I’ve just been listening to a programme all about breakfasts that was broadcast on Radio 4, and it gave me some food for thought, as it were. In the first week of my vegan journey, I was very happy to have fruit for breakfast. The change in my diet meant that I wasn’t particularly hungry when I woke up, and I didn’t see the sense in eating lots when I didn’t feel like it. That said, I still believe it’s important to eat something, because otherwise I lose concentration and don’t work as effectively, so a few days I had things like banana with agave and walnuts, or just plain fruit salad.
I love breakfast. When I wake up in the morning I always think straight away about food, and sometimes I even go to bed the night before thinking about it. If a restaurant serves an ‘all day breakfast’ option, I’ll go for it. BREAKFAST IS AMAZING. But I’ve been spoilt – having spent a lot of time in St Ives, Cornwall, I’ve been treated to some extraordinary veggie breakfasts, all eaten while looking out at the sea. One particular place, the Porthmeor Cafe, really opened my mind to different options for fry ups, including butternut squash, asparagus, and sweetly roasted cherry tomatoes.
Vegetarian fry ups have always disappointed me when I’ve eaten them out, because I make some amazing ones for myself at home. But claggy eggs, cold toast,rock solid hash browns, rubbery mushrooms, stale baked beans and feeble veggie sausages are often the order of the day. Oh – then thin tasting tea with an oily sheen on the top…Mmmm. I set out to create a new kind of vegan fry-up, isolating my favourite flavours and textures. It’s not a classic English breakfast, but I personally find it a lot more pleasing. I also find it sets me up brilliantly for the day – using avocado and sweet potato keep me fuller for longer. I’m just going to list some different components below and you can mix and match! I haven’t done full recipes for each, because I know you’re all clever and you don’t need that These are just ideas to spark your imagination.
- Depending on what I’m having with the rest of my fry up, I usually keep the avocado quite simple. If the avocado is good, I’ll have it plain.
- If it needs a little help from its friends, then a dash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
- You could try a squeeze of lime or lemon, or smash it into a chunky mousse along with cayenne pepper.
- You can even make it smooth like in my avocado spaghetti recipe. The avocado will provide the creaminess that an egg would add to your fry up, and I was surprised at how much the texture satisfied me.
Baked sweet potato
- I love sweet potato, but once again, it’s one of those things that took me a while to come round to, but I’m pleased I did. Again, it depends on what you’re having with your fry up, because you might not want a very complex taste. To keep it simple, dice the potato, swoosh it (technical term) in about 1tbsp coconut oil or olive oil, and pop it in the oven for about half an hour, turning halfway through.
- I like to do mine with sage and garlic, and olive oil.
- I have a great recipe for sweet & spicy sweet potatoes which I’ll share with you soon, but get creative and use your favourite spices such as cinnamon, cloves, cayenne and nutmeg.
- OR, you could mash it! I went through a big phase years ago of having mashed sweet potato with a mini ciabatta on which I toasted cheese, and added truffle oil. Man, it was good. If you’re not vegan, try that!
- The simple the better with mushrooms, I find. A little oil and a clove of garlic is all you need.
- If you fancy you can add herbs, maybe some oregano if you like.
- Soy sauce or mushroom ketchup will add a very savoury dimension to this dish. Altogether now: UMAMI!
- Pop them in a roasting dish with a little olive oil and they should stay sweet.
- Fry them up alongside your mushroom and they’ll absorb the savoury flavour.
- Don’t even touch them and keep them raw and fresh.
- If you can get vine tomatoes, I like to keep the vines on and serve them like that, as I think they look pretty.
- If you really want to make it substantial, add a vegan burger. Again, I’ll have a proper recipe for you later in the week, but for now there are heaps of great ones on the net. I use kidney beans, red onions, mint, diced peppers and whatever else I can find, coat in some gluten-free flour and fry off in a pan.