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Posts Tagged ‘Brunch’

Croque Madame

This is a cheat’s version of the French classic and makes a great brunch/lunch.

Croque Madame – serves 2

  • 4 large slices of sourdough
  • Dijon mustard
  • 100g grated gruyère
  • 4 slices thick-cut ham
  • butter
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 2 eggs

Spread the sourdough with a thin layer of mustard on one side, then fill the sandwiches with half the gruyère and the ham. Spread the outside of the sandwiches with butter.

Heat a non-stick frying pan and fry the sandwiches on both sides until golden.

Mix the crème fraîche with the rest of the gruyère and spread over the top of the sandwiches. Put under a hot grill until the cheese bubbles and starts to brown.

Serve with a fried or poached egg on the top.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, May 2015)

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Chachouka

This is the second version of this we’ve done in the last few weeks. Both times inspired by two extra peppers in a pack when we only needed one. This version is more caramelised and uses less fresh ingredients but it also takes a lot longer to cook. We loved the addition of saffron too.

You can cook the sauce the night before if you like  or keep half of it for the following day. You just need to reheat, then crack in the eggs and bake.

Chachouka – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, halved and finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, finely sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, finely sliced
  • ½ tsp hot smoked paprika
  • a pinch of saffron strands
  • 400g tin plum tomatoes, squeeze with your hands to break them up as you add to the dish
  • 4 eggs

Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan, then add the cumin seeds and fry gently for a couple of minutes. Add the onion and cook gently for about 10 minutes or until golden.

Add the garlic and peppers and continue to cook for at least 20 minutes, stirring often, until the peppers are soft and wilted. Add the paprika and saffron, then the tomatoes and some seasoning. Cook gently for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.

Taste and adjust the seasoning. If you can’t put your pan in the oven just transfer the sauce into a baking dish. Make holes in the mixture and gently break in the eggs (easier if you break into a mug first). Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the eggs are set but the yolk still runny.

(Original recipe from River Cottage Veg Everyday by Hugh Rearnley-Whittingstall, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

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Spicy Asparagus & Chorizo Baked Egg

We had this for breakfast on Easter Sunday but you could also have it for a handy lunch or dinner.

Spicy asparagus & chorizo baked egg – serves 2

  • 250g asparagus, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 40g diced chorizo
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 150g frozen spinach
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 2 large eggs
  • flatbreads or toast, to serve

Heat a medium frying pan over a medium heat, add the asparagus and chorizo and cook for about 8 minutes. Stir in the paprika and cook for a further minute.

Add the frozen spinach and cook for about 5 minutes or until it has completely wilted. Stir in the crème fraîche and season with salt and pepper.

Make two space in the mixture for the eggs and gently slide them in. We find it easier to break them into mugs first. Cover the pan with a lid and leave for 5 minutes or until just set.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Shakshuka

We needed a green pepper for another dish, but could only get a mixed bag of three leaving us with a red and yellow pepper needing to be used. The clocks have changed and so we had brunch, very unusual in this house where our human alarm clocks goes off at 6am most days. Jono has been mastering a new skill and so we had this with freshly baked sourdough. Don’t think we’ll be eating another bite until this evening!

Shakshuka – serves 2

  • 1 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil (we used olive oil)
  • 1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 red pepper, finely sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, finely sliced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 heaped tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 400g tin of cherry tomatoes
  • 115g baby spinach (we used frozen spinach, boil for a minute or two to wilt, then drain, squeeze out water with hands and chop)
  • 4 medium eggs
  • ½ small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
  • ½ small bunch of dill, roughly chopped (we didn’t have any dill but used some fennel fronds)

Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan. Add the onions and peppers and cook over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until starting to soften. Add the garlic and spices and stir for another minute, then add the tomatoes, spinach and 100ml of water. Turn the heat down and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Season to taste.

Make four indentations in the mixture and gently crack an egg into each one (we find it easier to crack the eggs into mugs and pour them in). Cover with a lid or foil and cook over a low heat for 8-10 minutes or until the eggs are just set. Scatter over the herbs and serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Spinach Rarebit with Poached Eggs

We sporadically try and make an effort with breakfast on the weekends though more often than not we fall back to poached eggs on toast – not that there is anything wrong with that. This rarebit was nice for a change and we’ll definitely be skipping lunch!

