Tag Archives: breakfast

Recipe: Devilled Mushrooms

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I’m not sure why devilled kidneys came into my mind a couple of weeks ago, but they did. I’ve never actually eaten them, but they show up occasionally on tv programmes looking back to the ‘glories of the English country house breakfast’ or equivalent. I’m partial to strong flavours for breakfast and something hot and spicy appealed to me. Just not with the dead animals, obviously. Mushrooms, big chunks of juicy mushrooms seemed to fit the bill.

This is a version without cream or butter, which tend to show up in devilled recipes. Although it has a weekend breakfast/brunch feel to it, it is lightning quick to make and could be done for a weekday breakfast if you felt like it. You’re not trying to cook the mushrooms down, just heat them through so they stay firm and juicy.

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Ingredients
250g (or a pack) Chestnut mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1/2 tsp English mustard powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder/flakes
2 tbsp mushroom ketchup or vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce

Heat a little oil in a frying pan on a high heat.
Add the mushrooms, mustard powder and chilli and stir so that all the mushroom are coated in the spices.
Add a splash of water to the pan to help the mushrooms start to cook.
When that water has boiled off and the mushrooms are cooking, add the mushroom ketchup and mix thoroughly.
Season with pepper and taste for salt.
Serve over toast.

Serves 2

Recipe: Tofu Scramble

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When I first went vegetarian and had a look on the web for things to cook, I came across the concept of ‘tofu scramble’ as a substitute for scrambled eggs. I have to say the idea filled me with horror. Tofu is not egg and I thought it would be the worst kind of fakery and substandard substitution that would fool nobody. But it’s one of those things that I kept on seeing online and some people seemed to like it. Then I found this recipe which frames the concept of tofu scramble not as a scrambled egg substitute, but as an addition to a breakfast menu. The only concession to fakery is leaving in the turmeric – it really does help with the appearance of the dish, it does look a bit grey and grim without it.

So here is my version. Not something trying to be scrambled eggs, but a tasty start to the day that stands on its own feet.

Tofu scramble photo DSCN1024_zps2de35550.jpg

Ingredients
1 onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
pinch chilli flakes, or chilli powder
150g firm tofu, cubed
8-10 mushrooms, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder
4 tsp mushroom ketchup or vegetarian worcestershire sauce
handful chopped fresh parsley

Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the onion, red pepper and chilli flakes until the onion is going translucent.
Add in the tofu, mushrooms, tomatoes, turmeric and mushroom ketchup.
Stir vigorously – the idea is to break up the tofu into crumbly pieces.
When the mushrooms are cooked and the mixture has lost a lot of its liquid, season with salt and pepper and stir in the chopped parsley.

Serves 2 on toast

Recipe: Tofu Rancheros

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This recipe deals with two issues at one go. It’s a huevas rancheros recipe for those who don’t want to eat eggs (I’m looking at you, Sharon) and it uses a carton of silken tofu that’s been sitting in my pantry since I bought it over a year ago.

This recipe works beyond the expectations I had when I thought it up. If you get organised, marinade the tofu over night, it will definitely increase the flavour.

Tofu Rancheros photo DSCN0880_zps777aadb7.jpg

Ingredients
100g silken tofu, sliced
juice of 1 lime
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/3 red chilli, finely chopped
1 small tin chopped tomatoes
pinch oregano
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 spring onion, chopped.
1 tbsp coriander, chopped

Marinade the tofu in the lime juice for at least half an hour (or overnight for best results!).
Soften the onion, garlic, pepper and chilli in a little oil in a small frying pan for about five minutes.
Add the tomatoes, oregano and balsamic vinegar and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Season with salt and pepper.
Make two dents in the mixture and place a slice of tofu in each one.
Simmer for five minutes until the sauce has reduced past the watery stage and the tofu is heated through.
Sprinkle with the spring onion, coriander and serve.

Traditionally they should be served on a warmed flour or corn tortilla, but they taste just as good on a couple of slices of toast.

Serves 2

Recipe: Huevas Rancheros

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A couple of years ago I went to Las Vegas for a sci-fi convention. I had a great time and amongst the highlights were the best margaritas I’d ever had and the best guacamole I’d ever had. It was also the scene of one of the most disappointing breakfasts I’d ever had. Do not have the huevas rancheros at Las Vegas airport. The eggs were OK, but the sauce was underflavoured and watery.

