I read that one of the food trends for this year was going to be bigger breakfasts to make sure people got a better start to the day with a good feed of calories for all the energy there were going to burn at their desks. We do of course wake up hungry as the name suggests in the breaking of our overnight fast and in Ireland we certainly replenish ourselves with our nutritious plate of a fried breakfast along with all the rest of it. Some visitors to here cannot get out of their chairs after being force fed a day’s worth of calories. So Ireland is definitely on trend.
As a child I have memories of my uncle cooking up additional slabs of steak, liver and kidneys to the already overflowing Irish breakfast plates of sausages, egg, bacon, tomato, onions, black and white pudding. On the continent it is not the same at all with the French joking that it’s just a coffee, croissant and a cigarette is all that’s needed to turbo charge them into the day. The Spanish will throw in some cured meat and cheese with their fritters and hot chocolate and stateside you will have pancakes, waffles and a McMuffin.
One thing that is more common now is cereal and in olden days it was just a good bowl of wholesome porridge that was a meal in itself. My mother would throw an egg yolk and some butter into each bowl as well when I was young. If there was only to be one breakfast cereal in the world then it has to be porridge but sadly it is no longer as popular.
Ready to eat dried cereals all came about simply because a one time student, vegetarian by religion had no cooking facilities in his digs while away from home at college. This young student was an American medic called Kellogg at the end of the 19th century and thanks to him the corn flake was born there along with shredded wheat and granola to be followed by a long line of other commercial cereal concoctions that have dominated the breakfast table ever since. Some of these are actually good for you when they have a bran and fibre base but most of them especially the ones aimed at the kids market are really not worth eating. Muesli and granola are much more beneficial with all the goodness they contain.
Now seafood also works great for breakfast. Kippers or smoked herring are superb and the Asian Indians brought us Kedgeree the flaked up fish, rice and spice dish that can be eaten hot or cold. Smoked salmon and scrambled egg is delicious and eggs will always be the perfect breakfast ingredient no matter how you like them. If you have your own organic hens then a fresh egg just laid cannot be beaten for taste and goodness.
Bread is essential and soda bread is a as good as it gets especially now when there are seeds and nuts in the recipes so it packs a powerful nutritious punch. Toast is the traditional breakfast bread but it has to be made with real bread and not the commercial sliced pans that we all know in food world are almost fake bread.
Go for an artisan sour dough or a continental style crusty loaf that has a bit of body to it and is made the traditional way. It costs more but it is so well worth it. For butter use the real thing and dump all those artificial spreads. Spend the extra couple of quid on proper honey and jam and not the sugared syrups and coloured jellies masquerading as them. If you are a coffee drinker then avoid the instant and for tea nothing beats making it with real leaves. Fruit juices need to be freshly squeezed if possible otherwise make sure they are not from concentrates or better again a bowl of freshly cut up fruit is the best as your metabolism gets a true workout breaking them down. After all that there will be no stopping you moving mountains in your day.