It’s breakfast’s time! We’re not just eating it, we’re tweeting and blogging about it. All this exposure has lead to innovation and the subtle evolution of our classic breakfast dishes, with a greater emphasis on seasonality and provenance. And with a new breed of artisan producers offering premium quality products, the opportunities for improvements are huge.

With such a philosophy, even pedestrian dishes such as beans on toast can be transformed with the inclusion of dry cured bacon, smoky chipotle chillies and spring onion. You can buy a loaf or sourdough for the toast but I strongly recommend making your own soda bread the night before. Unlike yeast-leavened bread it doesn’t require kneading, proving or rising, so it’s very simple to make.

Add 250g of wholemeal flour, 250g of plain flour, 150g of jumbo oat flakes, 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda and 1 teaspoon of salt into a large bowl. Pour in 500ml of buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of honey. Gently pull together to form a dough (don’t knead or it will become tough). Shape into a round, flattish loaf and cut a cross in the top to allow the bread to expand and rise. Sprinkle with flour and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C, for around 40 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack, and leave to cool.

Print Smoky Bacon Beans, Garlic Kale & Grilled Soda Bread Prep Time 30 Cook Time 180 Serves 4


500g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
Splash of olive oil
200g smoked streaky bacon, diced into chunks
2 red onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 chipotle chilli
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
200ml red wine vinegar
100g soft brown sugar
500ml water
Make the beans a day in advance to save time and allow the flavour to develop. Cover the soaked beans in cold water and bring to the boil. Drain, return to the pot, cover again in cold water and simmer for 1 hour.
In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium heat and sauté the bacon until golden. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft.
Add the paprika and cook for a further 2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes, chili, vinegar, sugar and water and bring to the boil.
Drain the beans, add to the tomato sauce and simmer for 1 hour or until the beans are soft and the sauce has thickened. Check seasoning.
For garlic kale, boil the kale for 1 min, drain and sauté for 1 min in garlic olive oil. Season.
Serve the smoky bacon beans with grilled or toasted soda bread and the garlic kale.

By Guy Awford

Guy Awford is chef-patron of, &


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