Sultana and Walnut Eggy Bread

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”

When A.A Milne wrote this paragraph for his famous characters, he may well have been thinking of eggy bread, or ‘French Toast’ as it is known rather poshly today. For what could be a more exciting way to start the day than with a couple of egg soaked slices of bread, fried in butter and topped with sprinkled sugar or cinnamon, a smear of honey, some scattered banana slices or blueberries, or some other sweet accoutrement?

sultana-walnut-eggy-bread-recipe

Last week, finding the half loaf of crusty sultana and walnut bread that I’d purchased a day earlier beginning to go stale, I decided to conjure up this childhood favourite of mine, topping it with a little honey, chopped banana and – a mighty fine addition to the mix – natural yoghurt on the side. Sweet and hot and dense and delicious, it was every bit as good as I had remembered and, I’m quite sure Pooh, Piglet and A.A Milne would agree, one of the most exciting possible ways to begin a day.

Sultana and Walnut Eggy Bread, with honey, banana and natural yoghurt.
(Feeds 1)

sultanta-walnut-eggy-bread-recipe

(Pictured without the yoghurt on the side, which I only thought of half-way through)

Ingredients

Generous pat of butter
Splash of milk
2 eggs
4 slices of a small artisan sultana and walnut loaf (slightly stale)
Honey
Full-fat natural yoghurt
Cinnamon
1 banana

What to do with them

1. Cut four reasonably thick slices of bread (if the loaf is a big one, you’ll only need two slices for one person).

2. In a bowl large enough to fit one slice of bread at a time, whisk together two eggs with a splash of milk and a little cinnamon if desired.

3. Soak each slice of bread in the mix thoroughly, making sure to cover both sides.

4. Melt a generous pat of butter in a frying pan and add the egg-soaked bread.

5. Fry for around two minutes on each side or until the bread starts to brown.

6. Remove the eggy bread from the frying pan and arrange on a plate. Add a light smear of honey to each slice, then slice a banana on top.

7. Dollop a generous spoonful of natural yoghurt on the side or on top and tuck in!

Banana and Marmite on toast

This morning I enjoyed one of my all-time favourite breakfasts: banana and marmite on toast. It’s an unusual combination, I know, and one that I don’t doubt will have the majority of you turning your noses up – even if you do like both bananas and marmite on their own – but, you’ll have to trust me on this, they are natural bedfellows.

Banana and marmite

Natural bedfellows.

Of course, in my eyes, banana and marmite make perfect sense, playing on a well-established culinary combo of salt and sweet that can be found in famous pairings such as salt and caramel, cheese and quince, ham and pineapple, chocoate and pretzels or, as Nigella Lawson recently suggested, bacon brownies – and she knows what she’s on about.

I’m not the only one to have paired marmite with something sweet and I feel vindicated to have discovered a recipe for honey and marmite or “Homite” ice-cream on one of my favourite blogs, Rocket & Squash. It’s got me thinking that marmite and banana ice cream would be bloody fantastic. And what about marmite and banana bread? There’s definitely legs in this. Heston move over.

Marmite and banana on toast
(Feeds 1)

Banana and Marmite on toast

Better for you than another sweet and salty combo - maple syrup and bacon.

Ingredients

1 slice of bread, toasted (I like granary)
Marmite
1 small banana
Butter

What to do with them

1. Put a slice of bread in your toaster

2. While the bread is toasting take a fork and mash some banana (don’t over-do it – it’s nice to retain some firmness)

3. Once the toast has popped, spread it with butter and marmite (how much you put on is a matter of taste. I like lots)

4. Put the mashed banana on top of the toast and eat with a mug of hot tea.

Somerset Scoff, Part I: Brekker at High House Bruton

We’ve just got back from Somerset and one of the best foodie weekends I’ve ever had. So good was it – and so spoiling – that just one day (Saturday) has yielded enough material for three whole posts, which – as it happens – break down neatly into breakfast, lunch and dinner. But it was breakfast that really set the bar for the day.

High House Bruton Bed and Breakfast

Best breakfast ever.

This magical morning feast took place at High House Bruton, a charming Victorian townhouse and B&B, situated on Bruton High Street, where ex-chef Olivia Stewart-Cox has created a clean, cosy and inviting home for her husband and six-year-old son – and, lucky for us, a regular stream of paying guests. We were staying in the bigger of the two rooms available, in the street-facing, wonderfully comfortable South room, where Olivia’s taste and eye for detail is evident in the warm, attractive décor and thoughtful touches such as the home-made ginger nut biscotti (delicious!), little bell-jars of sugar, tea and coffee and a basket of shampoo, conditioner, soap and other bathroom goodies.

High House Bruton Bed & Breakfast

The pancakes were great with homemade jam.

