Category Archives: Breakfast & Brunch

Blueberry & Lemon American Pancakes

These Blueberry & Lemon American Pancakes are so light and fluffy. They’re packed with deliciously sweet blueberries which along with the lemon give these pancakes a lovely fresh taste. 

American Pancakes are my favourite type of pancakes because I love their thick fluffiness. I’m also unfortunately not gifted in the art of making crepe style pancakes so American pancakes are definitely my go-to. 

I absolutely love blueberries and obviously blueberry pancakes aren’t a new invention at all, but I wanted to adapt my Thick & Fluffy American Pancakes recipe to incorporate them. I can’t actually remember if I have eaten a blueberry pancake before, but I knew how I wanted them to taste. The addition of the lemon compliments the blueberries really nicely and gives them a fresh taste. 

I love how when you’re eating the pancakes and the blueberries burst, the delicious juices create their very own sauce. These pancakes are delicious as they are, but if like Mr Curly you like some extra sweetness, I recommend drizzling over some golden or maple syrup.   

I read somewhere years ago that your first pancake will always turn out a little less than perfect. This does always seem to be the case with me. My first pancake tends to be a little dark or I get too eager and try to flip it too soon. So don’t panic if this happens to you because I’m sure the rest of the will turn out perfectly!

Makes approx 6 pancakes 

135g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
130ml semi skimmed milk 
1 large egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp melted butter (cooled slightly)
Zest of ½ lemon
100g blueberries

Spray oil 

  1.  Sift the flour, baking power, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl
  2. In a jug add the milk, egg, vanilla extract and lemon juice and whisk lightly before adding the melted butter and whisking again

  1. Pour the milk mix into the flour mix and whisk until you have a smooth batter
  2. Let the batter stand for a approximately 15 minutes
  3. Add the blueberries and gently stir to combine
  4. Put a large frying pan on a medium to low heat and spray with oil. Once the pan has heated up, add a large spoonful of the batter. Remember to not overcrowd the pan – two pancakes at a time is usually perfect

  1. Once bubble start to appear in the pancake they are ready to flip. Cook for a minute or so on the other side and then serve 

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Mexican Chorizo

Perfectly Spiced Mexican Chorizo served over scrambled eggs is the perfect way to start a day. Once you’ve eaten these you’ll struggle to have scrambled eggs alone again!

I have been a fan of Cool Chili Co ever since I first visited their stall in Borough Market. It is the only place I buy my Mexican spices and have been shopping there for years. 

So when Cool Chile Co sent me a couple of their new recipe kits I couldn’t wait to try them out! The kits come in a little ice cream style tub which includes the recipe with full instructions and all the spices you need to recreate the recipe. 

These kits are a great idea because you don’t have to worry about adding too much or too little of the spices. Also you don’t have to buy a whole pot of an ingredient you may only use every so often. Everyone knows a person that has found a jar of herbs or spices in the back of their cupboard that is about six years out of date!

I love chorizo, but I’d only had Spanish chorizo before. The difference between Spanish and Mexican chorizo that I can work out, is that Spanish chorizo is dried and cured and found with the ready-to-eat meat section of the supermarket. Mexican chorizo is spiced and ground and usually served fresh and raw with the rest of the uncooked meats. 

As I didn’t remember trying Mexican chorizo before, I was excited to try this. The recipe does take a little time to make. I must warn you, you can’t knock this up in the time it takes to cook the eggs. The good thing is that once you have made this, it makes eight portions so you can freeze the rest which makes it a lot quicker next time you want tasty Mexican Chorizo and scrambled eggs! You could also freeze the chorizo raw so you cook it once it has defrosted. But I decided to freeze it once it is cooked so I only need to heat it through once properly defrosted to make it even quicker. 

I incorporated two of the steps in the original recipe instructions. The instructions provided said to blend the chillies, then pass them through the sieve. Then to add this back to the food processor with the rest of the ingredients. When I tried to blend the chillies, it just chopped them up but I wasn’t anywhere near the consistency to be able to pass them through a sieve. So I added some of the soaking liquid along with the rest of the ingredients to get the paste like consistency I was looking for. 

