Private chef Alix Verrips has spent 15 years in the yachting industry, cooking for royalty, oligarchs, industrialists and celebs. In her recipe book Brunch Across 11 Countries (Human & Rousseau) she shares her tastes and tales.
BREAKFAST IN MYKONOS
On a Sunday morning, nearing the end of the Caribbean season, I was staring out of my galley window, searching for inspiration for that morning’s “breakfast special”. The style of the condominiums cascading down the cliffs reminded me of the architecture of the Cyclades in Greece. I decided to bake eggs in a nest of key Greek ingredients, and so “Breakfast in Mykonos” was born. It became the instant favourite of my boss at the time, and it was also the last breakfast I cooked the day I left the yachting industry.
- 200g baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 small red onion, finely sliced
- 12 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- 60ml olive oil
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 5ml dried origanum
- Pinch of salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 50ml melted butter
- 100ml double cream
- 6 eggs, separated
- 100g feta cheese, crumbled
- 15ml chopped fresh parsley for garnishing
- Put the spinach, tomatoes, onion, olives and olive oil in a bowl and mix well. Add the lemon juice, zest, origanum, salt and pepper, mix again and set aside for 30 minutes for the flavours to infuse.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put a large baking dish or cast-iron pan in the oven to heat up while the oven is coming up to temperature. Alternatively, if you’d like to make individual portions, place six ramekins on a baking tray.
- Whisk the butter and cream together.
- Take the baking dish out of the oven and pour the cream mixture into it. Place back in the oven for 5-8 minutes or until the mixture starts to bubble.
- Beat the egg whites until foamy and pour them into the bowl with the vegetables. Combine gently.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven and pour in the egg white mixture. Using a tablespoon, make six little holes in the mixture and carefully place a yolk in each one. Sprinkle with feta cheese and return to the oven to bake for 5-8 minutes or until the egg whites are starting to set. (If you prefer the yolks to be set too, leave in the oven for a while longer.)
- Turn on the grill and allow the feta to char slightly. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with fresh parsley and black pepper, and serve with crusty bread or pitas for mopping up the golden yolks.
ANTIPASTO IN CAPRI
No family-style Italian meal is complete without an antipasto platter, which is comprised of cured meats, seafood and cheese, olives and marinated or pickled vegetables. Quality and simplicity are the key to a successful antipasto.
- Marinated Artichokes
- Peperoncini Peppers
- Caper Berries
- Roasted Vegetables
Pick a selection of the ingredients listed above and arrange them on a platter garnished with fresh herbs and fruit.
COCKTAILS IN THE COUNTIES
Brunch has gained popularity at pheasant shoots in the English shires because it combines breakfast, elevenses and lunch.
The Hugo Fizz is a summer drink, originating in the South Tyrol region of Northern Italy, which is now popular all over Europe. It derives its name from “hugu”, which means body, mind and spirit. Serve a virgin Hugo, called a Heinrich, by substituting sparkling mineral water for the Champagne. A Kurti is made by using basil leaves in place of the mint leaves. Adjust the sweetness of your drink with the addition or reduction of elderflower cordial, which can be found at your local bottle store.
- 175ml elderflower cordial
- Juice of 1 lemon or lime
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves
- 1 bottle sparkling water or sparkling wine
- Place the elderflower cordial, citrus juice and mint in the bottom of a pitcher that can hold a volume of at least 2 litres.
- Bruise the mint gently with a wooden spoon to release some of the mint oil in the leaves.
- Fill the pitcher halfway with ice, add the sparkling wine and serve.
Photographs: Aart Veerips