The more I (hopefully) write for xoJane, the more you will come to notice that I’m a huge fan of breakfast. It’s my favourite meal of the day. This hasn’t always been the case – I never used to understand what the fuss was about, and didn’t eat it all, but then that was probably because it only ever seemed to be a slice of toast or a bowl of boring cereal. But because restaurants are increasingly opening for breakfast in London, there are more and more wonderful places to eat it.
A couple of years, my two Australian friends Nicky and Shell and I decided it would be a very good idea to have breakfast, every Saturday, somewhere new each time, or at one of our houses. We’ve had breakfast everywhere that springs to mind: Lantana, Modern Pantry, Caravan, Ottolenghi, Ffionas, Raouls, Providores, Kopapa, Riding House, Granger and Co and um, Moment in West Hampstead...
Shell always has smoked salmon and “they must be runny” scrambled eggs, Nicky always has an Americano and I’m completely inconsistent. If we’re at Shell’s, breakfast will always be smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and perhaps mushrooms and spinach. Breakfast at Nicky’s is invariably gluten free pancakes with agave nectar, strawberries and bananas. And when breakfast’s at mine, I always try to do something new that we haven’t had at Breakfast Club before.
I encourage everyone to start a Breakfast Club. Mixing it up allows for mornings when you basically feel like going out in your pjs/jogging bottoms, as well as mornings when you feel like getting dressed properly. Other friends are allowed to take part too, but permanent members are a must or it might fall apart and you could find yourself bereft on a Saturday morning. Having it on Saturdays means that you catch up on what’s happened during the week and discuss the weekend ahead. Plus if you went out on Friday night and have a sore head, breakfast ALWAYS makes you feel better. And if you have friends like mine who will happily admit that cooking is not their forte, they’re always extremely complimentary about everything that you make.
Having lived here for 2 years, and as the Immigration system in this country is frankly mean, Nicky had to return to Oz last week. Shell’s thinking of leaving at some point next year, and our Breakfast Club will be no more. So in tribute to Breakfast Club, and in tribute to my Australian friends, here are 2 very simple, but delicious breakfast recipes for your own Breakfast Club that are really good alongside each other.
You will need:
Sourdough or some other proper bread, as long as it's not sliced white plastic bread or a 'French Stick'
Large, super fragrant tomatoes (buy the best quality you can - salad tomatoes have no flavour. Go for Waitrose’s Finest large ones, or even better, get tomatoes from a decent local market, preferably from Italy or Spain)
Decent olive oil
Anchovy fillets (if you like them. If you don’t then whatever you do, don’t let them near the rest)
Turn the grill to a high heat and open the grill door slightly.
Cut the sourdough into as many medium slices as needed.
Toast one side of the bread until the centre is lightly toasted and the edges are beginning to brown. Remove from the grill but don’t turn it off.
Cut a tomato in half and put it cut side down on the untoasted side of a piece of bread, then squeeze and rub it over the toast so that you get a layer of tomato innards on the bread. Repeat with as much tomato as you deem necessary, but if you have really good tomatoes, a little goes a long way in terms of flavour. Repeat with each slice.
Drizzle a little oil on each slice of bread and place on a baking tray, tomato side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place under the grill again until the edges of the bread are brown and crispy.
When you’ve removed from the oven, put an anchovy fillet on top if you like them, and eat away. If you don’t, eat away, the warmer the better.
Avo Toast (so called because Australians seem to shorten EVERYthing, especially Shell, who basically speaks Eng)
You will need:
Lemons (about 1/3 lemon to 1 avocado, this is to keep the avocado from going brown)
Cut the sourdough into as many medium slices as needed and either put them in the toaster, or grill them on both sides.
Cut the avocados in half and remove the stone (do be careful – my mother decided recently that a clever way to remove the stone was to stab the thing with the point of the knife whilst she was holding the avocado. Having stabbed her hand, she came to the conclusion that such a method wasn’t so clever after all) and skin.
Put in a bowl, and squeeze the lemon over the top, then taking a fork, smush up the avocado so that you get a lumpy, pulpy mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
When the bread is toasted, remove from the grill/toaster and drizzle a little oil on each slice.
Place a generous dessert spoon of avocado mixture on each slice and spread it around. Sprinkle chili flakes on top.