I made this Mexican Chorizo using low fat pork mince because I always buy low fat mince whenever possible. It was only when I was looking at the recipe on the Cool Chile Co website that it said to use meat with 20% fat. When I next make this, I will definitely use the meat with a higher fat content because I think it will help keep the pork more juicy. 

Don’t be worried by the fact that there are quite a few chiles in this recipe, the finished Mexican Chorizo is quite mildly spiced so I think everyone will enjoy this.

You definitely don’t have to serve the Mexican Chorizo with corn tortillas, but they added another delicious flavour to the dish. 

Serves 8 

Ingredients 

20g sachet Mexican Chorizo Spice Mix
1 Chile Ancho
2 Chiles Guajillo
1 Chile de Árbol
500g minced pork or beef (20% fat)
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
50ml cider vinegar 
2 tbsp oil 

Instructions
  1. Wipe the dried chillies clean and remove any seeds and stems 
  2. Open the chillies out flat and briefly toast them in a dry pan on a medium heat until you can begin to smell them 

  1. Add the chillies to a bowl and soak them in just boiled water for 15 minutes 

  1. Remove the chillies from the liquid and add them to a small food processor. Keep the soaking liquid
  2. Blend the chillies with the sachet of Mexican spice mix, garlic, cider vinegar and 3-4 tbsp of the soaking water. You’re looking for a smooth paste like consistency 

  1. Push the blended mixture through a fine sieve

  1. Once cool, add to the meat and mix thoroughly 

  1. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the meat to the pan. Break it up using a wooden spoon and cook until it is browned and cooked through 

  1. Serve with scrambled eggs  

Disclosure: Cool Chile Co sent me this kit to review, no payment was received. All opinions are my own. 

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Mexican Eggs

Quick, really tasty and packed full of flavour. My Mexican Eggs are great for brunch, lunch or dinner and is one of my go-to quick meal favourites. 

This is the first recipe I think of making when Mr Curly is away and I’m cooking for one. That isn’t because he doesn’t like it, it’s because I think of it as a special treat just for me. You may think that sounds silly, but this is seriously good and you’ll understand once you’ve tried it.

I came up with this recipe when I was thinking of something I could cook for dinner one night when Mr Curly was out. The majority of the time, we eat together so meals are generally frozen in portions for two; whether that is a dish made and ready to reheat, or chicken breasts. Because of this, I tend to look in the fridge and see what I can make from what I have. 

These are all ingredients I more often than not have in my fridge and cupboard. I made it up as I went along and it turned out exactly as I wanted and I now make it every time Mr Curly is away. 

 
A great thing about this recipe is you can tweak it to your taste. If you don’t like your food very spicy, only add a small amount of chile; but if you like it with a bit of heat, add more. I have also used a selection of chile powders which I get from the Cool Chile Co, but if you do not have them, you can just use whichever chile powders you have in your cupboard. 

This recipe is delicious at any time of day and makes a great brunch, lunch or dinner dish. I love it as it is, but you can also eat it with a tortilla. I usually allow two eggs per person, but feel free to tweak this. For example you could reduce the potato and add another egg is you fancied. Obviously you can make this dish vegetarian by leaving out the chorizo, but you may need to add a little extra oil as you won’t have the oil from the chorizo. 

Serves 2

300g potatoes, diced
200g peppers, diced
130g chorizo, sliced 
4 large eggs
¼ – ½ tsp chile powder (I used a combination of ancho, chipotle and pasilla chile)
2 tsp sunflower oil 
½ tsp sea salt 
1 tbsp milk

  1. Clean the potatoes and dice them into roughly 2cm pieces – don’t worry about peeling them
  2. Boil them in salted water until they are just soft 
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, de-seed and dice the peppers into roughly the same size as the potatoes 
  4. Add 1 tsp oil to a large frying pan on a high heat and add the peppers. Cook until the peppers start to blacken

  1. Once the potatoes have softened drain them and add them to the peppers along with another tsp of oil 

  1. Reduce the temperature to medium high and allow the potatoes to crisp up
  2. Cook for around 10 minutes, stirring often to make sure one side doesn’t get too brown
  3. Peel the chorizo and cut into thin slices 
  4. Turn the pan down to a medium heat and add the chorizo. Let the chorizo crisp slightly but watch it because it can burn quickly 

