Well, if it isn't the breakfast of champions, then it jolly well ought to be!
I was invited to participate in the Breakfasts of the World Challenge from VeryGoodRecipes.com - you can see what it's all about on the challenge page there.
Naturally, my thoughts about making soda bread got roped in at the same time, along with the fact that it is, after all, Farmhouse Breakfast Week. You can also find the original recipe for the soda bread on BakingMad.com.
I was pondering on what would comprise a great Farmhouse Breakfast in England - and immediately the ubiquitous Full English Breakfast came to mind. It would have been too easy to have gone down that route though, so I contemplated how I could use those ingredients to create a breakfast that both represented the current trends in both presentation and creation, whilst still channelling Ma Larkin from the t.v. programme "The Darling Buds of May" (who is quintessentially "farmhouse kitchen", to me).
I pondered on omelettes, and wraps, and maybe even pancakes - but nothing really spoke to me until I considered the Italian Bruschetta.
So here, for your undoubted delight, is an English breakfast on Irish bread, after the style of the Italian.
Hmmmn .. ~scratches head~ .. well, it tastes pretty darned good, so who cares where it came from - it's my contribution to the Breakfasts of the World!
The soda bread is toasted, which helps to bring out the nutty butteriness of it and makes it rather more robustly able to support its toppings.
The cherry tomatoes are sliced twice and then fried in olive oil (with ever an eye to health). Make sure to leave them alone - don't keep poking them and moving them about, or they won't take on the lovely caramelisation that you're looking for, to maximise the flavour.
The bacon is grilled (again, with an eye to health and to maximise the crispiness of the fat) and cut into small strips.
The black pudding, as you can see, is cut into small squares which take just seconds in the frying pan, to crisp up and become deliciously savoury and flavoursome.
Fry the egg gently in extra virgin olive oil, which adds that touch of luxury and singular flavour that the olive oil brings.
With a pinch of freshly ground black pepper, another of sea salt and a sprinkling of chopped parsley for colour, you'll be wanting to take a photograph of it just so that you can eat it again with your eyes.
I resolved, approximately two forkfuls into this masterpiece, that if ever I achieved a restaurant or cafe of my own, this would be on the menu. Ooooh yes.
Edited to say : this recipe achieved third place in the Breakfasts of the World Challenge! Yay! ~does happy dance~
SODA BREAD WITH TOMATO, BACON, BLACK PUDDING & AN EGG (serves 1)
2 rashers of smoked back bacon
1 tbsp olive oil
5 cherry tomatoes, each sliced twice
1 slice of soda bread
a 1-2" piece of black pudding, diced small
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of chopped parsley.
1. Place a suitably sized plate to warm up under the grill, or in an oven.
2. Grill the bacon rashers until the fat has rendered and is golden and crispy. Using a sharp knife or some scissors, cut into small strips, then reserve and keep warm.
3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat and add the tomatoes. Do not move them until they have taken on a good colour underneath, whereupon you should flip them over and cook the other side in the same way. When they're all done, carefully reserve onto a warmed plate, to keep warm.
4. In the meantime, once the bacon is done, grill the soda bread until toasted on both sides and reserve to keep warm.
5. Using the pan the tomatoes have come out of, cook the black pudding - just seconds - until it has darkened and become crispy on the outside.
6. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a small frying pan and add the egg. Cook on a low to medium heat until the white is solidified yet the yolk is still runny.
7. It is now time to assemble the dish. Take the warmed plate and place the soda bread onto it.
8. Lay on the tomato slices until the bread is completely covered, then sprinkle on the slices of bacon. Next, place the black pudding cubes across the surface of the bacon and carefully lay the egg over the top.
9. All that's left is to add a pinch of freshly ground black pepper, a pinch of sea salt (not too much - don't forget the bacon might be salty) and a light sprinkle of parsley.
10. Stand back and admire, whilst your hand blindly reaches for the nearest knife and fork.