Weekends are bound to be weird for a while – but to keep them feeling as normal as possible, use the extra time indoors to enjoy a leisurely brunch. These recipes are just the ticket…
Bloody marys, shakshuka, coffee and more: brunch with friends is a regular source of joy for many of us, and there are few things more pleasurable than discovering tasty (and photogenic) experiences to share with our friends come the weekend. But right now, people across the UK are having to press pause on their usual weekend routines, and staying home under social distancing measures.
Fortunately, this doesn’t mean we can’t indulge in the pleasures of a lazy mid-morning meal. First of all, check if your go-to brunch spot is currently doing deliveries: there’s a strong chance your favourite local business could do with your support right now.
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Nothing doing? Whip up something almost as good at home. The Pickle House’s Spiced Tomato Mix makes for a seriously good virgin or bloody mary when poured over ice – no extra Worcester or Tabasco sauce required. Eggs Benedict your go-to? Jazz up your yolks with a generous sprinkling of Cornish Sea Salt Co’s Salt & Peppery, a special blend of sea salt, black and green peppercorns, red pepper and pimento.
If you’re craving a professional-grade caffeine hit, crack open a chilled can of Bottleshot Brew’s new Cold Brew Coffee. Stylist’s food editor Jenny Tregoning particularly rates the oat milk version, which she says is “almost chocolatey and very smooth – and not overpowering, considering it’s got two shots in it”.
But the most important aspect of brunch, of course, is the food. Below, you’ll find culinary inspiration in the form of three innovative brunch recipes, courtesy of Emily Elyse Miller, James Rich and the chefs from Dishoom. Happy feasting!
Emily Elyse Miller’s Israeli shakshuka
Emily Elyse Miller says: “A dish of baked eggs in tomato sauce is a popular breakfast dish in Israel. Meaning ‘all mixed up’, different versions of the dish exist across the Middle East, such as Yemeni shakshouka or Turkish menemen (scrambled eggs with tomato and peppers). Shakshuka can be served with other Israeli breakfast staples or enjoyed on its own with challah or pita.”
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium red or orange bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste (purée)
- 1 can (28 oz/565 g) crushed (finely chopped) tomatoes, with juices, or 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1⁄2 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon crushed chili flakes, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or 1 fresh chili, minced
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
For the eggs and serving:
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice · Salt, to taste
- 1⁄2 cup (75 g) crumbled feta cheese (optional)
- Chopped parsley leaves
Make the sauce:
In a 10-inch (25 cm) cast-iron skillet or frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the bell pepper and garlic, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pepper is soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste (purée) and stir to thoroughly combine.
Add the crushed (chopped) tomatoes with their juices, paprika, chili flakes, cumin, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir and reduce the heat to low. Cover and bring the tomato mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally to avoid burning, until the mixture has thickened, 15 minutes.
Cook the eggs:
With a wooden spoon, press 4 wells into the thickened tomato sauce. Crack an egg into each well and season with salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the egg whites have set, 7 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, stir the tahini, lemon juice, and water until thoroughly combined. The mixture will turn lighter in color and the texture should be silky smooth.
To serve, drizzle the tahini over the shakshuka and top with feta (if using) and parsley. Scoop out 2 eggs and sauce into each bowl. Serve warm.
Breakfast: The Cookbook by Emily Elyse Miller (£35, Phaidon) is out now
James Rich’s apple and banana bircher
James Rich says: “This is the perfect, no-hassle yet delicious and healthy breakfast that can be prepared overnight ready to grab and go. I love this made with coconut yoghurt but you can easily swap for your favourite alternative, and top with nutty apple granola and either apple and vanilla compôte or crab apple and blackberry jam.”
Preparation: 10 mins + overnight chilling
- 1 sharp, green eating (dessert) apple, such as Granny Smith, cored and grated (shredded)
- 50 g (2 oz/¼ cup) rolled oats
- 50 g (2 oz/heaped ⅓ cup) mixed seeds and nuts, toasted (hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds and pecans is my favourite combination)
- 100 g (3½ oz/scant ½ cup) coconut yoghurt
- 20 g (¾ oz) raspberries
- 20 g (¾ oz/scant ¼ cup) sultanas (golden raisins)
- 1 banana
Mix the apple, oats and half the seed and nut mix into the coconut yoghurt and refrigerate overnight.
Take the yoghurt and apple mix out of the refrigerator, stir in the raspberries and divide into two bowls or jam jars.
Top with the sultanas and the rest of the nuts and seeds, slice the banana over the top and you’re ready to go!
Apple: Recipes from the Orchard by James Rich (£20, Hardie Grant) is out now
Dishoom’s bacon naan roll
Dishoom says: “Our bacon naan roll has something of a cult following; it must surely be our signature breakfast dish. The freshly cooked naan is graced with a little cream cheese, tomato-chilli jam and fresh coriander, and wrapped around a few rashers of smoked streaky bacon. Make sure you prepare all the ingredients for the filling before the naan hits the pan.
Use good-quality flavoursome bacon – or sausages or eggs for the alternative fillings (see below). A combination of bacon or sausage with an egg makes a first-class filling.”
For the roll
1 quantity naan dough
For the filling
- 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
- 1 tsp full-fat cream cheese (Philadelphia)
- 8 coriander leaves
- A pinch of finely chopped green chilli (optional)
- 1 tsp tomato-chilli jam (page 59), plus extra for dipping
Follow the naan recipe up to and including the stage where you roll out the dough (as for step 5, page 364). (If you’re making more than one naan roll, roll out as many naans as you need, keeping them on the oiled surface while you roll the others.)
