I love a long summer lunch or a family roast, but the one thing I treasure most is more time at the weekend and the space it gives me to make a brilliant breakfast or brunch.
Since my childhood days in California I’ve been a breakfast person. My childhood memories are of stacked high maple butter pancakes and perfectly scrambled eggs on the table while Mum and Dad sipped mimosa or Harvey Wallbangers in the sunshine. It was a bit like waking up to a party and I think I’ve been trying to recreate it ever since. It seemed much more fun than the more serious stuff that happened at dinner time and for a little girl with a sweet tooth the green flag to eat a pancakes as a legitimate meal sealed it for me; brunch will always be my favourite meal.
My childhood memories are of stacked high maple butter pancakes while Mum and Dad sipped mimosa or Harvey Wallbangers in the sunshine
Up to now I have never been one of those jump-out-of-bed-with-a-smile people. Mornings traditionally have been slow, gentle affairs, although all that has happily changed since having my little boy in November. Nowadays it’s not unusual to have been for a long walk over the marshes, whipped up a two course breakfast and done four loads of washing by 9am.
So this bank holiday I thought I would share my three favourite breakfast and brunch recipes, so you can make the most your mornings, be they early, lazy or late.
All these dishes come together quickly. Whilst I value a bit of time taken over breakfast, I always wake up hungry and I don’t think you should spend too long at the stove. These recipes also make the most of real, nutrient-dense whole foods; big flavours that will leave you licking your lips but also, I hope, fully energised and set up for the day.
A Stack: 10 minute Apple and Pecan pancakes
These are a fast-forward version of my favourite ever pancakes. This time the whole process is done in a blender, but if you don’t have one, you can make these with oat flour instead of the oats and ground almonds instead of the whole nuts, and mash the banana well.
I use a teacup for measuring as some mornings can be a bit bleary eyed. The pancakes may vary a little from cup to cup, but it’s really the ratio that makes this recipe work, so don’t worry.
Since they are sweetened with natural nutrient-rich bananas and maple syrup and use whole grains instead of flour, you can happily eat these pancakes with gusto. Be sure to watch the video at the bottom of the post for a super quick look at the recipe.
Makes 6 pancakes
- 1 teacup of oats (about 80g)
- 1 apple
- 1⁄2 a teacup of nuts (about 50g) – pecans or almonds (for kids use another 1⁄2 cup of oats)
- 1 cup or about 150ml of milk of your choice (I use unsweetened almond)
- 1 medium banana coconut oil or butter, for frying
- 2 apples
- The juice of 1⁄2 a lemon
- A pinch of cinnamon
- A tiny grating of nutmeg
- Honey or maple syrup
- Yoghurt of your choice (I use coconut)
- Get all your ingredients and equipment together.
- Put the oats into a blender and blitz until you have a rough scruffy flour. Grate the apple.
- Put the nuts, milk, apple and banana into the blender and blitz until combined.
- Heat a non-stick pan on a medium heat and add a little coconut oil or butter.
- Allow it to melt, then add ladlefuls of the pancake batter to make Scotch pancake rounds.
- Cook for 2–3 minutes, or until bubbles rise to the surface. Use a spatula to carefully flip the pancakes over and cook on the other side. The first batch are always more delicate, so don’t worry if they look a bit scruffy. Keep them warm while you cook the rest.
- Once all your pancakes are done, use a speed peeler to peel your apples into long pieces then put into a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, the cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Serve the pancakes stacked and topped with the apple, maple syrup and, if you like, a little yoghurt.
A sweet one: Almond milk, ricotta and lemon French toast
The quickest and most indulgent breakfast I know. It’s usually saved for weekends as it’s more substantial than my weekday breakfast, but is easily quick enough for a weekday. I love the simple flavours here: vanilla, lemon and creamy ricotta. I like to use good sheep’s ricotta if I can get my hands on it. The rest of the tub is great stirred through pasta or spread on toast and topped with berries.
I have found that decent gluten-free bread works really well too, as the almond milk mixture helps prevent the bread from being too dry. For vegans you can make the French toast with extra almond milk and skip the eggs and use some coconut yoghurt in place of the ricotta.
- 2 free-range or organic eggs
- 125ml unsweetened almond milk
- The seeds from 1 vanilla pod, or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 4 thick slices of good bread or brioche
- A knob of coconut oil or butter
- 2 tablespoons good ricotta cheese
- 1 unwaxed lemon
- Runny honey, to serve (optional)
- Get all your ingredients and equipment together. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk in the almond milk and vanilla. Pour into a deep baking tray and lay all four slices of bread in the mixture. Leave to soak for a minute.
- Put a pan on a medium heat and add a good knob of coconut oil or butter. Turn the bread over and leave for another minute to soak up the mixture, then carefully lower into the pan and cook for 2–3 minutes on each side until golden and crisp, taking care when you flip it, as the bread will be quite delicate.
- Pile two slices on each plate, dot with ricotta and grate over the zest of the lemon. Top with honey, if you like things sweet.
A savoury one: Turkish Fried Eggs
This is a really good weekend breakfast, easily quick enough to squeeze in on weekdays too. It’s filling, fresh and perky from the chilli and will start your day off properly. I use pul biber – Turkish chilli pepper flakes – here. They are easy to find in Turkish corner shops – if you can’t get them, use a chopped fresh red chilli or a tiny pinch of dried, crushed chilli flakes instead.
- 4 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
- A good pinch of sea salt
- A good knob of butter
- 4 organic or free-range eggs
- 2 wholemeal pittas or flatbreads
- 1 teaspoon Turkish chilli flakes
- A good pinch of sumac
- A few sprigs of fresh mint, parsley and dill, leaves picked and chopped
- Mix the yoghurt and salt in a bowl and leave to one side.
- Heat the butter in a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Allow it to begin to brown, then crack in the eggs and turn the heat down, spooning the butter over the eggs until they are cooked exactly how you like them.
- I like my fried eggs to be just set, with a super-runny middle and just starting to crisp up around the edges. If you are having problems getting your eggs perfect, a lid over the pan can help keep in the heat so that the top and the bottom cook evenly.
- Once your eggs are ready, quickly toast your pittas or flatbreads then top with a good spoonful of yoghurt and the fried eggs. Sprinkle over the chilli, sumac and herbs and season with a little salt if needed.
Anna Jones @we_are_food