Sunday, 25 January 2009

Top 5 Breakfasts - home style

Ah, breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Funny to think that for years I rebelled against that notion, never wanting to eat in the morning, making do with a cup of tea and at best an oatcake on my way to work. No wonder I always felt sluggish in the mornings and starving by 11 o'clock! I can't remember the exact moment I fell in love with the breakfast concept, but it was definitely after I moved to London and started going out for breakfast more often. In our house of a weekend we would attempt to recreate the fantastic breakfast stacks from our beloved local Cafe Goya (now sadly no more), their onion-enhanced baked beans and English muffins being particular highlights. These days I'd be lying if I said I had time for much in the way of brekkie during the week (a piece of toast or some cereal does the trick) but the weekends would be so much duller if I didn't have one of these beauties to look forward to, complete with a pot of Earl Grey tea, maybe a Virgin Mary and the travel supplement of the paper. These then, very definitely in order, are my Top 5 home-style breakfasts:

1. Scrambled eggs & smoked salmon on Paul Rankin soda bread
Slightly sloppy eggs (never with milk added), strips of Scottish smoked salmon on buttered soda bread. Paul Rankin's is the absolute best. Serve with lots of green Tabasco sauce.

2. Fruit salad, yogurt, honey & Grape Nuts
A nod to our friend Rach for introducing us to this super-healthy start to the day. Only soft fruits in the salad - summer berries are best, but also kiwi, orange, maybe banana. Served with a dollop of plain yogurt, a squirt of honey and a sprinkle of Grape Nuts.

3. The full cooked veggie
Cauldron sausages, grilled tomato, scrambled or poached eggs, fried mushrooms, oniony baked beans, alongside toast and, of course, green Tabasco. The perfect Sunday brunch.

4. Porridge with jam
How bizarre to think that a good Scots girl like me should have her first encounter with porridge on Castaway Island in Fiji at the age of 27. Now I can't imagine living without the stuff, so versatile is it as a breakfast dish. I've cooked it at home, in campervans and over camp fires, all in the same half-water, half-milk method, with a pinch of salt and sugar, and served while still a bit sloppy with a big dollop of raspberry jam. Healthy, easy and yummy.

5. Birchermuesli
Slightly disingenuous, this one, as I've never actually made birchermuesli at home. But I plan to! In Switzerland it is eaten all the time, for lunch as well as breakfast, and it will forever remind me of the year I spent living in Lausanne. The muesli is soaked overnight in milk or apple juice, then grated apple and more milk are added, making it soft and smooth without cooking. Served with fresh fruit it becomes a wholesome breakfast treat.

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