Just bring me something on toast

Sunday supper food must be easy and super-comforting, says Simon Hopkin son

There was a really wacky dish that my father used to make for supper on Sundays. lt did not, and still does not, have a name. In fact, I cannot remember how I used to request it - what sort of name do you give to a dish of fried bread, crisp bacon and boiled potatoes covered with cheese sauce? Anyway, it was absolutely delicious, the essence of Sunday Supper Food (SSF).

SSF is not necessarily leftovers, especially since Sunday lunch is not the regular affair that it used to be - cold pasta, for instance, is not ideal for recycling later in the day. And there is something about SSF that needs to be comforting, easy and intensely savoury.

Scrambled eggs come to mind immediately. Eggs are most definitely SSF. Scotch woodcock, that essentially British savoury, is now rarely encountered outside grand hotels of a certain period and gentlemen's clubs. lt is the simplest of preparations and only involves scrambling eggs with a little cream and chives, piling on to buttered toast or, even better, fried bread, and draping over some salted anchovies in a criss-cross fashion. I wonder whether the combination of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, that is so popular these days, was adapted from the Scotch woodcock.

But without doubt, the finest combination of smoked fish and eggs is, of course, smoked haddock and a perfect poached egg. (As I write, it is actually 10 minutes to 10 on a Sunday evening, and I am nearing the end of a sojourn at Grayshott Hall, a healthretreat in Surrey. This is the stuff of masochists, I tell you: the thought of smoked haddock and a poached egg right now is very moving.) There is really no point in the dish unless the egg is super-fresh. The fish must be poached gently in milk and I like to serve it in an old-fashioned soup plate with some of the milk sploshing about in the bottom and the pearly poached egg perched on top. Thickly buttered slices of white toast should be close at hand.

There was a wonderful documentary on the life of Alan Bennett on The South Bank Show a few years ago now. He was reminiscing over the menu of a favourite office cafeteria and looking at the dishes subsequently on offer. "Avocado with prawns?" he exclaimed. "You don't want avocado with prawns, you want something on toast!" Too true. It is sad, the demise of "things on toast". A good Welsh rarebit is hard to find; a buck rarebit even harder - that is cheese on toast with a poached egg on top, by the way, usually one of those perfect round ones. And where, may I ask, did creamed mushrooms on toast disappear to? Taken over by the dreaded pizza, I suppose. There is nothing wrong with pizza, but it is hardly SSF. Well, certainly not in my book, anyhow.

Creamed mushrooms on toast is one of my greatest treats. All you need is some of those mushrooms that are a cross between a button mushroom and a large flat one; they are sort of pinky-brown and have slightly open cups. n Slice them thickly and stew in plenty of good butter with salt, pepper and the merest trace of garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes without colouring, but allow any juices that have run out of the mushrooms to evaporate. Now add a squeeze of lemon and some thick double cream. Gently simmeruntil the sauce is velvety and thick like custard from a tin. Throw in some chopped chives and spoon the mixture over thick slices of buttered white toast; brown toast just will not do.

Suggested Topics
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power