I’m struggling with a chronic state of indecision. It used to pain me as a kid that my sister could never decide over what flavour ice cream to get and now here I am unable to decide what I really want to eat for breakfast- when I’m hung-over. Last week I was asked where to go for a good English breakfast in New York and it got me thinking- a dangerous mind-set. So far I’ve managed to stand on one side of the pond over all food related issues, whether it be the London bias or the New York bias. But all I could come up with this time was ‘I love New York Diners- but I could murder an English now that you’ve mentioned it’!
I suppose it is possible to love two things equally- indeed when I’ve been questioned in the past on which country I love best I’ve been lost for an answer. But when I set out to write this blog I wanted to state my opinions about which country is better for what and I wasn’t prepared to be stumped only 3 months in.
That is until I started going out for breakfast in New York. After a boozy night out in London who can resist a tasty fry-up- eggs dripping in bacon fat, bread fried in bacon fat, bacon in bacon fat, tomatoes… mushrooms…beans (naturally); you get my drift. But in New York, post-drinking you can go to breakfast and order stacks of pancakes topped with fried eggs, waffles mounded with fruit and yogurt, French toast drenched in syrup or a freshly baked bagel stuffed full of eggs and processed cheese. I could even enjoy this option sober and hangover-free. And yet, I’m torn. I could sit and argue that boiled eggs and soldiers are better in London or that Crispy bacon is better in New York than London but those are just components of the bigger issue.
So, in my troubled little head I’ve been laying out the criteria for what is required for breakfast having visited the Porcelain God the night before (whether it was you paying penance or holding back the hair of your friend as they do.) A hangover breakfast needs to be fat based. Both score ten’s here. They need some sort of fruit or vegetable (so you don’t feel too guilty), both score full marks again. They need carbohydrate to absorb any leftover vodka shots swirling around your belly. Tied. They need to be drenched in sauce for ease of swallowing, draw. You need a limited choice because too much thinking is not desirable to a delicate head. Ah hah- perhaps there is something to be said for the UK- all you need to say is ‘full English’. In a diner you are faced with far too many choices, including lunch options and it’s all rather a headache- which you already have. In New York you do get unlimited coffee refills- but fall headfirst when it comes to making a good cup of brew. I think what I’m trying to say here is that I can’t make a decision here- but please don’t loose faith I can assure you that my opinionated self will return for my next instalment.
I’m leaving you with a pancake recipe- not because I’m biased but because I can’t write a recipe for and English fry-up (but you can check out Good Food January 2007 issue for my one pan English breakfast recipe!).
These pancakes are fluffy and filling and perfect served with raspberries, bacon and maple syrup (and there you have all the main food groups). Buy grade B maple syrup, as it’s less refined giving it more flavour- it’s also cheaper (now I’ve got you taking note.)
My Pancakes (because I said so)
200g plain flour
50g cornmeal (fine)
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp caster sugar
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
100ml buttermilk (or just use milk)
25g butter, melted, plus extra to grease
You will need a good pan for this- I find the best are flat griddle pans because a frying pan slows down the process.
1/ Stir together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and create a well in the centre. In another bowl whisk the wet ingredients minus the butter then gradually whisk into the dry ingredients, finally adding the melted butter.
2/ Heat the griddle and brush with some butter using some kitchen paper. I put four on my square griddle at a time but you can make them bigger if you so desire. Keep the heat on medium to low (you will have to regulate this) and allow the pancakes to cook until they bubble all over the surface, then turn over quickly and allow to finish for about a minute on the other side. Keep warm in a low oven whilst you finish the rest- DON’T ALLOW YOUR GUESTS TO START WITHOUT YOU- YOU WILL NEVER GET TO EAT ONE YOURSELF!