Grand Café breakfast

After watching a rerun of “Julie and Julia” earlier this week, I craved French food for breakfast. If you have had a look at Julia Child’s cookery books, like “Mastering the Art of French Cooking“, you know they are professional.

I’m not that professional and certainly not a Cordon Blue cook. My style is more “easy does it” and Bistro. So here are a few simple recipes with croissants and coffee which can easily be added to your Sunday brunch at home.

Leicester cheese croissants
4 croissants
4 slices of Leicester cheese
1 small onion, preferably a small sweet red one
pepper
Pre-heat the grill. Cut the croissants n halves. Add a slice of Leicester cheese per croissant. Cut the onion in thin rings. Put rings on the cheese and add some pepper. Close the croissants and put under the grill. Ready when the cheese is soft but has not melted.

Honey croissants
4 croissants
1 or 2 spoons of honey
100 gr cream cheese
75 gr non-salted walnuts, chopped
a few leaves of lettuce
Mix honey and cheese into a soft spread. Add the chopped walnuts to the mixture. Cut the lettuce leaves in small strips. Cut open the croissants. Spread one side of each croissant with the honey-cheese-walnut mix, put some lettuce on top and close the croissants. Serve cold.
Easy version: leave out the lettuce, spread a nice thick layer of cream cheese on the bottom half of each croissant. Put some chopped walnuts on top. Drizzle a decent helping of honey on top. Close the croissant. Either serve cold, or put the croissants into a pre-heated oven for a few minutes.

Please note that when warming up filled croissants in your oven, make sure you line a tray with greaseproof paper, to prevent messing up your oven. You don’t want to spend the rest of the day cleaning it.

Warm croissants with mushroom ragout
70 gr butter
1 onion
1 garlic clove
500 g mushrooms
70 g flour
4 dl chicken or herb stock
2 spoons of cut dill
1 cup of sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 spoons of cut chives
4 large croissants
Melt the butter. Chop the onion and add it to the butter. Finely chop the garlic and add it to the mixture. Make sure you cook this mixture on a low fire to just glaze onion and garlic. Do not fry or burn them.
Carefully clean the mushrooms and slice them. If you prefer to use tinned ready sliced mushrooms, make sure you drain all fluid and the mushroom slices are dry. Add the mushrooms to the onion and garlic. Add the flour and stir slowly for a minute. Then slowly and carefully add the stock to the mixture. Keep stirring to ensure the mixture remains smooth. Add salt, pepper, and dill to taste.
Leave the mixture on your lowest fire for 10 minutes, before adding the sour cream.  During these 10 minutes, you put the croissants into a pre-heated oven of 180C.
After 10 minutes, remove the croissants and cut them in halves, one per saucer. Take your mushroom ragout from the fire and divide the mixture over the bottom half of each croissant. Add chives to taste, then add the top half of each croissant.
It’s not important if the ragout runs out of each croissant. You can add a few leaves of lettuce or a diced tomato to each saucer before serving.

Of course, you can try out the above croissant recipes using ordinary sliced bread. If you use bake-off croissants, please follow the instructions for them. You can add boiled eggs, fruit, fruit juice and whatever you prefer to go with a decent brunch. Here are some coffee recipes and if you prefer tea: make sure it’s pretty strong and hot!

Not sure how much your coffee cup or mug holds. My mug takes about 1 dl. So you may have to twiddle with the amount of coffee mentioned, if you’re making these coffees for more than just you!

Espresso Romano
2 dl hot, fresh and strong espresso coffee
4 thin slices of lemon.
4 to 8 cubes of brown sugar
Put a slice of lemon at the bottom of each cup. Pour the hot espresso on top and serve with one or two cubes of brown sugar on each saucer.

Easy vanilla coffee
2 dl hot and strong coffee
1 dl whipping cream
1 sachet of vanilla sugar
white chocolate to decorate
Pour the coffee in four mugs. Stir the whipping cream and vanilla sugar together. Divide the whipped vanilla cream over the four mugs. To ensure the whipped cream slides on top of the coffee, use a coffee spoon and let the mixture glide across it onto the coffee. Rasp some white chocolate above its mug as decoration. Want to keep it really easy? Either don’t add the white chocolate decoration, or serve the coffee with a piece of white chocolate on the saucer (but make sure it doesn’t melt).

Cinnamon coffee
2 tot 2.5 dl coffee according to your usual taste
1 cinnamon stick per mug
Serve the freshly made coffee in for mugs. Add a cinnamon stick and sugar cubes to each saucer. You use the cinnamon stick to stir the coffee, so it gets a cinnamon taste. Easy alternative: put ground cinnamon in your coffee pot before adding coffee, sugar and milk according to your usual taste. Always pour some boiling water into your coffee pot and rinse it, so it’s warm. Then add cinnamon or other spices and coffee.

Chocolate coffee
1 dl milk
20 gr chocolate
1 dl hot, strong coffee
brown sugar to taste
cocoa to decorate
Gently heat the milk and chocolate, so the chocolate slowly dissolves. When the chocolate is totally dissolved, take the milk from the fire and whisk it into a frothy mixture. Pour  your hot coffee into mugs and slowly add the frothy chocolate-milk mixture. Add brown sugar to taste and decorate with some cocoa.

The above recipes are my versions of recipes from a Dutch cookery book called “Menu Grand Café” by Carola Thomas, published in 1994 by Kosmos Publishers.

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