Read more from Gerald
“All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.” John Gunther, American journalist
I love breakfast. After all the fuss of waking up and getting up, showering and dressing, I find that sitting for a while, reading the paper, chatting to Donna, thinking of the day ahead and enjoying something nice to eat and drink is such a pleasurable start.
I like a simple breakfast most days, a bowl of rolled oats with hot or cold trim milk and some fruit. Other days I have wholemeal toast with Vegemite or cottage cheese but my absolute all-time favourite is grilled sourdough bread rubbed with garlic, covered with thinly sliced tomatoes, well-seasoned and drizzled with a tasty olive oil in a version of the Catalan classic Pa amb Tomàquet. With a fresh pot of coffee it is indeed jentacular heaven.
I am not against a cooked breakfast and the weekends may see me happily grilling bacon, poaching eggs or cooking black pudding with tomatoes and apple slices, especially on the barbecue in summer.
I don’t go out for breakfast very often but when I do, I like it to be the same kind of laid-back occasion that I enjoy at home. Good coffee and a fresh brioche in a café, just watching the world go by would be ideal but sadly the local café scene hasn’t really latched onto brioche for breakfast and when a plain unfilled croissant is available, the spell is broken by the café mantra, “Would you like me to warm that up for you?” Well-made and very fresh, a croissant doesn’t need warming up, least of all in a microwave. Another breakfast, sought for but never found except at home is good fresh baguette served with a selection of sliced delicatessen as well as a choice of preserves, as in Holland and other European countries.
The sign “All Day Breakfast” outside a café fills me with dread for therein usually lurks the full, traditional, English, big boy’s, build-your-own, fry-up Brekkie, often complete with once-were-frozen hash browns and mystery-bag sausages, an essay writ in grease, without imagination; hardly a spark to light the day’s fuse. I’m not advocating a return to the small ale, pickled oysters, turkey pie and hashed mutton that Samuel Pepys thought made a good breakfast in the 1600’s but whatever happened to devilled kidneys, kedgeree, kippers, cutlets and the other delights hidden in the morning chafing dishes of Victorian and Edwardian society?
I would have loved those P. G. Wodehouse house parties with their leisurely breakfasts. Porridge, eaten standing of course, then something hot from the buffet followed by a choice of breads, toasted and in racks to be smothered in butter and thick-cut bitter marmalade; pots of coffee and tea made properly with tealeaves and, waiting to be read, an ironed copy of the morning newspaper…bliss, but too much for every day I suppose. I wonder what Jeeves would have to say about the breaking of one’s fast today, with breakfasts in a bar or tetra pack to be enjoyed on the bus or at the office. Hardly the respect one should show to the most important meal of the day. However…
6 trimmed lamb’s kidneys
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper or chili powder (more or less to taste)
1 tsp mustard powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Lea and Perrin’s Worcestershire Sauce
About "1" /"3" cup chicken stock
2 slices sourdough or other good bread, toasted
Halve the kidneys lengthwise keeping the kidney shape and remove the white fatty centre. In a bowl mix the flour, cayenne or chili, mustard, pepper and salt. Toss the kidneys in the mix and pat to remove excess.
Heat a frypan until very hot then add the butter. When it has melted and is hot, add the kidneys and cook them for about 2 minutes a side. Splash in a generous jolt or two of Worcestershire sauce, add the chicken stock and cook for a minute or so. Spoon the kidneys onto the toast, reduce the sauce a little and pour it over them… should give two people a splendid start to the day.