“Civilisation is represented by Merlyn, who lays the table in his cottage in the woods for the perfect breakfast: peaches, melons, strawberries, a brown trout piping-hot, grilled perch, ‘chicken devilled enough to burn one’s mouth out’, kidneys and mushrooms on toast, fricassee, curry, boiling coffee and best hot chocolate with cream. There is a mustard pot that struts from place-setting to place-setting, lifting its lid as if tipping a courteous hat.”
-Laura Freeman, The Reading Cure: How Books Restored My Appetite
It’s Mother’s Day today…and we’re celebrating it here with the above beautiful equine addition, just a couple of days old.
Many treat their mum to breakfast in bed on this day, so here on Saucy Dressings we thought we’d offer a round up of the goodies that can be assembled on the tray…along maybe with a vase of daffs and grape hyacinths heralding the spring.
Here’s our round up of mother’s day breakfast suggestions.
No 1: boiled eggs
Think boiling an egg to perfection is easy….? Think again. It’s a very fine line between under and over-cooked. Between perfectly oozing and rubbery. Follow this link for the secrets you need to know.
No 2: poached eggs – traditional, or with turmeric and chard
Poaching an egg to perfection is also an art. Follow this link to learn how, and also to see why a swirling poached egg looks like the beautiful Kate Moss. You can serve your mother’s day poached eggs plain, on Marmite toast; or go Indian, as in the image above, and serve them with turmeric butter and rainbow chard.
No 3: the full English – fried eggs, bacon, tomatoes, black pudding
There are thousands of experts who can make a damn-good Full English, and curiously most of them are men so I make no apology for not offering a link for this one. Every expert has their own ‘take’ on how to do this, their own tips and secrets.
And their own particular mix of ingredients. In our household, in addition to the essential eggs, we include tomatoes, streaky bacon, black pudding (follow this link for more on black pudding), and a pinch of oregano.
No 4: the full Irish with fresh soda bread
In Ireland they also produce outstanding fry-ups. And with them they serve freshly baked Irish soda bread. Dead simple, no kneading – follow this link to find out how to make this on mother’s day.
No 5: eggs Benedict
Essentially, eggs Benedict is a poached egg atop a muffin, doused in Hollandaise sauce – follow this link for how to make one of those. There are lots of variations – add spinach and they become eggs Florentine. Add crab and this breakfast becomes eggs Chesapeake. Add black pudding and it’s eggs Hebradian. Add smoked salmon and it’s eggs Hemingway, or eggs Royale.
No 6: omelette for mother’s day
Producing a fabulous fluffy omelette also takes skill. Timing is everything to achieve an omelette baveuse – still a little runny, a little frothy. Follow this link for some tips on that. Like eggs Benedict, the omelette offers endless potential for variations – you can throw in fines herbes, cheese, mushrooms. Or, assuming your mother isn’t too concerned about her health, you can go all-out and conjure up an omelette Arnold Bennett with béchamel, Hollandaise, and double cream.
No 7: scrambled
James Bond liked scrambled eggs – ’nuff said! The key with them is not to allow them to set like concrete. They need to be lush and creamy, still a little liquid. My mother taught me how to make them, and her technique is still the best of any I’ve tried. Follow this link to find out how.
No 8: devilled kidneys
There was a time when devilled kidneys would have appeared on every breakfast sideboard of every country house in England. But these days they’re a rarity. If your mother likes offal, and she likes her food hot and spicy this will make her feel special. The River Cottage blog gives a good version of how to make this.
No 9: thick Spanish hot chocolate with buttered toast
In Spain they produce the most fabulous, thick hot chocolate – it’s like molten chocolate mousse. It’s so rich, just a couple of slices of plain buttered toast is all you need as an accompaniment. Here’s the link for how to make it.
No 10: homemade yoghurt and chestnut honey
The best homemade yoghurt I have ever tasted was served for breakfast at The Pig On The Beach. This breakfast is a bit of a cheat in terms of effort unless you actually make the yoghurt yourself. I’ve tried many times, never with success. Go to The Kitchn blog if you want to have a go.
The honey is obviously key. I always use a bitter chestnut honey, but find a good supplier and visit them for a tasting to discover which best suits you.
No 11: mother’s day kefir with berries and toasted cereal and seeds
If your mother is health-minded (particularly about her gut) then this mother’s day look no further than kefir. Print out this post and add it to the breakfast tray. Add a few raspberries and some toasted oats and seeds to make it extra special.
No 12: the bacon and mushroom butty
Has your mother been out on the town? If so, she’ll thank you for a medicinal bacon bap, and a strong cup of coffee. Here’s how to make the bap.
No 12: granola
Granola can be absolutely wonderful….but usually only if it has a good quotient of maple syrup or honey so bear in mind it’s not necessarily as healthy as you might hope… There’s a great recipe on the Gimme Some Oven blog.
No 13: kedgeree
Kedgeree is a dish traditionally scoffed in the early hours after a ball…. but it also used to take its place, along with the devilled kidneys mentioned above, on Victorian breakfast buffets. It keeps well, so your mum can simply reheat on Monday, and have a ready-made breakfast two days running. Here’s how to make kedgeree.
For more ideas for breakfasts take a look at Michael Zee’s Symmetry Breakfast.
This post is dedicated to my daughter and to my son.