Recipe: Oven-Baked Crumpets for an At-Home Brunch

Now, I love me a good brunch. Whether it’s a delicious black-pudding benedict at The Dynamo, or something more sweet and stack-like in the form of pancakes, there’s nothing better than a lazy start to the weekend filled with delicious food.

 photo Crumpets_zpsuwngwxie.jpgBut, ya’no, I’ve got a wedding to pay for. Savings to build up for eventual house purchases. Coats I’m lusting after in M&S. I’ve also got study to be doing approximately 90% of the year. Unfortunately weekly brunch trips aren’t in my budget – time or money wise. But no matter, because we’ve started trying to make time, just every couple of weeks, to do brunch-at-home.

Stay at home brunching could ever be considered better. I mean, you get to stay in your PJs, don’t have to remove the smudges of yesterday’s make-up, and there’s no one (bar your fiancé) to judge quite how many cups of tea you drink. Win all round me thinks!

This recipe has become one of my favourites. It’s quick and easy. The batter can be whipped whilst the kettle boils, then left to rest whilst you snuggle in bed with your first cuppa and the papers. It can be thrown into the oven whilst you shower, or have your second cuppa. Served with a full table of toppings, you’ve got an effortless brunch to be proud of. And (bonus point!) any leftovers freezer extremely well, ready for reheating in the microwave for mid-week breakfasts.

 photo Oven Baked Crumpets 17_zps6gimqjb6.jpgIngredients (recipe adapted from Jamie’s Breakfast Crumpies)

  • 250g strong bread flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon caster sugar (if you’re definitely going with sweet toppings, possibly up this slightly to a 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 5g yeast
  • 1 large pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease 6 holes of a muffin tin with a little butter. Pop the ingredients in a bowl and add 300ml of water (it should be the temperate of a warm, not too hot, bath). Whisk everything together quickly, then leave to rest for around 15 minutes.

After resting, the batter will have thickened and be sticky to the touch. Spoon until the greased muffin tips (almost to the top) and level it. Bake for 25-30 minutes – they will be risen, golden and slightly crisp on top. Cool slightly, before splitting and topping with your favourite fillings.

 photo Oven Baked Crumpets 10_zpsdahw23u5.jpg photo Oven Baked Crumpets 14_zpsd948a3rd.jpgFillings. The fun part. I’ve tried lots and, whilst nutella is bloody yum when these crumpets are still warm, I don’t think anything can beat a good salty butter. My current favourite is actually a goat butter. Not only are goat’s one of my favourite animals (seriously, they’re so cute!) they also make pretty fab alternative dairy products. It’s pretty obvious I’m a fan of goat’s cheese (particularly with beetroot), but I was pleasantly surprised by the milk and yoghurts from St Helen’s Farm* too. For me, though, it was this butter that stole the show. Salty, rich, and it melted into an almost creamy consistency. Lathered onto my crumpets along with a touch of honey and an extra sprinkling of salt – that’s my perfect brunch right there…

What’s your favourite brunch treat? What would you prefer to top crumpets with?

How To: Perfect Poached Eggs (& My Go-To Pre-Exam Brunch)

Exam season has now ended!

 photo Poached Eggs 3_zpstbebxr5o.jpgFor some reason, I’ve really lost my blogging mojo. If I’m honest, I’m struggling a little with the thought of not going back to university – I don’t really know what to do with myself other than mope about! Yesterday morning I realised there were plenty of things I do, every single day, that could very definitely be blogged about. I mean, what’s more instagrammable than #yolkporn?! (Fun fact: Instagram clearly knows I love those pictures as the vast majority of grams in my ‘discovery’ feed are eggs…). This is the breakfast/brunch/lunch that became my go-to before an exam. Full of protein, yummy and quick, it’s comforting and simple flavours means I can stomach it even with a nervous, churning tummy.

Whilst I covered poaching in my How To: Eggs guide a while back, I thought I’d go a bit more in-depth now. I know it took me forever to master then, but I think I’ve got it pretty much perfect now.
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Poaching Eggs

Get a pan of water onto boil. I always bring it to a fast boil, then reduce to just a little more than a simmer once the eggs are in. Meanwhile prep the eggs – lay a piece of cling-film loosely over a ramekin or teacup, and spray with Fry-light (or lightly wipe over some oil using kitchen towel). I also like to add a teeny bit of black pepper – and having followed Jamie’s advice, fresh chopped red chilli is pretty awesome to, just maybe not prior to an exam!

