Breakfast is often just that - a break to the fast of the night, squeezed into the gap between bathroom and hair drier before work. It's usually a monastic bowl of hearty muesli for me, or maybe some heartwarming porridge if it's chilly outside. Not something to linger over.
Brunch, however, is something else entirely. I was blown away by the droolworthy selection on offer at John Torrode's Luxe restaurant yesterday. My eggs Benedict was a plateful of brunchy joy, perfectly poached eggs under a decent blanket of smooth hollandaise. Not the indecent drenching that I would usually give myself at home, but then I didn't have to waddle out of the restaurant either, so all the better for it.
In the spirit of Luxe, I giving my brunches the attention they deserve, starting with some tweaks to an old favourite.
PARMESAN AND CHEDDAR FRENCH TOAST WITH GREEN CHILLI SALSA
Serves 2 greedy brunchers
~for the French toast
100ml whole milk
40g Parmesan, finely grated
30g mature cheddar, finely grated
a pinch of cayenne
a small pinch of salt
5 slices of day-old white bread
~for the tomato salsa
4 ripe tomatoes, chopped into 5mm dice
3 spring onions, finely chopped
2 mild green chillies, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp cider vinegar
1) Whisk together the eggs, milk, cheeses, cayenne and salt, then dip each slice of bread into the mixture, giving each one a good soaking.
2) Stir together all the salsa ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste, then warm through in a small pan.
3) To cook the French toast, melt a knob of the butter in a non-stick frying pan, then fry each slice over a medium heat until golden brown, flip and cook the other side. Serve with a dollop of the salsa.