Elevating Breakfast à la Rebecca Udall
Rebecca Udall is my absolute go-to site for all things linen and lovely. Having worked in a buying department she came up with an idea to change the way we think about textiles: for her, the focus isn't on thread count, but on ply and weave. The result is that her wonderful collections make any table look special, and make any bed dressed in her sheets feel like a five star hotel.
As you can tell, I'm a big fan, and so was delighted when Rebecca agreed to write exclusively for Seraphina on how to elevate the humble breakfast table into something luxurious, to set the tone for the day. We all need simple pleasures during this strange time, and putting a little effort in is a great way to #makeamealofit. Plus, when things get back to normal your guests will be super impressed with your gorgeous table-laying skills!
How to elevate a simple but delicious breakfast
In the current circumstances, I am finding a lot of joy in elevating my daily rituals – more so than usual.
I have to say that I don’t often dress the table for breakfast, but during the current situation I have been taking more time to do so. I am a keen cook but frankly, in the morning, I just want to eat, make a coffee and read the paper or get on with the day. So, I’ve shared my favourite “breakfast hacks” for a delicious, impressive but deceptively simple breakfast spread – with very little do in the morning.
Leaving a lot to do to the last minute is the perfect recipe for that “chore” feeling. For my elevated breakfast – the food and table decorations – you can prepare the night before and with little to do in the morning. This way, you can be present with your guests – or more likely yourself or family at the moment.
My delicious but simple breakfast hacks include:
- Frozen croissants from good supermarkets - I use Waitrose’s but Ocado stock a similar French brand. Accompany with a good, tasty selection of jam and marmalade.
- Fruit, seeds and nuts neatly displayed on a large platter – or any other yoghurt topping you may be inclined to.
- Good quality Greek yoghurt
- Loose leaf tea and fresh coffee
My great-Aunt, who I lived with for a while whilst in London, would always lay the table for breakfast the night before, which I think is a lovely idea. Doing so makes everything in the morning much simpler, enjoyable and ultimately “puts you in the mood” when you come in to the kitchen first thing.
For this spread, I recommend arranging your berries and other yoghurt toppings on to a decorative platter the night before, cutting open any fruits at the last minute.
My top tips for a truly elevated breakfast:
- Decant, decant, decant! (and do so the night before and cover). Place butter into a butter dish or better still, use a small cookie cutter to place small pretty butter shapes in to little bowls. For butter shapes, make sure your butter is cold and dip your cutter in to hot water carefully – it gives a sharper finish. Make coffee in a cafetière. Alternatively, prepare a coffee station with your machine: milk already poured in to a jug, sugar cubes with tongs and coffee pods at the ready. It will make it feel more special. Place jam into pinch bowls or similar. Effectively – get rid of the plastic and branded packaging.
- Linens. For me, I like breakfast linens to be a little more relaxed and informal than what you might use for supper – I personally don’t want people to feel on edge if they are not dressed smartly. I want to evoke a relaxed atmosphere whilst still delighting my guests with a pretty table. I especially love something more feminine for breakfast – scallops and soft tones. My Greta placemat works very well here, as it’s a good size for smaller breakfast plates and bowls. I also fine the natural tones very calming. The napkins are a beautiful textured linen – they are simply beautiful with the most gorgeous lustre and touch. The runners I have used are very simple but effective – they don’t feel as smart as a tablecloth but equally add another layer to your table to give it a stylish finish.
- Flowers – admittedly I ran out of space on my table. However, little bud vases of seasonal blooms work best for breakfast if you have space, to allow for the inevitable passing of jugs and butter.
On my table, I also have some rhubarb compote, which is incredibly easy to make and almost seasonal. You simply add rhubarb to a pot on a medium heat with the amount of desired sugar and additional flavours, without water. Stir occasionally and in 5-10 minutes you have a delicious accompaniment for yoghurt or porridge. I like mine with freshly grated ginger.
Another thing I like to do, over time, is to collect a selection of antique silver plated accessories. I picked up my toast rack in my local market town for £18 and my tea strainer for £5. I am not precious with them but I feel that they really help to elevate the table.
I hope you’ve found this elevated breakfast idea inspiring. It’s not meant to be a five star breakfast but examples of ways to make routine feel more special in the circumstances. You can also adapt it for whatever you may, or may not, be able to et in the supermarket. The frozen croissants I have an almost unhealthy likening for – if you haven’t tried them before, I really do recommend them. They are very simple to keep in your fridge and hey, you may curb your “business as usual” Saturday morning Pret run.
This elevated breakfast can be put together in less than five minutes “work” in the morning. The pastries need around 20 minutes in the oven, and apart from putting the kettle on and getting your decanted items out of the fridge and cutting open some fruit – it’s simpler than making a bacon sandwich.