We’ve all been there: the hangover, the salivating glance at the brunch menu, followed by the aghast double-take at the price. As a general rule, any hipster establishment where the price is written in an inventive font as a single minimalist number without a euro sign is about to shake you down for all you’re worth. But as Anthony Bourdain points out in Kitchen Confidential, brunch is a big scam. You do not need a Michelin star to fry an egg and toast a slice of sourdough. Nor to slice an avocado or open a bag of mixed leaves. Where they get you is in the trimmings, the little sprinkly bits that make you think, “Well, I may be spending nine euro on a meal I could make in five minutes without having to get out of my pyjamas, but at least it has dukkah on it! Whatever the feck that is!” Certainly it’s ridiculous to blame the housing crisis on avocado toast, but there’s no reason to fall for the blandishments of Big Brunch either. Not when you can craft something just as delicious in the comfort of your own bedsit.
Fancy flaked salt and pepper. Essential. Well perhaps not essential, but definitely very nice. Treat yourself.
Get a bag of sesame seeds from Aldi. Shimmy some in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until they start to darken and smell tasty, then pour into a small container with a lid. Sprinkle on eggs, avocado, stir-fries, noodles, salads…
Sumac: the tangy, lemony, pinkly instagrammable spice du jour – pick up some in Tesco for under two euro and jazz up eggs or rice.
Grate a clove of garlic into some lemon juice and add a good few dollops of natural yoghurt and some salt. Mix. Ta-da! Salad dressing, pasta sauce, drizzle over roasted veg.
Most importantly, be prepared. If Tuesday night is the night you always seems to end up in the pub, do your food shop on Monday. It’s a lot easier for the Fear to convince you that you’re a worthless excuse for a human being whose life is slowly circling the drain when all you have in the fridge is a single can of Prazsky and a mouldy half-eaten jambon. When you have stocked up against the incoming hangover and can fix yourself something tasty, life doesn’t seem so bad.
“I may well”, you can say cheerily to the Fear, “be a worthless excuse for a human being -”
“- but dammit!”
“ I am a worthless excuse for a human being with a litre bottle of Lucozade!”