Crack your egg into the clingfilm, then carefully twist the ends of the clingfilm to form a parcel. Using the ends, lower the parcel into the boiling water and reduce the heat slightly. Cook for 3 minutes (medium eggs at room temperature), adjusting for 30 seconds if the eggs are particularly large or have been kept in the fridge. Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the water, and carefully slice open the cling-film with a knife (serrated blade works best). Serve immediately, drying with a bit of paper towel if necessary.

I’ve also found out this week (yesterday!) that the cling-film-egg-parcels can be made the night before, popped in the fridge, then cooked for around 3.5 minutes the next morning. Perfect for pesky 9am exams…
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The Exam Breakfast

So, my perfect exam breakfast? As you pop the pan on to boil, throw some toast into the toaster and whack the oven up to around 100C. Once the toast is cooked, top with a slice of ham and place in the oven to warm and slightly crisp whilst the eggs cook. Top with the poached eggs, and enjoy the yolk porn! Also excellent with fried/grilled mushrooms if time allows…I ate a LOT of eggs throughout exam time!
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What’s your go-to breakfast when you have an important day? How do you like to serve your poached eggs?

 

Recipe: Ham & Egg Bread Baskets

I’m always looking for breakfast ideas – something that’s a little bit special, but still quick and easy. On days where I don’t have a 9am lecture I like to treat myself with a nice brekkie, but equally I have plenty of assignments to be getting on with; I can’t spend hours flipping pancakes! These are the perfect compromise. Yummy, not too unhealthy and super quick. The perfect pre-chocolate-coma Easter breakfast!

 photo Ham and Egg Bread Basket 9_zpsvmhkwnwj.jpg photo Ham and Egg Bread Basket 11_zpskgslqmrz.jpgEggs are my go-to treat at breakfast time, I’m much more of a savoury girl in the mornings and can’t resist a bit of #yolkporn. These bread baskets reduce the mess and washing up that comes with a cooked breakfast (in fact, if you cooked them til you had set yolks you’d do away with washing up completely), they can be made the evening before, they can be thrown in the oven and forgotten about whilst you rush around scrabbling to get ready in time. Then simply serve on the foil, eat, rinse your cutlery and head out of the door. Perfect.

These combined the richness of egg yolk with the saltiness of a little parmesan and the meatiness of ham. I like that they are lighter than the usual egg-bread combos, as you remove most of the inner from the roll, and ham is so much lighter than bacon (making bacon much more of a treat at the weekend, right?!). If you want to be indulgent, or just have some left over, I highly recommend adding a tablespoon of cream or creme fraiche before adding your cheese…

 photo Ham and Egg Bread Basket 1_zpsrnqgevo8.jpgIngredients (per person)

  • 1 bread roll – I went for homebaked wholemeal
  • 1 thin slice ham
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated parmesan

Preheat your oven to just over 180C. Slice the top of your roll and pull out most of the bread (reserve for making chorizo crumb – I can confirm it is delicious as a mac’n’cheese topping!). Line the hollow roll with the ham slice, crack in your egg, season with black pepper, add cream if you’re feeling naughty, scatter over the cheese then pop the top of the roll back on. Wrap well in foil, then back for 18 for a gloriously runny yolk (medium sized egg). Baking for 25 minutes will give you a just set egg that makes a perfect on-the-go breakfast.

 photo Ham and Egg Bread Basket 2_zpshkzdvpsb.jpg photo Ham and Egg Bread Basket 6_zpsvvcs7nr0.jpgI just love the combination of crisp bread, soft egg and salty ham – just divine. It makes a weekday morning so much more enjoyable!

What’s your favourite breakfast? How do you like your eggs in the morning?!

Recipe: The Weekday Breakfast

Breakfast is the bane of my life. I know how important it is to eat well in the morning and I love weekend brunches (as all the #yolkporn on my Instagram shows!) however the daily breakfast continues to evade me. I do have a few ‘go-to’ breakfasts though.
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For me, the ideal weekday breakfast has to be quick, healthy, filling – and preferably warm in the winter. But equally I get bored of the same damn thing day in, day out. I like to mix it up a bit! Here’s what I’ve been loving lately…

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Porridge

This is my standard breakfast, particularly with how chilly it is at the moment! I mix oats and chia seeds and cinnamon, microwave with water then stir through a mashed banana to sweeten before topping with mixed seeds, cocoa nibs, and frozen raspberries. Oh, and a sneaky small spoon of nutella…Because nutella.

