Lifestyle: A Monday Brunch at The Breakfast Club

One of my goals whilst living in London was to go out for brunch, and on our last morning we managed it. We packed the car up, locked up the flat and headed over towards Clapham Common and The Breakfast Club.

 photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 9_zpsoztln2fh.jpgThe Breakfast Club has been on my list to try for years, but the queues put me off. I may really want to try a place, but having to queue for breakfast just isn’t my scene. I can’t imagine W would be too impressed if I made him queue either! Visiting on a Monday was perfect as we walked straight to a table. It turned out to be the perfect way of finishing up our summer in London. Chatting about our best bits, what annoys us most about each other, it was a relaxing few hours before our drive up North.

Years of wanting to visit had resulted in copious studying of the menu and as a result I wanted allllll the things. In the end I went adventurous and tried something new – a risk which paid off as I now have a new love for Eggs Benedict.

 photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 7_zpskzr4tl6o.jpg photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 8_zpsfv3vlqv4.jpg photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 5_zpsp2lzxfbv.jpg photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 6_zpsia8tdfis.jpgI ordered my traditional Benny with a side of the homemade potatoes, and I have to say it was all delicious. The eggs were poached to pretty much perfection (some might say they were slightly under, however I quite like a bit of runny white…), the hollandaise creamy and a little sharp. The ham was good quality and perfectly salted, and the muffins fresh. I loved the garish of Lamb’s Lettuce too which really enhanced the dish. The potatoes were PERFECT for mopping up extra yolk and sauce, though I was left feeling pretty stuffed after demolishing it all!

W went for the All American Pancakes. Fluffy pancakes served with sausages, bacon, scrambled eggs and potatoes, then drizzled with maple syrup. He thoroughly enjoyed it, though wasn’t impressed with non-crispy streaky bacon!

 photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 3_zps0qmei9so.jpg photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 2_zpsmrridtfh.jpgWe felt drinks were a little overpriced, though my English Breakfast was a huge mug and a good quality tea. I’d wanted a green juice, but I’m afraid at that price it was a no-go! As for the rest of the restaurant, the decor was quirky and bright, the seats comfortable and the staff super friendly and allergy-aware. The table next to me ordered the Chorizo Hash and despite having devoured my meal I still had food envy – maybe something to try next time! And there will be a next time…

Are you a fan of brunch? Where’s the best place you’ve tried?

Recipe: Quick Cheesy Cornbread & A Lazy Brunch Idea

I love me a good bit of brunch, and this is probably one of the best brunches I’ve had. I’m all about making my own as frankly a lazy weekend morning doesn’t involve getting dressed for breakfast…

 photo Cheese Cornbread Brunch 8_zpsfbeuyicl.jpgThe basis of this brunch is good bread, here I’ve made a Cheesy Cornbread. It’s unbelievably easy to do, and so, so quick – it took me 40 minutes from wandering into the kitchen to getting it out of the oven to cool. The cornbread is crisp on the outside, dense in the middle, cheesy throughout (with pockets of more cheese for good measure), and it’s got a warmth from the chilli too. It’s not overly spicy, but you could increase the heat if you fancied.

The rest of the brunch is standard fare. Bacon. Eggs. Done. I also added a little chilli butter to my plate, simply soft butter beaten with a few dried chilli flakes, as my recent course of antibiotics seem to be killing off my taste buds. Oh, and my grill decided to not turn on, so I might have crisped up the cornbread in the bacon pan…

 photo Cheese Cornbread Brunch 7_zpsbzsimtem.jpg photo Cheese20Cornbread20Brunch202_zpswt4vjnab.jpgIngredients (1 Small Cornbread Loaf/3 Mini Ones)

  • 175g cornmeal (“raw” polenta)
  • 50g plain flour
  • 125ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 grated chilli
  • 50g cheddar cheese, crumbled
  • 1.5 tablespoons of cottage cheese (soured cream or yoghurt would also sub in really well here)

Now, I’ve taken inspiration from Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food book here, however I’ve made the recipe slightly heavier on the cornmeal, cut out the actual corn and not pickled the chilli. It’s slightly less sharp, it’s richer and possibly slightly drier – however I like it that way.

 photo Cheese20Cornbread20Brunch201_zps0v1pisrx.jpgTo make up the mix, just throw all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Pour into a lined tin (I used three mini loaf tins to make more individual portions) and bake at 200C for 20 minutes.

