Thursday, 24 September 2015

Breakfast at Breads Etcetera, London

I'd been wanting to try out Breads Etcetera in Clapham for quite some time. And while I only live a few tube stops away, unless I drag myself out of bed a stupid o'clock at the weekend, I've been told the queues for a table are round the block.

I managed to set aside a weekend morning with a couple of friends a few weeks ago and got a table no problem. But due to its popularity combined with the fact each table has its own toaster to grill its delicious hangover curing sourdough, I thought Breads Etcetera was going to be very self aware and a tad hipster chic.

I couldn't have been more wrong, this quaint bakery and cafe is cosy and welcoming with a lot of warmth coming from the wooden decor, friendly service and your personal toaster.

One table in the middle of the cafe is host to breads of all shapes and sizes with knives and shelves of condiments and preserves. For £6.50 you will become very familiar with this spread by choosing the 'DIY' option from the menu. Help yourself to as much bread as you can stomach and take it back to toast at your table.

But for a few pounds extra you can have a breakfast meal, such as baked eggs, smoked salmon, spinach and scrambled eggs, or bacon and mushrooms, which include the 'DIY' bread option. Obviously my friends and I chose the latter and stuffed ourselves silly due to the enormous portions.

You can easily have an enjoyable breakfast with the 'DIY' option, but if you want to try all the different types of bread AND eat your weight in eggs, prepare to suffer from what I called the 'bread sweats' afterwards. My stomach expanded and I regretted my pig-out for the rest of the day (not much new there). So I warn you, while the rye bread may be the most delicious you've ever tasted, three slices in order to slather it with the amazing home churned butter as well as ginger and raspberry preserves is probably not the wisest idea if you plan on doing anything productive for the rest of the day.

One slice too many? Avoid if you have a history of difficulties with all-you-can-eat buffets!

Definitely worth a visit if you're on good terms with carbs - avoid like the plague if you're gluten free or on a diet.

Breads Etcetera
127 Clapham High Street
020 7720 3601

Also serves sourdough pizzas in the evening.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Green spinach shakshuka for brunch

Taking inspiration from Ottolenghi's shakshuka which I attempted earlier this year, and crossing it with one of my favourite breakfasts - Florentine baked eggs - I recently came up with this recipe for green spinach shakshuka one weekend morning.

Perfect for a late brunch, my take on this North African dish is full of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours - zataar bought all the way back from Lebanon, Greek feta cheese, Moroccan spice mix, served alongside chorizo from Spain - yes I realise that last one is maybe an odd choice, but surprisingly the rich griddled sausage really brings this dish to life. Feel free to omit to keep this veggie-friendly.

Enjoy alfresco one weekend morning for a hearty brunch which will see you through until afternoon tea.

Green spinach shakshuka - serves two greedy people

Ready, set, cook

Powerful Zataar from Beirut

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

Fry two finely sliced spring onions in a pan with a knob of butter, then add five thinly sliced new potatoes (either boil beforehand and use canned to save time).

Once the potatoes have started to turn golden at the edges, add a tbsp of Zataar and cook for another minute. Layer the potatoes in the bottom of a dish and drizzle with a splash of olive oil.

Zataar fried potatoes

In another pan, fry half a finely sliced onion in a splash of olive oil and a knob of butter. Add a bag and a half of spinach and allow to wilt (you may have to add the spinach in batches, but it will soon wilt to a fraction of its original size).

Once wilted, add a tsp of paprika. I also had some Moroccan spice mix in my cupboard, but a dash of chili powder will do a similar job.

Pour out any excess water from the spinach mixture, add a quarter of a block of diced feta cheese and stir through until softened. Layer on top of the potatoes, making four wells as you go along.

Crack in four eggs. Cover in tin foil and cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes checking every now and again to ensure the eggs don't over cook.

When it's almost ready, heat up a griddle pan and fry slices of bread drizzled with a tiny amount of olive oil (I also fancied slices of chorizo for an extra kick). Keep turning the bread until nicely charred and serve alongside the spinach shakshuka.

This is the first time I've griddled my bread to chargrill toast and I'm very impressed with the results. Aesthetically it looks so much better than bread popped in a toaster with its attractive, harsh blackened lines, but this chargrill also gives the bread a smoky flavour without actually tasting like you've burnt your toast - which is always a disappointing realisation.

Enjoy x

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Mug of the Month: Cymru am byth

I can't seem to go to Wales without dedicating a Mug of the Month to my homeland and not to mention it's all about Wales for me when it comes to the Rugby World Cup this autumn. And these mugs from Moorland Pottery are just so damn cute!

Here are some more snaps from my Welsh Bank Holiday weekend:

A photo posted by Caroline Baldwin (@breakfastatcarolines) on

A photo posted by Caroline Baldwin (@breakfastatcarolines) on

A photo posted by Caroline Baldwin (@breakfastatcarolines) on

A photo posted by Caroline Baldwin (@breakfastatcarolines) on

Monday, 7 September 2015

Breakfast at Ozone, London

Ozone is one of my utter favourite breakfast spots in East London. I've been meaning to write this post for over a year, during that time I've visited many times and instagrammed a fair few breakfasts. Trawling back through my photo library, I've pulled together all my photos to create this blog post.

Ozone Coffee Roasters, tucked away on Leonard Street, provides classic dishes alongside quality coffee, and the vibe is distinctly lacking in hipster, apart from the endless rows of beards and MacBooks lined up at the bar (we are in Shoreditch after all!)

But this is no Porridge or Cereal Killer Cafe, the brunch menu offers hearty meals including Baked Eggs, with Cheddar, Baked Beans and Sourdough (£8.50), alongside Portobello Mushrooms on Sourdough with Swiss Cheese, Basil and Creme Fraiche (£8.90). Their Eggs Benedict on Bubble and Squeak Cakes with Hollandaise (£10.50-includes a choice of protein in the form of smoked salmon, halloumi, pork belly or bacon), are pretty special too.

Eggs Benny like you've never eaten it before

Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon

Ozone's Eggs Florentine

Mushrooms on sourdough with swiss cheese - breakfast genius

Baked eggs with a twist of baked beans

The warehouse-feel to the venue gets extremely busy, but if you walk by the takeaway coffee counter, with its selection of cakes and patisseries, you can usually find a seat at the bar overlooking the kitchen so you can watch the chefs work their magic, spooning ladles of egg into smoking-hot pans, while you sip an extremely good latte.

After you've made your way through your breakfast, be sure to wander downstairs to checkout the on-site roastery which might tempt you to buy a bag of artisan beans. The founders are coffee connoisseurs, so you definitely don't want to miss out on these beans.

Ozone Coffee Roasters
11 Leonard Street
London EC2A 4AQ
(+44) 20 7490 1039

Now open for evening dining. Also offers barista training.