Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easy Peasy Big Breakfast and Hangover Cure

photo by Romulo Yanes

Is there anything more warm-fuzzy-feeling inducing than a proper, hot breakfast that invariably incorporates the obligatory eggs and crispy bacon? And a big breakfast is the perfect cure after a big night, no? But unless you're happy to roll out of bed with the birds sporting your Sunday best headache, here is a recipe to get your hangover on the mend before you even hit the turps. When you wake from your medicinal purposes only alcohol induced coma, stumble out of bed, throw it in the oven and, well, you (and any other random people scattered over your lounge room) can thank me when you're able.

The Obligatory Egg: Cheese & Spinach Strata
(Nabbed then tweaked from Gourmet 2003)
Serves 6

250g frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed, and chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or 1/4 tsp freshly grated)
8 cups torn up bread
2 cups Gruyère, grated (you could get away with a sharp cheddar)
1 cup parmesan, finely grated
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Sweat off the onion and butter until soft, season with salt and pepper and the nutmeg. Stir in the spinach and set aside.

In a baking dish, layer one third of the bread, then a third of the spinach mixture, and one third of the cheese. Repeat this twice.

Whisk eggs, milk, mustard together and pour over the bread layers. Cover and chill over night or about 8 hours.

The next morning, stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, (you can take this time for some hair of the dog) and preheat oven to 180c. Bake uncovered until golden and cooked through, around 50 minutes (great time for a shower and to wait for the ceiling to stop spinning). Stand for 5 minutes before serving.

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If you're feeling particularly generous towards the people who will probably drain your drinks fridge tonight, you could try some of these tips for the other components of a big breaky too.

Crispy bacon - bake in the oven with the strata, on a wire rack over a baking sheet (use rasher bacon so it is crispy and not dry).

Muffins - either savoury or sweet, muffins freeze well and can be thawed the night before and warmed slightly before serving.

Fruit Salad - use seasonal fruits and combine the night before.

Scones - cut out the dough and freeze on the baking trays, ready to go. They cook perfectly straight from the freezer.

French Toast and other eggy bakes - these are always better made the night before, they'll have a better texture.

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