Monday, 14 January 2013

What did you have for breakfast?



What did you have for breakfast?
Some Postcrossers suggest ideas for what people can write on their postcards (largely to stop folk from being lazy and just writing ‘Happy Postcrossing’ which rather defeats the idea of exchanging snail mail).  One of the popular suggestions is ‘What did you have for breakfast?’ Unless it’s obvious they are actually collecting the answer to that question I don’t bother responding as I’m not usually short of things to say. But if I were to answer it would probably be toast and marmalade – without which no English breakfast is truly complete.



The first recipe for marmalade appeared in English cookbooks in the 1500s as an indigestion cure - oranges, from which the marmalade was to be made, being prized as a cure for an upset stomach. 

Its arrival on the scene as a breakfast accompaniment occurred in Dundee in the early 18th century.  A retired merchant called James Keiller bought up a load of Spanish oranges at the harbour. They were cheap because the ship, from Seville, had been delayed in a storm and they were over-ripe.  But they proved to be too bitter to eat.  The story goes that his wife, Janet, decided rather than waste them she would make them into jam but instead of crushing the peel into pulp with a pestle and mortar (the usual method) she chopped it into shreds. 

In reality it was hardly an accident that Janet made jam since she owned a small sweet shop, specialising in selling jam and ‘boilings’, with fruit picked from the locality.   He may well have bought the oranges for her to boil up and she probably just experimented with an old recipe and came up with this version of marmalade.

However it happened, her marmalade sold out instantly.  But the famous marmalade firm of Keiller’s was not born overnight as is often suggested.  The family continued to be simple sweet shop owners for many years and for decades their marmalade was purely a local produce.

However the production of marmalade developed thereafter we do know that by the 1730s the Irish epicurean travel writer, Bishop Richard Pococke, was describing the English breakfast thus – “They always bring toasted bread, and besides, butter, honey and jelly of preserved orange peel.”

Although marmalade as we know it had quickly become popular, the first commercial brand of marmalade, seems to have been founded in 1797 when the first Keiller’s marmalade factory was opened.   By the end of the nineteenth century marmalade was being shipped as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India and China.  Keller’s was acquired by Crosse & Blackwell in 1920 and subsequently sold on multiple times before ending up with Robertson's.

And lunch - leek and potato soup
Lunch in my case proved to be home-made soup.  In the past I’ve shown a few home-made soup recipes that I use on my old cookery blog. But today’ soup was one of the best I’ve made in a long time.  Cream of leek and onion. I’d share the recipe but I don’t tend to measure anything so it’s a bit difficult to recall exactly what I put in. 
I would guess it went something like –
2 litres water
A large handful (in total) of green lentils, orange lentils, split peas and pearl barley.
A tablespoon of mixed herbs.
Two teaspoons Bouillon
Two lamb stock cubes
Three leeks (finely chopped and microwaved with butter for 6 minutes before being added)
Four medium sized potatoes.
Grated pepper but no salt (the bouillon makes the soup salty enough)
This is left to simmer for an hour and half and then blended.  Once blended replace on the hob and reheat to simmering point.  Take off the heat and leave for five minutes before adding a quarter of a pint of cream and some roughly chopped parsley, chives and basil leaves. 

Have I made you hungry?

23 comments:

  1. Love marmalade! Especially on toast. Yes, I could have that for breakfast everyday. :)
    Honestly, I never thought about how that started, but now I know!
    Also, I've never heard of lamb boullion! Is that an English item, or have you seen it anywhere else?

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    1. The bouillon is vegetable bouillon, the lamb stock cubes are separate things. It must be something about the way I wrote it because other people below thought I meant lamb bouillon.

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  2. You have made me hungry! I do enjoy making soup but I've never made leek soup. Potato is a fav of mine to make. But I really love to make jams. I have raspberry bushes on our land and make red and black raspberry jam every year. I also make grape jelly and peach jam. As I'm having a dickens of a time finding a good postcard (but I'm not giving up!) how about a jar of jam?

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    1. I'm not sure that jam would travel quite as well, Yaya. I'm happy to wait!!