This easy cheesy cornbread is great served simply warm with a little butter, but I also love it dipped into a chilli, or obviously as a delicious weekend breakfast…

Cheesy Cornbread Chilli photo 43320635-0a57-44e6-8e53-3709717ad5cf_zpsnfgpgdsf.jpg photo Cheese Cornbread Brunch 9_zpstaltutpw.jpgFor the brunch option, simply slice and grill/fry your cornbread until crisp and top with bacon and an egg – I’m planning a post on cooking the best eggs soon so stay peeled for that one!

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What’s your favourite brunch dish?

Recipe: Healthy Pancakes

It’s no secret that I love a good plate of pancakes. My favourite are crepe-style, thin, crispy and buttery, made sharp with lemon and sweetened just a little with sugar. I also don’t have the patience to make thin pancakes, so my go-to is an fluffy American style stack. I also love adding blueberries.

Superfood Pancakes 4 photo 2c9701f0-7c9c-4ea5-aff3-ca03771c17b6_zpsphdpjx16.jpgNow I can do this guilt free. A basic stack of these pancakes comes in at 250 calories (via My Fitness Pal) and they certainly don’t taste in any way ‘diet friendly’ – you could probably make them healthier by using a fry-light spray too, I had to use butter as I’m moving out sooner and didn’t have anything else!

Now, here I’ve added blueberries and after playing round with the recipe I’ve decided that if you add berries, add a tablespoon of oats too. This supports the mixture and just holds it a little better. Some recipes also add a little sugar but I’ve found that these are plenty sweet enough, even without a drizzle of honey. In fact I like to serve with a spoonful of natural yoghurt to balance things out a bit. However you serve them, these are an easy and healthy pancake recipe that will see off any cravings without leaving you in a carb-induced slump. Perfect!

 photo Superfood Pancakes 1_zpsvwjvaj6n.jpgIngredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • Optional: 1 handful of blueberries, 1 tbsp of oats

Mash up your banana as smooth as possible. I’ve always found that microwaving for around 30 seconds helps to get it as gooey as possible – this is especially useful if your banana isn’t extra ripe. Beat in the egg – and any additions.

Melt a slither of butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, add two tablespoons of the mixture and fry until golden brown on bottom. Flip carefully, cook the other side then transfer to the oven to keep warm. Repeat until all the mix is used, and keep the pancakes small so they are easier to flip!

Superfood Pancakes 3 photo 09b6886d-4bbe-4d75-93bd-b2454fb0c6ab_zpsgrwzjggn.jpgServe. I like mine with honey and yoghurt, but forgoing blueberries and adding nutella is also a good option…

What’s your favourite pancake topping? Have you tried banana pancakes yet?

Recipe: Blueberry Pancakes

I didn’t even know I liked blueberries until recently. Not for any particular reason other than they are SO expensive. Who has £2 to spend on a teeny tub?! Not me! But when I spied those lovely yellow stickers reducing them to 30p, I threw a few packets in my basket. Turns out that I really like them, and they freeze really well. A winner in my book, and I’ll definitely be hoping for more in the reduced aisle!

 photo 7992cd8f-e260-47ce-832f-6cc9d82301b7_zpsfyidyfnj.jpgPlus it’s PANCAKE DAY next week! I wouldn’t be a good blogger if I didn’t provide you with a good recipe (though see my indulgent nutella version, or my boyfriend’s traditional crepes). This one is the perfect mix between healthy and naughty. It’s not quite as good for you as these…I’m still experimenting with banana pancakes. But they are significantly better for you than my nutella ones! And they don’t require any topping, though I added some sneaky honey.

