Breakfast Date with: Eat Like a GirlBy Alicia Grimshaw
As part of BeLOVeD Date Week, we’re going behind-the-scenes with the movers and shakers in London’s food scene. Every day this week, we’ll be having a date with a different influential food lover. Today we meet Niamh Shields, founder of blog Eat Like a Girl, a travel and food blog which has received national acclaim. Niamh travels the world looking for inspiration for her blog, and regularly shares recipes inspired by her travels with her loyal readers. Without further adieu, let’s meet the woman behind it all:
Niamh, what breakfast did you eat growing up?
Despite being one of the most brunch obsessed people on the internet, I have never been a huge breakfast eater. As a child, I would have porridge, which I then decided that I didn’t like. I moved on to slices of toast, and then nothing. At which point my mother started giving me jam sandwiches for the school bus!
What’s the best breakfast you’ve ever had in the world?
I don’t think you can beat Asian breakfasts, they are joyful high-energy bundles of deliciousness. In a small town outside Bangkok very early in the morning after giving offerings to the monks, I had a bowl of pumpkin congee with pork from a street stall that cost about 40p, and it was sensational. I love a punchy noodle soup, with a little extra chilli. And I adore a fresh crimpled roti canai dragged through a curry or an aromatic dal. Best of all is a Japanese breakfast that I had in Kyoto with fresh homemade soya milk and tofu, lightly cured fish, miso, pickles, tiny fish mingled with fabulous sansho pepper and more. Delightful.
What’s the most unusual breakfast you’ve ever tried?
Probably Japanese breakfasts. They are intensely savoury and varied with a variety of flavours and sensations. I had one at a ryokan once, a traditional Japanese inn with a communal bath usually, and I had no idea what half the stuff was. The staff couldn’t speak English and I can’t speak Japanese so I just threw myself into it. There was a beautiful tofu dish which was served on what was like an aromatherapy burner with a candle inside so that it cooked gently. Gorgeous.
What’s your favourite breakfast spot in London?
We have so many, that is a tough call. If I am local to home, I love M1lk in Balham. Just yesterday I had their homemade crumpets with hay smoked goats curd, Wandsworth honey and wild flowers. The coffee is excellent there and the playlist is good too (this is important!). If in town, it is hard to beat the Turkish Eggs at the Providores, two poached eggs served on Greek yogurt with chilli butter. Sounds weird, right? They are sensational, go try them or make them at home with my take on the dish. My other favourite London breakfast is any of the Japanese breakfasts at Koya Bar in Soho. If feeling virtuous I will have the fish breakfast, usually a lightly cured marinated piece of fish with pickles, miso and rice or the egg and soy sauce udon (think carbonara style). If feeling indulgent, I will have the bacon and egg udon. Their take on kedgeree is fabulous too, with dried bonito flakes on top. Fun!
Go-to breakfast dish if you’re cooking?
At home I like to put together a sauce, often tomato based, sometimes a simple flavourful curry, and then I poach eggs in it. Avocado on crackers with tahini, lemon and sesame seeds with a pop of chilli works well too. But I do love my eggs in the morning. Try this ‘nduja ragu with eggs – that will wake you up!
Which country does breakfast the best?
What would you do with a handful of dates?
Put them in a smoothie, make homemade brown sauce with them, stuff them with blue cheese and wrap them in bacon before roasting them, or you know, just eat them!
What does breakfast represent to you?
A joyful expressive start to my day.
London’s best coffee is:
We have lots of great coffee now and it depends on the style you want (brew bar, espresso etc), but my current favourites are Milk, Flat White and the pour over coffee at Nude Espresso. I do love a great cold brew coffee when I can find it.
London’s best eggs can be found at:
Turkish Eggs at the Providores or any eggs in my kitchen. They are good!
Photo credits: Eat Like a Girl