Grill or fry the bacon until the fat is nicely crisped.
Cook the naans (following steps 6, 7 and 8, page 365).
To assemble, spread the cream cheese across the cooked naan and top with coriander leaves. Add the cooked bacon rashers and scatter over the chopped green chilli, if using.
Drizzle with tomato-chilli jam, fold the naan in half to enclose the filling and eat immediately, with extra tomato-chilli jam on the side for dipping.
Sausage naan roll: Prepare as above but for the filling, instead of bacon, grill or fry 2 good-quality sausages until nicely sizzled and cooked through, then slice them in half lengthways. Assemble as above.
Egg naan roll: Prepare as above but for the filling, instead of bacon, fry 2 free-range eggs in a little oil until the white is cooked and the yolks still runny. Assemble as above.
Dishoom says: “At Dishoom, every naan is baked by hand, to order. And the truth is, unless you have a tandoor oven to hand, making naan at home will not be easy. The temperature in a tandoor can reach almost 500°C, twice what can be achieved in a domestic oven. These instructions, however, will allow you to give home-made naans a go. They won’t be as soft and fluffy as tandoor naans, but they’ll still be gratifying. If you have a ceramic barbecue and a pizza stone, you can use them to bake your naan – just make sure the barbecue is as hot as it can (safely) be.
The dough can be prepared in advance, but must be stored in the fridge and allowed to return to room temperature before cooking. Naans take a little effort to knead and some time to rest, but then cook in under a minute. You will need a large heavy-based frying pan that is suitable to use under the grill. Naan goes well with all kinds of grills, curries and salads. It is also used to make our bacon naan roll and variations.”
- 560g maida flour, plus extra for dusting
- 10g fine sea salt
- 5g baking powder
- 8g caster sugar
- 150ml milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for oiling
- Melted butter, for brushing
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
Put the baking powder, sugar, milk, 135ml water and the egg into a large jug and whisk to combine. Pour into the well in the flour mixture and gradually draw in the flour with a round-bladed knife. Then knead with your hands to a soft, smooth dough; this should take about 5 minutes. The dough will be quite soft and slightly sticky as you knead it, so you may want to dust your hands with a little flour before you begin. Set the dough aside to rest for 10 minutes.
Trickle the 1 tbsp oil over the surface of the dough, then knead aggressively for 30 seconds, thoroughly squashing the oil into the dough. Bring the dough back to a neat, smooth ball and place in a clean bowl. Drape a clean, damp tea towel gently over the surface of the dough and leave to rest for 2 hours.
When the resting time is up, take a 70g piece of dough, roll it into a neat ball and place on an oiled baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough, then cover with cling film and leave to rest for a further 30 minutes.
Lightly oil an area of clean work surface. Take a ball of dough and flatten it into a round on the oiled surface, then roll into an oval, about 2mm thick, using oil rather than flour to prevent sticking, if necessary. Allow the naan to rest for 1 minute.
When you are ready to cook the naan, turn the grill to its highest setting. Position the grill rack so that your frying pan will be close to the heat source, but not so close that the dough touches it when it puffs up. Have a clean tea towel ready to one side. Heat a large heavybased frying pan (suitable to use under the grill) over your highest heat on the hob, as hot as it will go.
Lay the naan in the hot pan. Count to 20, then place the pan under the grill. The naan should puff up and brown in patches in about 30 seconds. Be vigilant: you should let it colour a little, but remove it from the pan before it becomes crispy. When you remove the naan from the pan, wrap it in the tea towel, so that it softens in its own steam for a minute or so before serving.
Place the empty pan back over the hot hob to reheat for the next naan. Continue until you’ve cooked all the naan. Brush with melted butter and serve while still warm.
Note: To store cooked naans, leave to cool in the tea towel, then keep in an airtight plastic bag for up to 2 days. To reheat, rub them with wet hands to moisten slightly, then place in the toaster or under a grill for a couple of minutes.
Crispy sesame & onion seed naan: Roll the dough as thinly as possible. Top each rolled naan with 1 tsp black sesame seeds and ½ tsp onion seeds, pressing them in with your fingers. Cook for a little longer than above, until crispy.
Garlic naan: Roll the dough into rounds. Sprinkle each with ½ tsp finely chopped garlic and 1 tsp finely chopped coriander leaves, pressing them in with your fingers. Cook and serve as above.
Cheese naan: For each naan, you will need 15g grated cheddar, ½ tsp finely chopped green chilli and 1 tsp finely chopped spring onion. Mix together in a bowl. Take a ball of dough in the palm of your hand. Using your other hand, flatten the dough into a disc. Pinch the edges, using your forefinger and thumb, to create a well in the centre surrounded by slightly thinner edges. Press the cheese filling into the well and crimp the edges of the dough together around the filling to seal it in, then carefully work back into a ball shape. Leave to rest for 5 minutes. Roll the stuffed dough ball into a round flatbread, 3–4mm thick. Cook as above, but allow about twice as long under the grill; the naan should still puff up, even with the filling inside. Wrap in a clean tea towel for 1 minute before serving.
Copyright © Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar & Naved Nasir 2019
Dishoom: From Bombay with Love by Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar & Naved Nasir (£26, Bloomsbury) is out now
Photography: Haarala Hamilton; Jacqui Melville
Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.