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  3. It does sound good -- the soup I mean, except for the pearl barley, but it also sounds like a lot of work. I don't care for marmalade I'm afraid. As for the gargoyles, i have learned something. I was told as a child that they were there to chase away evil and demons. I never questioned that they were for any other purpose or that their origin was anything other than medieval. So I have learned something new.

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    1. I think scaring devils away was part of their purpose.
      What is it about pearl barley? A few people I know don't like it.

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  4. Toast dripping with butter and topped with marmalade. It just doesn't get much better than that - but it has to be really good marmalade!

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  5. You have not exactly made me hungry, as I am not fully awake yet, but the soup sounds delicious and not too complicated or difficult to make. I love leek and potato, and they are an unbeatable team in combination!

    I don't care for marmalade and always have muesli for breakfast :-)

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  6. Yes you have. I love orange marmalade,and though I make peach jam regularly, I was unable to make marmalade jell, it stayed like orange juice.

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  7. You definitely have made me hungry and I love cream soups, especially with potatoes in it. I would probably use beef bouillon instead of lamb though. It sounds delicious. Yummy!

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  8. I'm not a soup person at all, but my daughter is and loves to make her own so I've sent her your recipe, hope that is okay?
    I do love marmalade!

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  9. Leek and potato soup is one of my standard dishes that I sometimes make and then freeze in portions. Not the exact same recipe as yours but I vary it a bit and have sometimes had lenses in mine too.

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  10. yes, well, rather you made me drool! I was loving the recipe, but then you added cream. :( oh, how I hate to think of the calories in that. of course, I think you don't have to worry about such things. normally, I have oats and English muffins with marmalade.

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    1. You can have it without the cream - and I should too. Not because of the calories - my stress levels seem to burn those off - but it's ever so bad for the heart. Adding cream to my soups is a rare treat!

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  11. Hi, Scriptor - yes, I'm starved! Love toast and marmalade and sometimes fix it for afternoon tea if I'm in a hurry and can't find a biscuit.

    I don't think the lamb stock cubes are available in North America; when I come to England to visit my sister-in-law, I go down to her local supermarket and stock up on them. Since they last forever if kept dry, I just put them in a jar and store them in the cupboard until I need them for making lamb gravy, etc. Works a treat.

    I love leek and potato soup, too, though I haven't made it for a long time. It's good to be reminded sometimes, as I think my cooking kind of gets in a rut. I did buy a lovely big leek the other day and I always have potatoes on hand, so maybe it's time for some soup. Thanks for a great idea.

    Have a great week, xoxo Carol

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  12. For breakfast today, I had oatmeal and English Breakfast Tea with my mom's home-harvested honey and milk. At 1:30 in the afternoon.

    Your leek soup sounds marvy! I dinna like marmalade, however. Gie me a scone and a cuppa tae, and the finest wines available to humanity.

    I want them here, and I want them NOW.

    8-)

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    1. Home-harvested honey - I bet that tastes a lot better than the mixed blend stuff from our supermarkets. You can buy specialist honeys but they cost an arm and a leg.

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  13. Your leek and potato soup sounds intricate but delicate – I’ll try it. I don’t think they sell lamb stock cubes around here – lamb is not that easy to find and it’s quite expensive. I would call it a leek and potato soup “deluxe.”

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    1. I wouldn't worry about the lamb stock cubes I would leave them out anyway when having my vegetraian relatives around. A vegetable stock cube would probably be equally good.

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  14. I think I am British ;D
    I love toast n' Orange Marmalade-yum!
    I have had this soup at a Beef-eaters type festival
    in London...amazing!
    Thank you so much for sharing!
    I went to England, when I was seventeen and went to a grocery store, to bring back gifts. Jacksons of Piccadilly in a tea tin-my maiden name is Jackson!
    Thank you John! I'm going to make this soup :D

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  15. Leek and potato soup - one of my favourites.

    Breakfast? - Fresh Ginger Tea, Dorset Farm Tropical Fruit Meusli with Copella Apple juice and a Banana and must not forget the cup of tea and newspaper at the end.

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