Posts Tagged ‘Breakfast’

Breakfast for guests

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

IMG_3175As I am sure regular readers will be aware, I love entertaining.  Houseguests are always fun and breakfast in the morning is often overlooked.  I can speak from my own experience that when I have been on the receiving end of hospitality sometimes breakfast is barely offered, or in one recent instance, forgotten all together.  I don’t wish to sound ungrateful, but by inviting/accepting houseguests you are agreeing to everything that this entails.

Although you needn’t offer a full, cooked breakfast every morning for guests (their waistlines may not thank you) having a selection of cereals, breads & bakery items, and perhaps some fresh eggs ready to be poached, scrambled, fried or boiled is a must.

We hear it said often enough, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Start your guests’ morning off on the right foot.  Or don’t bother having guests in the first place.

Here is what I consider essential for breakfasts with guests.

  • Tea & coffee – English breakfast tea is a safe bet if you need to pick just one tea to stock for the morning, and proper coffee for the cafetiere is far superior to instant muck!
  • Fruit juice – fresh orange juice is both healthy and adds a touch of colour to the table.  M&S Food do a very good organic one.
  • Milk – in a nice jug on the table for use in the drinks and poured onto the cereal.  My jug is from The White Company and blends nicely with my china & silver.
  • Cereals – depending on what else you are offering, a choice of cereals is a must.  It is the most consumed breakfast food in the UK and for most of the world, too.  On the occasion these pictures were taken, I was producing a cooked breakfast shortly afterwards, so I opted to just put out the two most popular (Weetabix and granola).  If you have young children staying, a more child-friendly cereal may be a good idea, but check with parents first as some don’t like their offspring having sugar in the mornings.
  • Eggs – if you don’t know how to poach, boil, fry and scramble an egg then I suggest you learn before your guests show up at your door!  Some delicious honey-glazed bacon makes for a nice accompaniment when grilled (or fried for the less health conscious).
  • Bread – white and brown bread for toast is essential.
  • Bakery items – if you can rustle up a pain au chocolat (or buy them in!) then they always go down well with guests who like sweeter things in the early part of the day (like me!)
  • Jams – I adore Sainsbury’s rhubarb conserve, and marmalade of whatever variety is a good English must-have!
  • Sauces – if you are serving hot food, tomato ketchup or maybe HP/brown sauce is often requested by guests.  Bottles are fine now in informal settings (although glass ones, please).  For unattractive squeezy ones, decant them into a ramekin to serve.  TIP: Take the ketchup etc out of the fridge a few hours before breakfast (the night before, if needs be) so it’s not difficult to get out of the bottle.
  • Sugar – two varieties needed, one for tea & coffee (cubes), and sugar in a pourer for those who may wish to sweeten their Weetabix!
  • Fruit – there are some odd, health conscious people around who may just want to tuck into a Satsuma or a kiwi fruit in the morning.  A bowl of appealing, seasonal fruit to hand will look pretty on the side, even if not touched!
  • Yoghurt – guests from America & Canada are especially fond of a probiotic or something similar.

What do you like to put out for guests for breakfast?

Nancy Mitford, The Hilton, and Blueberries

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

I apologise now that this entry will not be all together that interesting as I have had quite a slow and leisurely week. Certainly the first half was un-eventful, except for going to a friend’s birthday at The Hilton in Manchester, which was most pleasant, partially because unlike a club, the music was not turned up to the highest possible setting, which made conversation much easier. I made my friend some blueberry muffins as her present – she has a penchant for my recipe, and I thought an edible present is much more exciting and novel (well, it is for me!) I hope she remembers to give me back my tins, though.

Blueberry muffins

A dozen blueberry muffins

Thursday saw me hand in my University report that I mentioned last week (had been finishing it off at the start of the week). I am glad it’s over. I used to find the whole U/Non-U debate that Professor Ross and Nancy Mitford started in the 1950s fascinating, but having spent time analysing and investigating it since late January, I never want to hear of it again!

Having handed in my report I then went off to BBC Manchester to record the first in a series of features, where I try to coach presenter Matt White (@mattyfwhite) in etiquette. Being the first one, I thought discussing introductions would be suitable – it’s the very first thing I teach people as it’s a logical place to begin. The feature was a pre-record and aired on Matt’s show the following evening. Hopefully the listeners enjoyed it. I now have to work out what we can talk about next – maybe some very basic table manners, perhaps?

I then had lunch with some friends to discuss the menu for an upcoming party I am hosting for Fuse FM (Manchester student radio).

Friday saw me make a carrot cake for my lovely web team, Page Play (@pageplay), who have recently re-designed my website – and I am very pleased with it. They all seemed to enjoy the cake (even though I ran out of muscavdo sugar half way through so it was 40g light, but it didn’t hamper the taste, mercifully).

Having made the 200 mile trip to Bristol from Manchester on Saturday afternoon, I had a spur of the moment idea to cook something in my mother’s kitchen. Blueberry Cream Tartlets were swiftly made after a trip to the shops. The recipe called for lemon curd, which I have made umpteen times before, but this time I failed miserably. Totally burned; looked like toffee. As it happens, only a tablespoon of curd was needed and after another dash to the shop to get some ready-made stuff, the tarts were produced.

Blueberry Cream Tartlets

Lunch with the family on Sunday and then in the evening I got all dolled up in the finest tweed, corduroy and suede to make my New Zealand TV debut (on TVNZ Breakfast). It was a basic interview about manners and was good fun. I had a camera crew (well, one person) of my own there doing a behind-the-scenes video for my website (coming soon) so I did the interview wearing two microphones, which looks odd but you wouldn’t notice it unless it was pointed out… which I’ve just done. Heigh ho. You can watch it here.

Talking to Paul Henry on TVNZ Breakfast

Back to Manchester on Monday ready for another week.