Catharine’s Brunch (per serving)

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Staying with friends and lingering over a late breakfast is a rare treat. Catharine served us this versatile dish – can be a healthy dish for brunch if you add scrambled eggs, a dinner party appetizer or a light lunch. The dressing is a kind of mayonnaise but so easy to make unlike real mayonnaise where the oil has to be dripped in slowly and there is the possibility of curdling.

I am giving the ingredients per person:

Handful of arugula

2 slices of smoked salmon – cut into small pieces

1/2 an avocado – diced

Compose the ingredients on a plate

Dressing (makes more than needed)

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp. white wine vinegar

1 tbsp. coarse mustard

2 pinches sugar

5 fl. oz olive oil

Whisk egg yolk, vinegar, mustard and sugar together then add the oil a little at a time and continue whisking all the while.

Put little blobs of dressing around the plate.

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Vegetarian Breakfast

Vegetarian Breakfast

Who says vegetarians can’t have a good old fry up for breakfast? Instead of the traditional scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon try a poached egg with tomato halves and Portobello mushroom slices (cooked in a frying pan in a little seasoned extra virgin olive oil) and half an avocado, thinly sliced. A lovely way to start the day!

Dippy Eggs with Avocado ‘Soldiers’

Dippy Eggs with Avocado Soldiers

Loved dipping brown toast into eggs at breakfast back in the day and there was maybe some marmite involved too! (no idea why pieces of toast were called ‘soldiers’) This is a great way to start you day and incredibly healthy. My eggs come from the Farmer’s Market and are sometimes only 3 days away from the hen house. Boil your eggs how you like it – it is a precise subject and varies with stove top heat etc. so I’ll stay out of this. Take a nice ripe avocado – not too ripe – and cut it into slices that can fit into your egg. The dip away!

Mediterranean Frittata Wrapped in Proscuitto (makes 12 – muffin size)

Mediterranean Frittata Wrapped in Proscuitto (makes 12 – muffin size)

I had a lovely time in the kitchen today experimenting with these and they taste deliciously different. Will need to repeat as I need a thicker slice of prosciutto and am supposed to be giving a demonstration to a group of gals next week. Mine wouldn’t have won a prize for looks, but in an ideal world you would squish a slice or two of prosciutto into a muffin mould and hopefully have enough to fold over the egg mixture (if not don’t worry). Once this part is over the rest is easy. Saute some onion, take off heat and add chopped tomato and chopped black olives. When cool enough add six beaten eggs and mix. Then ladle on top of prosciutto and place in oven for about 20 minutes or until egg mixture is firm. Good, portable food and nice cold too. I am also going to make mini muffins minus the prosciutto for my next book club meeting.

You could put any number of different fillings for the muffins that you think would go well together – mushroom and spinach, tomato and spinach, etc. Could serve with a nice, tossed salad as this recipe is kind of quiche without pastry.

12 (or more) slices of prosciutto not to thinly sliced and with as much fat as possible removed.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 an onion – finely chopped

1 large, ripe (essential) plum tomato – cut into 1/8ths and finely chopped

12 pitted black olives – finely chopped

6 eggs – beaten

Line muffin moulds with prosciutto.

Saute onion in olive oil seasoned with freshly ground black pepper (olives provide the salt)

Remove onion from heat and let skillet cool.

Whisk eggs and add chopped tomato, olives and cooled onions.

Ladle into muffin moulds and cook for around 20 minutes.

Valentine’s Day Breakfast

photo 24Valentine’s Day Breakfast

Absolute ‘piece de resistance’! Scrambled eggs served in a bacon ‘cup’. I am posting this ahead of time as you may want a practice run first. Would also be very impressive if you have guests staying. The idea of a bacon ‘cup’ was inspired by a dish I tasted at a wine and food pairing dinner prepared by Masterchef Michael Ober (www.cordonbleucatering.com) here in West Palm Beach, FL – pork belly with bacon baskets containing different kinds of pureed vegetables. I thought they would taste delicious for breakfast with eggs and they are to die for!

You need 2 1/2 strips of bacon per bacon ‘cup’.
You also need a muffin tray (I use a silicone one) and a roasting dish (as bacon fat runs off the muffin tray).
Turn muffin tray upside down.
Lay a 1/2 piece of bacon across a muffin holder, then lay another piece across it (so you have a + shape) then lay another piece across and you will have virtually no gaps.
Take a full piece of bacon and wrap it around the muffin holder and this will keep everything in shape.
Repeat.
Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes until nicely browned.
Remove from oven and place individual bacon ‘cups’ on a plate and place back in oven to crisp.
Meanwhile make scrambled eggs.
Remove bacon ‘cups’ from oven and fill with scrambled eggs.

Raft of Asparagus and Spinach Topped With a Poached Egg (serves 4)

Raft of Asparagus and Spinach Topped with a Poached Egg (serves 4)

This recipe is ideal for brunch (though could also do for a light lunch or supper) as it is a healthy take on Eggs Florentine with Hollandaise Sauce. Poached eggs go well with spinach and they go well with asparagus too, so I combined the veggies into one recipe and it was a great combo. I used thin asparagus as it is tenderer. I rinsed the spinach and didn’t need to add any more water in order to cook it in a covered pan. I cut the asparagus in half (so I had one half with the tip on it and the other half had no tip) and started with a layer of asparagus, then I added a layer of spinach, and finally, another layer of asparagus with the tips on and topped the vegetables with a poached egg.

My method for poaching eggs is to boil a (wide) pan of water and add some white wine vinegar. Crack egg onto a plate as it is easier that way to slide it into the boiling water. When the water has boiled swirl it with a slotted spoon and create a whirlpool. Slide the egg in and use the slotted spoon to push the white bits back toward the egg. Then you can add another egg, repeat process with up to 4 eggs into a wide pan at one time. Turn the heat down a little and cook for around 3 minutes (if you like a firm white and a soft yolk). Dry on paper towel, then plop onto asparagus mixture.

 

1 pound of thin asparagus – cut in half

10 oz. baby spinach – rinsed

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Poached eggs

 

Cook asparagus in boiling water in a covered pan until just tender (only a couple of minutes)

Cook spinach until just tender (again a couple of minutes) and place on paper towel top and bottom.

 

Start with a layer of asparagus on a plate and season with salt and pepper.

Add a layer of spinach and season.

Finish with a layer of asparagus with the tips on.

Top with a poached egg and serve.