Which is a shame because huevas rancheros is one of the great egg dishes of the world. The eggs should ooze their runny yolks into a lovely, tomato sauce with a real kick of chilli. It makes a fabulous weekend breakfast/brunch dish. It is also a great hangover cure (or so I’ve been told).

Huevas Rancheros

Ingredients
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/3 red chilli, finely chopped
1 small tin chopped tomatoes
pinch oregano
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 eggs
1 tbsp coriander, chopped

Soften the onion, garlic, pepper and chilli in a little oil in a small frying pan for about five minutes.
Add the tomatoes, oregano and balsamic vinegar and simmer for another five minutes until the sauce is reduced. You don’t want it dry, but it shouldn’t be watery.
Season with salt and pepper.
Make two dents in the mixture and crack an egg into each of them.
Put a saucepan lid over the eggs so that they will cook in the steam.
When the eggs are cooked so the yolks are still runny, sprinkle over with the coriander and serve.
Traditionally they should be served on a warmed flour or corn tortilla, but they taste just as good on a couple of slices of toast.

Serves 1

In search of the ultimate fry-up

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The Curious Cafe’s finest veggie brekkie

I never ate fried brekkies in the dim and distant days of eating meat – for one thing I couldn’t stand the smell of bacon. And I loathe eggs in any form. So once I’d gone over to the veggie side, they never appeared on my radar.

They became occasional and faintly bizarre treats when I stayed in hotels – after all, it was always an experience to see what else you got served alongside a plate of baked beans and a shrivelled tomato or two.

It all changed, though, when vegetarian sausages became more than those grease-laden things that Linda McCartney used to inflict on an innocent veggie world.

So what do I want? Sausages – preferably not the boring soya ones. Grilled tomatoes. Mushrooms. Hash browns or fried potatoes. Baked beans. Toast. Not fussed about fried bread. And although I once had a yummy veggie brekkie on a train journey, complete with halloumi in lieu of bacon, I’m not into bacon substitutes either. I don’t eat eggs in any form, so I also want somewhere that will let me substitute items.

So come with me as I go in search of the ultimate veggie brekkie … And I shall now announce the results in reverse order.

Hon mensh, as they say in the New Statesman competition, for the Taurus Crafts café on the outskirts of Lydney – they do a vegan brekkie. The potato cakes are sometimes a bit soggy, and last time I went they’d run out of vegan spread, so I ended up with eggless mayonnaise on my rock-hard toast (they bake their own bread there and I can confirm it’s nicer untoasted as sarnies or with soup). But hey, kudos for actually catering for vegans.

In third place is Feed, a dinky little café tucked in the railway arches on the approaches to Portsmouth Harbour train station. They do nice cakes and coffee as well, and I can thoroughly recommend the veggie burgers (although that’s a story for another day). But the all-day brekkie is excellent – the sausages are decent and the star turn is the rinky-dinky crisp cubes of fried potato.

In second is the café at the Royal Marines Museum in Southsea. Their coffee is best avoided, but the breakfast is a good ‘un – decent quality mushrooms cooked in butter, and tasty Caerphilly sausages. But you’ve only got a small window of opportunity, as they say at all the worst meetings – the place opens at 10am and you can only get the brekkie up until 12.30pm.

Winner by a mile, though, is the Curious Café in Bath Road, Cheltenham. It lives up to its name, with mismatched tables and chairs, and a very cute garden out the back where you can sit out and eat. The opening hours are a bit weird – they open early, but close early afternoon. And it’s a fairly limited menu, based around sandwiches and wraps. Sadly, the lunchtime vegetarian sausages and mash, served with gravy and grilled vegetables, seems to have gone AWOL. But it’s a great place to meet people, and there’s a wide choice of all-day brekkies, including the best veggie one by a mile (see the piccie above). They don’t mind you substituting items either – so I get another hash brown and/or sausage in place of the two eggs.

If you’ve got any good places to share, bung them in the comments and we can start compiling our Two Fat Veggies’ good brekkie guide …