  1. Crack the eggs in a jug or bowl and add the milk, salt and chile powders and whisk together
  2. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting and add the egg mixture. Make sure you scrape all of the chile powder out of the jug because it has a habit of sticking to the side 
  3. Cook for a minute stirring to keep the egg moving 

  1. As soon as the egg starts to come together and look like scrambled egg, turn off the heat and the heat left in the pan will continue cooking the egg 

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Potato & Egg Cakes

Crisp on the outside but fluffy in the center, these delicious little Potato & Egg Cakes are great as they are or served as part of a full breakfast. 

My Mum was definitely the cook in my house growing up making us all sorts of homemade meals which is where my love of cooking came from. But every once in a while, my Dad came up with a little gem. 

He didn’t cook very often, but as children always made the packed lunches for my sister and I. When he did cook though, he did like to have a little experiment. One of his go to recipes was cottage pie with the addition of baked beans which sounds pretty weird, but it was actually pretty tasty!

These Potato & Egg Cakes are another one of his creations, one that I have borrowed from him and make myself (I haven’t made the cottage pie with baked beans I’m afraid). He came up with the idea as a way of using up left over mashed potato when he lived by himself. I don’t know about you, but working out how many potatoes to peel to make the right amount of mashed potato isn’t as easy as it sounds! Because I would always rather have too much than too little and leave people hungry, I always seem to make a little bit too much. What better way to use up your leftover mash than turning it into a tasty brunch?! 

When I used to make these with Dad, we only added one egg and cooked it more as one large cake rather than the smaller ones. By using another egg, it helps bind the mixture better which makes it easier to make smaller cakes that don’t fall apart when you flip them. If you don’t leave them to cook for long enough on the first side, they may fall apart slightly when you do flip them over. This really isn’t a problem at all as it will still be tasty. 

Wherever possible, I like to get free range eggs from local farms because they always taste better in my opinion. My parent’s chickens aren’t laying eggs anymore so I do definitely miss my tasty egg supply. When I went on a girl’s weekend to the Cotswold’s recently, we went for a walk in the village we were staying in to search for the farm we were told sold eggs. We managed to find a little honesty box at the end of a drive and then realised we should have brought our own egg box! We must have looked a little bit strange walking long each carrying an egg back to the cottage! I used some of the delicious eggs to make these Potato & Egg Cakes when I got back home. 

I tend to eat these as they are but you could easily add them to a cooked breakfast; you may just want to make them a bit smaller. 

Serves 2 as a main breakfast 

400g mashed potato, cold
2 eggs
½ tsp salt
Pinch of pepper
2 tbsp sunflower oil 

  1. Take the leftover mashed potato out of the fridge and break it up a bit using a fork 

  1. Add the eggs, salt and pepper to the mashed potato and mix 

  1. Heat some of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat 
  2. Spoon a large spoonful of the mixture into the pan and allow to spread out until the ‘cake’ is the same thickness all over

  1. Allow to cook for around 4 minutes on each side until golden brown and then flip and cook for the same amount of time on the other side 
  2. Keep cooking until all of the mix is used up. Don’t overcrowd the pan, and add more oil as needed 
  3. Serve as they are or alongside some bacon or whatever takes your fancy!

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Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese Egg Custard Tarts)

All-butter puff pastry filled with deliciously rich egg custard flavoured with vanilla is my idea of heaven – I love these Pasteis de Nata!2015-03-21 15.01.03

I don’t like custard. Well I didn’t until I tried one of these! Rien’s Aunt made these at Christmas and I was reluctant to try one as I’ve never had custard and liked it before. I am incredibly glad I tried one, they were absolutely amazing. The pastry is flaky and buttery which goes perfectly with the creamy, thick egg custard.

I knew I wanted to make these for my Mum because she likes English egg custard tarts so these are perfect for her. I decided to make them for her birthday so I had a few months to wait before I made them! Since then, I have seen Patesis de Nata everywhere! They were featured in April’s issue of Good Food and were the cover recipe on Delicious. So by waiting and making these now I am right on trend!

