Muesli Lover isn't one for slipping into breakfast malaise, but every now and again it's not such a bad thing to be given a little nudge to get creative. This particular sharpened elbow came from an unlikely source, a bread company that challenged me to use their product in a recipe.
A little promotion for Allinson, and a creative opportunity for Muesli Lover. Everyone's a winner...
The challenge was to use their product, plus herbs, to create a delicious dish (they're offering herb garden kits to people who collect tokens, hence the connection). Being a breakfast blog, ML reckoned on having an edge, but not to be complacent, wanted to think of at least two ways of using the bread in one, easy, healthy recipe.
With chives and thyme bursting out of the herb pot at ML HQ, they were an easy choice, and a natural pairing with breadcrumbs and parsley and with roasted mushrooms, respectively. Eggs are the best bet for a crowd pleaser, being the most satisfying and wholesome breakfast choice, and the paprika addition is a little phase ML is going through after picking up some superb La Chinata Spanish paprika at Brindisa. The remaining challenge was how to make the presentation fun, yet practical... and that's where the cookie cutter came in...
The outcome? Paprika egg toast with herby mushroom sprinkle.
Ingredients (serves 2)
6 medium-sized chestnut mushrooms1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp olive oil (or a knob of butter)
2 slices of Allinson's wholemeal bread4 slices of bacon (or 3 tbsp pancetta) (optional)
A few stalks of chives (finely chopped)A few sprigs of parsley (finely chopped)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Mini plum tomatoes and basil leaves to garnish
Lay the mushrooms in a shallow dish and drizzle with olive oil or place a small knob of butter onto each one. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Place on a large baking tray with the bacon or pancetta on the other half of the tray. Place under a hot grill for 6-9 minutes until the bacon is cooked and crisp and the mushrooms have softened and darkened. Leave in a warm oven once cooked (or below the still-warm - but switched off - grill if you don't have a separate oven).
Meanwhile, lightly toast two slices of the bread, remove from the toaster and use a cookie cutter to cut a circle in the centre of the pieces of toast. Place the two circles of toast in a food processor or mini-blender and refine to coarse breadcrumbs.
Mix the breadcrumbs with the finely chopped chives and parsley. Fry in a little oil or butter for a few minutes and add the cooked bacon. Place in a warm oven and use the same pan to fry the toast-with-the-hole. You can use Bake-o-Glide or a similar product in the pan to avoid using oil, or use a dash of oil for a fried bread finish.
Place the toast-with-the-hole in the pan, crack an egg into the hole and repeat on the other side of the pan if there's room for your second slice (or do in batches and keep the first one in the oven if not).
Sprinkle a pinch of paprika over the egg. Once the egg has solidified enough on the underside (about 3 minutes on a medium heat hob) turn over the bread-and-egg to cook on the other side. Sprinkle the upturned side with paprika and cook for another 2 minutes or until cooked to your preference (leave the egg a little soft and glossy if you plan to leave it in a warm oven while you cook the second one as it will cook further in the oven).
Once cooked, serve immediately, together with the thyme-grilled mushrooms sprinkled with the breadcrumb, herb and bacon mixture. Use halved cherry tomatoes and basil leaves to garnish if you wish.