Weekend breakfasts are another one of my favourite things about the changing seasons. In summer coffee is sipped in the garden, and breakfasts are healthier, fruitier, with maybe a leftover barbequed sausage at most. Everything should be light and fresh; no stodge allowed. So I breathe a sigh of relief that the chill in the air signals weekend lounging, several different types of carbs on one plate and breakfasts that go on til lunch. A Sunday morning in particular is something to be savoured. Whilst it used to involve a lie-in and languishing over newspapers, the arrival of little people means a 6am wake up call and a game of chicken with Mr T to see who’ll weaken and get up first. Still one thing has stayed the same; Sundays mean a treat breakfast; something weekdays don’t allow time to appreciate. As Ron Swanson says, “There has never been a sadness not cured by breakfast food.”
I could happily have breakfast for any meal; in fact one of my favourite memories is being allowed to eat in our living room on only one special occasion every week – Saturday evening, when the A-team was on – mum would spread out two towels on the carpet in front of the television and me and my brother would have a fried breakfast for dinner, resplendent with sausages, bacon, potato and soda bread and I think a fried egg, cooked on the electric griddle. Strange how your own family habits and memories are so normal until you write them down and picture children sitting on towels eating breakfast for dinner. Food and memories going hand in hand, a family treat of being allowed to eat and watch TV at the same time, somewhere you were never supposed to eat and eating the wrong meal at the wrong time of day, makes for fond reminiscing.
The reaction Mr T gets when he tells people that he’s chosen to buy me some form of kitchen equipment as a birthday or Christmas gift always makes me smile. One of the best presents I’ve ever given him was a Nordic Ware cheese melting dome and a cast iron steak weight to perfect his burger game. My birthday last year brought another piece of kitchen paraphernalia into our home and something I’ve been coveting for a while – my very own waffle maker. Finding the perfect waffle recipe has been tricky. I’ve had thick batters, watery mixes, cakey waffles and eggy ones. I don’t know if there’s a definitive waffle, but I know what I want; something robust enough to hold a good topping (let’s be frank, I’m not shy with the syrup) but light enough to let me believe it’s not too unhealthy.
Enter At My Table’s waffle recipe. The first page I looked at and one I knew I wouldn’t last long before attempting. Perfect for Sunday-morning tinkering while little people play in pyjamas. Weighing out the ingredients is as high maintenance as it gets and using vegetable oil means no melting butter (thank goodness as it typically ends in a microwave explosion when I forget how long to leave it in for or get distracted). Unlike most waffle recipes I’ve made, this one separates the eggs before mixing; whisking the whites separately before folding into the batter after the wet-dry combination. Iron on, a quick spritz with oil spray and we’re off. A-waffling we go…(sorry)…
The waffles only take a few minutes and I use a ladleful of batter each side for my Cuisinart maker. Parental waffles go into the oven for a few minutes to crust up, but needless to say the little wafflers cannot wait before drizzling theirs with golden syrup. I barely have the next batch on before they have reappeared at my side, plates outstretched requesting seconds, so there go mine and I keep the production line going until I run out of batter. I should’ve gone for berries or coconut or made some flavoured butter or cream cheese like you get in an American diner – flashback to Sarabeth’s strawberry butter in New York. But I am greedy and impatient, plus there’s something about golden syrup. And I can report (after extensive waffle-testing over the course of the morning) these waffles are good. Fluffy and crispy, whisking the egg whites definitely produces an airy texture but still a sturdy enough vehicle for a generous dousing of syrup. Their few minutes in a warm oven gives a nice crust and is a great tip if you wanted to serve everyone at the same time – as most civilised households would. My only advice is not to let impatience tempt you to open the waffle maker too quickly. No limp, damp, dense waffles here; just a tender but crisp one and the best part is there are somehow leftovers ready for a quick toast tomorrow, making Monday more bearable already.