Beet and chard brunch hash

Beet and chard brunch hash 

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Well, I made a hash out of this one. I know potato hash is meant to be a bit more- well- separate- but I made this before drinking a first coffee and it took me about twice as long to work out where I last put the matches to light the candles let alone consider that hash potatoes don't need to be cooked to mash-point. But once I realised my mistake, I also remembered what a mess most breakfasts look like really- scrambled eggs- beans everywhere- so I think maybe it's a thing to embrace pre-coffee. This hash is therefore what I'm going to call a hybrid between a regular potato hash and bubble and squeak, both splendid brunches in themselves, and with the beetroot, you just get this brilliant earthy flavour that is so moreish and perfect for digging in to after just waking up. This is the breakfast to cook in your PJs.

I got the inspiration for this recipe funnily enough from an article called 'The 10 best egg recipes' from the Guardian. It's by Allegra McEvedy, who is one of my favourite go-to chefs. She just knows how to get the best out of vegetables and fresh produce like no-one else I've come across.

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Obviously there's not much from her recipe that features in this one apart from the beetroot,  but it was a great starting point for this brunch. Instead of salt beef and egg, I chose rainbow chard and carrot to add some other flavours to this hash. Then, maybe it's my Polish roots as ever coming through, but I just cannot think of two ingredients like beetroot and mustard without adding gherkins, or ogorki as we call them at home. The tang of the orgorki and mustard just tastes brilliant against the blunt earthiness of the beetroot, and it picks out the carrot and onion too. If the thought of a pile of pickled cucumbers is a bit too much for you at breakfast then to be quite frank you're not doing it right, but yeah leave them out if you insist. 

 

Makes enough for 2 hungry people

Ingredients

4-5 medium sized raw beetroots, peeled and cut in to cubes

Salt 

500g potatoes, peeled and cut in to cubes

1 large carrot, peeled and cut down small

Olive oil

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1 tsp chili powder

1 onion, cut down small

100g rainbow chard, cut into chiffonade strips and discarding the bottom inch of the stalk as this tastes really bitter

 

To garnish

Gherkins, sliced in to matchstick strips

1 tsp English mustard per person

 

Add slices of ciabatta or whatever bread you have in and toast on a griddle pan with olive oil.

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If you're using raw beetroot, start by putting the beetroot cubes on to boil with some salt. Next put the potatoes and carrots on to par-boil. If you're using cooked beetroot, chop as directed but save until just adding them to the frying pan later in the recipe.

While everything is cooking away, gently heat some olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan, add in salt and pepper and chili powder, and then the chopped onion. Saute the onion on a really low heat for about 5 minutes, making sure it doesn't catch on the heat or turn a darker shade than golden brown. This will form the base flavour of the hash so it's important to give it time to soften and sweeten. 

After about 15 minutes, the potatoes and carrots should be virtually cooked through, so drain and add to the onions with a good glug of olive oil and some more seasoning if you think it needs it. Once the potatoes and carrots have mixed in with the onion, add the chard and mix together, and finally drain and add the beetroot. Try not to stir the beetroot around too much as it will make everything turn pink, and instead just let it fry in the pan and heat through. 

Plate up with toasted bread, and finish with the gherkins and a good dollop of English mustard. 

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Rainbow rösti

Rainbow rösti 

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These rösti came about in the same way most of my brunch and breakfast recipes come to life: what can I make without having to step outside my front door. Maybe that's how the Full English Breakfast came to be. In any case, these Swiss potato cakes are fuss-free, super easy for a morning recipe and any leftovers work really well for lunch or even dinner as an alternative to a vegetable burger. But breakfast is where they work best. 

We didn't have any spinach- the traditional accompaniment- so I added cavolo nero on the side with these. They're pretty stodgy so are a perfect match for an endless supply of tea and last night's debriefs, the two main requirements for any weekend breakfast.

n.b. As you'll see in the photos I chose to keep the purple and orange carrots separate from the potatoes until the last minute so the entire mixture didn't take on a purple colour. They don't dye things as fast as beetroot, but the potato cakes will look a lot more appetising with flecks of purple as opposed to an overwhelming pink colour!