Spinach rarebit with poached eggs – serves 2

  • 100g baby spinach
  • 125g mature cheddar, grated
  • ½ english mustard – we used Dijon
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 dashes of worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg yolk, plus 2 eggs for poaching
  • 4 small slices of sourdough
  • rocket dressed with lemon juice to serve

Put the spinach in a colander and pour over a kettleful of boiling water, then leave to cool. Squeeze out as much water as you can then chop.

Put the cheddar, mustard, scallions, worcestershire sauce, egg yolk and spinach in a bowl, season and stir to combine.

Poach the eggs in a small pan of simmering water.

Heat the grill to high. Toast the bread on both sides then spread the rarebit mixture over the slices. Grill until golden and bubbling, then top with an egg, plenty of black pepper and some dressed rocket on the side.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, December 2019)

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Vege breakfast

This is a variation on a brunch dish from Jamie Oliver’s Veg book. Honeyed halloumi, chopped salad, yoghurt, tahini and soft-boiled eggs & dukkah. Jamie also suggests figs and black olives but we couldn’t find figs anywhere this weekend so we made do with some grapes instead and a plate of toasted sourdough. It definitely improved our morning and we’ve made honeyed halloumi for breakfast and dukkah on everything since.

To make your own dukkah mix 50g blanched hazelnuts, 1 tbsp cumin seeds, 1 tbsp fennel seeds, 1 tbsp coriander seeds and 2tbsp sesame seeds in a bowl. Spread over a baking tray and cook for 8-10 minutes at 180C/160 fan or until toasted. Pulse the mixture a few times in a food processor just to chop the nuts.

Veggie Breakfast – serves 4

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 little gem lettuce
  • 4 sprigs of fresh mint, leaves mint
  • 1 ripe beef tomato
  • ½ a cucumber
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 lemon
  • 225g halloumi cheese
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 4 tsp runny honey
  • 4 ripe figs, quartered –  or other fruit
  • 8 black olives, destoned
  • 1 tbsp dukkah (see above)
  • flatbread or toasted sourdough

Bring a pan of water to the boil, then put the eggs in and cook for 6½ minutes, then drain and peel under cool running water.

Chop the lettuce, mint, tomato and cucumber together on a board. Drizzle over the yoghurt and tahini and squeeze over the lemon juice, then continue to chop and mix until fine. Season with salt and black pepper.

Slice the halloumi lengthways into 4, then fry in 1 tbsp of oil over a medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, then sprinkle with the sesame seeds and turn the cheese until coated all over. Remove to a plate and drizzle with the honey.

Halve the eggs and sprinkle with the dukkah. Arrange the fruit and olives together on a plate.

Serve warm with some toasted sourdough or flatbreads.

(Original recipe from Veg by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2019.)

 

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Breakfast quesadilla

Quesadillas are a regular feature on our weekend breakfast/lunch table as we often have tortilla wraps leftover from pack lunches in the week. We loved these spicy, veggie ones for Saturday breakfast.

Breakfast Quesadillas – serves 2

  • a knob of butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ an avocado, sliced
  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 25g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 pickled jalapeños, chopped

Heat the butter in a small pan, tip in the eggs and stir until scrambled.

Scatter the avocado over one of the tortillas. Top with the scrambled eggs, the cherry tomatoes, the cheddar and the jalapeños. Top with the other tortilla and slide into a hot non-stick frying pan (we brush the tortillas on the outside with a tiny bit of oil to help them brown). Cook for 2-3 minutes then flip over and continue to cook until the cheese is melted and the insides are hot. Cut into wedges to serve.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in BBC Olive Magazine, March 2019.)

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Mushrooms baked on toast with herbs, butter & garlic

Roasting this entire dish in the oven is such a good idea. The mushroom juice soaks into the toast and it all comes together in a truly magical way. Yet more breakfast inspiration from Gill Meller.

Mushrooms baked on toast with garden herbs, butter & garlic – serves 5

  • 5 slices of good country-style bread or sourdough
  • 10 large open-cap mushrooms e.g. Portobello
  • 50g cold butter
  • 5 thyme sprigs
  • a small bunch of parsley, leaves finely chopped
  • ½ a small bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, skin on and bashed with the flat of a knife
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve

Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 6½.

Arrange the bread on a large baking tray. Put the mushrooms on top; no matter if they hang over the edges.

Slice the butter thinly and put pieces on each mushroom. Scatter over the herbs and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil.

Bake the mushrooms for 15-20 minutes or until the mushrooms are completely soft and the toast is crunchy at the edges.

