Category Archives: Breakfast

A range of breakfast ideas for every day and special occasions from English Country Cooking.

Tarragon Omelette © Sue Todd Photography 2016

Tarragon Omelette

Tarragon omelette has become one of our regular go-to recipes this year.  It’s simple, fast and delicious.  It makes an elegant lunch or a delightful breakfast, looks good and tastes even better.   As we come up to the busiest time of the year with a nice salad and a glass of wine it makes a fast and delicious supper on a busy evening when you are too tired to do very much but you want something wholesome and not fast food.

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg broken into a bowl
  • pinch of salt & pepper
  • pinch of tarragon
  • knob of butter to cook
  • chives to garnish
Tarragon Omelette © Sue Todd Photography 2016

Tarragon Omelette © Sue Todd Photography 2016

Method:

Beat the eggs thoroughly.  Melt some butter in a pan

Melt some butter in a pan and add the eggs.

Using a wooden spoon pull the cooking eggs in from the rim of the pan to the middle.

When the eggs are almost cooked, fold the omelette in half and lift off the heat,
leave for a couple of mins for the inside to finish cooking. garnish with chives.

To Serve:

For a lovely light lunch serve your tarragon omelette with a green salad and a glass of good red wine.  However, this could work equally well for breakfast served with tomatoes and fresh orange juice or coffee to drink.

Roast Vegetables for a filling and healthy breakfast. © Sue Todd Photography 2016

Roast Vegetables

I’ve been enjoying smoothies for breakfast regularly over the summer but now the shorter days are back I’m looking for something warmer that feels more substantial, and that’s where roast vegetables come in.

Really quick and easy to do and you can make as little or as much as you like so there’s some for another day or to use up for lunch.

(Added 16/11/2016) – Of course as the lovely Eileen points out on our Facebook page (do come and join us there!) you can use any vegetables you happen to have for this, carrots, swede, parsnip, beetroot, celery, celeriac.  It’s nice to ring the changes and some times you just have to go with what the fridge and the larder can offer up.  Experiment and enjoy!

Roast Veggies ready for the oven © Sue Todd Photography

Roast Veggies ready for the oven.

Ingredients:

A mix of vegetables, I used celery, peppers, squash, red onion, tomato, aubergine and courgette.

Olive Oil and seasoning to taste.

Method:

Chop your vegetables into chunks.  Line a shallow tray with greaseproof paper and put the chopped vegetables on top.  I like to use greaseproof as it stops the oil burning onto the tray.

Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste.  You can add bacon or sausages to the same tray to cook – you may not need so much oil then.

Pop in the oven until cooked – about 15 to 20 mins.

Roast Vegetables with sausages for a filling and healthy breakfast. © Sue Todd Photography 2016

Roast Vegetables with sausages for a filling and healthy breakfast. © Sue Todd Photography 2016

To Serve:

Serve with bacon or sausages and add some eggs if you want a bit more.

 

Blueberry and Banana Smoothie home made with fresh ingredients, perfect for breakfast. © Sue Todd Photography 2016

Blueberry and banana smoothie

Despite the weather not being what you might term spring like here in Northumberland, we’re trying to move towards smoothies for breakfast at least a few times a week.  This blueberry and banana smoothie is one of our favourites.  I’d just like a big dose of warm sunshine to go with it so that we could enjoy it in the garden.

Smoothies are really fast, and if you whizz some warm water and dish washing liquid up in the blender/processor after use then cleaning up is minimal.

Blueberry and banana smoothie ingredients © Sue Todd Photography 2016

Close up of Blueberry and Banana Smoothie ingredients, perfect for breakfast. © Sue Todd Photography 2016

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas
  • 160g blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons of plain yoghurt
  • coconut water to adjust thickness to suit

Method:

Add all the ingredients except the coconut water to a blender or food processor until mixed thoroughly and no lumps of fruit remain.  Then slowly add coconut water and blend again (without forgetting to shut the lid first – unless you are partial to cleaning in a big way!) until it’s a consistency you like.  We like ours fairly thick but still drinkable, although I’m playing with the idea of a much thicker smoothie to go with home-made granola.

Blueberry and Banana Smoothie ingredients. © Sue Todd Photography 2016

Blueberry and Banana Smoothie ingredients. © Sue Todd Photography 2016

Optional Extras:

If you have a sweet tooth (like Gary!) then you can add a dash of maple syrup to sweeten things up a little or honey if you prefer.