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Makes enough for four

Ingredients

2 onions, chopped down small

2 garlic cloves

3-4 medium potatoes, peeled

Half a courgette

Handful of carrot tops or parsley, finely chopped

Selection of different coloured carrots, about 200g worth 

Salt, pepper

1 cup plain flour, plus about 1/2 a cup more for shaping

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp paprika (optional, for extra flavour) 

Vegetable oil

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Place the onions and garlic in a large mixing bowl before grating in the potato. Add the courgette and carrot tops or parsley. In two other bowls, grate in the carrots.

Once everything is grated up, add in to the mixing bowl with a good pinch of salt and pepper, and sift in the cup of flour, then add the baking powder and paprika if using. You may want to add more salt if you prefer, as the flour will add a bit of a bitter edge to the mix. Stir well so all the onion and garlic is even distributed and there are no clumps of potato.

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You should now have a consistency like coleslaw. It's tempting to add lots of flour but the mix should be fine with the amount here- anymore and it takes over the flavour of the cakes.  

Gently shape a rösti with floured hands so it is about 5cm across. These are better kept small so they cook quicker, and done one at a time for the frying pan so they don't have to be moved about too much.

Heat a pan with oil and once the oil is sizzling, add in the cakes. I found doing two at a time the easiest way. Once you can no longer see the flour on the up-side of the cake, it's time to turn them over. I like to pop the done-ones in a pre-heated oven so they stay warm while the rest are being made and any slightly-underdone ones get heated properly.

Once they are all cooked through, plate up with some cavolo nero or spinach and plenty of tea.  Oh, and, as with the best of breakfasts, these are brilliant with ketchup or brown sauce, too.

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Bubble and squeak with roasted fig and pear brunch salad

Bubble and squeak with roasted fig and pear brunch salad

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Bubble and squeak is my F A V O U R I T E thing to eat on a Saturday morning. If I'm hungover I eat it with bread, if I'm feeling anything better than death it tastes great alongside a pseudo salad like this one- I love the sweetness of the pears with the potato and onion and cabbage.  

This recipe is also totally gluten free so should work with most combinations of friends! Don't worry about the cabbage or the onion burning a little at the edges-  that's where the squeak comes in and it tastes even better with a little paprika to give any burnt bits a bit of smoky flavour.

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For the roasted fig and pear salad... 

Makes enough for four as a side dish

Ingredients

4 ripe figs chopped into slices

Olive oil

Salad leaves

1 ripe pear

Sunflower seeds (optional) 

Seasoning

1 tsp pomegranate molasses (also optional) 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Chop the figs in to quarters and pop into an oven-proof dish with a little olive oil, and once the oven in ready, roast for about 5-8 minutes, just so they cook through and the flesh goes a little darker.

Add salad leaves, pear slices and sunflower seeds in a dish, with the figs on top and some seasoning to taste- drizzle on the pomegranate molasses if you have it, or a little agave syrup could also work well.

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For the bubble and squeak... 

Makes a good amount for two, or enough with other dishes for 3-4.

Ingredients

5-6 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped in quarters

Salt, pepper

50-100ml of chili oil (depending on your own taste)

1 chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, chopped

Around 200g cabbage leaves, cut into strips with any thick stalk removed

Put the chopped potatoes in a large pan of boiling water with some salt and allow to cook through with a lid on top.

Heat some of the chili oil in a medium frying pan (You'll be cooking the whole thing in this so it needs to have a large enough bottom to cook evenly, but- not a wok or anything too big that won't be able to keep together when you turn it over). Sweat the onions and garlic in the pan until they begin to go translucent and season to get the salt and pepper flavouring the dish. After around 3 minutes of frying, add the cabbage and spread it out over the pan and let it cook. Sprinkle over a little paprika and a bit more oil if needed.

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Once the potato is cooked, drain and mash, then add some oil and paprika also, and mix through. Add some seasoning to taste, keeping in mind the seasoning you've already added to the cabbage and onion. Then begin to spoon into the frying pan, packing it in as you go, so that it is eventually smooth on top and firm.

Allow to sizzle away for about five to eight minutes- then turn off the heat and place a plate over the frying pan. Flip the whole thing over so the plate is now on the bottom, and gently nudge the bubble and squeak out of the frying pan (this takes some guts but just go for it, it doesn't need to look perfect). Hopefully the cabbage and onion have meant everything has stuck together, so slide it back into the pan on the un-fried side and cook for another five minutes.

Serve straight from the pan and add the salad at the side.

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