A bizarre breakfast

Not going out to eat over the last three months has meant that I’ve had no meals or dishes to blog about. I have caught up with some recent meals, but have now been going back further into my photo library to see if there were dishes and meals that I may have not blogged about. One of these was a breakfast, which was not amazing!

In August of 2019 (only last year) we went to Brittany in France for our summer holiday. We took the ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg before driving down to a Eurocamp close to Dol-de-Bretagne.

Though the weather wasn’t that great, we did have a nice holiday.

We drove down to Portsmouth to catch the morning ferry. I hoped we could have breakfast at the port, but the process was very much queue up for passport control and then board the ship.

We were catching the fast ferry, the Normandie Express. It is a high-speed catamaran cruise ferry, owned and operated by Brittany Ferries.

The car deck was packed with cars and we scrambled through to the passenger deck.

Knowing that everyone was hungry we went straight to the café to get some breakfast and avoid any queuing or no seating.

I was anticipating something rather special, as I had seem this video on the Brittany Ferries website.

The menu looked a little bit strange, but I ordered some croissants, a few cooked breakfasts as well as some gluten free rolls. Oh and of course some coffee!

The breakfast looked like this!

There was some bacon, sausages, scrambled egg and bizarrely mashed potato!

It was an interesting experience, not one I would want to repeat. The sausages were fine, the egg was passable, however the mashed potato was just bizarre and the bacon did not taste like bacon.

The croissants were okay, fluffy and the French butter was very tasty. As for the gluten free rolls, well they were not very nice.

I think this could have been so much better and it was a bit of a flat start to our holiday. One of the reasons I wanted to go to France was for the food.

The breakfast was completely forgotten about though once we reached the open sea, as the water was very choppy and there were strong winds.

The day before the service had actually been cancelled due to the weather, and though the wind was not as strong as the day before, the waves were still there and it was a very rough crossing.

We had a lovely holiday and some great food. On the way back, we took a homemade packed lunch!

Gluten Free Breakfast Waffles

Breakfast Waffles

This is a quick and simple method to make puffy breakfast waffles.

I bought a special waffle frying pan from Aldi a few weeks back and it works really well for cooking breakfast waffles.

Waffle Pancake Pan

These ingredients should make three batches, so twenty one waffles in one cooking session.

I take a cup of self-raising gluten free flour, a cup of milk, one egg, a large spoon of sugar and some vanilla essence.

Whisk the ingredients together until you have a smooth batter. You may want to add extra milk if the batter is too thick.

Heat the pan on a moderate to low heat, you need these to cook through and not be overdone on the outside and sticky in the middle, You’re aiming for a puffy waffle with crisp(ish) outside.

I brushed the pan with some sunflower oil and pour Not too much) of the batter into the pan.

You have to take care to ensure that the pancakes cook all the way through, but isn’t overdone (or even burnt) on the surface. I do find turning them can be quite messy, so be careful. I use two breakfast spoons to turn them.

Serve with fresh fruit or maple syrup.

Time for some breakfast

So there I was at an event in London and needing to book a hotel for the night. Going through the booking system we use at work, there was a cheap hotel almost next door to the venue, well that made a lot of sense, so I booked it.

Well it was a very tired hotel, it was dated and in the end quite noisy as well. I did though have breakfast included.

The breakfast was limited in choice, but it wasn’t half bad.

breakfast

Well the coffee was plain awful, I wish I had tea, those knowing me, will realise that’s saying something. It should be said I rarely find outstanding coffee when I have breakfast in a hotel, but this was on another level entirely.

The breakfast itself was all hot (and you can’t always say that about the breakfast buffet at some hotels), the eggs were cooked perfectly to my liking, I liked the tomato and the sausages. I wasn’t too enamoured with the bacon, but it was okay. As for beans, I don’t really like beans, so won’t comment on that.

I enjoyed the toast and there was a good choice of jams.

Overall the hotel was somewhere I wouldn’t want to stay again. The breakfast though, wasn’t too bad for a hotel breakfast.

So what did you have for breakfast?

Since our London office moved to Fetter Lane and I have been working in London significantly more, I have been intrigued by the breakfasts on offer at the local eateries around the office.

One thing that I see a lot of is poached egg pots, this kind of breakfast dish is starting to take off in Bristol too. These pots usually consist of a poached egg and then some stuff.

I have to say that by the time I get to London I am not usually looking for breakfast and generally just go with a coffee.

The other day though I was somewhat peckish. I was tempted to visit Yolk, but there was a bit of a queue, so decided to try the poached egg pots from Coco di Mama. I went with the mushrooms and power beans.

Breakfast pot

The pot contains a big portion of mixed beans in a smokey tomato sauce topped with spinach, cooked mushrooms, lightly roasted cherry tomatoes, a poached egg and some greens which could be micro herbs.

It was certainly an interesting experience, the beans were tasty and had a kick to them, so much nicer than regular baked beans. The egg was nicely cooked. I did think the mushrooms were overcooked and be careful as the tomatoes were very hot (and I nearly burnt my mouth on them).

For a hot breakfast dish, I thought it was really nice, I thought the portion size was ideal, though the proportions were slightly out for me, too many beans. I think next time I might add an extra egg for a pound.

Morning muffin and a coffee

Coffee

Arriving early for a meeting after an early start, I decided to get a morning snack and coffee. I don’t do this very often, but my usual haunt would be Caffe Nero, with a Flat White and probably an almond croissant. This time though I chose Leon after having a nice lunch there the other week.

There was quite a wide choice for breakfast, as well as yoghurt and porridge, there were a range of poached egg pots, muffins and a breakfast box.

I went with a mushroom and egg muffin and a flat white.

The coffee was actually rather good, but I would have preferred to have it in a proper cup rather than a cardboard one.

