Granola ingredients (3)

To serve:

  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 200ml cold milk
  • 3-4 tbsp Coconut Greek yoghurt (optional)

 

Directions

  • Heat oven to 150C.
  • Mix the golden syrup with all the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Tip the granola onto two baking sheets and spread evenly. Bake for 15 – 20 mins.
  • Remove and scrape onto a flat tray to cool. Serve with cold milk or yogurt.
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