How do you like your eggs in the morning? Food writer, recipe developer and late breakfast/early lunch enthusiast Helen Graves shares three quick brunch ideas
Helen’s simple take on fluffy savoury pancakes made with fresh yoghurt
“I love a good breakfast, because it’s something I never have time for during the week. The first thing I do in the morning is exercise (that’s one of the downsides of being a food writer), so when I get back I often just wait for lunch. That makes weekend breakfast worth the effort. I love to make borek (baked, stuffed pastries) filled with cavolo nero and white cheese. I also love eggs, just simply boiled and served with obscenely buttery soldiers, or poached and topped with Turkish chilli..
“The best thing about these recipes is that they’re ridiculously easy, so anyone can make them. They all take under 20 minutes to make and serve two hungry people, which means you get to share them with your loved ones.
“As for the finishing touches, it would be a mistake not to have a glass of fizz (or two) with the smoked salmon pancakes, and I wouldn’t shy away from it with the rhubarb French toast either. Both recipes would be lovely with a nice cup of tea, however. You should try the green shakshuka with some fluffy flatbreads or pitta to dip into the runny eggs – heaven.”
Yoghurt pancakes with
smoked salmon & zaatar
“These super-easy pancakes are lovely and fluffy, with an added tang of yoghurt to offset the rich smoked salmon. Zaatar is a wonderful spice mix and gives them an interesting twist rather than adding the usual parsley or chives.”
125g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
Large pinch salt
200g fat-free natural yoghurt plus extra, to serve
3 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
1 spring onion, finely sliced
Lemon wedges, to garnish
Oil, for frying (vegetable or groundnut)
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the yoghurt, milk and egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix, then stir in the spring onions.
Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil. When hot, add two tablespoons of the batter at a time, shaping into round pancakes.
When holes appear on the surface of the pancake, flip it. Do this until all the batter is used up, adding more oil as necessary and making sure the pan doesn’t get too hot. Serve with smoked salmon, zaatar and lemon wedges.
Rhubarb and Earl
Grey French toast
“This is a lovely twist on classic French toast or, as it’s properly called, eggy bread! The rhubarb is stewed with Earl Grey tea, and I think the mix of bergamot and rhubarb is intoxicating. It’s so easy to do – just five minutes in one pan – and is also lovely over vanilla ice-cream.”
400g rhubarb, ends trimmed and cut into 3cm lengths
50g golden caster (or caster) sugar
3 pieces of orange rind, in strips (remove any pith from the inside)
2 Earl Grey teabags brewed for 5 minutes in 100ml boiling water
Butter, for frying
2 slices thick, soft white bread
Mascarpone and icing sugar, to serve
Place the rhubarb, sugar, orange rind and tea in a saucepan. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes, or until the rhubarb is just soft.
Whisk the egg with the milk in a shallow bowl. Heat a generous knob of butter in a pan. Dip the bread slices into the milk mixture, making sure both sides are well soaked, then fry in the butter until golden on both sides.
Serve the French toast with the rhubarb and mascarpone. Dust with icing sugar.
“This isn’t a traditional shakshuka, as that’s made with a rich tomato sauce, so instead of it being a red, one-pan egg dish, it’s a green one with purple sprouting broccoli, peas and spring onions plus a sprinkling of feta, mint and chilli. It’s the combination of sweet spring vegetables, sharp yet creamy feta and spiky chilli that make this dish so addictive.”
250g purple sprouting broccoli
4 spring onions, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
70g frozen peas
4 free-range eggs
50g feta cheese
Chilli sauce, hot sauce or chilli flakes
A few mint leaves, shredded
Oil, for frying (vegetable or groundnut)
Blanch the broccoli in boiling salted water for two minutes then drain and cut into short lengths.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and cook the spring onions gently for one minute. Add the garlic for a further minute, stirring.
Add the broccoli and mix well, then pop a lid on (use something large enough to cover if you don’t have a lid, like a baking tray) and cook for three minutes. Add the peas, re-cover for a minute.
Crack in the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Cover again until the eggs are just set, around 8-10 minutes.