We woke on Saturday morning feeling refreshed and made our way down for a leisurely 9.30am breakfast in the light and airy living room, where a sight of such loveliness greeted us, I could have cried. There, a beautifully set table, embroidered white napkins and a neat little trolley, laid out with freshly squeezed orange juice; a platter of immaculately sliced and trimmed kiwi, mango, melon, pineapple and grapefruit; a bowl of home-stewed prunes, apples and apricot; natural yoghurt; and jars of muesli and cereal. Olivia came bustling in offering friendly good mornings, fresh tea or coffee and a basket filled with toasted sourdough slices and fresh pancakes. And would we like cooked breakfast? she asked.

High House Bruton Bed & Breakfast

Almost healthy!

Cooked breakfast, much as I love it, can often make me feel a bit ill afterwards – too much grease and fat first thing in the morning can do that – but this was a whole new ball game with two sausages (proper butcher’s sausages, locally sourced), a fried, egg, mushroom and two grilled tomatoes cooked to such perfection (without a hint of excess oil or grease) that it felt almost healthy. High House Bruton has only been going a year (Olivia and her family moved here from Battersea in 2010 in pursuit of a quieter life), but it is already establishing itself as somewhere worth travelling many miles for; I’d make a special trip just for one of those breakfasts.

Rate: £75 a night for the South Room; £70 a night for the Garden Room

High House Bruton
73 High Street
Bruton
BA10 0AL
T: 01749 813015
M: 07590 817644
E: oliviastewartcox@aol.com

W: www.highhousebruton.co.uk


Granger & Co (and a grown-up Saturday morning)

Yesterday, The Heid and I woke up in London feeling petal fresh and without so much as a sniff of a hangover, despite it being a Saturday. We must finally be grown up, we thought, and what better way to celebrate this belated arrival into adulthood than with a posh breakfast at the new Bill Granger place on Westbourne Grove?

A cappucino at Granger & Co on Westbourne Grove

My cappucino was creamy and had a pretty pattern on it - always a plus!

Bill Granger is a bit like the Aussie Jamie Oliver with a relaxed style of cooking that has won him plaudits worldwide; the fact that he is best known for his brunches – “an egg master,” says the New York Times – boded well for our breakfast.

Bircher Muesli at Granger & Co on Westbourne Grove

The Heid's unordered bircher muesli was, nevertheless, a hit.

For those not familiar with Westbourne Grove, this is a pocket of London, in the heartland of Notting Hill, for which the word ‘recession’ means very little. It was thus no surprise to find Granger & Co packed at 10 o clock in the morning, with little apparent chance of a table any time soon. An attractive door girl with a deep Christmas tan greeted us pleasantly, however, and suggested we sit at the bar, which we took her up on. Here we sat for ten minutes (too long!) before being given a menu, which featured so many tempting looking things that we spent another ten minutes deciding what to have.

Toasted Coconut Bread at Granger & Co, Westbourne Grove

Unsalted butter would have been better with the sweet cocunut bread.

Our order was eventually taken by a tanned and good-looking waiter (there’s a theme here), who decided, in the tiresome way that waiters often do, to try and impress us with his amazing memory skills by not taking a note of what wanted. “I bet he gets our order wrong,” I said to The Heid and, sure enough, instead of the toasted grain cereal with vanilla poached fruit, yoghurt and honey that we had asked for, we were given bircher muesli with granny smith apple, dates and almonds. We didn’t bother to complain as the bircher muesli looked (and tasted) very good and The Heid was hungry, but it was annoying to be proved right, nonetheless.

Sweetcorn Fritters, Granger & Co

Two sweetcorn fritters, but only one bit of bacon.

The rest of breakfast was so, so. The sweetcorn fritters were okay but there were two fritters, two roasted tomatoes and only one bit of bacon, which – call me greedy – I felt a bit short changed by. Meanwhile, the toasted coconut bread – though crispy and sweet – was ruined by the salted butter that came with it; surely unsalted would have been better here? The Heid’s unordered bircher muesli was excellent with dates and almonds adding nice pockets of sweetness and crunch but the avocado, though ripe and squishy, could have done with a little spice (chilli or paprika perhaps) to jazz it up, he said.

Avocado on Rye Bread at Granger & Co, Westbourne Grove

The avocado was ripe and squishy. A sprinkling of paprika would have been a good addition.

At £40.50 (with a 12.5% service charge added automatically to the bill) breakfast at Granger & Co was expensive and one that didn’t quite live up to expectations. The atmosphere is buzzy, the room is light, airy and comfortable and the menu itself is inspiring, but the food and certainly the service could be brushed up. My only worry is that, being on Westbourne Grove and with an affluent clientele queueing up outside, it won’t be necessary to bother.

Granger & Co
175 Westbourne Grove
London W11 2SB
T: 020 7229 9111
E: info@grangerandco.com
W: www.grangerandco.com