The Ultimate Brunch part 1

The Ultimate Brunch part 1

The weekend approaches and all I can think about is the prospect of Saturday morning brunch. Not the party which inevitable leads to you craving a carb laden proper fry up, but the brunch itself! I usually go for the university offering which while perfectly adequate is lacking in the way that mass produced food always does, overcooked and under seasoned, at least ours are better than some…. To their credit they do provide several things which elevate brunch to a better level; smoked salmon (so expensive but sometimes worth it), yoghurt bar with toppings (including banana chips which in case you don’t know are delicious fried banana pieces posing as health food) and waffles (brunch should always be a three course meal, well if you’re insisting on it being breakfast and lunch…..) While it’s all very nice, here are some recipes for when you want to recreate the experience (and pimp it up) at home

Eggs
Boiled I Hope I don’t have to tell anyone how to boil an egg (it’s one of the things I really can’t do), look it up elsewhere but serve with marmite slathered hot buttered toast soldier strips
Fried Again not my favourite but if you’re going to eat them you might as well cook them properly. You could be boring and just fry it, or you could take the Roald Dahl approach and fry it in the centre if a piece of fried bread.
1. Simply cut a hole with a glass or cutter out of the middle of your piece of bread,
2. Put a teaspoon of oil and a teaspoon of salted butter and heat, fry the bread until golden on both sides flipping halfway (couple of mins on each side should do it
3. Add a little more oil to the pan and crack your egg into the centre, season with salt and pepper.
 4. Cook for a minute on each side and serve

Scrambled Now we’re talking! I’ve tried many methods of cooking eggs over the years and this is by far my favourite. I’ve used fill here as my herb of choice because I like mine with smoked salmon but with bacon you might want to try thyme or rosemary and for veggie maybe serve with layer of wilted spinach?
1. Crack 6 eggs into a bowl and whisk together with a splash of milk, pinch of salt and pepper and a tbsp of finely chopped dill, whisk till thick and creamy
2. Heat a deep frying pan to medium heat, melting a large knob of butter
3. Pour in the eggs and reduce the heat
4. Cook whilst stirring till the mixture resembles scrambled eggs, ideally on the runny side because they will continue cooking when you take them off the heat.

Eggs Benedict I’ll cover another time

Meat 
Bacon I know that everyone likes their bacon differently, but this is a personal favourite of mine with a possible nod to American diner big breakfast.
1. Get some thin streaky bacon (I like mine unsmoked and crispy ) line the grill pan (saves cleaning loads of grease from it) with foil.
2. Paint the bacon with maple syrup and grill turning till thin and crispy on both sides
Sausages Should always be fat and preferably grilled
Black Pudding I’ve been rather put off black pudding by the dry offering at college but I did once use it to stuff a pork tenderloin and that was delicious. I’d advise getting the good stuff from butchers and cooking it inside the sausage meat for an unusual spin ( I’ll get back to you when I’ve tried this)
Smoked salmon If there’s some going please !

Veg (in the loosest sense of the word)
Baked beans Always 
Fried bread see above
Tomatoes these are always hard to make exciting, particularly of barely cooked…. The best way I’ve ate them for breakfast is cherry ones, roasted, scattered with salt, pepper for about 8-10mins at 200oC
Mushrooms Fried with garlic, there is no other way. Sometimes I like to add onions as well
1. Take 250g button mushrooms, melt butter in a pan then add 2cloves garlic, chopped finely
2. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper
3. Gently fry till the mushrooms begin to brown a little (salt is very important here, makes the mushrooms sweat helping them cook 😉

Hash browns Trickier,  but making them yourself is very self satisfying! The English equivalent is of course bubble and squeak but I like to think of that as solely christmassy. I’m assuming you don’t have any roasted potatoes you failed to eat for Sunday lunch or jacket potatoes lying around, but if you do, all the better to use up leftovers.
1. Boil potatoes adding salt and sage leaves to the water and a knob of butter, skins and all till soft. Drain and leave to cool and dry out.
2. When dry, chop into pieces, add salt and pepper.
3. Heat a large knob of butter in a pan and add a finely sliced onion, cook over a low heat until soft. Leave to cool then mix into the potato.
4. Heat either more butter or for extra goodness bacon fat, and bring to a medium heat. Add the potato and onion mix pushing down to make a cake.
4. Cook for 10-15mins till brown on the bottom, remove from the pan, add more butter (well this was never going to be a healthy recipe) and cook on the other side for a further 10mins, cut into wedges and serve .

Waffles, muffins, pancakes, cinnamon buns and other sweet stuff to follow in part 2

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