“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”
Adelle Davis, pioneering American nutritionist.
Not sure about her suggestion for dinner, but she is right about breakfast. Sunday brunch is nice – but we have a cooked breakfast nearly everyday, it is amazing how quick it is once you get the routine and hang of it. Keeps you going for most of the day!
pan con tomaca (Spain)
ciabatta, baguette or rye bread
3 ripe tomatoes, grated into a mush
clove of garlic
fleur de sel
Halve bread sticks and cut in large pieces. Roast on a cast iron griddle, if necessary with a bit of olive oil. Rub with a clove of garlic, drizzle with olive oil. Spread liberally with tomato mush. Sprinkle with fleur de sel. Fresh thyme is also nice.
churros con chocolate (Spain)
OK, this is heavy and deep-frying in order to make breakfast is not for the faint-hearted, but this makes a great calorie-orgy on the occasional weekend.
250 grs medium white flour
250 ml water
1/4 tsp salt
rapeseed oil for frying
Bring water to a boil, lower heat, add flour and salt, mix vigorously with a wooden spoon to form a thick dough ball, remove from heat. Knead very well to avoid air being trapped in the dough. Press through a solid one-hand cake decorator with a large star-shaped tip into 10 cm long strips. Heat oil to 180 degrees in a pan, fry until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper. For extra calories, roll in sugar.
WARNING: If the oil is too hot or you have air trapped in the dough, the churros may explode when being fried! a deep-fat frier with a built-in lid is safest.
Traditionally, churros are eaten dunked into Spanish hot chocolate. The “Reybar” brand is the very best if you can get your hands on it. Otherwise you can make some yourself:
120 grs good dark chocolate, chopped
2 cups full-fat milk
2 tbsp cornstarch
4 tbsp sugar
Heat chocolate and half of the milk in a pan. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining milk and whisk into the chocolate with the sugar and vanilla extract. Cook on low heat, whisking constantly, until the chocolate is thickened, about five minutes. Add extra cornstarch if it doesn’t start to thicken after 5 minutes, it is supposed to be nearly solid! Remove from heat and whisk smooth. Pour and server in wide cups or bowls for dunking churros.
Serve with freshly-pressed orange juice and plenty of water to balance the richness of the chocolate con churros.
2 tomatoes, chopped
dash of milk
roasted red peppers in oil and/or caper-berries
1 clove of garlic, minced
fresh herbs: thyme, rosemary or basil
Lightly whisk the eggs with the milk, add the remaining ingredients, mix well. Pour into a 20 cm heavy-bottomed non-stick pan and fry covered over very low heat, until set. Use a heat-spreader on a gas-hob if necessary. Cooking time is 20 minutes, no need to flip over. The bottom will be nicely browned. You can also bake it in the oven, in a baking tray, greased or lined with baking parchment – 180C, bottom heat, 20 mins. This is especially useful when making large portions.
You can add to the basic recipe of egg, tomato, cheese, garlic and herbs whatever ingredients you find in the fridge. Fresh vegetables should be cooked before. Feta cheese, roasted red peppers and Thai basil is a great combination.
Mediterranean fry up
merguez sausages or other spicy lamb sausages
thinly sliced fried haloumi cheese
roasted mushrooms sprinkled with thyme
green or red peppers roasted with garlic
eggs sunny side up
fried slices of saffron polenta, (great with an egg sunny side up)
fresh avocado, drizzled with olive oil and black pepper
Fry everything, serve with warm pita or other flat bread, hummus, baba ghanoush, or ful mudammas. Garnish with fresh thyme.
homemade yoghurt (Morocco)
yoghurt: UHT-full-fat milk and natural yoghurt as a starter
orange blossom water
prunes or walnuts
Homemade yoghurt is the most delicious yoghurt you can get and it is easy to make. Mix 1 liter of UHT milk with half a cup of fresh natural yoghurt with live cultures. Keep for 8-10 hours in a yoghurt-maker or any other warm place, about 38 degrees. The longer you let it ripen, the more sour it will become. Let cool and then refrigerate. Mix with a dash or orange blossom water, chopped prunes or walnuts and sprinkle with honey.
smoked fish with poached egg (Scotland)
smoked fish filets: salmon, trout, haddock
ciabatta, baguette or rye bread
eggs, 1 for each person
fresh or curd cheese
dill (fresh, or frozen)
Roast the bread on a cast iron griddle. Spread with fresh or curd cheese, sprinkle with chopped caper-berries, a slice of fish, black pepper, dill and finally cover with an egg, either poached or sunny side up, salt with fleur de sel. Heaven.
porridge (Great Britain)
Porridge? Yes! You just need really good oats and a generous amount of salt and some nice topping:
1 part coarse or medium rolled oats
2 parts water
1/4 tsp salt
Bring water and salt to a boil, add oatmeal, (mixing in a bit of rougher oatmeal makes for a heartier texture). If your porridge tends to stick and burn, prepare it in a bain-marie. If you prefer a softer porridge add more water.
Top with honey, freshly toasted chopped nuts or fresh fruit – ripe peaches are simply delicious.
Also great with apple slices, fried in butter together with a bit of sugar until slightly caramelized. Check out this page on the perfect porridge.
ham or roast beef with freshly grated horseradish (Austria)
Horseradish clears your head in the morning. Eat with some nice rye bread. Preserved, creamed horseradish also works as does a good mustard.
Recipe for home-made roast beef here.
scrambled eggs with fresh porcini mushrooms (Austria)
a good handfull of porcini mushrooms,
dash of milk
A delicacy for the short time of the year when you can get fresh porcini mushrooms. Cut the mushrooms into thin slices. Fry in butter until browned, salt. Lightly whisk eggs with milk, salt and pepper, add to the mushrooms in the pan. Don’t fry and scramble too long, the scrambled egg should still be quite moist. Sprinkle with black pepper & thyme. Also good with oyster mushrooms, fried with garlic.
fruit salad with mint
Cut various kinds of fruit in pieces, mix, sprinkle with lemon juice. Sweeten with honey if necessary and add chopped fresh mint. Some nuts, possibly roasted are also nice.
500 ml mango pulp (Alphonso variety)
250-500 ml water, according to taste
1 tbsp orange blossom or rose water
Mix all ingredients, sprinkle with ground cardamon and/or roast ground cumin and some toasted slivered almonds or pistachios. Garnish with mint.