The muffin contained roasted Portobello mushrooms, egg, spinach and the spicy Leon tomato ketchup. The mushrooms were rather nice, I think I would have preferred a soft poached egg over the one in the muffin, but that would have made it much messier to eat. I wasn’t a fan of the ketchup, but it was interesting.

It was a nice morning breakfast after an early start and a long journey.

Time for breakfast

breakfast at The Walton

I occasionally have to stay away as part of my job, and I find it surprising that I have become something of a breakfast snob when it comes to hotel breakfasts. I know that it is nice to have someone else make you breakfast.

A recent breakfast experience at the Holiday Inn Express was very disappointing, with minimal choice, not much different a previous experience a few years back. However recently I was able to repeat the breakfast experience at The Walton Hotel in Nottingham. I first stayed at The Walton back in 2016.

The Walton Hotel in Nottingham

This is a unique hotel experience and nothing like the bland chains that I usually find myself in. The quirky decor and furniture makes fort a very different hotel experience.

The Walton Hotel in Nottingham

Last time the breakfast was very quirky in its presentation.

breakfast at The Walton

This time I was expecting something different, as I had noticed that the dinner menu was radically different to what I had seen on my last visit. Last time I had a really nice pork done three ways. Looking back through the blog I realised I hadn’t blogged about that dish or the breakfast.

Pork done three ways

That pork dish was very clever and delicious, but as you can see it had quite a quirky presentation. I think I remember seeing a similar sounding lamb dish back then, so was looking forward to having that this time on my return visit. However looking over the menu it was apparent that they had changed chef and were going for “safe” options such as steak and chips, steak and ale pie, fish and chips, etc…

The new menu didn’t inspire mess so was expecting a more “traditional” breakfast. However this time the breakfast was similar, it was served on a plate, though the beans were still in a miniature saucepan.

breakfast at The Walton

The mushroom was full of flavour and well cooked, not broiled for ages as you find at a breakfast buffet. Likewise as it was cooked to order the bacon was very tasty and not dried out, the eggs were also similarly freshly cooked and still had runny yolks. I liked the beef tomato that came with the breakfast. The sausage was meaty and tasty. The breakfast came with some nice toasted bloomer bread and a cafetière of freshly brewed coffee.

These were high quality ingredients and were cooked well and tasted delicious.

Farina Pugliese for breakfast

One of the things I find continually disappointing about the bakery at my local Waitrose is how little freshly baked bread they have in stock. I initially thought this was because I went at the end of the day, but despite going at different times of day I find the shelves empty of bread. It’s not like that all the time, but I would say 90% of the time I visit, there is virtually no fresh bread.

On my most recent visit I wasn’t expecting to find any fresh bread, I hoped I would, but no there was only a few rolls. Well ni surprise there then. However I needed some bread for breakfast so off to the pre-packed stuff.

Looking over the selection I found Farina Pugliese toasting bread.

Farina Pugliese for breakfast

This Italian bread is made from durum wheat, giving it thick crust and a golden crumb.

The packaging says that the bread is for toasting and it does need toasting, otherwise it can be a bit dry.

Delicious toasted with butter.

What are you having for breakfast?

This morning I am thinking pancakes…

So what are you having for breakfast?

Nice video on what the rest of the world have for breakfast.

Hmmm, choices, wonder what’s in the fridge?

I would like a croissant please

Croissants

Without looking where do you think it costs more to buy a single croissant, Tesco or Marks and Spencers?

You know that by asking that very question that the answer has to be Marks and Spencers don’t you.

The other morning I was on my way into work when I stopped off to buy some skimmed milk for my coffee at work. I popped into the local Tesco Express (or are they called Tesco Metro) and picked up a two pint bottle. I looked at the date, it looked familiar and realised that the date was that day’s date. A quick check across the shelf, and all the other bottles had the same short date on them. So leaving the milk I decided to go somewhere else, I had been considering buying a croissant at 80 pence but thought not as I was in a bit of a hurry.

I walked down to Marks and Spencers to get my milk and was pleasantly surprised to see that their loose croissants were only 69 pence. They also looked a lot nicer and fresher than the ones from Tesco.

I was surprised as I wasn’t expecting Marks and Spencers to be cheaper, but was pleased that they were. Oh and before you ask the milk was the same price.

Morning Tea

Morning Tea

The last time I went to Betty’s Tearooms in York was in 1990, though since then I did visit their tearoom in Harrogate a couple of years ago and had a lovely pot of tea and cream scone.

Visiting York we decided to visit Betty’s in the blizzarding snow for a second breakfast. I was surprised by how busy it was at 10am in the morning, we had to queue!

We were given a lovely table next to the window from which we could watch people struggling in the wind and the snow.

It was early so alas the cake trolley wasn’t available and to be honest I don’t think I actually wanted a cake at that time of the morning, so went with the second breakfast.

We ordered the Breakfast Tea, and this is very nicely served with loose leaves, and so you have a tea strainer. I will say that I wasn’t a fan of the tea, though I finished the pot. I think the last time I had tea at Betty’s I had a different, much nicer tea. Personally it was a little too strong for me.

Alongside my tea I went with toasted pikelets, I don’t recall having them before, but the best way I can think of to describe them is they reminded me of a squashed crumpet, and they certainly tasted more of crumpet than pancake. In some areas of the world pikelets are more like pancakes, the ones from Yorkshire are more like crumpets.

Alongside the pikelets we had toast and crumpets. This was all served very posh like on cake stands.

It was a lovely second breakfast and with wonderful friendly service we all felt we had been really spoilt. Even though the place was really busy, we weren’t rushed and the whole affair was very relaxed. By the time we finished, the snow had gone and we were ready to continue with our day.