Every day, for the past 35 years, my sister has eaten three Weetabix for breakfast. Except on holiday, where her chosen wholegrain cereal has proved unobtainable, she has not wavered. Ever steadfast, she remains faithful. She never flirts, not even with Coco Pops.

I think this is insane. There are many ways in which we differ (such is the spice of sibling life) but this is one of the most marked. Don’t get me wrong, she likes to cook. Occasionally. But actual eating, while not a chore, is something that she does on automatic pilot, rather than with the deep joy of one who has been dreaming of what to have for dinner since the previous evening. How she hasn’t, even once, got bored with her biscuity breakfast, is beyond me. The same thing two days in a row makes me feel as if Groundhog Day has arrived. And I quite often run out of milk anyway.

Recently my constant struggle for breakfastal variety has taken me in some odd directions. This is my current favourite breakfast:

Spinach and feta mush

Decant a bag of fresh spinach into a non-stick pan, on a middling heat. Put the lid on and after a very few minutes, stir it around until it wilts into an alarmingly small pile. Remove from the pan and put in a sieve over a bowl. Add some oil to the pan.

Crush a clove of garlic (this is optional. All of it is basically optional, because it’s all just stuff I had in the cupboard). Put in the pan to sauté for a minute or two but don’t burn it. With scissors, snip three rashers of streaky bacon into bits, and add to the pan. Cook for a bit until crispy, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, put on a pair of clean rubber gloves (to prevent you burning your hands) and squeeze as much fluid as you can out of the spinach. Chop it roughly, and add it to the garlic and bacon. Take a chunk of feta cheese (how big depends on how salty you want your mush, which isn’t something I ever thought I’d hear myself say) and crumble it into the pan. Stir. Beat one egg in a bowl (this makes it technically breakfast) and add to the pan, stirring quickly so that it’s incorporated before becoming scrambled. When the egg is cooked, eat from a bowl, with a fork. It doesn’t go with toast.

Sometimes I bulk it out with shredded and sautéed Savoy cabbage, or just do it with cabbage when I can’t be bothered to faff about with the spinach, or don’t have any.  I know. It’s weird. But it’s dead nice. And they eat meat and cheese for breakfast in Germany and no-one bats an eyelid, so stuff it.


Galvin La Chapelle, 35 Spital Square, London E1

A caveat is required for this review, because SB and I were quite drunk by the time we left Galvin La Chapelle, which is the new, super-fancy restaurant from the Galvin brothers. They are behind Galvin at Windows (which I haven’t visited) and Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, which is one of my favourite restaurants in London. La Chapelle is, not surprisingly, in a lovely old chapel building in the East End, on the very edge of the City. Well placed, near the tax-payer funded snarling money-pits of the British banking district, because it’s really quite expensive (though not insane, and it does have the cheaper, more informal Galvin Café a Vin right next door) We started with a martini, had two different glasses of white wine with the starters, a carafe of red with the main course and then a glass of sticky with the desserts. Of which we had three, because we couldn’t decide between them. We paid £90 each and practically fell out of the door, so I admit to not being able perfectly to recall every little detail about everything we ate. Lucky I don’t do this for a living (sob).

Anyway, though, idiotically, I didn’t write any notes (because I was having too much fun), what I did do was email everything we had eaten to a friend in a fit of enthusiasm once I got on the bus (and missed my stop as a result) so with this aide memoire I will try to piece together what was, frankly, a fucking brilliant dinner.

The staff are, as at the Bistrot, both formal and friendly – they treat you like royalty but behave like old retainers who have known you for years: chatty, enthusiastic, witty and thoughtful. We were seated on the mezzanine floor, which overlooks the dining room, and thus were able to gawp at people and analyse the body language of the increasingly drunk and unguarded city workers tucked into the booths below (dude, if you’re reading this, I know you love him but he’s married and you’re making him feel uncomfortable. The sooner you come out to yourself the sooner you can find a real live gay boyfriend and get on with being happy.) It’s a civilized place though, dinner-drunken, rather than rah-drunken.

We fancied practically everything on the menu but decided on a terrine of Landaise foie gras & leeks with trufle vinaigrette, and a lasagne of Dorset crab with veloute of chanterelles, to start. This lasagne is a Galvin classic, I’ve had it before and it never disappoints. Thin, perfect pasta separated by soft little clouds of sweet, moussy crab meat and the chanterelles veloute (like a thin, soup-like sauce) is a delicate, savoury foil. I think the matched wine was a Sancerre – bright and clean with a mineral flavour which cut through the richness. We weren’t sure how the foie gras and leeks would work but they complemented each other in an almost bizarre way – the leeks were still crunchy but had been cooked enough to lose that overpowering onioniness, and so the delicacy of the foie gras held its own quite happily. The vinaigrette was delightful but you couldn’t really taste the truffle, to be honest. The wine we were matched for this was heavier, with more fruit, but I’ve no idea what it was. Swapping between the two, we tested the wines with the unmatched dishes, and the sommelier was completely right. Of course.

Mains were assiette of veal (sweetbreads, brains, belly and cheek) with carrot and cumin puree and tagine of pigeon with aubergine puree and harissa sauce. The pigeon was perfectly cooked – do they eat pigeon in Morocco? Because if they don’t they should, the lightly gamey meat works brilliantly with the aromatic spices used in middle eastern cooking. The brains were probably my favourite part of the assiette; delicately flavoured (it has an almost fishy taste which I can understand would be pretty disconcerting if you weren’t expecting it, it’s not to everyone’s taste) and with an unmistakeable soft, cloudy texture. So yes, it is fairly obvious that you’re eating brain. So what.

We couldn’t decide on the pudding, the waitress said parfait of Seville oranges, I couldn’t quite pass up on a mille-feuille of rhubarb and neither S or I were able to ignore chocolate fondant with banana yoghurt icecream and honeycomb, so we had all three, with a glass of dessert wine. We were both shitfaced by this point so I can’t, tragically, explain the individual delights of each of these undeniable treats, but we scoffed all of them with abandon before staggering out (we might have had a coffee actually. Yes, I’m almost definitely sure we had a coffee. I think) into the cold night air grinning from ear to ear like a pair of idiots.