More Breakfasts with Friends
September 24, 2008
I try to drop a hint the night before that I can’t function – let alone hold a decent conversation – before a cup of tea. Or you can shout ‘mine’s with two sugars’ from your bed when your friend tiptoes past on the way to the loo. Actually way simpler (how come I haven’t thought of this before?) – and especially good if you’ve got a hangover and shouting would hurt your throbbing head too much – is just send a text (with all the requisite kisses and exclamation marks which are de rigeur in London at the moment).
This weekend I stayed at my friend J’s house. He’s a great cook and great on the tea front too. I get a cup which is virtually a bowl, full of builder’s brew, the moment I open my eyes. Uncanny that, just like Jeeves used to turn up with Bertie Wooster’s breakfast tray exactly ten minutes after he came to morning consciousness.
Then it’s either porridge or poached eggs. J’s porridge is the ultimate, made solely with milk and embellished with raisins, chopped banana and apple, Greek yogurt and brown sugar. So tasty you savour every last creamy mouthful and so filling you don’t need to eat again until – well until lunch.
But this weekend it was a poached egg occasion. As usual they were nests of golden runny perfection. J uses just-simmering water, adds salt to the water, but not vinegar as I was taught (I was also told you had to swirl the water, but in fact this means you end up with tendrils of slimy white).
The only poached eggs I can well manage are those my grandmother taught me to make, in buttered plastic compartments over a pan of water (see picture above). But J says these are buttered eggs, not poached at all, and he may be right.
J gave us three eggs and three slices of toast each. The culinary surprise here – for there always is one at a friend’s house – was that each egg was aflame with blood red drops of chilli sauce. Now I’m quite a chilli buff but chilli on my egg looked pretty testing; but one mouthful and I was hooked. Like the heat in a Bloody Mary, or those spicy morning-after potions that Jeeves presented to Wooster, it was the perfect pick-you-up.