Oooh!  And before I forget if you any leftovers, freeze it as ice pops (remember them??) for the summer which we’re hoping will arrive at some point.  They make lovely treats on hot days.

 

Granola, fresh fruit and yoghurt © Sue Todd Photography 2016

Basic easy Granola

If you’ve fallen off the healthy wagon after a good start in January, over indulged after a good dry January or eaten too many pancakes for Shrove Tuesday, then this Granola recipe may be just the thing to set you back on the right path.

I’ve meant to make granola now for well over a year.  I’ve researched recipes, collected ingredients (used them for other things), planned, planned some more but not quite got round to doing it.  But really, granola …. buy it at the supermarket, save the time, eat it once or twice and throw out what’s left. Isn’t that how it works?  Okay maybe you are more disciplined than me.  But its rare for me to find shop bought granola I actually really want to eat more than once or twice.

Granola and fresh fruit © Sue Todd Photography 2016

Granola and fresh fruit © Sue Todd Photography 2016

Making it, for some reason also seemed a tedious chore, I guess if I thought it’d be the same as what was already in the cupboard, so what was the point?  The stuff that was in the cupboard is now in a separate tub for Ted, our cocker spaniel, who thinks it’s an awesome treat – so there’s an extra win!

However ….. I finally got motivated and made some and WOW!  I just love it, and there’s going to be more and more, and once the summer comes and it feels like granola weather there’ll be no stopping me.

Obviously being me I scoured the internet over a period of months (okay years, you know me too well already!) looking for ideas and then because none of them matched what I had in my head, I looked at quantities and then just did what I thought.  So there is no scientific reasoning to what follows, it was purely a case of looking at other recipes and the amounts of ingredients and then coming up with my own initial list of ingredients.  I say initial because I’ve already got ideas for the next batch!  I’m hooked and … its SO EASY!!  But you know it came out right, at least we think so and I’m happy enough to share, so that says something I hope.

All the recipes I found dealt in cups, which don’t come easy to me, but luckily I’ve a set of cup measures in the cupboard so out they came.  At some point I will endeavour to convert the cups to a metric/imperial measure – but please don’t hold your breath.  I’m not renowned for hasty stuff on that score.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of oats,
  • 1/2 cup of nuts – use whatever you have or whatever you like most – I used a mix of almonds, walnuts and macadamia nuts because that was what was in the larder. Pecans would be lovely and were intended but someone must have eaten them!
  • 1/4 cup of raw seeds – pumpkin, sesame, sunflower … again I had a mixed pot of seeds so just used some of these
  • 3 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
Granola fresh from the oven © Sue Todd Photography 2016

Granola fresh from the oven © Sue Todd Photography 2016

Method:

Weigh out the dry ingredients and add to a large bowl. Give them a big mix up.  If you are using a conventional oven you’ll need to preheat it to 300F/150C/GasMark 2.  If you are using an AGA like me, it goes in the baking oven.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  I used my hands but I’m sure a big wooden spoon would do the job just as well and be a lot less sticky.

The coconut oil may be solid – mine certainly was as it came directly from the fridge.  But it will melt if not in the mixing then certainly in the oven.

Once mixed you can simply turn it out onto a baking tray.  I lined my baking tray with baking parchment, simply because it’s easier then to lift off and turn into a jar using the baking parchment to guide the granola than it is to try and tip a tray of the stuff into a jar later!

Stick it in the oven for 10 minutes to cook. It needs to be very lightly toasted.

Once cooled, put in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Healthy Granola Breakfast © Sue Todd Photography 2016

Healthy Granola Breakfast © Sue Todd Photography 2016

To Serve:

Put in a bowl, food flask or glass, add yoghurt and fresh or dried fruit and munch.  It’s totally portable in a container if you need to take it to work – though I’d keep the yoghurt separate during transit so the granola doesn’t get soggy.  The maple syrup and vanilla flavours are lovely.

Variations:

You could add cinnamon for more flavour but I’m allergic to it, so it won’t feature here much.   You could also use dried fruit as part of the mix.  Lots of people add it before toasting but I really didn’t fancy my dried fruit even drier or toasted and on this occasion I just missed it out.

However I’m also thinking that soaking dried fruit in orange juice overnight and then adding it to your bowl might be rather yummy.  Fruit compotes would also work really well with this.

If you are looking for food photography please visit Sue Todd Photography also you might want to follow English Country Cooking on Facebook, if so you can find us here.

