I would be happy eating two meals a day – brunch and tea. Brunch means a slower start to the day and an earlier lunch – plus it’s an excuse to drink before noon! And tea is just the perfect meal as it falls just as you are feeling in need of a pick-me-up around 4 in the afternoon – a cup of tea and a slice of cake or a scone. After this I’m not hungry for supper and so it fits in with the no eating after dark school of thought of not eating a heavy meal too close to bedtime. So there you have it brunch and tea – the two perfect meals a day!
Yesterday I made brunch for friends – old and new. Kay Plunkett-Hogge and her hubby, Fred, came over for a first time face to face meeting – we have become friends via social media – I often drool at her posts on Facebook and get inspired to make myself a cocktail thanks to her gorgeous new book MAKE MINE A MARTINI – which you can get for Kindle if you can’t wait for the hardcover book to be released in the states early next year. As if I needed any more encouragement to drink!
We were joined by Lisa, Brad and Hopper – firm friends since we came to Los Angeles and met in pre-natal yoga at Golden Bridge 13 years ago. We haven’t been together since Christmas – life seems to whizz by so it was a much needed catch up – I do love our laughs together – I guess years of friendship builds a shorthand for the funny. Those who know me well may wonder how Kay slipped in under the radar of my stritct no new friends policy… let’s just say there was a vacancy that she has now filled! I just know we are going to be firm friends – as we all discussed, life is too short to waste time on people who aren’t supportive, fun and true friends – weeding out my garden so the flowers can grow.
Perhaps the first part to getting brunch right is the booze – I love any excuse to open Champagne and yesterday was no different. There’s nothing like a glass or two or three of Champagne to get the party going! But I also know that Lisa isn’t a fan of bubbles – I know this amounts to treason of friendship – doesn’t like bubbles and is friends with me – yes it’s true – but she does love rosé. So Didier opened the cutest half bottle of Domaine Ott he found in Malibu recently, just for her.
I knew I was going to cook the roasted butternut squash with spicy yogurt and cilantro dressing from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More book. This is one of my fall favorites and I can get enough of the sweet, spicy, herby goodness that cooks up so effortlessly. It’s the combination of flavors that gets me overtime – it’s just one of many new recipes I’ve fallen in love with since getting this book.
I wanted to cook something quick and easy – no stressful fancy cooking needed. So I flipped through Carrie Vitt’s new book The Grain Free Family Table for ideas. And bingo! Her recipe for Broccoli, Bacon and Red Onion Frittata – the perfect, tasty delicious brunch food – that I adapted slightly to what I had in my refridgerator.
Pancetta, Caramelized Onion and Arugula Frittata
4 oz Pancetta cubetti
1 red onion, diced
1 white onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
Large handful of arugula (approx 2 cups)
1 tablespoon Devon cream
freshly ground black pepper
4 oz Dubliner cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan Reggiano
micro Arugula for garnish
Makes one large frittata, serves 8.
1. In a large ovenproof skillet cook the pancetta for 5 minutes over medium heat. Transfer to a plate.
2. Lower the heat and add the onions and fleur de sel to the bacon grease in the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally and being careful not to burn, until onions are caramelized, soft and translucent. Add a little extra bacon fat that drains to bottom of plate of reserved bacon as needed.
3. Add the pancetta to the cooked onions in the skillet along with a generous handful of arugula. The leaves will be piled up in the skillet but will wilt and cook down after a couple of minutes.
4. Crack open the 12 eggs into a large mixing bowl. Whisk well. Add the cream freshly ground black pepper and combine.
5. Pre-heat the broiler on high heat and place the rack of the oven in the middle.
6. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet over the pancetta, onions and arugula. Gentle stir with a spatula as large curds form on the bottom of the skillet. Shake the wet egg into the gaps as you move the curds. With the eggs still wet add the two types of cheese and transfer the skillet to under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. Watch to ensure the top doesn’t burn. The frittata is cooked with the eggs are firm and it puffs up with the top turning golden brown.
7. Using an oven glove remove the skillet and let cool slightly before cutting into 8 wedges and topping with micro greens. Serve straight from the skillet.
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