Category Archives: Breakfast

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

Excuse me if this is an obvious post, but I haple end upon the need to whip up a nice protein-rich hot lunch mid revision, and all I had in my kitchen was a couple of slices of ham, some cheese and a carton of eggs. As I’m trying to keep up a healthy diet, the only bread I have is in the form of homemade loaf leftovers in the freezer, and I certainly wasn’t in the mood for cooking up some pasta. And so I landed on the scrambled egg solution – the ultimate in fast food. You could of course serve this with toast for a heartier, more filling meal. 

  
The thing about scrambled eggs, though, is that there’s a certain knack to avoid rubberiness and achieve perfect creaminess. 

Here’s how I do it:

2 eggs, at room temperature 

A small knob of butter

2 tbsp cold water

A grating of nutmeg

A pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon paprika 

A crack of black pepper (if you like white pepper you could add a pinch to the raw egg mixture)

  
1. Crack the eggs into a bowl, making sure you remove any accidental shell shards (the easiest way is to use the shell itself to attract its splinters).

  
2. Add the salt, nutmeg and paprika (and white pepper if you’re using it) and whisk together with a fork. The fork is crucial!

  
3. Add the water and continue to whisk until well-mixed and slightly airy. The water is slightly controversial but I know I’m not the first! In my experience, adding water instead of milk gives a creamier texture and much more flavour. Plus you actually avoid that horrid leaking egg juice (although this is primarily caused by overcooking).

  
4. Put a small saucepan on a low heat. Again, these two points are fairly crucial. To avoid rubbery eggs you should cook slowly and gently. Using a small saucepan will help to limit full-on exposure to the heat. I set my hob to 3 (where 9 is screaming hot). Add the butter and allow to melt, then swirl around the saucepan. 

  
5. Pour in the egg. As soon as you see it start to set at the edges (which will be pretty much immediately) start stirring. I always use a wooden spoon but a spatula or silicone spoon would do the job. What you are essentially trying to achieve here is scraping the egg that is starting to set away from the bottom of the pot before it overcooks or forms a brown skin, breaking it up into that scramble texture, and replacing it with the uncooked egg. 

  
6. Continue this process until the egg is ready. This should only take a couple of minutes. 

  
7. Remove from the heat while the egg is still soft and shiny, but once it has reached a largely solid (as opposed to runny) consistency. 

  
8. Serve on a warm plate with a crack of black pepper (and a dollop of tomato ketchup). 

I’m off to hit the books again (and brace myself for another egg debate with Mr Brooker, the king of breakfast) – happy Sunday!

Chocolate Banana Muffins

I had a project meeting to attend in Edinburgb last week, and one of my colleagues requested that I should supply some sort of baked breakfast (he has requested cherry bakewells for next month so watch this space!). Recently, the company has been providing us with weekly fresh fruit boxes, meaning there is often a glut left at the end of the week. This time, there were a gazillion ripe bananas left over. They were just crying out to be baked into something. Banana bread seemed too obvious, and wouldn’t travel as well, so I set about scratching my head and looking through my books. These were the result (courtesy of Nigella), however, if I had my time again I would have added a cup of chocolate chips to the batter. I contemplated it at the time but decided that Nigella knows best!  

 You will need:

3 ripe bananas

125ml vegetable oil

2 eggs

100g soft light brown sugar

225g plain flour

45g cocoa powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Muffin tin and 12 muffin cases 

Optional: 1/2 cup of chocolate chips

  
1. Mash the bananas and mix with sugar and oil until thick and creamy. 

2. Crack in the eggs and mix again until you have incorporated plenty of air. 

3. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and fold in until just combined. 

4. Optional – add in the chocolate chips and gently mix. 

  
5. Place the muffin cases in the tray and divide the mixture as evenly as you can between them. I usually add a tablespoon to each case and then divide the rest of the mixture between the cases as evenly as possible i.e. half a tablespoon at a time until all used up. 

6. Bake at 190C fan for 15-20 minutes, or until risen and springy to the touch. 

  

Honey and Peanut Butter Granola Bars

These guys may not be as healthy as you’d like, but they are packed with nutritious stuff and will keep you going all morning as an at-your-desk-with-coffee snack breakfast or on the go (great for your train commute!). And they might just keep your hands out of the biscuit tin. 

The other great thing about these is that you can add all sorts of great ingredients to them to make them to your liking: your favourite dried fruits, nuts and seeds, difference cereals, additional spices, almond butter, perhaps, if you don’t like peanut, or even chocolate chips!

You will need a square cake tin or brownie pan for this, but if you don’t have one you could try using a cake tin and cutting it as you fancy, but a loose bottom is really helpful. Grease the tin but experience tells me not to line it with greaseproof paper!

You will need:

125g salted butter

150g light brown sugar 

1tsp cinnamon or mixed spice (optional)

125g crunchy peanut butter, no added sugar, or another but butter of your choice

75g runny honey, plus extra to glaze

Grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon (not essential!)

200g porridge oats

200g dried fruits, I like a mixture of sultanas, dried cranberries, raisins and dried apricots

100g mixed seeds and/or chopped nuts, I like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flaked almonds

  
1. Preheat the oven to 160C. 

2. Put a medium to large saucepan on a low to medium heat and add in the butter, sugar, honey, spice, zest and peanut butter and allow to start melting together before stirring occasionally. Be careful with the heat as you don’t want the sugar to burn, but you do want the sugar to melt and for the ingredients to be nicely combined. 

   
3. Meanwhile, weigh out the oats, fruits, seeds and nuts you have chosen and mix together in a bowl. I like to keep back some flaked almonds and sunflower seeds to sprinkle over the top for texture.

  
4. When your liquid ingredients have melted and combined, stir in the dry ingredients until everything is nicely combined – you’ll want to avoid any dry oat patches. I like to keep this on a very gentle heat while I’m doing this so nothing stiffens up too much. When you’re happy, pour into the prepared tin and spread out, but try not to be too tempted to eat too much of the raw mixture off of the spoon!

  
5. Once it’s all smooth in the tin, sprinkle over the reserved seeds and nuts and drizzle over some more honey…..this is easiest if your honey comes in a squeezy bottle. 

   
6. Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes, or until golden around the edges and caramelised in the middle. Be careful not to burn them!

7. When they’re ready, take out of the oven and allow to cool. If you’ve used a greased loose bottomed pan you can just push the bottom up (I like to use an upturned mug or canister to help with this – set the loose part on the canister and help the sides to drop away) then you can lever it off the base with a pallette knife where you can cut it up into bars. I like to wrap them individually in cling film and keep them in an airtight tub. Then should keep for around 2 weeks, but I’ve often had them after that and they’ve still been great.