Barcelona: brunch at Milk and Catedral de Barcelona

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Only five minutes’ walk from our hotel was this cute place serving some of the best brunch in the city. I found this out via Time Out and I was certainly not the only one as we were met with a long queue, but it moved quickly and about 15 minutes later we sat down to eat.

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It’s a cosy place with a lot of tables and a few seats at the bar. It was packed and buzzing; nice atmosphere for a Sunday brunch before exploring more of Barcelona.

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The service was really quick, so we got our cappuccinos, and my freshly squeeze orange juice almost directly after we ordered them.

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And soon after that our food arrived. Emma had the Greek yoghurt with fruit salad and granola which was really nice and fresh. Extra points for serving the yoghurt in another bowl.

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I was craving eggs and had the scrambled eggs with morcilla and gruyère on toast.

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We also got a bread basket just to make sure we had enough carbs for our long day walking around the city.

Milk, Carrer d’en Gignàs, 21, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

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After brunch we headed to La Pedrera, via Catedral de Barcelona. We both like “ticking” things off along the way. Efficient sightseeing – that’s us!

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The Cathedral is rather breathtaking and definitely worth a little detour.

Catedral de Barcelona, Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

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I also enjoy looking at pretty old buildings, and especially Barcelona offers a lot of nice facades.

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Some more traditional, and some in the iconic modernista style.

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Like Palau de la Música Catalana; a pretty concert hall with pillars, angels and painted walls.

Palau de la Música Catalana, C/ Palau de la Música, 4-6, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

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I think I prefer the simpler styles though, like these more traditional facades with shutters and balconies. So pretty!

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Eating NYC: breakfast at Balthazar

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Not jet-lagged at all while in the US, we actually overslept breakfast at the hotel every single morning and had to find breakfast elsewhere. An easy feat in New York, but also a little bit tricky if a donut from Dunkin’s (they’re everywhere!) doesn’t constitute breakfast in your opinion. One day we just happened to walk past Balthazar and decided to try our luck. We got a table straight away. A small one in a corner. But still, we were hangry and breakfast was near so it was perfect!

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I had my favourite egg dish; Eggs Benedict, and this was a great version. More rustic than The Wolseley’s but almost as nice. And in my ravenous state I loved the addition of the fried potatoes. Sinead had a lovely omelette, also served with fried potatoes, so we were both very happy with our menu choices. An hour and breakfast here put us in a good mood for the rest of the day. I would still like to try the breakfast at the hotel as it seemed great, but that’s for another trip.

Balthazar, 80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

Breakfast at The Wolseley

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Despite having lived in London for 8 years now (yep, time flies) I haven’t had the pleasure to eat breakfast at The Wolseley until this year. Bad planning on my part, obviously. But at least I’ve been there for several lunches, dinners and afternoon tea. But there is something special about breakfast in this fabulous art deco space with perfect eggs and perfect service. If you fancy reading up on the subject (and get the recipes), I highly recommend A.A. Gill’s book Breakfast at The Wolseleyit’s very good.

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For me, this is the ultimate breakfast experience because it’s so different from having breakfast in your own kitchen. There are lots of waiters and they’re there to pour water, take your order, serve the food and fetch you whatever you want. Their attentive and efficient and together with the perfectly executed food it makes it such a special experience.

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I had breakfast here with two of my best friends from Sweden when they were visiting. We needed some morning luxury and thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast here with Eggs Florentine (spinach, poached egg and hollandaise sauce on a toasted English muffin) and an excellent bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon.

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We also enjoyed cappuccinos and freshly squeezed orange juice, and to finish this lovely basket of pastries. My favourite was the plain croissant, wonderfully buttery and flaky. If you also need this breakfast experience in your live (you do), I urge you to book a table well in advance as it’s a very popular weekend treat.

The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB

Brunch at The Ivy Market Grill, Covent Garden

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Around the same time as The Ivy was refurbished two siblings popped up; the Ivy Chelsea Garden on Kings Road (where it’s near impossible to get a table) and The Ivy Market Grill just by Covent Garden Market.

When Linus and Mirja were visiting at the end of May (where does the time go?!) we went here for Sunday brunch on their last day in town and it was such a nice send off.