Grain-free, Gluten-free Pancakes

Gluten-free, grain-free pancakes © Sue Todd 2015.

Gluten-free, grain-free pancakes © Sue Todd 2015.

While you can make pancakes with gluten-free flour that’s not a great deal of help if you’re trying to avoid grains altogether.  This recipe uses coconut and almond flours to replace the grain and is wonderful for sweet pancakes, served with fresh fruit and maple syrup.

I thought I’d posted this months ago, doh!  It wasn’t until I went to link another article to this I realised the error of my ways! Continue reading

Pancakes – or Crêpes

 

Cooking pancakes. © Sue Todd 2015.

Cooking pancakes. © Sue Todd 2015.

When it comes to pancakes I don’t think too much of a good thing is possible.  I love them.  They make the most wonderful breakfast as a special treat when there’s a bit more time to spare, they work with savoury fillings and of course there’s always dessert.  It’s one of the few sweet things I’m always ready for.

Of course most people assume that pancakes means wheat flour.  It doesn’t have too.  There are gluten-free flours that you can use instead but there are also a growing number of alternative recipes too and we have a couple of them here now, such as banana pancakes and  versions made with coconut and almond flours, so if this recipe isn’t for you, then look at one of the others.

Weighing Flour for Pancakes. © Sue Todd 2015

Weighing Flour for Pancakes. © Sue Todd 2015

Continue reading

Gluten-free, Grain-free Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes, grain free, gluten free from English Country Cooking. © Sue Todd 2015.

Banana Pancakes, grain free, gluten free from English Country Cooking. © Sue Todd 2015.

These banana pancakes might be more aptly described as banana omelettes, but the idea of having a banana omelette really doesn’t appeal to me, so it took a while for me to come  round to this idea and try it out.  How ever I’m a true convert now.  Nutritious, scrumptious, so, so easy to do and fast.  What more can you ask?

Banana pancakes (or omelettes) are in vogue at the moment and there is stuff everywhere about them, with a number of variations, using cocoa,  vanilla extract and more.  With the view of more being less, I wanted to keep this quick and simple.  After all, there’s only one of us able-bodied at the moment, so fast and simple is good.

Literally just eggs and banana, you can’t go wrong I thought.  Well actually you can.  Do be careful when making these to keep them really small, not like normal pancakes and if you can’t flip normal pancakes (like me!!) then be prepared for these to look less than perfect.

They’ll still be edible and delightful to boot, they just won’t look quite so good – the proof of this is in the pictures where I’ve tried to dress them up prettily with fruit, but they had fallen apart substantially as I manhandled them over, in, and then out of the pan.  However it didn’t spoil the eating and they were so good I had them two days running for breakfast and they will feature very often for my breakfast now.

Banana Pancakes, healthy breakfast, grain and gluten free.  © Sue Todd 2015.

Banana Pancakes, healthy breakfast, grain and gluten free. © Sue Todd 2015.

Ingredients: (per person)

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 egg
  • knob of butter or coconut oil
  • fruit and maple syrup to serve (raspberries, pear, blackberries and blueberries are all good)

Method:

Mash the banana well, you could blitz it with a hand held blender but it adds to the washing up, thought it will be faster and more effective.

Crack the egg open and beat it well before combining with the banana and mix up well.

Heat some coconut oil or butter in a skillet on a hot hob and add just a little bit of the mixture – about 1 tbsp of the mixture at a time for teeny tiny more manageable pancakes.  Let the pancake cook nicely on one side before flipping.  Once cooked lift out on to a warm plate and continue until the mixture is all used up.  You may find you can do a couple at a time this way.

Banana Pancakes and fresh fruit with maple syrup. © Sue Todd 2015.

Banana Pancakes and fresh fruit with maple syrup. © Sue Todd 2015.

Serve  with fresh fruit and maple syrup.  I used pear and some blackberries we had in the freezer, they were lovely.  I just defrosted the blackberries in a bowl on the AGA while they were being made.

Eggs Benedict – the best breakfast?

Eggs Benedict - the best breakfast ever? © Sue Todd 2014

Eggs Benedict – the best breakfast ever? © Sue Todd 2014

I think this actually is the world’s best breakfast.  Definitely one for a relaxed start to the day on holiday or over a weekend.  Left over sauce is great used with poached fish the next day or served with steak, just prolonging the pleasure a bit further.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar,
  • 6 black pepper corns,
  • 1 bay leaf,
  • 8oz butter,
  • 3 egg yolks,
  • 2 slices ham,
  • 2 muffins or slices of toast
  • 2 eggs

Method:

Simmer the white wine vinegar in a small pan along with 1 tbsp of water, 6 black peppercorns and the bay leaf until it has reduced to about 1 tbps.