The best part of all? This amount makes two servings, but they reheat with a blast in the microwave really, really well. This makes Monday Morning pancakes a reality…

Ingredients

  • 1 handful of blueberries
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of creme fraiche (I used fat-free)
  • A splash of milk
  • 3 tablespoons of flour (possibly slightly more or less)
  • 1 flat teaspoon baking powder
  • A small amount of butter, for frying (or use an oil spray, I keep meaning to pick one up!)

I like my blueberries a bit squished, so I microwaved them just to warm through, then mashed a few with my fork. That’s entirely optional!

 photo cec4a6b4-cc53-4e03-82d5-b1f4cbbf7c89_zpssq1yajkw.jpgPut the egg in a bowl or jug, add the creme fraiche and milk, and whisk to combine.

 photo 4ca011c5-62a0-4a9c-956f-d2750977d41d_zps7lcjres1.jpgAdd the flour gradually, stopping when you have a thick batter.

 photo a2621806-b7b3-4816-ab92-d55bc13f2cd1_zps49puqinm.jpgAdd the baking powder and give it a final whisk to combine before stirring the blueberries through.

Fry in a little melted butter until the top is bubbling, then flip and continue to cook the other side. Both sides should be golden and slightly crispy. Keep warm in an oven until all are cooked.

To serve, pile onto a plate. If keeping for the next day, cool quickly. Reheat by microwaving in a single layer until hot – about 1 minute.

 photo b489e937-368c-441e-8251-a1fc0a95ea4f_zpscq1ealol.jpgEnjoy!

What is your favourite pancake topping? Will you be celebrating pancake day?

Restaurant Review: Urban Angel Cafe, Edinburgh

Before we went away to Edinburgh, I spent hours researching places to eat. Myself and my boyfriend are both students, both on relatively tight budgets, so I wanted to plan away, find deals etc, and make sure we weren’t excessively spending. One of the deals I came across was Urban Angel’s 10th Birthday Celebration, so we decided to go with their dinner deal of two courses for £10.

 photo 2014-06-19185751_zpsc79e7daf.jpgWhilst thoroughly impressed with the decor of the place (all nice and rustic, an instagrammers delight, though the second photo was taken from their site!) we were a little disappointed when none of the staff knew about the offer. We promptly got it up on our phones (to convince ourselves too!) and we were offered one small plate and one big plate each for the £10 as promised. Whilst it could have been my imagination, I felt service decreased then slightly, it was a little less friendly although still nothing to complain about! In our defence, their website actually stated the offer was running from the 10th June to the end of July, and we visited on the 19th – surely we weren’t the first?! Anyway, onto the food…

 photo 2014-06-19191831_zpsc953ce0b.jpg photo 2014-06-19191839_zps6d89aba3.jpg photo 2014-06-19191928_zps70b0cf53.jpgI suffered serious food envy when the starters came out. I’d gone for the Handcut Chips with Thyme Salt & Aioli. Whilst it was lovely, I kind-of expected a little more than just a huge plate of chips. Bit of an ordering mistake if I’m honest, the mushrooms would have been a far better bet! I found the thyme salt to be barely noticeable, though the aioli packed a huge garlicky punch – I would have loved that spread on warm fresh bread! Onto my boyfriends far more satisfactory starter – Falafel Balls in a Curry & Coconut Emulsion. I’d avoided these as I couldn’t be bothered with the tomato issue, but after inspected his plate I promptly demanded a taste – they were delicious! I’d probably want my falafels a little crisper, but the combination of flavours was great. One happy boyfriend, one jealous girlfriend!

 photo 2014-06-19193720_zpsee437ed6.jpg photo 2014-06-19193728_zpsb18f7b83.jpgOnto bigger plates, and I think we were both satisfied – I like to think my dish was the better but in reality I couldn’t try the other! Will went for the Veggie Chilli and really enjoyed it, despite him having an issue with veggie chilli (to be fair, meat ones are better!). I scored with my choice of a Herby Ham Hock Cake with Soft Poached Egg & Hollandaise – yum yum! Again I’d have preferred the cake to be slightly crisper as it was a little soggy, but the flavours were beautiful. The egg was absolutely perfectly poached, there were decent sized chunks of tender ham hock – one of the most different and exciting main courses I’ve tried! I would say that all out dishes required seasoning at the table to taste their best, but other than that it was a pretty good meal for £10 each. We’d happily go back to Urban Angel again, their brunch sounds delicious!
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Have you have a nice meal out lately?