Although both Good Food and Delicious featured a recipe, I knew I was going to use the recipe Rien’s Aunt, Carol, had given to me because I knew they were delicious. She found the recipe from the Guardian which was featured as Lucian Freud’s favourite breakfast dish. The recipe can be found here: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/oct/25/lucian-freud-custard-tarts-breakfast-champions.

This recipe featured a couple of firsts for me; all-butter puff pastry and vanilla pods. The all-butter puff pastry was a little bit harder to work with than usual puff pastry because it started to almost melt whilst working with it due to the high butter content. So try to handle it as little and quickly as possible. The vanilla pod added a fantastic flavour which couldn’t have been replaced with vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste and I was excited to finally use it.

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I went into making these having no idea what I was doing and only having a fairly brief recipe to guide me. A couple of times I had a few doubts and wondered whether they would turn out right. The main stage when I was a little worried was when I was pouring the custard into the pastry. On some of the tarts, the custard began seeping out so I thought these would not turn out very well. When I took them out of the oven though, I couldn’t even tell which had been the problem tarts!

One tip I would advise is when pouring, use a jug! When I was pouring the warmed cream into the egg yolks I thought it would be fine to pour from the pan – it wasn’t. If you’re anything like me, it will be far easier, and quicker, to use a jug whenever you’re pouring.

When the finished tarts first came out of the oven, they did look good but I remember thinking they didn’t look as good as Carol’s. I left them to cool and when I came back to them, the custard had settled and almost sunk down a little bit and I was very happy to see they did now look like Carol’s! So don’t panic if yours look slightly different when they first come out of the oven, they should settle and look amazing!

My Mum said these reminded her of when we were on holiday in Portugal and had Pasteis de Nata and that these were just as delicious. A couple of weeks before I made these, I went to Nandos with a friend and had one of their Pasteis de Nata. I am very pleased to say that these are far better than the ones in Nandos – don’t take my word for it, try them yourself!

If you manage to control yourself and not eat all twelve at once, store the in an airtight box. Heat them for approximately 20 seconds before you want to eat them, it definitely makes a difference and they will be as delicious as when they were warm from the oven.

rien

Makes 12
320g pre-rolled all-butter pastry
3 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
200ml single cream
250ml whole milk
½ vanilla pod
Spray oil for greasing
Icing sugar for dusting

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Grease a 12 hole muffin tray and put in the freezer
  2. Take the pre-rolled pastry straight from the fridge and dust with icing sugar. Roll along the longest side into a tight log and cut into 12 sections

2015-03-21 10.20.14

  1. Dust each section with icing sugar and roll flat until it is roughly 11cm across. Push each round into the muffin tray, it doesn’t have to be flat around the edges as they are meant to have folds in the pastry. Put the tray in the fridge

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  1. Whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar until creamy. Mix the cornflour with a splash of milk and then whisk into the egg yolks. This looks exactly like something we used to play with as a child, its a liquid until touched and then it turns solid. You’ll know what I mean when you get to this stage!
  2. Heat the cream and milk together in a pan along with half a vanilla pod with the seeds scraped out, until almost boiling

2015-03-21 11.06.47

  1. Remove from the heat and fish out the vanilla pod, then whisk slowly into the yolks
  2. Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat gently for three minutes, stirring continuously
  3. Pour into the pastry cases and bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden and dark spots appear on the custard

2015-03-21 11.20.52

  1. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin. Best eaten warm
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Thick & Fluffy American Pancakes

Thick & Fluffy American Pancakes are always the pancakes for me. Deliciously light & fluffy and fantastic accompanied with crispy bacon and maple syrup. These make the most amazing weekend brunch.  

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I first came across American pancakes when we went on a family holiday to America (obviously). Back then I don’t think it was very common for people to consider having bacon with pancakes as a lot of people associated pancakes with thin crepe style pancakes served with sweet toppings. I am a fan of a wafer thin crepe with lashings of Nutella but I think they are best left to the professionals. I had a lovely crepe when we went to Berlin last December for the Christmas Markets, they’re cooked in less than a minute and are delicious. Crepes are lovely for a treat, but I wouldn’t think of making them at home.

