Food | The Gingerbread Lad – Alternative breakfast menu
We all know we should eat breakfast, but sometimes it’s too much hassle/just boring. Swap the rock hard toast and soggy cereal for these four exciting dishes which will make you look forward to the morning and make any effort worth it.
Creamy Mushrooms on Toast
Although rich and delicious, this is actually quite light. It is also a superior option to beans on toast. Treat yourself!
For the Mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
A handful of button or small, closed-cup mushrooms, washed and ends chopped off
½ tsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp crème fraiche
For the Poached Egg
Splash of vinegar
Pinch of salt
2 slices of bread
A few rocket leaves
Heat the oil in a small frying pan. Throw in the mushrooms and toss around for a few seconds until slicked in the oil, then add the rosemary. Fry for about 3 minutes until the mushrooms start to pick up some colour. As the pan gets dry add the balsamic, swirling the mushrooms around in it. Turn down the heat a little and let the mushrooms fry until softened, adding a little splash of water to the pan if it seems too dry to deglaze.
At this point toast the bread and poach the egg. Fill a small pan up with some boiling water then spike with a splash of vinegar and some salt. Bring to boil on a slow heat, so that you can just see tiny bubbles appearing at the bottom. Swirl a fork around the pan to create a whirlpool effect and when it’s settling crack in the egg. Leave to poach for 1 ½ minutes then swirl again around the egg to keep it moving. Poach for a further ½ minutes before removing from the pan with a slotted spoon and leaving to dry on a piece of kitchen paper.
By now the mushrooms should be really dark and soft. Add the crème fraiche to the pan, tossing the mushrooms in it and leave to reduce for about a minutes until you get a creamy sauce. To serve, put the bread on a plate and scatter over the rocket. Pour the creamy mushrooms onto the bread then top with the poached egg. Some freshly ground black pepper and sea salt is a nice finishing touch.
Pancakes with Bacon and Maple Syrup
This sweet, savoury and salty combination was deemed as weird at first, but we’ve started to embrace crazy American concoctions and this is one of their finest. It’s one for the weekend.
3 rashers of unsmoked bacon
½ a large mug of plain flour
½ a large mug of milk
Pint of salt
A knob of butter
Maple syrup to serve
Heat a grill for the bacon and place the rashers under, keeping an eye on them cooking and turning half way through.
In the meantime make the pancakes. Beat together the flour, milk, egg and salt. You can either make the pancakes in a mini individual pancake pan in batches, which will give them a better shape or altogether in large frying pan. Heat whichever pan you chose then melt a tiny bit of butter to lubricate the whole base. If using a small pan, pour in a quarter of the batter to fill the whole pan and swirl around for a few minutes. Tease any runny batter to the edges and when you can lift it from the sides, and notice it’s golden underneath, it’s time to flip. Good luck! Once flipped, leave to cook for a further 2-3 minutes, until the bottom is cooked through and you get those golden circles. Repeat 3 more times with the remainder of the batter. If you’re using a large pan, just spoon the mixture in dollops and flip individually with a wooden spoon.
By now the bacon should be cooked and to make it go further, cut it length ways so you get 6 thin strips (scissors are good for this). To assemble, take a pancake, then 2 rashers of bacon and continue doing this until you have a stack. Pour over as much maple syrup as you like to finish.
This Mexican dish works well as a delicious brunch, sustaining you through lunch time lectures, especially if you’ve got a mega hangover. The trick is the chilli; the heat will give you the much needed kick to liven you up.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 glove garlic, finely chopped
1 small chilli, finely chopped (leave in seeds if you like it hot)
1 red pepper, diced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Splash of vinegar (either balsamic or red wine)
1 tsp dried oregano
Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan, then add the garlic, chilli and pepper and fry until the pepper just begins to soften. Add the tomatoes and vinegar and when the mixture beings to boil, reduce to a simmer. Add the oregano and leave to reduce, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are thick. Make a well, and then crack in the egg. Whack on the lid for about 3 minutes to help the egg cook in the steam. Serve either with toasted tortilla, griddled bread, or tortilla chips.
You can also substitute the fresh garlic and chilli for 1 tsp chilli flakes (toast them dry for 1 minute in the pan first) and 1 tsp onion powder, added to the tomatoes, then omit the pepper and you have an even easier/cheaper version of this tasty brunch.
A Morning Pint
This is not as bad as it sounds, you won’t be starting the day with a mucky beer. It’s actually the healthy/vegan option, but don’t be put off by that. It’s a delicious and mega nutritious start to the day. Why not get all the good stuff in first thing?
2 ripe bananas
A handful of frozen blueberries
1 apple, peeled and cored
Juice of half a lemon
A thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
Throw all the ingredients into a blender then pour in enough water to come half way up the fruit. Blend until bubbling and thick- but not gloopy, add a little bit more water if it is. Enjoy!
Photos: Wil Law