I was thinking what to have for breakfast on a Sunday morning a week or so ago and thought I would like something a little different from kippers and scrambled eggs (not that I bought any kippers that weekend) or an omelette or any of the other usual breakfast dishes so I did a little research and came across this recipe published online by Rika Livingstone in Posh Journal.
What struck me was the simplicity of the recipe, not least because I had all the ingredients and there are only four of them – baked beans, egg, grated cheddar cheese, and hot sauce. There is a fifth, optional, ingredient if you have it to hand – chives.
The addition of hot sauce in this dish makes it a slimmed down version of Huevos rancheros and the fact I have chosen a quasi-Mexican dish will come as a complete surprise especially to my friends Michelle and Joe and their daughters Olivia and Sophia who know all too well my trenchant views on Mexican food! I have never been a fan of Mexican cooking and developed my robust opinion after walking through a Mexican market in San Antonio, Texas, decades ago, where most of the food being cooked seemed to be nothing but chicken gizzards and other unmentionable and inedible parts of the bird. Having so said, I have modified my view slightly after nephew-in-law Paul introduced what seemed to me at least, a more modern approach to Mexican food when he managed a branch of Chiladas in Plano, Texas.
The sauce that Ms Livingstone mentions in her recipe is Louisiana Hot Sauce. I am not sure if this brand is readily available here in the UK but by good fortune and after a rummage in my kitchen cupboard I came across a bottle of Alvin’s Hot Sauce which was given to me by Natalie and Paul after their return from a holiday in Trinidad and it is this sauce I used.
Whereas Louisiana Hot Sauce is made with cayenne peppers (and made in Louisiana USA) Alvin’s Hot Sauce is made with “Fresh Scotch Bonnet Peppers” as the label proudly states – along with the fact that it is Island made in Trinidad and Tobago.
However don’t despair if you can’t get hold of either brands mentioned above because one that is readily available, at least in Waitrose, is the Encona brand West Indian Original Hot Pepper Sauce. If you are fussy about what type of peppers are used in your hot sauce Encona uses Scotch Bonnet peppers and Habanero peppers! And if you wish to make your beans and egg more exotic you could use Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce from Thailand which is made with birds-eye/Thai chillies
What you’ll need for one, two, three, four or more people is:
- Heinz baked beans – 200gr/7oz per person
- 1 egg per person
- Hot sauce to taste
- 40gr/1.5oz grated cheese per person
- Chopped chives – optional
What you’ll need to do:
- Heat the oven to 180C/350F.
- Divide baked beans between individual oven-proof dishes (I used a 10cm/4″ ramekin dish for one person).
- Stir in an amount of hot sauce into the beans. NB add sparingly at first and check before adding more if required.
- Add grated cheese on top of the beans.
- Add egg to the centre of each dish and finish off by adding a little more cheese over the egg.
- Place dishes on a baking tray and cook in the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes depending on how you like your eggs – softer or more set.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh chopped chives and serve with toasted bread on the side if you wish.
When my sisters and I were children we would visit our two aunts in Chester, Olwen and Morfydd. Aunty Morfydd was a very good cook and she would often prepare bulldogs for us. I don’t know why this sandwich got given the name of bulldog (perhaps my sisters know – I never thought to ask them) but it was Morfydd’s creation.
As we would visit in the afternoon it formed part of a high tea (not to be confused with afternoon tea) and our mother would make them for us for breakfast at home too.
It is, simply put, a toasted tomato sandwich however instead of buttering the inside the top piece of toast is buttered. Though this recipe is ever so easy to make my sisters, particularly Caroline, often ask me to make bulldogs for them – so too my niece Natalie.
What you’ll need for two to three people is:
- Olive oil
- One 400g tin of tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- 6-8 slices of white bread (white is best in my opinion)
What you’ll need to do:
- Heat a good slug of olive oil in a saucepan.
- When the oil has warmed up a bit put in the tomatoes. If you are using whole plum tomatoes break them up a bit with a wooden spoon.
- Cook the tomatoes over a medium to high heat for about 15 to 20 minutes. The idea is to cook the tomatoes to a nice pulp. But be warned – do not walk away and leave the tomatoes to their own devices because they will catch and burn. Keep an eye on them and stir regularly. You have arrived at the right consistency once the juice has evaporated and the resulting tomato sauce is glossy.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Once the tomatoes are cooked you can set them aside and keep the pan warm (on a hot plate if you have one) with lid on the saucepan whilst you make the toast.
Once you have your toast nice and golden remove from the toaster or grill and on one piece of toast spread a thin layer of tomato. Then place the second piece of toast on top and butter the top piece.
Slice in half and enjoy you bulldogs!
Cooking the tomatoes as described above also forms a basic tomato sauce for pasta. In fact if you look back at my Arrabbiata and Amatriciana recipes this the basic sauce.
Oh yes, if you have more people to feed, simply add more tins of tomatoes and have more slice of bread to hand. If you have left-over tomato sauce simply keep it in the fridge and use in the next days to make a pasta sauce of you choice.
Last Sunday I decided to put together a naughty fried breakfast from ingredients that I had in my freezer (a slice of haggis) and fridge (bacon and eggs). Not an every-day breakfast but delicious!
If you like haggis (which I do, naturally, otherwise it wouldn’t appear here) the only way you would most likely get it south of the Scottish border was in preparation for Burns Night (25th January) and in the traditional style of a rather large haggis – one to feed three or four people. That has all changed now because the canny haggis makers of Edinburgh, MacSween, have, for a while now, produced MacSween haggis-in-a-hurry which are two slices of haggis cleverly vacuum packed to be microwaved. And here is a handy tip. If you only want one portion, carefully cut the package in two with kitchen scissors – ensuring that both pockets remain sealed – then pop the one slice, not required, into the freezer for another time.
Vegetarian readers don’t despair! You can enjoy this dish too because MacSween make a vegetarian haggis as well as the traditional haggis. All you need do is swap the traditional for the vegetarian haggis and dump the bacon – simples!
Here in the UK you can buy MacSweens haggis in Sainsbury, Morrisons, Asda and Waitrose
What you’ll need for two is:
- 2 slices of white bread (brown is healthier, white is naughtiest and therefore more delicious!)
- Sunflower/vegetable oil for frying
- 1 pack of MacSween haggis in-a-hurry
- 4 rashers of bacon (I like smoked bacon)
- 2 eggs (if you have duck eggs even better!)
- Chopped chives – optional
What you’ll need to do:
- Heat a large frying pan, or if you have one, a large griddle pan and pour some oil into it. Fry the slices of bread until golden brown on both sides and keep warm.
- In another frying pan fry the bacon – or grill if you prefer.
- Transfer the bacon to a warm dish or plate, add more oil and fry your eggs. This way you’ll save on frying pans but if you have a devil-may-care attitude and own a brigade of frying pans, well, use a third!
- Remove the cardboard sleeve of the haggis and place package in the microwave and cook according to the timings on the packet
- Assemble breakfast with, first, the slice of fried bread, then the rashers of bacon, then a slice of haggis and top it with a fried egg.
- Sprinkle with chopped chives if you wish.