(Original recipe from Time by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

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Purple sprouting broccoli with smoked paprika, yoghurt & eggs

We’re trying to make more of an effort at breakfast time. This dish by Gill Meller of River Cottage is more suited to a weekend when you have a bit more time but it’s worth it as the flavours are great. The vegetable shop can get a bit boring at this time of year but then arrives Purple Sprouting Broccoli to keep us in good spirits.

Serve this with some toasted brown bread for mopping up the hot, smoky butter.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Smoked Paprika, Yoghurt & Eggs – serves 2

  • 2 eggs
  • 250g purple sprouting broccoli
  • 50g butter
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • toasted brown bread, to serve

Start by poaching the eggs and keeping them warm.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and simmer the purple sprouting broccoli for a few minutes until tender. Drain and allow to steam dry.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan until sizzling then add the garlic, rosemary and smoked paprika. Cook for about a minute or until the garlic is softened but not browned, then remove from the heat.

Divide the yoghurt between two warmed bowls. Lay the broccoli in the bowls with the poached eggs. Season everything with salt and pepper and spoon over the smoky butter. Serve immediately with plenty of toast.

(Original recipe from Time by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

 

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We made this for a Saturday breakfast and really enjoyed the playful balance of flavours. The pancakes are light, fluffy and not too sweet.

Banana pancakes with maple syrup and smokey bacon – serves 4

  • 8 rashers smoked streaky bacon (or pancetta strips)
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp light soft brown sugar
  • 2 ripe bananas, 1 mashed, 1 thinly sliced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 25g butter, melted, plus a little extra
  • 125ml milk
  • maple syrup

Cook the bacon or pancetta under a hot grill, on a tray lined with foil, until crispy and keep warm.

Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and a pinch of salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the mashed banana, eggs, butter and milk. Whisk until you have a smooth batter without any floury lumps.

Heat a little butter in a large frying pan until sizzling. Ladle in small dollops of batter and put a few slices of banana on the surface of each pancake. Cook for 2 minutes over a medium heat and turn when bubbles appear on the surface of the batter. Cook for 1 more minute on the other side or until puffed up and golden brown. Keep warm while you use the rest of the batter. Serve the pancakes topped with the crispy bacon and a generous drizzle of maple syrup.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This was no effort at all to whip up on a Saturday for brunch. We were a bit concerned when we saw the quantity of peppercorns, but they work superbly and give much less heat than expected.

Peppercorn Eggs & Ham Baguette – to serve 4

  • large baguette, cut in 4 and sliced in half
  • good quality olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 55g unsalted butter
  • 8-12 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns, cracked in a mortar
  • a handful of basil leaves
  • 4 slices of good quality ham or prosciutto
  • 2 large tomatoes, cored and sliced

Scoop out the dough from the slices of baguette to make room for the filling. Pour olive oil over each slice and rub with the garlic clove. Put the slices on a tray and toast under a grill on both sides.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan and whisk the eggs. Add the cracked peppercorns and tip the mixture into the pan. Tumble and push the eggs around the pan with a flat wooden spatula (think half scramble, half omelette).

Remove when still soft as they will continue to cook, and season with a little salt. Put a few basil leaves on the base of 4 baguette slices, then add the ham, the tomato and finally the egg, finishing with the top pieces of baguette.

(Original recipe from Tamasin’s Kitchen Bible by Tamasin Day-Lewis, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005.)

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We could get depressed in Ireland with the rain, cold wind and dark evenings but we don’t cause we’ve got mushrooms! Woohoo!

Feel free to substitute a hen’s egg or omit the egg altogether if you prefer.

Mushroom ragout with poached duck egg – to serve 4

  • 15g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 600g mixed fresh mushrooms
  • 350g sourdough bread, crusts removed
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 3 celery sticks, sliced
  • 120ml white wine
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 4 duck’s eggs
  • vinegar for poaching
  • 100g soured cream
  • 4 tbsp mixed chopped tarragon and parsley
  • truffle oil (or olive oil)

First soak the dried porcini in 200ml of water for 30 minutes. Remove any dirt from the mushrooms with either a brush or a damp piece of kitchen paper (don’t wash them).  Cut up some of the larger mushrooms so you have a mixture of large chunks and whole mushrooms. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6.

Cut the bread into 2.4cm cubes. Toss with 2 tbsp of the olive oil, the garlic and some salt. Spread on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 15 minutes, or until brown.

Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil into a heavy pan and heat well. Add some of the fresh mushrooms and leave for a couple of minutes, without stirring. Make sure the mushrooms are not touching each other. Turn them over when they have lightly browned and cook for another minute. Remove from the pan and continue adding more batches, adding more oil when needed. When all of the mushrooms have been browned, add a further tbsp of oil and throw in the onion, carrot and celery. Sauté on a medium heat for 5 minutes, without browning. Add the wine and let it bubble away for a minute.

Lift the porcini out of the liquid and squeeze to get rid of the excess liquid. Add the soaking liquor to the pan, leaving behind any grit. Add 400ml of water, the thyme and some salt, then simmer gently for about 20 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to about 200ml. Strain this stock and discard the vegetables; return the stock to the pan and set aside.

To poach the eggs you need to fill a shallow saucepan with enough water for a whole egg to cook in. Add a splash of vinegar and bring to a fast boil. Carefully break an egg into a small cup and gently pour into the boiling water. Immediately take the pan off the heat and set it aside. After 6 minutes the egg should be poached perfectly. Lift it out of the pan and into a bowl of warm water. When all the eggs are done, dry them on kitchen paper.

While you poach the final egg, heat up the stock and add all the mushrooms, the soured cream, most of the chopped herbs (reserving some for garnish) and seasoning to taste. As soon as the mushrooms are hot, place some croutons on each dish and top with mushrooms. Add an egg, the remaining herbs and a drizzle of truffle oil and some black pepper.

Wine Suggestion: If you want a wine with this go for a chilled young Beaujolais Villages which will have a nice fruitiness and a complementary earthiness to match the mushrooms.

(Original recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, Ebury Press, 2010).

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Eggs and hot salsa – we could eat this any time of day!

Huevos rancheros – to serve 2

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dried or fresh oregano
  • 2 eggs
  • tortilla or pitta bread to serve

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan with a lid and gently fry the onions, peppers, chilli, garlic and oregano for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking for another 5 minutes (if it starts to look dry add a splash of water). Season well and make 2 hollows in the mixture, break in the eggs, cover and cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes or until the eggs are set. Traditionally served with tortillas but we had warm pitta bread. (Too early for a wine suggestion!)

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Rugby World Cup Brunch

This is a bit more exciting than your regular cheese and toast and it’s easy to throw together with one eye on the match. We don’t usually buy  sliced pan bread but admit it has its purposes and this is definitely one of them (bacon butties is another). Maybe we’ll try and cook something green for the next match.

Chilli Cheese Toast – to serve 2

  • approx. 100g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 10g onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small tomato, finely chopped
  • a little bit of sliced green chillies – or more if you like
  • 1 tsp finely chopped coriander
  • 2 slices of bread
Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Mix together all the ingredients except the bread. Pile the mixture on top of the bread and bake for a few minutes until crisp and turning brown at the edges.
(Idea from Anjum Anand Indian Food Made Easy, Quadrille, 2007.)

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Quite a lot has happened since our last post. We moved house, then we got married, then we went to London, Paris and Italy. Lot’s of eating and drinking but no time for blog posts. When we got home we couldn’t work out if our new house had been robbed or if we had just left it in a complete state of disarray. Thankfully the latter. So needless to say we left the mess where it was and headed to the shops to get some ingredients for a tasty breakfast/brunch and two course dinner.

Breakfast/brunch mushrooms on toast for 2

  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • butter
  • really nice bread, toasted (we got a white pan loaf from Butler’s Pantry)
You could probably work this out for yourselves.
Fry the mushrooms for about 5 minutes in a knob of butter until they’re soft and your mouth starts watering. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Take the pan off the heat and stir in another knob of butter and the parsley.
Throw the mushrooms on top of your toast.
It’s nice to be home.

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Not very seasonal we know but a little taste of sunshine to brighten our mood on a frosty Sunday morning. Cherry tomatoes are still nice and sweet all year (even if you do have to get them from somewhere sunnier than Ireland in December).

This is a nice idea from Ursula Ferrigno.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes on Toast – to serve 4

Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F, Gas 6.

Put 500g cherry tomatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and scatter some rosemary leaves over. Bake until squashy – about 12 minutes.

Toast some ciabatta (we used M&S part-baked which you can bake at the same time as the tomatoes) then brush with olive oil.

Gently toss the tomatoes, salt, pepper, shavings of Parmesan cheese, and some torn basil in a big bowl.

Put on top of the toast to serve.

Julie

 

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