03.04.16 - Late Afternoon Brunch

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

What I cooked:
Fruit salad with lime and ginger syrup
Fruit toast crackers & Labne with pine nuts, fig and honey
Yemeni pancakes with savoury stuff and yoghurt sauce
Shakshuka with misc. leaves
Vine leaf pie with Chermoula

I’d be lying if I said I was always a big fan of breakfast or brunch. For most of my life these meals were just an inconvenience that meant that I had to get up more than 5 minutes before school started. Still, one of my favourite things to eat as a kid was my mum’s ‘Spanish omelette’, an omelette of caramelised onion, olives and chorizo baked in the oven with heaps of pasta sauce and cheese melted on top. Now I'm heaps an adult I goddamn love breakfast food. I’m rarely optimistic, but a big morning meal makes me slightly more so.

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Whenever I have enough money I take myself out to brunch at Anouk in Paddington and try something off their always changing menu. I also love Shouk, the middle-eastern breakfast place in Paddington, and this whole event was really inspired by wanting to eat there every day but not being able to afford it. And because I just refuse to line up no matter how delicious everything is.

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Turkish banquet-style breakfasts are often lots of small things - breads, cheeses, fruits, stewed vegetables and chutneys – all served together. I don’t really know how to do small things, so these are all large meals with heaps of ingredients. One day I’ll get there.

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

The traditional ‘Big Breakfast’ that we think of now (in terms of English culture anyway; middle-eastern countries were enjoying luxurious much earlier) came about in Victorian times as a sign of wealth. If you had guests staying you’d serve a long lazy breakfast to show that you had time and money and eggs and ham coming out your butt.

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

This meal wasn’t really like that. For one thing – it was at 4pm. This was for reasons logistics (fuck off if you think I’m gonna start cooking at 6am for any reason. Also Sav had to work in the morning) and because I’m not really interested in any ‘dinner party’ that you can’t drink at.

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

But it was still a celebration of abundance, of love and friendship and really really good food (I reckon – the vine leaf pie was surprisingly great). Earnestness makes me sick usually so you know I’m serious.

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

 It was so great to be able to use a house with a big dining room table. You’ll notice a distinct increase in charm and good taste in these photos and a distinct lack of ‘trash’ and that was cause my friends Dom, Lou and Liv let me invade their beautiful home and stomp around their kitchen sweating and swearing all afternoon to make this all look so goddamn good. Though Liv’s beautiful cat gave me the most horrific hay fever, so my face is all red and watery in all the photos, and I had to make a real effort to keep the food snot-free.

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

All these meals would make delicious shared breakfasts on their own, I just got really ambitious and decided I wanted to make literally everything I’ve ever wanted to eat for breakfast at once. Most of them were not that hard or time consuming to make (except for the pancakes. Don’t try and make slow-cooked pancakes one at a time for 12 people if you don’t wanna have a little cry).  

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Beyond how the food tasted, I love trying to think differently about what kind of foods we can eat when, what goes with what, and what food traditions and rituals are unnecessary and what need to change, so this was one of my favourite meals I’ve done so far. 

Photo by Savannah van der Niet