Blend 2oz of the butter with the egg yolks in a bowl.  Remove the peppercorns and bay leaf from the vinegar mixture before adding the vinegar mixture to the egg yolks and butter.  Whisk.

Place the bowl in a bain-marie, or put in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, and add a further 6oz of  butter cut into small pieces one or two at a time until they have all melted into the sauce.  Keep whisking until your sauce is smooth and glossy.  Season to taste.

While you are cooking the sauce put a couple of muffins or slices of bread to toast.

Poach your eggs.

To assemble, put the muffins or toast on the plate and add a slice of ham before topping with a poached egg. Spoon the hollandaise sauce over the eggs.

Eggs Benedict and Samphire - the ultimate English Breakfast? © Sue Todd 2014

Eggs Benedict and Samphire – the ultimate English Breakfast? © Sue Todd 2014

To Serve:

Delicious served with samphire, asparagus or chopped chives.  You can use gluten free bread for a gluten free option.  Rounds of toast or muffins work well.  I did try some gluten-free, wheat free English Muffins, but they were far too sweet to eat with Eggs Benedict.  I will keep trying to find a bread recipe I like that is gluten and wheat free.

Porridge with grated apple, blackberries and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Porridge with grated apple and blackberries © Sue Todd 2014

Porridge with grated apple and blackberries © Sue Todd 2014

Breakfast time today and another decision needed.  No compote left, still no bread made, no bacon, no sausages…. oh dear!  However with a garden full of apples and blackberries we didn’t dally long on decisions.

Porridge again but today with grated apple (picked straight from the tree and grated directly) and blackberries fresh from the bush, and a good drizzle of maple syrup to boot.  This was lovely.  I still prefer the porridge with blackberry compote but … this is a close run second.  You could get the recipe from the link, but here it is again to save you having to click, with the amends for this version.

Ingredients:

  • 160g oats
  • 600ml milk, (semi-skimmed, full fat, gold top, soya, whatever takes your fancy here really)
  • pinch of salt,
  • Couple of apples grated
  • Few handfuls of blackberries
  • Maple syrup to taste

Method:

Put the oats, milk and a pinch of salt into a saucepan on a gentle to medium heat and stir.

Bring the pan up to simmering point and simmer until its smooth and creamy – round about 5 minutes should do it nicely.

Remove from the heat, dish up into bowls, add the grated apple and scatter with blackberries before drizzling with maple syrup.

 

 

Porridge with blackberry compote

Breakfast of porridge and blackberry compote © Sue Todd 2014

Breakfast of porridge and blackberry compote © Sue Todd 2014

On Tuesday morning this week, after a glorious late summer day on the Monday we woke to fog and grey skies and there was a real autumn chill in the air.  When the ‘what shall we have for breakfast today’ discussion began as it does most mornings, there was the realisation that variations on breakfast was somewhat limited because I’d not gotten round to baking bread, we’d finished off all the bacon and sausages and we had two eggs.

It was then I remembered we had left over blackberry compote, from our pancakes at the weekend in the fridge and I thought about porridge.  That was breakfast sorted.  I have to say the pair are a marriage made in heaven and this is now my new favourite go to breakfast for the autumn. Indeed I’d best go foraging to ensure we have enough blackberries to get us through the winter.

Ingredients:

  • 160g oats
  • 600ml milk, (semi-skimmed, full fat, gold top, soya, whatever takes your fancy here really)
  • pinch of salt,
  • Blackberry compote
  • Cream or milk to taste (optional)

Method:

Put the oats, milk and a pinch of salt into a saucepan on a gentle to medium heat and stir.

Bring the pan up to simmering point and simmer until its smooth and creamy – round about 5 minutes should do it nicely.

Remove from the heat, dish up into bowls and add the blackberry compote.  A drizzle of cream or milk around the compote just adds a lovely finishing touch.

Porridge with blackberry compote © Sue Todd 2014

Porridge with blackberry compote © Sue Todd 2014

Variations on the Porridge theme:

I haven’t tried this yet, but I can’t help thinking that coconut milk or almond milk would be delicious in porridge, if you’ve tried it let me know what you think.

Banana and almonds

Mash a banana and add to the porridge with a tbsp of ground almonds and mix in – another lovely winter warmer.