Sunday, 29 April 2012

Recipe: spin class smoothie

Smoothies are a favourite quick breakfast for me. I have a default recipe that I fail to get fed up with, modestly named, the world's best smoothie, but sometimes I like to experiment - there's the avocado number, perfect for a hangover, and the cheat's smoothie with pre-prepped pulp. But recently I've been hearing a lot of good things about beetroot.

A friend's husband is an Olympic rower and is currently swearing by the stamina power of beetroot. I occasionally do a spin class at the end of the road, and while not comparable to the travails of the sporting elite, I want something with a little more oomph than toast and Marmite.

So, I came up with this pre-exercise smoothie. It's got beetroot juice, acai juice and soya milk (about 1/3 pint each), plus two tablespoons of oats, one tablespoon of flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and one banana. 

That's packing power, slow-release energy, fruit sugar, potassium from the banana to help muscle recovery, and all the virtuous omegas that the seeds provide. It's also quick to digest to avoid stitch, although I still have it at least an hour and a half beforehand.

Drink, go forth, and conquer.   

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Recipe: Mr Muesli Lover's breakfast burrito

I subscribe to the emails. I think they come about once a week and although I never read all of them there is normally at least one great article I click through to.

The other week I ended up clicking on Gizzi Erksine’s heuvos rancheros and, aware that Mrs Muesli Lover was entering a busy work period, I thought it would be a great breakfast for me to cook early one morning. I don’t even know who Gizzi Erksine is but he/she has an awesome name!

“A 10 minute egg dish” was how it was billed and it contained garlic, chilli and refried beans. Sounded awesome, but had potential for horrendous working day smelly breath. Bearing that in mind I toned down the garlic from four cloves to one. I still cannot believe four are really required - I could definitely taste the garlic in the finished dish and, unless the strength of garlic doesn’t increase with the number you put in, I suspect four would have been a humdinger of a bad look.

Timing-wise this is a great dish to make in the morning as you start by creating the tomato sauce. This contains the garlic, chilli, vinegar and coriander and simmers away for 9 minutes reducing a can of chopped tomatoes to a wonderfully gloopy and bright sauce. With a really fiesty little kick!

Whilst that does it thing you heat up the beans, tortillas and cook the eggs. Erm, and that is it. Oh, and cut the avocado. The dish looks brilliant on a plate - the bright red sauce, the morning yellow of the egg yolk and the clean green of the avocado. Once you’ve made a start in eating it, it all gets messed up and all the more appealing.

Mrs Muesli Lover whizzed off to work and declared her satisfaction with the dish. I shall repeat!

Preparation time 5 mins Cooking time 10 mins Serves 2 people

1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 splash of red wine vinegar
1 handful fresh coriander, chopped
1 pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g refried beans
4 small corn tortillas
3 tbsp light olive or vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 avocado, finely chopped
1 splash of chilli sauce to serve

Heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add in the garlic and chilli and stir fry for 1 minute or until the garlic starts to soften and go golden. Add in the tomatoes, purée, red wine vinegar and half of the coriander and over a medium high heat cook for 9 minutes, then season to taste.

Heat up the refried beans in a small saucepan. Heat a frying pan and toast the corn tortillas in them for 20-30 seconds on each side and lay two on each plate. When toasted put the oil in the pan and fry the eggs (Gizzi uses free range) for 1-2 minutes, basting the yolks with the hot oil as you go.

Spread a spoonful of the refried beans on the two tortillas, then dollop on two spoons of tomato sauce on top. Top each plate with two fried eggs, some avocado and the rest of the coriander. Finish with a drizzle of chilli sauce.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Brunch at Shoreditch House

Taking pictures in Shoreditch House is banned. Even if it is of beautiful brunch dishes to wax lyrical about them in a breakfast-loving blog. I won't hold that against them, because a) I sneaked a couple before getting a finer-wagging from the waiter, and b) that place is soooo cool.

I'm sorry but it is. The huge industrial style windows with views across east London, the airy penthouse feel, the central fireplace, the steam rising off the outdoor pool. It's one of my favourite indoor spaces in the city. And finally, I got an invite to brunch.

Brunch being one of the most fashionable meals of the day and this place being rather edgy means you've got to book to get a table. Once esconced at a low table/chair/settee one is not rushed and can enjoy the idleness of the day's best meal over newspapers and multiple coffees.

The brunch menu doesn't try too hard - eggs any style on toast £4, bacon or sausage sandwich £5, avocado on toast with poached egg £5. Then there's some corkers thrown in there - fried duck egg and wild mushrooms on toast £7 and truffled eggs £9.

We opted for the pancakes (£6) surreptitiously photographed above - fluffy, just sweet enough, fresh from the pan and an overall thumbs up, plus the fried duck egg and wild mushrooms, a feat of good menu-writing (egg and mushroom on toast sounds so less appealing) but also effectively delivered - dark yellow yolk, foresty-tasting shrooms and fresh toast. Style AND substance.

More London breakfast spots

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Breakfast with Patrick in Canterbury

The Goods Shed is one of those discoveries that you rush to tell your friends about. A goregous brute of an industrial building that's been manhandled back to life by what I imagine was an epic sandblasting job and some seriously talented metal and glass workers. What results is a gorgeous former rail depot with vast ceilings, exposed beams, bare brick walls and huge metal framed windows.

Inside is a foodie enclave of bakers, grocers, fruitiers, fishmongers, delicatessans, traiteurs and butchers, plus a couple of restaurants.

The larger of the two, the Goods Shed Restaurant offers a sort of build-your-own option selecting the produce from the storeholders below (with the exception of the baked beans). The other option is Patrick's Kitchen.

Patrick is a traiteur but also runs a three-seater restaurant, or rather bench-and-kitchen-hatch affair. He's an affable chap and talented chef who'll rustle up substantial fry-ups to order, or will make just about anything he can concoct from the ingredients he can lay his hands on (mushrooms, eggs, and salmon were the more obvious breakfast ingredients). But also leave room for his heaven-sent pastry - the shortest, crumbliest, most delightful pastry (sorry, mum), I have tasted. I still dream of it now.

Patrick does tea, but not coffee - the best place to go for that is an amble across town to Willows Secret Kitchen, a Coffee Culture & Excellence recognised cafe that goes to nerdy extremes to serve delightful brews. Between them, Canterbury's finest breakfast.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Breakfast wordle of the month...

It's all about chocolate and eggs... with a touch of salt. Breakfast was indulgent this month.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Finally. A takeaway eggy breakfast. Thanks Leon

Leon's new takeaway eggy pots are filling a big hole in my takeaway breakfast wish list. We'd all love to luxuriate over a plate of creamy scrambled egg and sourdough toast, sipping a cappucino and browsing the day's headlines every morning, but reality is more like walk, commute, email, tweet... and breakfast at once.

Leon's breakfast smoothie has always been a favourite for 'on the run', but after some research they've now brought out this triumph (Muesli Lover likes to think that the suggestion from yours truly of a takeaway eggy breakfast may have had some small sway). 

A poached egg pot comes with a choice of saucy beans, chorizo, ham hock or truffled gruyere (inspired!), or a combination of those. There is still an extensive breakfast menu of smoothies, choice of porridges, yoghurt pots and croissants for the traditionalists. Leon, you've cracked it... boom boom.