Having time for more than an unbuttered, half burnt piece of toast or a spoonful of soggy, cardboard flavoured cereal at breakfast time is my favourite thing in the whole wide world. The luxury of actually sitting down at the table, drinking orange juice in sips rather than student union style gulps, trying to do the crossword (and failing in my case; I once convinced myself that ‘four letter flightless bird’ was, obviously, a duck..) is what Bank Holidays are absolutely made for.
This Easter weekend, it was, of course, all about eggs. I know what you are thinking, and yes, chocolate for breakfast is technically OK at this time of year; but before the cocoa carnage that occurred after the Easter Eggs were hunted and de-foiled, the treats on our breakfast table were more of the yolk and white variety than Cadbury or Mars. It all started so well...
Eggs for breakfast is kind of an unspoken rule over this otherwise chocolate filled weekend; a symbol of rebirth (on a serious note) and as much an Easter staple as mince pies at Christmas or too much champagne at New Years (hopefully less seriously.) A leftover tradition that hails from the days when Lent was followed much more religiously than quitting Facebook or giving up the lift at work; the glut of eggs in the pantry after the 40 days and 40 nights of serious fasting (chickens have never been too good at reading ‘no need to lay’ memos, thus cramming the larder as Good Friday dawned) meant that boiled, fried or scrambled, they were the obvious choice on Easter morn.
This year, despite the fact that my army boyfriend was in Suffolk for the weekend, thus providing the perfect opportunity for an ‘Eggs and Soldiers’ post; it was the frying pan that got the brunt of the action. And with sunny-side up brightening the kitchen table in a way that the sun itself couldn’t quite muster; these fresh and spicy Mexican eggs with corn pancakes were a real winner. Crammed with fresh veg and herbs, fiery with chilli and paprika and sprinkled with zingy lime and coriander, they were the perfect contradiction to the early morning chocolate feast that is almost obligatory at this cocoa-loco time of year. Just what the Easter Bunny ordered; after all this might be the only meal that doesn’t involve cracking a chocolate egg for a while...
Mexican Fried Eggs with Corn and Jalapeño Pancakes
Crowned with smoky-sweet peppers and onions, delicately spiced with cumin seeds and paprika; the fluffy, jalapeño spiked pancakes are the perfect platform for the naughtiest of eggs. No poaching or egg white omelettes here (well, is there really much point after cramming your cheeks with chocolate bunnies?) serve this delicious take on my favourite Huevos Rancheros with bowls of sour cream, grated cheddar, chopped spring onions, sliced avocado and wedges of lime. Ramp up the spice with extra chilli for those with a fiery tooth (or a hangover) sprinkle over some fragrant coriander, cram the table with as many people as you can and get stuck in...
Smoky peppers and onions
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 pepper, sliced
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp tomato puree
Salt and pepper
Jalepeno and corn pancakes
1 green chilli, finely chopped
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten.
200 ml milk
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp melted butter, plus extra for cooking.
4-8 eggs, fried to your liking
To make the smoky peppers; first fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat in a little olive oil. When softened, add the cumin seeds, paprika, tomatoes and sliced peppers and fry for a further 5 minutes.
Add the vinegar, sugar, tomato puree and a splash of water, season well and leave to simmer over a low heat until thick and sticky.
Meanwhile, make the pancake batter. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre and whisk in the beaten eggs until you have a smooth paste.
Gradually add the milk, whisking all the time, until you have a thick batter. Stir in the chopped chillies and melted butter and leave to stand until ready to assemble your breakfast.
In a saucepan, heat a little butter or olive oil. Fry ladlefuls of the thick batter until bubbles begin to appear on the surface and the underside is lightly browned. Turn and fry for a few more minutes on the other side.
To assemble, top the pancakes with the peppers and onions, fried eggs and a sprinkle of coriander leaves. Serve with bowls sour cream, chopped spring onions, grated cheese, extra chillies, sliced avocados and get stuck in!