If like me you’re a child of the 80’s, you probably grew up in a world where there was no brunch. In fact, I remember the time I first became aware of its existence: circa 1990 over bacon, eggs and orange juice on a Sunday morning my mum said the word ‘brunch’ out loud, and we all looked up at her in shock.
“Brunch?” I asked.
“Yes” she said. “Brunch. A mix of breakfast and lunch”.
Mind boggled with hearing such a progressive word while watching Gordon the Gopher on Going Live!, I promptly forgot about the idea, reverting back to calling our weekend-mix-of-breakfast-and-lunch what it was: a ‘full english’ or ‘bacon sandwich’.
It was only when I moved to London back in 2007 and ate in cafes calling themselves organic that the fancier hollandaise-tinged notion of brunch returned to my conscience.
As a nation we’ve been pretty much obsessed with making brunch a thing over the last decade. Intrigued, I thought I’d do some digging, fully expecting it to have originated in the States (you can’t swing a hipster at the weekend in New York mid-morning without hitting someone enjoying a bellini – probably bottomless – and eggs).
But surprisingly, brunch is entirely British in origin, first appearing in print in an 1895 Hunter’s Weekly article. In “Brunch: A Plea” British author Guy Beringer suggested an alternative to the heavy, post-church Sunday meals in favour of lighter fare served late in the morning.
”Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting,” Beringer wrote. ”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
I’m in agreement: I’ve never known a bottomless brunch that hasn’t thoroughly blown away the cobwebs of the week. Though I wouldn’t recommend the bottomless Margarita as a choice, even if your brunch is Huevos Rancheros. It’s no fun to have a hangover at 5pm.
We go for a number of brunches in this house. The American-style pancakes are a firm favourite here, and you can’t go wrong with the classic British fry-up, generally using up whatever’s left in the fridge that week.
But as one who likes to try and steer clear of gluten where possible, the potato-based brunches are my go-to.
And that’s where this one comes in: the easy peasy Bubble and Squeak brunch, served with eggs and bacon (and a massive squidge of ketchup). Delicious!!
Once again I worked with Waitrose’s essential range – the Waitrose high quality at everyday price – to buy all the ingredients for this meal, dead easy as the spinach, kale and mashed potato were leftovers from our Easy Fish Pie made earlier on in the week. This made the meal incredibly frugal, too!
I always like to use streaky bacon in my brunch because of the crispy factor, and Waitrose’s essential free range eggs are right up our street, too.
Bubble and Squeak Brunch
Leftover mashed potato – 1 tbsp per person
1 handful of cooked greens per person (I used kale and spinach)
1 egg each
1. Begin by cooking your bacon. Pop in the oven at 200 degrees C for 10 minutes.
2. Then make your potato patties. Take your greens, chop and fry in a little butter if not already cooked.
3. Mix the greens in with your potato and form into patties. I like doing two small each but you could make one mega-patty, if you prefer. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.
4. Melt your butter in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and start cooking your patties until brown, about 5 mins on both side.
5. If there’s room, add your eggs to the pan when they’re nearing cooked. If not, remove your patties and cover in foil to keep warm while you cook your eggs in the same pan (it’s brunch: I’m not washing up).
6. Serve with the bacon and a massive dollop of ketchup.
This post was written in collaboration with Waitrose, but the recipe – and the appetite – is my own.