Thursday, December 23, 2010

The big breakfast

A proper English breakfast
When we were hiking from inn to inn in the Lake District in the early '90s, one of our joys each morning was watching a goofy morning British TV show, "The Big Breakfast," where one of the gimmicks was that the crew would arrive at a home, clean the house and prepare a proper English breakfast for the inhabitants, then clean up. Of course, they came unannounced, so the people were often in their bathrobes, curlers in their hair, etc. Sometimes the crew even brought a brass band for entertainment.

But to me, the big English breakfast was entertainment in itself. The American breakfast - bacon or sausage, eggs, hashbrowns and toast - pales in comparison.

This morning, I attempted a variation on the English breakfast. I started with turkey sausage crumbles, heating them until hot in a skillet, then adding two farm-fresh eggs, a little salt and pepper, then scrambling them until just done. I kept those warm while I browned the ripe tomatoes, halved and cut side down. Meanwhile, I sliced a couple of pieces of coffee cake, and topped them with a fresh currant sauce (recipe below). It was a very hardy and pretty breakfast.

Fresh Red Currant Sauce
Makes about a half cup

I had never seen fresh currents, only dried, so when I came across them at the grocery store, I had to try them. By themselves, they are almost as tart as cranberries.

4 ounces fresh red currants
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons sugar (approximately)

Wash and pull stems off currants. Put them in an ovenproof French canning jar, the ones that look like wide glasses with orange plastic lids.  I added one tablespoon of water and one tablespoon of sugar and microwaved them until the mixture boiled to the top of the jar. I removed the jar from the 'wave, tasted, and added another tablespoon of sugar. I again brought the mixture to a boil, and tasted again. This time it was just right for my taste; you may want yours sweeter, but the tarter sauce tastes nice when paired with a rich, sweet dessert.