Breakfast or brunch?

Two decidedly different breakfasts or brunches – one a little naughty, but both nice

Breakfast tostadas. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Breakfast tostadas. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill


If pushed to decide on your favourite breakfast, a lot would depend on what you did the night before. The unfortunate part of over-indulging in booze means that you usually end up craving a wake-up plate that’s hearty and robust, filled with eggs, crisp bacon, sausage and lots of fresh juice and toast.

But the experts preach that although tasty, this does not really help you feel better as the short-term satisfaction is replaced by further suffering while your poor system battles to undo damage from the night before, before an onslaught of greasy, salty protein and lashings of carbs.

A great fry really hits the spot when you’re feeling poorly. Or would the perfect breakfast involve something more refined, swaying towards elegant, with subtle crumbs falling into crisp white linen? Butter knives, soft jam, and delicious coffee and rich pastries to complete the picture?

I am always torn between my favourites when hungry and confronted by a breakfast or brunch menu: should I go for something like scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, heuvos rancheros or the ubiquitous and sometimes delicious, eggs Benedict? It’s always a tough one.

In places like The Wolseley in London, they are confident enough to serve the perfect bacon butty on a delicious floury bap – crisp bacon on the most elegant tableware with condiments encased in silver.

But you can also go for old-world classics like kippers on toast or kedgeree. It’s virtually impossible to choose and their Bloody Marys don’t make it any easier.

Today’s trends are a lot more global, so many places are flirting with that Tex Mex, southern cuisine that’s all the rage these days, and you can’t help but think those spicy southern American, Mexican and Asian flavours are one big tsunami of umami. People slightly more frank, have called it “American Stoner cuisine” – although I don’t think they used the worked cuisine.

With all of that in mind, here are two decidedly different breakfast or brunch recipes. I liked the breakfast tostadas and even though they were immensely satisfying, they were reasonably healthy and could be made better for you if you were feeling abstemious by leaving out the crème fraiche, making a nice tomato salsa to garnish and by poaching the egg.

The pancakes are virtually flourless, mainly egg-based, but we felt they were initially too eggy in their first incarnation, so we added some rice flour to keep them real, which I believe many coeliacs are able to tolerate, and makes them a whole lot nicer.

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