Since our first trip to America it has become a tradition in my family to have Light & Fluffy American Pancakes and bacon for breakfast on Christmas Day; after all Christmas is all about indulging! My Mum bought an American pancake maker which plugs in and can be put on the table so the pancakes can be cooked there and then without someone being stuck in the kitchen or the pancakes getting cold. She makes the batter up and can then cook six little pancakes at the same time.

I made these on pancake day which is the perfect excuse to have breakfast for dinner. This recipe is simple and makes lovely thick and fluffy pancakes.

135g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
130ml milk
1 large egg
2 tbsp butter, melted and allowed to cool slightly
spray oil

  1.  Sift the flour, baking power, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl
  2. In a jug add the milk and egg and whisk lightly before adding the melted butter and whisking again
  3. Pour the milk mix into the flour mix and whisk until you have a smooth batter. If you have any lumps, just keep whisking until they disappear
  4. Let the batter stand for a approximately 15 minutes

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  1. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and spray with oil. When the pan is hot, add a ladle of batter to the pan. If your pan is big enough you can add two at the same time. Don’t worry if the batter seems thick, it is meant to be. When the top of the pancake begins to form small bubbles, it is ready to flip onto the other side. In total it should cook for roughly a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown. You don’t want the heat to be too high or else the pancakes will brown on the outside but not be cooked in the middle

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  1. Keep going until you have used up all of the batter. The cooked pancakes can be kept warm in a low oven or under some kitchen paper

Chorizo & Egg Breakfast Burrito

If you’re looking for a delicious and filling brunch dish, my Chorizo & Egg Breakfast Burrito is for you. Packed with tasty vegetables, chorizo and a slight spice, this is the perfect way to start your day.    Breakfast in my house seems to be the least thought about meal. Although I do love a good breakfast, I seem to fall into the pattern of having the same things for, especially during the week when I’m at work. Sometimes at the weekend I do branch out and make a bacon sandwich, but this Chorizo & Egg Breakfast Burrito is definitely a treat. 

This isn’t a recipe I recommend making as a regular breakfast, but for a brunch dish every so often I do definitely recommend it! It takes a bit longer to make than a bacon sandwich, but in my opinion it is well worth it! This is why I suggest making it as a weekend brunch dish, after you have had a nice lie in or a lazy morning and then have the energy to potter around in the kitchen. This energy is what I lack early in the mornings!

This recipe is really adaptable. You can use as many different chile powders and as much of them as you like. I personally would keep it relatively mild as it is a breakfast/brunch dish and I do not fancy something really spicy in the morning; but feel free to increase the spice if you want. You can also add other ingredients that you like, for example onions and mushrooms. These would go really well with the other flavours. You could also add more eggs and less potato if you want the eggs to be more of a prominent ingredient.  

This burrito is very tasty and is a hearty meal so perfect for a lazy Sunday at home with a cup of coffee and catching up on the news. 

Updated 2018

Serves 2

2 large tortilla wraps
1 potato, diced (approx 300g)

1 large pepper, diced
4 eggs
150g chorizo, sliced
1 tbsp milk
½ tsp chilli powder 
¼ tsp sea 
salt
Twist of pepper
Spray oil
60g grated cheese

  1. Cut the potato into cubes keeping the skin on. Put in a pan of boiling salted water for 5 – 10 minutes or until just soft
  2. Meanwhile in a frying pan, heat the spray oil and add the chopped peppers. Cook for approximately 5 minutes on a medium high heat before adding the cooked potatoes. Cook for a further 10 minutes until coloured and crispy
  3. Cut the chorizo into slices and add to the pan and cook for 5 minutes until golden and crisp

  1. Mix the eggs in a bowl with the milk, chilli powder, salt and pepper

  1. Turn the pan down to a low heat and add the eggs. Keep stirring until the eggs cook which should be around one minute. Turn the heat off straight after the eggs are no longer liquid
  2. Lay a tortilla wrap on a board and then add the filling making sure you keep it in the centre and then add the grated cheese on top. Fold the left and right side of the tortilla in, then fold the bottom over the filling and tuck in. Roll until the seam is on the bottom

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