IT IS a strange old world, especially in the morning. A quick poll of what my colleagues eat for breakfast showed up some diverse, and occasionally unappetising, habits. One, for example, consumes fruit-flavoured yoghurt and lemon tea every morning. Your contributions tend to be more wholesome, but every bit as individualistic. Frank and Marian McGreevy of Church Stretton, Shropshire, submit an 'Irish porridge' recipe. It dictates that the oats be cooked overnight and finished with whiskey.

I checked the recipe with Irish friends. One said she would make it with water and finish it with cream. As for the whiskey: 'Very respectable,' replied the drinker of the two. The going phrase all over Ireland must be 'easy on the porridge'. The McGreevys, along with the other winner named below, will each receive a full English breakfast for two in the River Room of the Savoy in London.

McGreevy Porridge

Serves 4

Ingredients: 1 cup porridge oats

4 cups full-cream milk

Pinch of salt

Muscavado sugar

Irish whiskey

Preparation: Mix oats, milk and salt in an ovenproof dish. Place in a very low oven overnight (about 90C/190F). Do not attempt it with gas, lest it go out. The following morning, increase heat to 130C/250F and cook for another hour. Decant into individual serving bowls, cover with muscavado sugar and return to oven for five minutes. Add a capful of whiskey to each bowl immediately before serving.

LILITH ALLNUTT of east London also adds spirit to her breakfast, this time to pain perdu. 'This is my breakfast recipe - it comes from France, where I come from,' she writes. 'It's very popular with children.' And so it is. As a child, I knew it as 'French toast'.

Pain Perdu

Serves 6

Ingredients: 1 stale French stick, sliced

3 1/2 oz/100g sugar

1 tsp cognac

2 eggs, beaten

1 pint/16oz/560ml milk


Preparation: Boil milk with sugar. Add cognac. Soak bread in milk, then dip in eggs before frying in hot butter until golden. Serve hot with maple syrup.

ALAN HILDITCH of Chedburgh, Suffolk, is another fan of fried bread. He submits a family recipe for 'Brummagem Rissoles', in which holes are cut in the centres of bread slices, and eggs fried into them. 'No one I've spoken to over many years had previously heard of this,' he writes.

They have now. Next week, more breakfast recipes. We welcome contributions, exotic or homespun. Send them, stating the source, to Emily Green, Recipe, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.