The most important meal of the day is often overlooked on Christmas Day. Breakfast makes a comeback with these inspired ideas
With all the fuss and bother that goes with the Christmas feast, the most important meal of the day is easily forgotten. A good breakfast will get your Christmas morning off to a flying start and give you that early boost to help you through a typically busy and sometimes stressful day.
If you're lucky enough be invited out for the main Christmas meal, you can afford to indulge yourself and loved ones with a special treat breakfast knowing that someone else will be wrestling with the turkey and trimmings.
If preparing the midday feast is down to you this year then keep the breakfast quick and simple. Try and get something sensible into the kids before they start gobbling down mouthfuls of the sugar-filled treats that are always around at this time of year. And just as important, it will give the grown-ups a bit of ballast for soaking up the festive bubbly that usually arrives with the first guest.
The calorie saver
Pack as much nutrition as you can into your first meal on Christmas morning with a fruit smoothie. Just about any of the soft fruits will do, so choose your favourites. Bananas are the classic to start with (also, the quickest and easiest to prepare), then add a splash of fruit juice and a spoonful of natural yoghurt to give it its creamy texture. Mango, papaya, peaches and nectarines blend beautifully and can be mixed and matched. Throw in a few strawberries for extra colour and flavour.
Tip: You can freeze strawberries at the end of the summer and use them in smoothies later in the year.
The quick fix
Omelettes are the ultimate quick and easy breakfast. Trouble is, they are best made individually and if you have more than two to feed it can turn into a long, involved process. Try this for a no-hassle alternative:
To feed four people, break 6 eggs into a jug, add a splash of milk, salt and pepper then beat lightly. A few suggestions for fillings (omit the meat for vegetarians), mix and match as you like: Half a thinly-sliced onion, three to four strips of streaky bacon chopped up, sliced mushrooms, chopped red or yellow peppers, fresh herbs, strips of ham or chorizo sausage, spring onions, cooked and sliced new potatoes.
Heat a little butter in a frying pan and gently fry your choice of ingredients until soft. Pour over the eggs, reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid. Leave to cook gently for 5-10 minutes, depending on how large and deep the pan is. The egg mixture should be just set but still wobbly.
Preheat the grill. Lay some tomato slices on top and sprinkle with Cheddar or Gruyere cheese. Grill until the cheese is melted and serve immediately in wedges with granary toast.
Get some goodness into them before the chocolate and e numbers descend!
Bull's eye: Take a slice of bread and press the rim of a glass or mug in the centre to cut a circle out of the bread about 5cm / 2 inches across. Heat a little butter in a frying pan and when sizzling, lay both the slice and circle in the pan. Crack a small egg carefully into the 'hole' and fry until the egg is cooked and set on the bottom. Flip the 'bull's eye' and fry on the other side and do the same with the circle of bread. Serve immediately with brown sauce or ketchup.
The indulgent treat
Indulgent but easy to make and a great way to use up smoked salmon trimmings or gravid lax.
To serve four, chop 150g of smoked salmon, season with black pepper and toss with some chopped fresh dill.
Butter four ramekins and put a quarter of the salmon in the base of each. Break a large egg into each of the dishes. Carefully spoon a tablespoon of single cream on top and sprinkle with a little salt, black pepper and cayenne.
Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 190C / gas mark 5 oven for 10-15 minutes or until the whites are set and the yolks still soft. Garnish with a sprig of dill and serve with hot buttered toast triangles.
The alternative option
Spice up Christmas morning with this taste of the East.
Indian scramble: To feed four people, finely chop an onion, one small green chilli (optional), grate enough fresh root ginger to make one teaspoonful and chop a handful of fresh coriander leaves (enough to make 3 tablespoons).
Heat about 50g of butter in a large frying pan and fry the onion and chilli until soft. Add the ginger and 2 teaspoons of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of ground coriander to the onion mixture and fry for another minute.
Break 8 eggs into a jug, season with salt and pepper and beat lightly, then stir into the onion and spices. Cook over a low heat, stirring, until the egg is just set but not too dry, then stir in the coriander leaves. Serve with warmed naan bread and mango chutney.