No need to confess to an irrepressible desire to party all Saturday night, or to the amount of alcohol consumed… Nor to your excessively poor relaxation skills… We all are in need sometimes of a perhaps not-too-communicative, lazy, soothing Sunday brunch – one that calms and comforts our stressed nerves and drained
a fry-up for breakfast
Some say a gooey cheese omelette is the perfect answer. Or a warm pastry containing rich melting chocolate (and a massive dollop of cream). Others think only a full-blown Irish fry can do the job. And they’re all right. But just in case you feel like trying something new, here are a few basic ideas which you can change according to your needs or the seasons… No rules whatsoever!
In the case of the cheesy bread-and-butter pudding recipe, light and fluffy, a bit like a soufflé but oozing with comfort – if you prefer a sweet variety, try the same recipe but substitute the cheese, salt and pepper, with slices of banana, a little sugar and a drop of lemonjuice… In the case of the potato latkes, try adding half a tin of sweetcorn kernels, or grated courgettes to ring the changes….
Don’t be afraid to use your imagination – use whatever you fancy and have in cupboard or fridge – creative combinations have led to classics!
I think lazy brunches are what Sundays are supposed to be for…
Cheesy croissant bread and butter pudding
This basic recipe is divine but you can add whatever you have in the fridge or cupboard – a small finely chopped onion, some sliced cherry tomatoes, chopped rashers, mushrooms, fresh herbs, a handful of rocket or baby spinach – the world is your oyster! (Serves 2)
2-3 large croissants
75g grated cheese
3 large eggs
salt and freshly ground pepper
Method: Grease a small baking dish with butter and preheat the oven to 200’C. Slice the croissants in rings and arrange, slightly overlapping, in the dish. Whisk the eggs with the milk and cream, season, then stir in half the grated cheese. Pour over the croissants and allow to soak for a few minutes. Scatter the rest of the cheese on top and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the pudding is puffed up, deeply browned and smells intensely cheese-scented. Yum! Serve hot.
Gooey camembert dip
A delicious fondue-like, gooey dip to be savoured with fresh, crusty bread. I’ve used fresh thyme and fragrant pink peppercorns, but again, you can use your imagination and add whatever you have in the house – rosemary or oregano instead of thyme, some finely chopped chilli (or chilli flakes)… You can drizzle with some olive oil or better still a little sweet alcohol – Kirsch is delicious (or another eau de vie) or if you have some leftover sweet dessert wine, but you can also use a little sherry.
1 small camembert in a wooden box
salt crystals and freshly ground pepper
a little olive oil, sweet white wine or kirsch
Method: Preheat the oven to 210’C. Remove the paper from the cheese, thinly cut off the top and put the cheese (rind down) back into its little wooden box. Sprinkle with a touch of fresh thyme, some salt crystals and a grind of black pepper. Drizzle with a little alcohol or olive oil and bake for about 10 minutes in a very hot oven and start dipping!
Again, you can experiment with this dish to your heart’s content: before cooking, stir in sliced spring onions or half a tin of sweetcorn kernels or herbs or a sprinkling of chilli flakes… top with soured cream and smoked salmon, or with caramelized shallots, or salty blue cheese, or serve with creamed horseradish… You can even use grated courgettes instead of potatoes… No end to the variations. To make 10 small latkes you need:
4 medium waxy potatoes, peeled and grated
2 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp plain flour
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter for pan-frying
Squeeze out all the excess liquid from the grated potato-onion mixture (easiest is to pour them into a clean tea towel and pat dry) and place in a large bowl. Toss in the spring onions, flour, salt, pepper (and anything else you like). Add the beaten eggs and mix well.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil and butter together. When hot, spoon some of the potato mixture into the pan and press down lightly with the back of the spoon. Shallow fry until crisp and golden brown on one side, about 3-4 minutes. Then flip over and cook the other side in the same way. (Cook about 3-4 latkes at a time and keep warm whilst you fry the others).
Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with sour cream.
No recipe needed: just put layers of yoghurt, fresh fruit, fruit compote and granola in a pretty glass. A healthy, refreshing but equally comforting, lazy breakfast for Sunday mornings.
TIPS of the month:
Standby’s to keep in your freezer:
– a bag of frozen berries – just a handful of these jewels makes an instant dessert with yoghurt, icecream cream or a brownie, or make a fabulous smoothie with that blackened banana in your fruit bowl (that you wouldn’t eat otherwise), some orange juice and a little yoghurt or water….
– a bag of frozen peas – which can be stirred into soups, pasta dishes, risottos, scrambled eggs and stir-fries when you don’t have much else…
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