The brunch menu is long and has plenty of egg dishes to choose from and everything we had was top notch. We ordered the sourdough for the table not realising it was a whole loaf, still warm. That’s several plus points just there!

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Mirja had the vegetarian Full English breakfast consisting of halliumi, eggs, fried mushrooms and tomatoes, avocado and baked beans served in a mini copper pot. Really fresh and a nice breakfast dish! 2015-05-31 12.53.47

Linus had the thick pancakes with bacon and maple syrup – that’s just up his street. And they were good. It’s so important that the simple dishes are cooked perfectly, and here they were.

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I loved my scrambled eggs with truffle and toasted brioche. Although I make my own scrambled eggs a lot softer, these were still well-made and well seasoned, and the truffle on top was just a delicious pairing!

I will definitely go back here for brunch or breakfast; I like both the ambiance and the menu. Think of The Ivy Market Grill as a low-key alternative to The Wolseley.

The Ivy Market Grill, 1 Henrietta St, London WC2E 8PS

Avocado toast with feta and poached egg

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Last Sunday I woke up to a picture similar to this one on Instagram, it was Foodetc parading his excellent breakfast that I decided to copy since I had all the ingredients at hand. Delicious!

I often eat avocado toast but this was the first time I had feta and poached egg with it. A recipe is superfluous but here’s a quick description of what’s on the plate: toasted Poilane (or other nice sourdough) with mashed avocado (and limejuice, tabasco, salt and pepper), crumbled feta and a poached eggs. Yum!

Brunch: purple sprouting, poached egg, dijon and tarragon crème, parmesan

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When spring has sprung my body just craves greens and other healthy things it wasn’t interested in much during the winter months.

That’s why I made this healthy brunch dish last weekend. The combination of broccoli, poached egg, a lovely crème with dijon mustard and tarragon and some salty parmesan certainly hit the spot on a sunny spring Sunday.

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Purple sprouting with poached egg, dijon and tarrgagon crème, parmesan, serves 1

4-6 stems purple sprouting broccoli

1 egg

50 ml creme fraiche

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp dried tarragon

To serve: parmesan shavings, grassy olive oil

Combine creme fraiche, dijon mustard in a bowl. Add salt and pepper and set aside. Cook the broccoli in salted water for 2-3 minutes. Then drain and return to the dry pan to keep warm while poaching the egg.

Bring water to simmer in a sauce pan. Add a tsp of white wine vinegar. Crack the egg into a mug (or small bowl) and lower into the simmering water and pour out the egg. Let it simmer for 3 minutes (set a timer). Once done remove with a slotted spoon and put the egg into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Place the broccoli on a plate, place the poached egg on top. Drizzle with the crème, scatter parmesan shavings and finish with a drizzle of olive oil. 

A new breakfast favourite: egg mayonnaise with pancetta on toast

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Pret A Manger sells a small baguette with egg mayonnaise and bacon that I sometimes have for breakfast and that’s of course where I found the inspiration for this lovely breakfast. The crispy toast (with salted butter), smooth egg mayonnaise with plenty of flavour and savoury pancetta is such a great breakfast I’ve already had it two mornings in a row for breakfast.

NB. I prefer runny eggs in general but that doesn’t work in egg mayonnaise, therefore I boil them for seven and a half minutes so the yolks are set but still very yellow and creamy. If you prefer your eggs hardboiled please boil them for longer. Also, I prefer white pepper to black in subtle (non-Italian or meat) dishes, but again, it’s up to you to decide what you prefer. 

Egg mayonnaise, serves 3

4 medium eggs

50 ml mayonnaise (Hellman’s or homemade)

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

salt and white pepper

Bring water to the boil in the saucepan and place the eggs in the pan. Boil for seven and a half minutes. Drain and cover the eggs with very cold water. Drain once the eggs are cool and place in fridge for an hour to cool some more (makes it easier to peel them). 

Peel the eggs and chop with a sharp knife. Mix mayonnaise with mustard and add the chopped eggs. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Keep refrigerated. 

Egg mayonnaise on toast with pancetta, per serving

1 thick slice white toast

a knob of butter for the toast

2 tbsp egg mayonnaise (as above)

2 slices pancetta, fried in the oven, 15 minutes in 200C

Toast the bread and butter it. Spread the egg salad on to the bread, top with the crispy pancetta. Serve immediately.