The first time I’d ever heard of humous was in the movie Don’t Mess with the Zohan, starring Adam Sandler being a complete hairdressing-sex predator. Not the best way to encounter food I know. Apart from wrecking my brains trying to figure out what that gloppy mushy substance might be, I came to London a couple of years back and took a leap of faith, buying a pack of humous at the store.
Made of mainly chickpeas and tahini, there’s an amazing variety of that stuff these days. I got the dodgiest looking pack though, plain and uninspiring, and had it alongside Scrambled Eggs on Toast for breakfast yesterday morning.
Still can’t figure out which creamy gloopy mush wins at breakfast.
They always say, ‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.’ I’ve never actually taken that to heart, until recently when I realised that having a good breakfast in the morning is not only a healthy thing to do, it also and almost always will set you up well for the day’s challenges and tasks.
Yes, we’re all really busy people and sometimes breakfasts are the last thing you’d wanna think about when the sun comes up. It’s always either rushing to head out to work or school, or plain just paying off those sleep debts, hitting the snooze button, again and again, and again.
In any case, when you do get time, please do sit down and have a hearty breakfast, because it’s good for your heart, in more ways than one.
Perfect scrambled eggs recipe here.
There’s word of this fifth basic taste going round, a taste alongside salty, sweet, sour or bitter; it’s called umami. According to Wikipedia, it means ‘pleasant savoury taste’ in Japanese. It’s the taste most common in Japanese food, which makes it so well-loved. ‘The human tongue has receptors for L-glutamate, which is the source of umami flavour. As such, scientists consider umami to be distinct from saltiness.’ So you ask? How and where do you get umami from? Tomatoes.
I believe having tomatoes at breakfast is a great way to start your day, awakening your belly with wholesome savoury goodness, not just salty ham or bacon.
Have them with your sausages today.
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.
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