As I’ve said many times before, Sunday mornings are times when you truly have the opportunity to make a good breakfast for yourself. Here’s what I had this morning – Mushroom and Brie Bruschetta (pronounced as [brusˈketːa]).
- In a hot skillet, toss in sliced mushrooms with a small knob of butter.
- Add a small pinch of basil and season accordingly with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.
- While that’s happening, toast your bread (preferably slices of a crusty loaf, but square slices work fine as well.)
- Once the mushrooms are just about browned nicely, add in a tiny bit of cream just to hold everything together, then turn the heat down low.
- The bread should be done, get it out. Half a clove of garlic and rub it on the toast.
- Spoon some mushrooms onto each slice and accompany with a small handful of fresh greens, holding them down with a small wedge of Brie.
- Serve with fresh cherry tomatoes, and without cutlery. All hands, all goodness.
Most people probably already know how to make pancakes. So I’m posting this for people who don’t and are afraid of trying for the fear of getting it all wrong. This pancake batter recipe is real simple and the margin for error is minuscule.
Ideally, you’d wanna be making the batter in a jug of some sort. It really helps when you’ve to fry the pancakes. Here’s what you mix in the jug:
- 1 egg
- 1 mug plain flour
- 1 mug milk
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Preferably, use a whisk to whip everything together because you don’t want any lumps in the pancakes.
- Next, fry them singularly or in twos on a good non-stick frying pan. It’s good to oil the pan slightly after each one. Also, try to get them all the same size; nothing like eating a tall and pretty stack of identical pancakes, with butter and syrup.
- Cool the pancakes on a cooling rack before stacking ’em up on a plate.
- Top with a knob of soft butter and maple syrup. Use honey as the alternative but do it discreetly without letting the Canadians know.
- Devour your breakfast layer by layer, or slice right through it like a cake – not forgetting the keyword here is ‘DEVOUR’.
I’ve always been wanting to make Hollandaise Sauce since I heard about it about say, four years ago. But there’d been no motivation nor inspiration all these days, right up till last week. Sarah got me Julia Child’s book Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Christmas and yes, in there was the recipe for the famous Hollandaise sauce. (If you don’t already own this book, get it at once. It will change your life.)
For a first attempt, I wouldn’t say making the sauce was an easy task, even though the stipulated cooking time in the book was five minutes. I took twenty. I don’t remember tasting Hollandaise sauce ever so there was no mental end product in mind, no idea what I was aiming at, although I do think it was a lovely job done nonetheless.
Hollandaise sauce is basically but not simply, a sauce made from egg yolk, beaten continuously over low heat until creamy before beaten further with lemon, and a chunk load of butter. It’s a painstaking process and technically challenging, but oh so rewarding when your palette meets with a rich creamy luxurious artery-clogging Hollandaise sauce. I won’t go into the details of how to make it here, because I’m sure you’d find excellent ones online and elsewhere.
You’d see Hollandaise sauce in Eggs Benedict, traditionally done as poached egg on ham or bacon on an English muffin, with a generous drizzle of the sauce.
Extremely extravagant, yet superbly satisfying.
Recently, I’ve been having this urge to learn to make pastry, so what better kind to start with than shortcrust pastry. Being a huge fan of the savoury, making a quiche therefore, was the desired result. The learning adventure called for a small bunch of research before embarking onward the unknown trail of crumbly crispy wonderment.
These were the proportions I used:
- 125g sifted plain flour
- 1 pinch salt
- 55g salted butter, cubed
- 2-3 tbsp cold water
- In a mixing bowl, put in the flour and salt, then add the cubes of butter.
- With your fingertips, integrate the butter into the flour-salt mixture by gently pressing the lumps in, pinching and lifting as you go along. Do this until you have a coarse sand-like mixture. Don’t take too long or everything’ll get greasy.
- Add 2 tbsp of the cold water first and combine the flour by pressing the mixture together. Note: You want to be pressing and not kneading. If necessary, add the third tbsp of water in small amount until the dough has combined nicely. (It should not be a sticky lump.)
- Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes before using.
- TIP! When ready to use, roll the dough out between two sheets of clingfilm. This makes the job easier and less messy.
- Line the oiled pie dish and blind-bake it till almost done before putting in the filling for more baking.
This time, I made a spinach and feta quiche. It tasted much better after it had time to set, but I was too greedy to wait.
Christmas came early! My sister sent a package in the mail for me and I got it three days ago. One of the things in there was a star-shaped egg ring. I had to try it out right away.
Pretty neat huh?
Remember Sunny Sandwich.
Using this Fresh Bread recipe, I made a bunch of wannabe ciabattas by adding bits of minced chilli and pulverised arugula. Then of course, I proceeded to overbake it.
Nope, we don’t have a panini press at home, so I sliced it in half and toasted it. Then filled it with butter, pan-seared pork shoulder, arugula, cheddar and pepper, and smashed it flat with the palm of my hand.
There it is, a ciabatta wannabe, nothing more.
Alright, so it seems I’ve been having lotsa time to have breakfast in the mornings these days. Well, truth is, I’ve been waking late so brunch has become somewhat routine now. In any case, what I’d like to share here is a savoury tomato and mushroom compote. So easy to do, and so good with toast.
Toss everything into a skillet and mix till ready.
- 1 plum tomato, diced into 1cm cubes
- 1 large brown mushroom, diced into 1cm cubes
- 1 small knob of butter
- 1 pinch of dried basil
- 1 small bunch of arugula, finely chopped
- freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
Have it with egg, ham, and toast. Lush.
Two mornings ago, I woke up from a dream; one about breakfast.
This is what I dreamt about:
Poached egg on pan-seared honey baked ham and toast, sitting on a mash of garden peas. With butter glazed mushrooms and basil tomatoes.
Perfect way to start the day.
Photography: Sarah Lee
I know I make a bold claim with the word ‘perfect’ right up there. But trust me, with this recipe, you can’t go very far off. Besides, it’s from Chef Ramsay himself.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Crack your two eggs straight into a pot, not a bowl. No whisking, no seasoning, no mucking about.
- Add in a generous knob of butter. And by ‘generous’, that’s at least a thumb-sized piece, we’re talking about.
- Get your pot onto the hob and turn on the heat. With a spatula, stir away. Like risotto, don’t stop stirring.
- The eggs will start to get all velvety and golden-looking, you’ll know now you’re doing it right.
- Before the eggs start getting lumpy, take the pot off the heat and continue stirring. Make sure you get all the rich goodness off the sides of the pot.
- Then put it back on the heat. Keep stirring.
- Repeat steps #5 and #6 a couple of times. Essentially, you wanna be slow-cooking the eggs.
- Finally when the eggs start to look right, keep working at it until they’re perfect.
- Now add the salt and pepper, and a teaspoonful of cream or crème fraîche, or if you have neither, two tablespoons of milk will do.
- Stir some more.
- If you’re awesome, add fresh chives, chopped.
- Stir and serve atop unbuttered toast.
Practice makes perfect.
Sunday Breakfasts are a luxury, as much as sleeping-in is as well. But if you’re up bright and early on Sunday morning, sunny or not, put the kettle on and make a cuppa tea. But don’t stop there. Put a pan on, make an egg (or two) sunny-side-up. Toast some bread, and spread some butter. Why not toss in some cheese, some ham and peas even. Finally, don’t forget a bit of your 5-a-day: lettuce. Have a hearty breakfast, not only ‘cos it’s ‘the most important meal of the day’, but because you can afford the time to.
Have a good week, everybody!