How Do You Like Your Eggs In The Morning?

26/09/2009

Me and the missus just got back from a road trip in the good ol’ US of A driving down the Pacific coast from San Fran to LA, and then on to Chicago for a wedding. We had an amazing time, and a we ate like kings. I think the thing I like about the majority of food in the States is the lack of bullshit. It’s not delicate in any way, and it’s all the better for it. For the most part you can forget about foams, jus and micro herbs. But that’s not to say the food isn’t good, it’s as tasty as hell. It’s all about big, bold, brash flavours, ss you might expect from the Yanks.

Anyway, breakfast fast became our favourite meal of the day, and right here are out top four breakfasts from the trip.

Huevos Rancheros – literally ‘eggs ranch style’. Mexican style eggs (in this case scrambled with ham) served up on flour tortillas smothered in spicy tomato sauce, topped with black beans and avocado, with a side of home fries. Ay carrumba.

Huevos Rancheros at The Crepevine, San Francisco

Huevos Rancheros at The Crepevine, San Francisco

Hash & Eggs – despite the name, probably the poshest breakfast of the trip, but totally amazing. Spring onion, bacon and potato hash topped with a couple of poached eggs. The breakfast of champions.

Hash & Eggs at Rose's Cafe, San Francisco

Hash & Eggs at Rose's Cafe, San Francisco

Granola Waffles – I’m not a massive fan of majorly sweet stuff for breakfast, but these were insane. They were part of the make your own breakfast buffet at the place we stayed at in The Big Sur. When making the waffles you toss in a handful of the home made granola. Proper ying and yang business.

Granola Waffles with Banana, Nectarine and Maple at Treebones, Big Sur

Granola Waffles with Banana, Nectarine and Maple at Treebones, Big Sur

Cornbread Egg Muffin – I know this looks like some kind of Scotch Egg disaster (not that there’s anything wrong with a Scotch Egg), but these took us by surprise. A slightly sweetened corn bread muffin, a touch of chili and a boiled egg in the middle. Awesometown.

Cornbread & Egg Muffin at Sweetcakes, Chicago

Cornbread & Egg Muffin at Sweetcakes, Chicago


Jam On It

01/09/2009

The summer fruit season is pretty much done and dusted, but you can hang on to it by making your own strawberry jam. It’s a piece of piss with just three ingredients, and it’s reet tasty.

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Ingredients

500g English strawberries

75g vanilla sugar

Juice of half a lemon

Method

Hull the strawberries (remove the leafy top and pale fruit) with the tip of a sharp knife and then wash. Dry off with a tea towel and place in a large pan. Add the vanilla sugar (vanilla sugar is easy to make – every time you scrape out a vanilla pod, put the remains in a jam jar with caster sugar – after a week or so the sugar will take on a lovely vanilla smell and taste) and lemon juice and stir.

Before you put the pan on the heat, get a saucer and place it in the fridge. I’ll explain why in a minute. Next, put the pan on a high heat and bring up to the boil while stirring. Before long the fruit will start to give up its juices, and the mixture will begin to resemble jam. You need to simmer the jam for about 10 minutes to bring it to setting point. A scum will probably develop on the surface of the mixture; skim this off every few minutes.

After 10 minutes take the pan off the heat, and dribble some of the mixture onto your cold saucer. Place the saucer back in the fridge. After a couple of minutes, take it out again and perform the ‘wrinkle’ test by running your finger through the mixture. If it wrinkles, the jam is at setting point and ready to store, if your finger slides through return to the heat for a few minutes and repeat the test.

If the jam is at setting point, put the mixture in a sterilised jar. You can sterilise jars by pouring in boiling water to the top or placing in the oven for a few minutes at 100ÂșC.

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Leave the jam to cool and then eat or refrigerate. It should keep for 3 – 4 weeks.