Eggy Bread

Eggy Bread

This is one of my all time go-to favourite breakfasts.  Or lunches.  Or snacks.  Or suppers.


Because it is simple and quick to make for anyone of any age or ability, can be made as sweet or savoury and can be eaten in whatever proportion you fancy, either as a full to popping experience, or, as they say round these parts, just enough to ‘put you on’.  Which translated means, keep you going.  It’s one of my favourite phrases which I never tire of hearing.

Now there may be some of you out there who do not refer to this wonderful marriage of egg and bread as Eggy Bread, but instead insist on it’s more formal title of French Toast.  Some believe this name was inspired by the French version of ‘pain perdu’, which in itself means lost bread, or bread that can no longer be used for it’s original purpose.

In fact Eggy Bread is one of those fascinating foodstuffs which has a plethora of potential originality, and therefore, to those of us who are curious about that kind of thing, extremely interesting.  I do concede though, that most people don’t really give that much of Chaucer’s toot about such things. *

Meanwhile, there may be someone who has never dabbled in the making of Eggy Bread, so this is what you’ll need to do.

Whisk eggs and splash of milk together and add your seasoning.  This could be either salt and pepper, cinnamon and vanilla, chilli, etc.  The choice is yours.  I tend to opt for salt and pepper.  Also, the ratio of egg is proportionate to the amount of bread you are hoping to make.  I follow the ratio of 3 eggs to 5 slices of white bread.  You could do one egg per slice and just add the tiniest splash of milk, or indeed no milk at all.  It’s totally up to you.

Cut the bread into quarters and pour over the eggy mixture.  Leave to soak for ten minutes.

Melt a knob of butter in a frying pan and put as many of the quarters as you can into the pan.  Fry until golden brown, turn, repeat.

This is the wee boy’s favourite part of the process.  Well, actually, it’s his second favourite part.  His favourite favourite is the melting of the butter in the pan.  He stands on his chef’s chair, swirling around the butter, looking completely and utterly in control of the situation.  Similarly when the bread is placed in the pan, he delights in giving it a shake.  And I empathise completely.

Anyway, once both sides are cooked to a glorious golden brown, they are ready to serve and for some, that is it.  Others enjoy embellishing with vinegar, Tommy K, HP, sugar, syrup…  the list is endless.

But one thing is for certain, you’ll always, eventually, make more.  It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, but eventually, everyone who has Eggy Bread in their repertoire, revisits.

*Just in case you do, check out this link


Breakfast Burger Bagel

Breakfast Burger #2

If you look for half a second with your eyes slightly squinted and the wind blowing in the right direction, do you not think this bears more than a resemblance to the Rolling Stones lips image which, until recently, became ‘a thing’ on almost every piece of cloth produced?  Just me then…

I have had the most indulgent morning hanging out with Nigel Slater.  Not him personally you understand, more specifically, his cookery books, ‘The Kitchen Diaries II’ and ‘eat’.  Both beautifully written, albeit in different styles, both leave me with a slight sense of being at the bottom of a mountain, looking up.

However, as the wee one and I were flicking through, I came upon a breakfast recipe in ‘eat’ and thought two things.  Firstly, I have a version of everything in that is required, and secondly, it looks quite easy.

You will need sausages, bacon, tomatoes, cheese and bagels.

Nigel suggests 3 herb sausages, but we didn’t have those in as my boys are not keen.  We do have gorgeous ‘I know where that pig grew up’ sausages though, which I reckon is just as good.  Similarly with the bacon. Nigel suggests 2 slices of smoked streaky bacon, I used non smoked back bacon from the same known stye.

Skin the sausages and chop the bacon in a bowl.   I added some black pepper at this point, because I really like that little kick it gives.  You may not.  Squidge together. Make into patties.

Put a little oil in a pan and fry on a medium heat, turning regularly.  At Nigel’s suggestion I put a lid over the patties inbetween turning.

Toast the bagels, add slices of ripe tomato onto the bottom piece of bagel, place the cooked burger on the top and cover with cheese.  Today I used mature cheddar which was very complimentary to our burgers, but I reckon a beautiful, nutty, mild cheese such as Jarlsberg or Emmental would be just as delicious.

Put the loaded bagel bottom back under the grill, to melt the cheese.  Place the other empty half of the toasted bagel on top.


Blueberry Muffins

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I’ve always thought muffins for breakfast was way too American for my liking.  Not that I have anything against American breakfasts at all, but breakfast selection does depend on how you’ve been brought up, and cake for breakfast was just never seen as a good thing in our household.  In fact, it was seriously frowned upon.  However, I have been trying to broaden my culinary horizons for some years now, and decided that today was the day that we would push the boat out and have fresh muffins for breakfast.

I’ve often wondered exactly what the difference between a fairy cake (or cupcake as they are now so often referred to) and a muffin is, as they do taste pretty similar. And for those of you who may also ponder such things, here is my brief synopsis. Muffins are more batter tasting and made with as little mixing as possible, so the dry ingredients are swirled around nonchalantly together, then the wet ingredients are whisked together.  When combined it is recommended that you use a wooden spoon and stir together just enough that the ingredients know each other but aren’t overly familiar.  The blueberries, or whatever takes your fancy, are then added, once again with as little mixing as possible.  The mixture is then plopped into cases and shoved in the oven. No tender smoothing over, no concern about the way it’s plopped into the case. Nothing. Treat ’em mean.  Muffins also never have a topping on them.

Whereas fairy cakes are made by fairies.

