Whilst I love all the restaurants of Islington, I do bemoan the dearth of lovely brunch spots (I do have some local favourites: Le Peche Mignon, especially in their courtyard in summer, and Food Lab on Essex Road. More suggestions welcome).
On Saturday morning I was determined we would go explore a new brunch spot - Kaffeine in Fitzrovia perhaps? The Modern Pantry (we'd been there for an excellent lunch previously)? Test out York & Albany in Camden? All have delicious sounding breakfast menus but suddenly it was 10.30am already and we ended up having corn fritters with avocado, bacon & tomato relish with Monmouth coffee and the paper at our very own kitchen table, this morning known as Chez Lex.
I went 5 minutes in one direction to collect cobs of corn, bacon, avocados and the Telegraph, whilst Y went 5 minutes in the other direction to Le Peche Mignon to restock our coffee supply for our stove top coffee pot.
The result: a peaceful 2 hour brunch with delicious food, great coffee & not an annoying child nor 4 wheel drive-like pram in sight. The service at Chez Lex is verging on non-existent, but the prices are very reasonable and they never charge service.
Perhaps a secret brunch club in the making ...
I adapted, ever so slightly, Stephanie Alexander's recipe for Sweetcorn Brunch Fritters from her Australian bible "The Cook's Companion".
3 corn cobs
180g polenta (or thereabouts)
2T plain flour
1t bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
40g unsalted butter, melted
(this makes too many for 2, maybe 3 or 4?)
Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Slice corn off the cobs.
In a bowl mix polenta, flour, bicarb soda & salt. Make a well & add the milk, one egg and the yolk of the other egg, & melted butter. Stir to combine and add the corn. Season.
Heat a frying pan on medium heat and using a generous splash of vegetable oil, fry large dollops of the fritter batter, turning when you can see the edges starting to cook/brown. Transfer cooked fritters onto a plate to keep warm in the oven and to continue cooking, whilst cooking the next batch of fritters.
When all the fritters are in the oven, cook some bacon in the same pan (& put your coffee on and heat up the milk for your macchiato). Slice avocado.
To assemble, layer a corn fritter - avocado - corn fritter - avocado - bacon. I finished with a spoonful of spicy tomato chutney. Stephanie suggests an alternative of fritter & bacon with maple syrup. I deliberately didn't do this, leaving me an excuse to make these again.
A truly delicious brunch - do try and include the polenta because it gives the fritters a great crunchiness on the outside.
I should add that this dish was inspired by my New Yorker best friend, who served up something very similar to a group of friends about 10 years ago (were only about 7 or 8 at the time obviously) with a fresh tomato salsa.