I’ve also recently been experiments with adding raw cacao powder along with agave syrup. I’ve not quite got the balance of bitter and sweet right yet, but I’m loving it for more of a treat breakfast. I actually can’t believe how rich and chocolatey this stuff makes things!

“Something” & Nut Butter

Oh nut butter, where would I be without you? I’m a big fan of not only peanut butter, but almond and cashew butter too. I also received some very yummy pecan nut butter for Christmas which I’m pretty much in love with – it’s almost caramel like in flavour! I love nut butter spread on a rice cake or homemade bagel, or even onto slices of apple. And yes, I can eat it by the spoonful too…
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Overnight Oats

This is what I make for those days where I have a 9am lecture; I just hate eating whilst rushing out of the house. My fav overnight oat combo is banana and peanut butter, super creamy and filling. I could definitely eat it for desert!
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Dippy Egg & Soldiers

My all-time favourite! I always think it’s a bit extravagant to have this on a weekday, however it really does only take a few minutes and it’s like a hug on a plate…plus it definitely makes for a good Instagram. I’ve finally, finally managed to perfect the boiling of an egg so the yolk is perfectly dippable – you can have a read of my foolproof method here.

What’s your go-to weekday breakfast? And more interestingly, what’s your favourite weekend breakfast treat?

 

Recipe: Overnight Oats

I’m not a morning person.

I’ve been meaning to get this post live for a good couple of weeks, but it just hasn’t happened. Turns out overnight oats are really difficult to photograph, especially in the morning, bleary-eyed, pre-7:30am. Like I said, not a morning person.

 photo Overnight20Oats4_zpsz0cycec8.jpgI hate eating breakfast at the best of time (brunch, post 10am, absolutely no problem!), but since moving to London it’s been a no-go. It would be a struggle to fit eating into my morning routine, but the biggest issue is that I know damn well my stomach would not, well, stomach both a bus journey and train trip after some food, pre-8:30… After a few sneaky trips to Sainsbury’s for Pain au Chocolat I decided that was a sure way to both regaining (in weight) and losing (from my bank balance) crucial pounds. Overnight oats it was.

The pinterest-champion of breakfasts (poached eggs take the insta-crown obvs), Overnight Oats are the perfect combination of a filling breakfast, that takes next-to-no time in the morning and only a little prep the night before. And they aren’t horrendously bad for you either!

 photo Overnight20Oats2_zps81mahqvc.jpgIt’s taken a bit of playing around with the ingredients, but I reckon I’ve gotten it pretty much spot on now.

Ingredients – for one serving, that keeps me going until 2pm and even fills up my boyfriend…

  • 30g oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chia seeds
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1/2 banana
  • 90g of milk, using dairy-free if it floats your boat
  • Optional – 1 tsp of peanut butter, nutella, etc…
  • Toppings – seeds, cocoa nibs, nuts, berries…take your pick!

Simply mash the banana, and add to a jar with the rest of the ingredients. Mix really well with a fork (you want the chia seeds evenly dispersed), cover and put in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, simply scatter over your toppings. My go-to is mixed seeds with raspberries, though blueberries are also pretty damn yummy!

If you’re adding nutella or peanut butter, I highly recommend ‘mashing’ it into the banana as it makes it easier to mix.

 photo Overnight20Oats3_zpshtuo9oil.jpgMy oats tend to be out of the fridge for a good two hours before I get chance to eat them, and this gives them chance to get a bit ‘gooier’ than they are cold – if you like add a little extra milk if you are eating them sooner.

And as an added tip, making them simply (no p-but or nutella) with Chocolate Soya milk is a pretty good idea.

 photo Overnight20Oats1_zpsacont5bl.jpgOvernight Oats have become my go-to breakfast, but I’ve also eaten a spoonful here and there as a desert – they are so creamy and delicious, it’s hard to think of them as just a breakfast food!

What is your go-to breakfast?

