My thoughts are already leaping past Christmas Day’s inevitable over-indulgence at the lunch table and onto Boxing Day (the 26th is a public holiday in the UK, once known as the day where servants were given their Christmas ‘box’ by grateful employers). However strong my resolutions, I always eat too much on the 25th.
There was one year that will always remain in my memory: I had been run ragged at work, missing meals and sleep, and only returned to my parents on Christmas Eve.
The next day I gorged so much on the delicious carb heavy lunch which my mother cooks like a dream…roast potatoes! bread sauce! stuffing!..that about 10 minutes after the main course had finished, my body basically shut down. Overcome by digestive tiredness, I sloped off to the sitting room sofa where I passed out into a food coma. Apparently I slept until the early evening, and even the whole family piling in for the Queen’s Speech at 3pm, and sitting on me didn’t wake me up.
Although I intend to not be quite such a piglet this year, I know I’ll want something packed with vitamins on Monday, and avocados on toast is an excellent way to start the day. I take breakfast meetings about three times a week with various publicists, and follow a well-worn path around The Wolseley, Cecconi’s, Soho House, Dean Street Townhouse, and the newest obsession amongst the fashion pack, The Riding House Cafe.
At the last three, I order, without fail, poached eggs, accompanied by avocado on toast, which seems to have become London’s favourite new breakfast. This pleases me enormously as, having brought my newfound American ways back over the Atlantic, I do tend to want avocados with everything.
Of course it’s not quite as simple as slicing an avocado and plonking it on a piece of Mother’s Pride/Wonderbread. Oh no. What we are talking here is a gently mashed, but still chunky flump of avocado, carefully seasoned, and served on top of real bread.
After some experimenting and replicating in my kitchen, I have come to the conclusion that I like the Soho House Group’s chunky version the best, which includes a little wholegrain mustard, some olive oil, lemon or lime juice and lots and lots of salt & black pepper. Granted, this isn’t really so much a recipe as an assemblage, but it’s no less good for all that.
Simply cut thick slices of sourdough – you need a bread with a bit of heft, a white bloomer would go too soggy too quickly under the weight of the fruit – and toast them. Whilst that is happening, peel and roughly chop your avocado. (One per two pieces of toast.) Gently mash a few chunks with the back of a fork, and mix with the remaining avocado so it all holds together.
Add a good heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard – I used Maille from my stockpile – because the little mustard seeds pop brilliantly on your tongue, a good squirt of lemon or lime juice, a pinch of Maldon Salt flakes, and two grinds of black pepper and mix it all together. If you are feeling frisky and your palate has been deadened by over indulgence, you could add some red chilli flakes too.
Pile it up on your hot toast and eat. I usually have this with a side of poached eggs, and one of grilled field/Portabella mushrooms, and then forgo lunch later.
Here’s a breakfast I had with a slightly hungover PR friend at The Riding House Cafe last week. Their version of avocado on toast is also delicious, more of a guacamole style pate, served on very thick slices of wholegrain toast.