Saturday, December 19, 2009

Brunch on a budget

Brunch has become a favourite with us lately. It's easy and quick to make, and there are no set rules as to what to include. Brunch originates from a combination of Breakfast and Lunch. Our brunches tend to be along the lines of a cooked breakfast, but I like the term 'brunch', and it usually differs a bit from traditional cooked breakfasts, being a) we're vegan and b) it depends on what's in the cupboard!
A lot of pre-made vegan options for a cooked breakfast can be very tasty, but on the expensive side. Also not that readily available, unless you happen to have a wholefood store nearby, or indeed a very good supermarket. we have neither. our supermarkets are bog standard - Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose - in no particular order other than where I shop- depending on my budget. As my budget is usually tight, I thought I'd write down today's recipe, for what was a particularly tasty brunch, that was produced on a shoestring (so to speak). I must add that some of the ingredients used are personal taste, such as raw garlic, as I'm sure many people with find the flavour too strong, and prefer toasted garlic, or no garlic at all, but we're garlic freaks, and never mind the consequences. Therefore I'll try to mention alternatives, where I think it may be overload for others, actually i think garlic is the main one!
This particular brunch ended up being piled high on toast, but would work equally well laid side by side, flat on the plate, again whatever you fancy.
The items were: buttered toast, garlic, yeast extract, tinned tomatoes, patties (my version of a burger!) and mushrooms. ta-da: -

Now then, how to reach this stage: It doesn't take long but does require a bit of juggling, especially since only one of the rings on our cooker is working!

To start with , how to make the patties (burgers). For a base, I use a packet or Sage and Onion Stuffing Mix, or any other flavour stuffing mix if I fancy a change. Around Christmas time, there is a multitude of mixes to try, so good other a bit weird, but all interesting. Supermarkets basic range of Sage and Onion Mix can costs as little as 16p a pack. You only need one pack. of course, you can make your own mix from breadcrumbs and stuff if you are so inclined, but that would be another recipe all by itself!
Add the tomato juice from the tin of tomatoes, also a little olive oil. the olive oil is optional, but I find it helps the patties to stick together (any oil would do the same).

Add a small amount of hot water. the mix will be quite wet now, so add some dry potato flakes to thicken up. Other options at this point could be to add oats or breadcrumbs, or anything that is absorbent, that you fancy. I also added a sprinkle of seed mix at this point. Again optional, and you could add anything that takes your fancy, such as:- Baco Bits, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, onions, veg etc. I also added a shake of cayenne pepper (optional - experiment with flavours!). This is what the mix looked like before cooking:

Put them under the grill, until cooked,
they will look darker, and the outsides firmer.

While they are grilling, make the toast (separate toaster if you have one), crush a much garlic as you can handle! I used 3 cloves- hardcore!

Chop the mushrooms, and saute with butter, add salt and pepper to taste. I'd like to mention that the cheaper, odd shaped mushrooms usually taste better than the perfectly sized and lined up ones, don't know why. 
While the mushrooms are cooking, butter the toast, add yeast extract, if desired, and spread with crushed garlic. Timing is crucial to get food hot!. While this is going on, make sure you have flipped the patties. When the mushrooms are cooked quickly swap the tomatoes to heat up, or in most cases (more than one cooking ring), this can be alongside the mushrooms. 

Add tomatoes to prepared toast, unless you prefer crispier toast, if so, add the tomatoes last. I prefer the tomatoes to partially soak into the bread.

The final part is to add the patties and top with mushrooms. voila! A very tasty and satisfying brunch!

You can make variations of this by using different types of bread, you could use beans instead of tomatoes, oh the variations are endless. I guess by just starting with a cheap pack of Sage and Onion Stuffing Mix, you can make no end of delicious meals and it won't cost much at all.

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