Recipe: #PerfectPorridge, Three Ways

Porridge is my go-to breakfast pretty much all year round. It’s often the only thing I can stomach before leaving the house, and it’s one of the only things that fills me up more than an hour or two. I was challenged by Flav Oats to come up with some perfect porridge, so I’ve enjoyed playing around with flavours and toppings.

 photo f16e134c-0a0b-49b0-b9f0-58647aeb7633_zpsp8a9lcvl.jpgBut first, how to make the perfect porridge? I make mine in the microwave on a weekday and I’ve finally perfected it. You need decent oats, not basics ones – they turn into mush. Take a wide bowl and cover the base with oats. Add cold water, about a centimetre over the oats. Microwave on full for 90 seconds. Take out, beat with a fork and add a little milk and sugar if needed. Microwave for another 30 seconds, stir well, add toppings, and eat.

 photo 1afaeb31-b803-40f8-bc51-8157b5cf39ec_zpsojhbf1sc.jpgNow the fun part, toppings. My usual is half a mashed banana (I add it instead of sugar, before the final blitz in the microwave), cinnamon and a scattering of flaked almonds. I’d never say no to a dollop of nutella, but I also love a swirl of peanut butter. Grated dark chocolate doesn’t go amiss – and one of the best porridges I’ve had was at Hula, with a dark chocolate and chilli sauce I’m desperate to recreate. I’ve also been getting inventive;
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Bounty Porridge

A small spoon of coconut oil, a scattering of coconut, and a little dark chocolate – this is a tropical treat that was as comforting as it was delicious.

Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds

Admittedly, I forgot to photograph this. Typical as it was the easiest one in the morning! But I enjoyed this, and can’t wait until the weather warms up so I can make it more. I have a feeling this would be great with berries, or for a treat – hazelnut milk and nutella. Yum!
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Porridge of Childhood

Something I rarely buy is golden syrup, but after swiping a bit from home I’m definitely missing out. I made a really creamy porridge with a little more milk than usual and added a good spoon of this. Sickly sweet, it took me back to being five years old.

 photo decc8f24-69ff-4571-9363-a8d68e030051_zpsmquajgaq.jpgDisclaimer – I was sent some oats, toppings and other goodies in exchange for posts all about porridge. No money exchanged hands and all opinions are my own.

I’m assuming you’ve got the message that I love porridge! What’s your go-to breakfast?

Weekend Antics #1

 photo 2014-03-16150744_zpsd3115368.jpgI feel so bad about posting this weekend – it became clear on Friday that I wouldn’t have time to blog (I like to keep weekend’s schedule-post free – I like a bit of spontaneity in my life!) and I don’t really like to send out a quick post just for the sake of it. Instead today I will make my excuses, and show you why I didn’t get chance to post.

Luckily my busy-ness wasn’t just down to the mountain of work I have at the moment (currently have three assignments on the go, and a three-hour ‘class test’ to revise for, and I’m expecting more coursework to be added on any day now), but because I decided to treat myself to a relatively relaxing weekend.

It was a ‘boyfriend’ weekend – as one half of a long-distance couples I see my boyfriend once a fortnight – and instead of trying to do work and getting annoyed/snappy when I couldn’t concentrate, I instead gave myself pretty much the whole weekend off. It was lovely to relax and not think about my ever growing to-do list!

 photo 2014-03-15103235_zpsad5d5805.jpgI took advantage of our lovely local butchers and bought some black pudding, which we used to make a lovely try up. I have a little leftover which I’m trying to decide what to do with – I’m torn between fritters, or adding to a carbonara!

 photo 2014-03-15105150_zps900146c8.jpgWe also took advantage of the lovely weather – I cooked some part-baked rolls and grabbed a pack of salami, and we headed out for a picnic.

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 photo 2014-03-16140944_zps3656ae74.jpgDespite being at my house, my boyfriend treated me to a lovely home-cooked meal (he did most of it whilst I was showering – I was impressed!). He made Swedish meatballs, and they were amazing. I’m going to adapt the recipe for my usual lower budget and post up soon!

 photo 2014-03-15183941_zpsfdce6b56.jpgI made the mistake of planning to cook stew (yep, on the hottest weekend of the year…), but despite it being far too warm for it, it was a damn good stew!

 photo 2014-03-13194754_zps7cca1226.jpgI also made one of my favourite cakes – caramel, chocolate and peanut butter sponge. I’ll definitely post about this soon!

 photo 2014-03-16162552_zps90534215.jpgI even got ‘proposed to’ with a hula hoop…who said students aren’t romantic?!

Sorry again for the lack of posts! What did you get up to this weekend?