We're focusing on keeping it equal parts simple and delicious for the big day...
It feels particularly apt this year to approach the holiday season not as a time of striving to live up expectations (whether others’, or our own) but as a time to allow ourselves the sweet feeling of satisfaction at each small achievement… getting out of bed, remembering to buy milk for the morning coffee, buttering the toast before it’s gone cold, nailing the soft-boiled egg, giving – monetary or otherwise – to help someone else make their own little achievements.
Bonnie Wong’s beautiful illustration, The Festive Pantry, reminds us to ‘take what we need’ from this special time of year – and a good breakfast may well be on that list!
It’s really only within the past few decades in Aotearoa that breakfast on Christmas morning has become ‘a thing’, and while we’re all for breakfast being something to make a song and dance about, we don’t reckon that means it needs to be complicated. Just taking a few good, honest ingredients and doing something simple makes for a special festive breakfast. Read on for the Hangtown Fry – a good example of three good things used judiciously. Save room in your morning appetite for egg nog, too – we look at a few twists to bring the classic into the 21st Century.
The phrase ‘California cuisine’ today conjures up images of farm to table produce and light, zesty fare. But appetite, and supplies, were somewhat different in the gold rush days, and one of the first dishes considered Californian, Hangtown Fry is a rather more hearty affair.
There are plenty of stories that speak to the origin of the dish. One goes that it was concocted in the mid 19th century in the saloon of the El Dorado Hotel in Hangtown, where a fortunate prospector asked for the most expensive meal in the house. The cook’s answer was to throw together the priciest ingredients at the time: eggs, bacon, and oysters – hence this surf ‘n’ turf take on an omelette was born.
Whatever the exact origin, the Hangtown Fry makes an epic festive breakfast! Yes, it’s breakfast time, but it’s also Christmastime, and this goes very nicely with Champagne… after all, oysters and bubbles are the classic pair – but it’s equally brilliant with a lovely rich beer like a milk stout… one for you, one for Santa.
First, cook your bacon – we reckon this omelette is best when you’ve fried bacon in a good heavy pan to crisp perfection first, and it’s set aside ready to work it’s umami magic late in the piece – plus save some crisp bacon to garnish the omelette. The lightly floured oysters go into the pan with the remaining bacon fat before the whisked eggs, turned once or twice so that they get a nice crisp jacket on them before the silky eggs come along and bind them together. We quite like this Saveur recipe for its simplicity… or follow Bon Appeit’s lead for a more elaborate affair. To really bring it up a notch, slice one Freedom Farms Smoked Pork Chorizo and add that in.
Use your nog
This holiday season egg-happy classic makes a hearty and boozy liquid brekkie, but it’s also a fantastic addition to many dishes. Bathe thick slices of bread in it to make French Toast, use it place of frothed milk in your latte, cook a bread and butter pudding with it (even better, a croissant pudding to use up pastries before they go stale).
Take a classic eggnog recipe and roll with it – or try all sorts of interesting twists to make it your own.
Try a pinch of ground cardamom seeds and a touch of rosewater to bring a Middle Eatern flavour.
Rum, brandy, or bourbon are the fav tipples to fortify egg nog with, but don’t limit yourself to the big three – experiment with additions of Frangelico, Cointreau, or white chocolate liqueur.
Look to the Dutch masters and opt for advocaat, Holland’s custardy answer to egg nog – dessert for breakfast sounds fine to us.
Or channel a Puerto Rican vibe with coconut and rum-soaked coquito.
Add the flavours of gingerbread to take your egg nog to fully festive heights.
A note on food safety
Egg nog is chocka with raw eggs. In some countries raw eggs are a flat no. New Zealand has been fortunate in that up till recently salmonella had not been detected in laying hens in our country – but the lucky spell was broken earlier this year. However, subsequent testing has shown the industry should soon be able to reclaim our salmonella-free status – and Freedom Farmed free range eggs have not been affected at any point – but we’d always advise the usual caution: ensuring eggshells are clean, refrigerating eggs straight after purchase, and young children, pregnant women, and those with a compromised immune system avoiding raw egg consumption.
Oh, did we mention that egg nog is arguably spiked with enough booze that if bacteria were present, they’d be slayed? If you’re worried… you could have a go at this home method for pasteurising eggs – could make for a fun spot of kitchen science, anyway!
This is the last edition of The Breakfast Club from Freedom Farms for 2021… but if you subscribe to The Omnivore, you’ll get one last dispatch from us later on this week too. Thanks for being part of our community this year – we know your inbox can be a cluttered space, and it means a lot that you invite us back each month.
This year has been a weird and often lumpy ride. We’re borrowing the sentiments of The Guardian’s Civil Disobedience Penguins when we suggest that you don’t spend too much of your Christmas festivities arguing with people who don’t believe in vaccines or climate change – spend some time sitting at the kids table and enjoying their views on the world instead. It’s more fun that way.
Take care and meri kirihimete!
All of us at Freedom Farms x