So, this morning I had my whole domestic goddess head on and prepared the muffin mixture, distributed in cases accordingly, and popped the tray into the oven for 20 minutes whilst I went to get changed.  Although it is Sunday I had places to be this morning, so timing was crucial.  Having dressed etc, I came down to find the muffins perfectly cooked.  Smugly I presented them to the family who made absolutely the right facial expressions and cooed appropriately.

What I had forgotten of course, is that when you put fruit in cakes, the fruit gets hot. And stays hot for quite a while.

Ah well, they were still delicious, and I’ll know for next time that although warm muffins is a wonderful idea for breakfast I must remember the basic rules of culinary physics.

Indulgent Cooked Breakfast

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Every now and again, we indulge in one of the most wonderful of meals.  That of the cooked breakfast.  For me, it can only be made and eaten in certain circumstances. Firstly, it must not be rushed, and therefore by default, is usually made in one of three situations:

1.  Weekends

2.  Holidays

3.  Camping

I have tried to make a cooked breakfast on work days, and even in the evening, but it is never the same. Time restraints, sun positions, day possibilities and so many other quirks only lead to disappointment if this meal is orchestrated at any other time than the breakfast slot.  And just to make it clear what I mean by breakfast.  Breaking your overnight fast.  Which means that it can be eaten at any time of the morning all the way up to one o’clock in the afternoon, in my book.  But it’s a personal thing.

Right, back to the meal ingredients.  Bacon. Always best from the butcher, acceptable if ‘thick cut’ from the supermarket.  Sausage.  There is a bone of contention in our household regarding sausages.  Himself prefers the ones with less meat content.  I am happier with a higher meat content.  One thing we can both agree on, is that for a cooked breakfast to be at it’s best, the sausages with herbs, tomatoes or any other added nonsense must be left on the shelf for alternative meals.  As far as which sausage we have goes, it is totally dependant on who goes out to buy them.

We occasionally have fried bread, black pudding, devilled kidneys or spam, but these I see as extras, and not part of the main event.

Eggs.  I absolutely adore everything about eggs.  Their taste, their versatility, their shape, I could go on.  The one thing I insist on is that they are from free range hens. There is absolutely no need in this day and age, for chickens to be mistreated.  We always have them fried at home, sunny side up.  The eggs that is, not the chickens.

Mushrooms.  Chopped and cooked in butter with heaps of black pepper and a sprinkling of salt.  Tomatoes.  Tinned plum.  Beans.  Heinz.  Bread and butter.  Tea.  In a mug.

And here’s how I put it all together.  Put the kettle on.  Fry the sausages until browned, then pop in an ovenproof dish, and into the oven.  Put the mushrooms, butter, salt and a good splodge of black pepper into a pan with the lid on and simmer.  Warm through the beans and tomatoes.  Fry the bacon, add to the sausage dish in the oven.  Make the tea.  Fry the eggs.

Plate up.  Enjoy.

Just as a final thought.  I know many see the cooked breakfast as an overindulgent heart attack on a plate.  I am not about to disagree, but what I will say in its favour, is that it nourishes the soul and sets you up for the day.  And what is so wrong with a little indulgence every now and then, eh?


Sleeping in

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The thing about having a relaxing weekend is that our household has taken on the ‘we’re on holiday’ mode and as a consequence, no-one woke up this morning on time.  In fact, my first moments of consciousness were of the wee boy, standing 20cm away from my face, pleading with me:

‘Mummy, please can you help me? I just want to be Darth Vader’

To be honest, I’ve no idea how long he had been standing there, but the tone in his voice suggested he had asked me the question more than once.

The inevitability of being late becomes secondary when you sleep in.  Similarly, the ability to multi-task under pressure kicks in.  So, the bath is put on, the breakfast cereal poured out, the cup of tea made, and the clothes put on.  All in about five minutes.  And then hilariously, you look at the clock and congratulate yourself at your own speed and dexterity, and for some reason, relax.

At this juncture I would just like to recap a little and write about breakfast cereal. Well one breakfast cereal in particular.  Kellogg’s make a cereal called Coco Pops – little puffs of rice coated in an overly sweet brown substance which makes the milk turn chocolatey, apparently.  You know them?  Well, they have brought out something called Coco Pops Rocks.  Large balls of something covered in an overly sweet brown substance, interspersed with pale brown rugby ball type things with a chocolate like gooey substance inside them.  I have renamed them dog biscuits. They are absolutely disgusting.  Of course I do not have the palate of a child, and to be fair they weren’t requested for the Rocks, but for the little squidgy ball that is ‘free’ with them.  Part of the World Cup marketing.  Although to be honest it is an extremely tenuous link.  However, my advice?  Walk away from the Rocks.

So, eventually everyone is dropped off, and before I begin brain tasks of the day, I decide to go and buy son #1 a new duvet, which I have been promising to do for a while, but not quite got around to.

As I’m wandering around the shop, trying to focus on what I came in for, but slowly getting sucked into looking at things I neither want nor need, I catch myself in the mirror and my heart sinks.  I have a top on that used to be beautiful, navy blue with white at the bottom.  However, I’d forgotten that I’d washed this top last year with something purple which had stained the white so that it now looks a dirty pinky grey. Which is why it had been relegated to the ‘only wear at home’ section. Obviously in my head only.  I hadn’t actually got round to physically separating it from the ever increasing ball of oneness which my clothes are occupying in the draw (it’s on the list).

And so it is that I find myself having to spend the day sporting an unkempt, dishevelled look once more.  Thank goodness I don’t have the paparazzi on my heels.  It’s not a look that will catch on, that’s for sure.

Oh, and just to let you know, I almost succeeded in only picking up what I needed. Except for being swayed by some glorious pink flamingo glasses.  And a couple of other small bits and pieces…