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Breakfast: The Most Delicious Meal Of The Day

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me or has had to suffer a conversation about food with me that any meal is regarded as a treat in my eyes. Whether its a toasted cheese sandwich at lunch, a gorgeous plate of pasta for dinner or a mid morning snack of fresh mango, good food is always cause for celebration. But after a weekend away in Liverpool, I’ve come to the conclusion that as delicious as other meals are, nothing beats a truly great breakfast. Forget your bowl of cornflakes or sorry looking banana eaten in the weekday morning rush, I’m talking breakfasts that you can really take your time over and savour. Bacon sandwiches, eggs Benedict, kedgeree, hot crumpets, homemade granola, fry ups, pancakes, boiled eggs; they all have sheer deliciousness in common and to me herald the start of the weekend and all the joys that it brings. It may be the simplest breakfast going but its not really a holiday unless I have hot, thick, white toast smothered in butter at the airport before my flight. Breakfast rocks, and after not eating for such a long stretch while we catch up on our beauty sleep we deserve a little decadence to break the fast.

This is where Moose Coffee, Liverpool comes in. Found entirely by chance, the 4 of us knew we’d found an absolute jewel of a cafe on seeing the words ‘American and Canadian breakfasts’. I’m not ashamed to say that my heart fluttered a little on reading this (probably in anticipation of the calories about to be consumed), what with my love for all things American. Walking in you’re faced with large portraits of iconic figures such as Neil Armstrong replaced with moose heads, antlers and plush couches running along the back of the cafe, and the enticing smell of fresh coffee and good food. My kind of place, then. What can I say about breakfast? It was unbelievably good. Three of us had the special that morning, which was the Grande Bouche topped with two poached eggs. I have never understood before the American tendency to pair ludicrously sweet dishes like pancakes with bacon, but after the Grande Bouche experience I am a complete convert. French toast made with brioche soaked in an egg and vanilla batter, topped with bacon, eggs and maple syrup. My head knew it shouldn’t work, my curiosity knew I had to give it a go regardless, and my tongue just knew it was delighted to have been allowed to give it a go. Gorgeous. You may grimace at the idea, but a week ago so would I and look at how wrong I was. All three of us loved it and agreed that sometimes you’ve just got to admit defeat and say the Americans know exactly what they’re doing.

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Basically, breakfast was so good that we had to go back a couple of days later before catching the tran back home. Not feeling the sweet stuff this time I decided to go down a completely different tangent and had the manolito which is the Moose’s take on the Mexican breakfast classic huevos rancheros. My idol Nigella has raved about huevos rancheros on Twitter and I’ve been desperate to try it for ages so seeing this on the menu my mind was made up straight away. Spicy food may not be everyone’s cup of tea first thing in the morning but once again breakfast was stunning and right up my street: two flour tortillas topped with salsa, fried eggs, sour cream, refried beans and cheese. Heaven. The salsa had a really deep flavour with a good spicy kick that totally woke me up and the melted cheese was the perfect strength to stand up to the strong flavours of the salsa. I’m now addicted to it and need to make huevos rancheros for myself very very soon.

None of us had a single complaint about the food and everyone was full and contented by the end of breakfast. The coffee here was also delicious and if you leave Moose without having the Moose macchiato then you have really missed out, as it was delicious. Coffee that dreams are made of. I urge you to check Moose Coffee out if you’re ever in Liverpool, it really was the best breakfast I’ve ever had and has served as a timely reminder of how great the first meal of the day can be, just a few days before our oven finally arrives. Now that’s definitely a cause to celebrate!

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Posted by on May 7, 2013 in American, Breakfast, Cooking, Food

 

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Southwestern Sunrise

I know that us Brits are very proud of our breakfast legacy what with the fry up known around the world as an English breakfast and most people being partial to a bacon sandwich at the weekend, but I’ve got to be controversial and say the Americans do breakfast better. You can get your fried goods there, sure, but on top of that they can also offer pancakes, waffles, muffins, hash, Florida orange juice, fruit platters, smoothies, proper coffee, granola, bagels, and a ridiculous amount of options for the humble egg. Even the cheap places to grab breakfast avoid instant coffee, such is the culture there for a decent, strong cup of Jo. They know what they’re doing when it comes to the most important meal of the day, that much is clear. I had planned on having today’s recipe for breakfast, but by the time I’d cleaned the house and gone to the gym it was early afternoon, so we’ll call it lunch. My lunch then was from USA by Sheila Lukins and is called Southwestern Sunrise and is one of the many options for eggs in the book. It’s definitely the tastiest thing I’ve eaten that only takes 2 mins to prepare and also packs a pretty healthy punch. You just chop up some red pepper and avocado, pop them into a ramekin, top with a raw egg and grated cheese then pop in the oven until the egg is cooked. Dollop with some sour cream, sprinkle on some coriander and you’re done. Totally delicious and extremely simple. The only tricky bit is getting the egg cooked to the point where the whites are cooked through but the yolk is still runny, a point that I missed and ended up with solid yolks. It still tasted good though, and I’d rather that than runny egg whites which have the same consistency as snot. The flavours of this make me summon up an image of New Mexico and the name of the dish really does have me thinking about a beautiful orange sunrise over the water starved landscape of the Southwest. I’ve never been mind, but I’ve seen enough movies and read enough books set in the USA to get those images. And Man vs Food has shown me that this is the sort of food you’d find in this part of America, although my portion was certainly a lot smaller than the ones Adam Richman gets served! The recipe called for Monterey Jack cheese but cheese is something the Brits really do do better, so I stuck with cheddar. All this recipe needs to make it perfection would be the addition of salsa to give it a spicy kick to really get your morning going with a bang.

The other night for dinner I delved into my new book The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo. If you saw her on TV a few months ago, then you’ll know that as well as being a cracking cook, she’s also adorable, has lovely shiny hair and knows how to pull off a pretty tea dress. Fine qualities in a woman! For my first attempt from this book, I made meatballs in spicy sauce with Alsatian pasta, which sounds much more like a French dish when you replace the word meatballs with boulettes de viande. According to adorable Rachel, the Alsace region of France is well known for its pasta, hence this suspiciously Italian looking recipe. Luckily, the spicy sauce is very French, what with it containing red wine and a bouquet garni, as well as cornichons, which are really just tiny pickled gherkins. The meal was really flavoursome with plenty of crunch from the gherkins, and the sauce had a deep wine flavour that went well with the meatballs which were made from beef mince and sausage meat. I think this book is going to quickly become a favourite of mine, the pictures of the food are beautiful and I love that she cooks these gorgeous looking creations in her teeny tiny kitchen in her teeny tiny Parisian flat. If she can create culinary delights in a kitchen the size of a broom cupboard, then what excuse do I have for not trying with my nice spacious kitchen? French food is looking to be the way forward for me.

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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Books, Breakfast, Cooking, Food, French, Lunch

 

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