What you eat for breakfast mapped

eggsI joined in with this Guardian Witness challenge to snap your breakfast this week when I happened to be in the lovely courtyard of Piercebridge Organics enjoying some of their tasty fresh eggs and home-baked teacake (well I am on holiday!).

At the time I did it, there was just one other contribution from a northern food snapper who likewise posted a toast-based option from Lancaster.

Browsing through the gallery of several hundred submissions is an interesting scroll through people’s habits and range of choices.

But when you put them all onto a world map, the project tells a more interesting story.

Who knew someone in Australia chose to eat tacos to start the day and then there’s the Greek salad option for breakfast in Dubai or edible flowers in Russia.

You can join in with the Guardian Witness assignment here and the map above will update to show your submission.

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Vote: Is breakfast the new eating out?

Cinnamon Roll
Picture: Pam Ramsey on Flickr.

It’s reported that 25% of us now eat breakfast out of the home at least once a week – is that you?

I will admit to being partial to a weekend brunch but apparently starting the day with a proper breakfast and using that as an opportunity for some early business networking, or simply making new friends, is becoming a trend in some areas.

Manchester now has its first breakfast club according to this article on the BBC food network.

Anna Tully and partner Jamie are serving up homemade cinnamon rolls and a buffet of sweet and savoury foods.

She says:

(The cinnamon rolls) are really, really decadent. I made a salted caramel that you pour into a pan and put the pecan and cinnamon rolls in there and turn them out.

“We wanted to add some savoury stuff to the menu as well so we do chorizo and courgette muffins, and Jamie wanted to try some French cooking, so he is making his own croissants from scratch.

So new trend or just a passing fancy? I’ll be talking about breakfast on the move on Monday morning’s Mike Parr show on BBC Radio Tees so let me know what you think below and please do cast your vote here.

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Making breakfast pastries, Istanbul style

On a couple of recent business trips to Istanbul I’ve been fortunate to stay in a residence where an amazing breakfast spread was prepared from the small kitchen each day.


Cheeses, fruit, meat all laid out – plus some baked tasty, freshly-made that morning pastries of a different style every day but usually involving egg or cheese. The city that truly never sleeps has a great tradition of morning baked goods with shops and cafes selling filled pastries opening early in the day.

As the rest of the household slept, I ventured in to see what was cooking one morning and got this instruction on making the delicious hot cheese and dill pastries while sipping chai and being invited to take these pictures.

It starts with spreading out the large sheets of very thin floured pastry which is sold fresh.

Next comes the filling, but first each of the large sheets are cut into four squares. As far as I know, the exact ingredients aren’t easily available in the UK (or maybe they are in large cities with a Turkish population) but I think it would be possible to create something very similar using filo pastry and a 50/50 mix of mozerella cheese (in place of the stringy Turkish version) and a slightly sharper, harder cheese such as feta. It takes about half a cup of each plus a generous handful of dill only in the centre of the squares.

Finally, each quarter is folded over itself before being brushed by bean egg and sprinkled with seseme seeds. It’s te little touches of seseme seeds or poppy seeds that really add to the pastry’s flavours. They are then cooked in a medium oven for about 10mins until golden on the top and gooey within. Serves hot. What could be a better start to a busy day!

Vegetarian haggis, for breakfast?

Veggie Haggis

A herby taste with an interesting texture would about sum up the experience.

Seeing vegetarian haggis offered on the breakfast menu of an Edinburgh hotel this week it would have been rude not to. As you can see, the wee haggis is a rissole of an affair sitting on top of the potato pancake and takes it place alongside the more usual veggie sausage and other traditional cooked items.

Long-term readers of this blog will know that I’m not the biggest fan of vegetarian versions of meat products (remember the debate the veggie black pudding sparked) but putting those objections aside, it was an interesting breakfast addition.

In fact it wasn’t dissimilar to the veg black pud experience with the overriding taste produced by the mixture of herbs. Texture courtesy of barley and it was a good compliment to the sweetness of baked beans.

I’ve since learned that the holy trinity in this regard is the addition of  a glass of Merlot. Seems unlikely but……. perhaps not for breakfast

The biggest veggie breakfast treat in Manchester?

National Vegetarian Week is upon us once more – a time for the non-carnivorous to celebrate all that’s good and green and fresh.

Or perhaps not.

Veggies like a blow out as good as the next meat-eater as I discovered in a recent visit to the Eighth Day in Oxford Road.

Expecting an establishment of pale student types (well this is just about on-campus) ordering up a Fairtrade fix, it was a bit of a surprise to join the breakfast 9am queue of suited and booted middle management types vying for a fry up.

I opted for the innocuous sounding veggie sausage sandwich and was faced with this monster!

Belly buster!
Belly buster!

Juicy non-meat bangers nestling into thick doorstops of moist, light wholemeal bread. It was just the ticket with a huge mug of tea although I would ask for it unbuttered if I ever repeat the experience!

And yes, you do get organic brown sauce.

It’s a shame Manchester hasn’t got more vegetarian eateries – obviously there’s Earth in the city centre and then there’s Greens in Didsbury at the upper end of the dining experience.

I thoroughly enjoyed a special meal there not so long ago but I notice that ManCon’s Ruth Allen didn’t find it quite so tasty on her trip out to mark the week.

Still, there’s a few more days to go, so here’s what’s going on across the north west if you fancy giving the V to meat.