Being English, this is what I know about breakfast. A cooked breakfast includes any or either of the following: a soft boiled egg with soldiers, a fried egg with back bacon, sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and optional baked beans . A standard breakfast would entail museli/cereal with milk, toast with honey, marmite or jam, porridge and on Sundays you may be witness to a Croissant at the table. Pancakes of the scotch variety are eaten with butter at tea-time (because everyone knows that the clock stops at 4pm in England, so everyone can sit down for high-tea) and crepes are eaten on Pancake (Shrove) Tuesday or at the local school fair. Waffles are eaten for dessert or from a street vendor and French toast is made sans sucre, appropriately renamed eggy-bread and you may eat it for breakfast, but more likely for supper.
To cut a whole lot of waffling short, breakfast in England is savoury and what Americans’ choose for breakfast we eat for tea or pudding. A few weeks ago at work we had a recipe for creme brulee french toast– country white bread, soaked over night in sweetened cream and Grand Marnier mixture sat on top of a butter and brown sugar sauce. My stubborn British palette nearly had a taste-bud fit when I realised that this recipe was intended for breakfast! Call me crazy, but this recipe had all the components of a decadent bread & butter pudding, minus the custard to serve. It’s not because I lack a sweet tooth that I found this shocking- on the contrary, I have a reputation for looking at the dessert menu before the dinner menu. But I grew up believing that sweet things came only after you had finished what was on your plate and breakfast was savoury- perhaps with sweet accompaniments but savoury nevertheless. And of course, all this talk of breakfast got me thinking about my favourite meal of the day. Some girls daydream about new shoes or the cute boy in their office but for me- I daydream about breakfast (and that makes getting up in the morning a whole lot easier).
I get fixated on breakfasts in an obsessive compulsive sort of way- so much so that I’m looking forward to the next days breakfast before I’ve even finished the one I’m eating. My latest breakfast craze is porridge, a breakfast that I think is so frequently overlooked because it’s either been made with cheap oats and water or because its made so carelessly it looks like gruel. Obviously, for those of us porridge-connosieurs out there, we know that porridge is more than just add-hot-water-and-stir. Oh, yes, there is technique and proportions involved in making good porridge- I’m suprised Delia hasn’t caught on to this already. The key is to use Rolled oats. Yes, they take longer to cook, but we’re talking a matter minutes and you’ll make up those minutes because they’ll fill you up for much longer and you won’t be thinking about your lunch an hour after breakfast. I also recommend using some milk (soy or rice will do), there’s something in the milk that makes the oats less gluey and more creamy and flavourful. Now, how many more hours are there to go until breakfast?
Porridge with Instant Raspberry Jam
We all have our own methods for making porridge, whether its with rolled oats or quick oats, made with milk or water, runny or stodgy or whether it should be eaten savoury or sweet. I’ve tried it many ways and this is my latest favourite. It came about when I gasped at the price of fresh raspberries at the market this winter and found out that I had more of my mother in me than I’d once thought. This only works with frozen raspberries because when they are smothered in the hot oats they release their juices and fall apart in the bottom of your bowl. Clever.
Serves one lazy cook
Gluten-free and vegan if you use soy milk and soy yogurt.
30g/1/3 cup rolled oats
60ml/ 1/4 cup milk (2% or higher is best)
80ml/1/3 cup water
big handful/ 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
Greek yoghurt, to serve
1. In a small saucepan, place your oats along with the milk and water and set aside for 5-10 minutes (this allows the oats to absorb some of the liquid so that they cook more evenly). Meanwhile, take your frozen raspberries out of the freezer and place in your serving bowl.
2. Cook the oats over a low-medium heat, stirring occasionally until it comes up to the boil and has absorbed most of the liquid. Pour the hot oats over your raspberries and top with yoghurt (and sugar if you must). Wait a day and repeat.