Restaurant Review: Hula Juice Bar, Edinburgh

 photo 2014-06-19133846_zpsca93462d.jpgI’ll be totally honest with you, this is one of my favourite places. Ever. This may sound like an over exaggeration, but it really, really isn’t. I’ve had some wonderful moments with my boyfriend in this little cafe, chatty lunches, romantic brunches, and more than one cake stop. Its only downfall is that it’s in Edinburgh, and I live in the Midlands. Needless to say we visited virtually every day on both our holidays to Edinburgh and I have no doubt we’ll continue to do so.

 photo 2014-06-19124453_zpse373bd43.jpg photo 2014-06-19124447_zps92a1745e.jpgThe menu isn’t exactly varied, but its got enough variety to keep everyone happy (especially in the juice department!), and they will happily make changes to menu items – although only for dietary requirements during busy periods like the Fringe. I’ve tried a couple of the juices and smoothies and although I have my favourites, none of them have been bad.

 photo 2014-06-19130601_zpsfb30a92e.jpg photo 2014-06-19130537_zps0fd4262e.jpg photo 2014-06-19131039_zps270c5d86.jpgMy favourite meal there has to be lunch – or the soup with cheese and toast to be precise. They generally do two different soups a day, one is always vegetarian, and there’s generally one that is gluten-free. My favourite? The Potato & Haggis. Its smooth apart from the Haggis-y lumps, not sweet (a huge problem with soups for me) and with a great pepperiness. Great in the August rain or the June heatwave. And the cheese on toast…I think the photo just says it all! It’s amazing, though the bread itself is gorgeously oaty. Needs to be tried to be believed! I’ve had other gorgeous soups (Mushroom & Stilton springs to mind) and my boyfriend really enjoyed his photographed here, I think it was Courgette and Pea.

 photo 2014-06-21095517_zps5b7e4b3f.jpg photo 2014-06-21095539_zps1c8a21f3.jpgWe’ve also visited for Brunch, which was delightful. Not so delightful was paying the bill at 10.20am and realising we still had to pack and be out of the apartment (the other end of the Royal Mile) by 11am… We both ordered porridge. Bananas, honey and cinnamon for him. Chocolate and chilli for me. Both combinations were great, but I loved mine. Sweet, rich and the perfect amount of spice to wake me up, I have to create a similar recipe! I was daring and went for a green juice – the Tah-ti Kicks – and really enjoyed it. I’m definitely going to try converting myself to green juices!

 photo 2014-06-21150932_zps22c6b153.jpg photo 2014-06-20145234_zpsab6887c6.jpg photo 2014-06-21190140_zps833cdd73.jpgNow, I can’t review Hula without mentioning the cakes. They do a fab selection baked daily, and every time I’ve noticed vegan and gluten-free options. Will had a fabulous looking Vegan Fruit Slice (I didn’t get a look-in), but I generally stick to the brownies. I wasn’t convinced about the Oreo Peanut Butter concoction – both elements were fine on their own, but together it felt a bit confused. The Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie was something else. It was absolutely glorious. So much so  I bought an extra to eat at the top of Arthur’s Seat and another for the train journey home. I’m contemplating baking my own. Or I will be doing as soon as I can afford ingredients!

 photo 2014-06-19133901_zps9367f090.jpg photo 2014-06-19124518_zps9ce46b36.jpgThe prices are reasonable, not the cheapest but the quality is definitely high, the atmosphere is amazing, and unless it’s Fringe its generally not too crowded. It’s definitely my favourite place in Edinburgh, and I highly recommend you visit! Now I’ll be off to crave another Nutty Professor…
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Would you like to see a Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie Recipe?