Observer Food Monthly chooses its favourite recipes for brunch including steak and eggs, classic pancakes and congee

Robert Reids steak and eggs

At Balthazar, we use Angus Aberdeen grain-fed beef for this, and we cut the 300g steak from a small loin to ensure a consistent thickness of around 2cm. Before cooking, leave the steaks out of the fridge for about 15 minutes to bring them up to room temperature; this will help the cooking process.

Serves 2
steaks 2 x 300g
table salt a pinch
freshly ground black pepper
sunflower oil 100ml
free range eggs 2
Maldon salt flakes

Season the steaks on both sides with table salt and black pepper. Heat up a non-stick griddle pan on a medium heat. When hot, put the steaks on the pan diagonally (if you cant fit both on, do one at a time) and cook for 2 minutes, then move diagonally for another 2 minutes so that you get a diamond lattice effect on the steaks. Repeat on the other side. Take out of the pan and put onto 2 warmed plates to rest for 5 minutes. The steaks will be cooked medium (see below).

While the steak is resting, start frying your eggs in a non-stick frying pan. Put a little sunflower oil into the pan and heat up on a medium heat. Slowly crack your eggs into the pan. Cook slowly. When cooked, gently remove and put one on top of each steak. Serve immediately.

A good rule of thumb for cooking steaks is: 3 minutes on each side for medium rare; 4 minutes on each side for medium; 5 minutes or longer on each side for well done, all on a consistent heat. Always leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Robert Reid is executive chef at Balthazar London WC2;

Nigel Slaters crepes with apples, maple syrup and vanilla cream

Crepes with apples, maple syrup and vanilla cream. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

My own way with the humble pancake.

Serves 6
For the filling
sharp apples 1-1.2 kg
maple syrup 3 tbsp

For the batter
butter 30g
plain flour 100g
egg 1, large
egg yolk 1 extra
caster sugar 1 level tbsp
milk 350ml
extra melted butter for cooking

For the sauce
creme fraiche 200g
maple syrup 2 tbsp
vanilla extract a little

To make the apple filling peel, core and roughly chop the apples. Put in a pan with 4 tablespoons of water and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Stir in the maple syrup.

To make the pancakes, put the butter in a small pan, melt, then set aside. Sift the flour with a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Lightly beat the egg and egg yolk and stir with the sugar, milk and the butter into the flour. Leave to rest for half an hour. Brush a 20-22cm frying pan with melted butter. Stir the batter then pour in a small ladleful, tipping the pan so the batter just covers the base. Cook for a minute or so, until the underside is golden. Loosen with a palette knife, then turn to cook the other side. Lift it out and set aside.

To finish, set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Place a pancake on the work surface, spread with the apple filling, then fold in half then half again to give a plump, loose triangle. Place in a warm serving dish and continue until the pancakes and apple are finished. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Heat the creme fraiche over a moderate heat until melted. Stir in the maple syrup and a few drops of vanilla extract, stirring. Spoon the sauce over the pancakes and serve.

Sri Owens nasi goreng fried rice

Nasi goreng fried rice. Photograph: Haarala Hamilton for the Observer

This is one of the better known Indonesian dishes, although it originated in China. It has become an everyday dish that can be served with whatever you have, be it cold meat or leftover roast, or a vegetable stir-fry.

A good nasi goreng is light and hot; the rice grains moist but separate, and quite fluffy; and the garnish fresh and attractive to look at. The rice should be cooked 2-3 hours before it is to be fried, so that it has time to get cold. Freshly cooked still-hot rice will go soggy and oily if you fry it. Rice that has been left overnight is too stale to make first-rate nasi goreng.

If you are going to use seafood or meat, it is best to stir-fry this separately. Mix the meat or seafood into the rice in the final 2 minutes before serving; or simply spread on top of the rice on the serving dish.

Serves 4-6
peanut (groundnut) oil 2 tbsp
butter 1 tbsp
shallots 3, or 1 small onion, very finely chopped
sambal ulek 1 tsp (see note below) or tsp chilli powder
paprika 1 tsp
tomato puree or tomato ketchup 2 tsp
light soy sauce 2 tbsp
carrots 3, very finely diced
button mushrooms 115g, cleaned and quartered
hot water 2 tbsp (optional)
salt to taste
long-grain rice 450g, cooked by the absorption method or in an electric rice cooker, and allowed to cool completely
to serve fried eggs, sliced cucumber, sliced tomato and crisp fried shallots

Heat the oil and butter in a wok or large frying pan. Stir-fry the shallots for 1-2 minutes, then add the other ingredients, including the hot water (if using), but not the rice. Continue stir-frying for about 6 minutes until the vegetables are cooked. Add the rice, and mix thoroughly so that the rice is heated through and takes on the reddish tinge of the paprika and tomato. Adjust the seasoning.

Serve hot on a warmed serving dish by itself or as an accompaniment to a main course; garnished with sliced cucumber, sliced tomatoes, watercress and crisp-fried shallots; or topped with seafood or meat as described earlier.

Sambal ulek
Commonly spelled sambal oelek in English, sambal ulek is made by crushing chopped fresh red chillies with a little salt, using a mortar and pestle. It is available ready-made from Asian food stores and supermarkets.

From Sri Owens Indonesian Food by Sri Owen (Pavilion, 20)

Rose Carrarinis classic pancakes

Classic pancakes. Photograph: Haarala Hamilton for the Observer

Pancakes are on the brunch menu at Rose Bakery every weekend, whether served with bacon and maple syrup or fruit. Like bacon and eggs, pancakes are so popular I know I will be making many people happy by giving these recipes. The important thing to remember when making pancakes is never to overmix the batter. Once the wet is added to the dry, you must turn the batter over with a large spoon no more than eight times!

At Rose Bakery we often serve these pancakes with sliced bananas, or we sprinkle blueberries over the pancakes in the pan just before we turn them over.

Serves 4-6
eggs 2
milk 220ml
unsalted butter 5 tbsp, melted, plus a little for cooking
plain flour 190g
salt tsp
caster sugar 1 tbsp
baking powder 4 tsp
maple syrup and your choice of fruit to serve

In a bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and melted butter. Put aside. In another bowl, sift together the flour with the salt, sugar and baking powder.

Pour the egg mixture into the flour and stir very lightly until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined. Rub a small frying pan with a little butter, heat the pan to hot and pour in 3-4 tablespoons of batter.

Tilt the pan so that the batter covers the base evenly and turn the heat down to medium.

Cook until a few bubbles come to the surface and then turn the pancake over.

Cook for about another minute.

Continue making pancakes until all the batter is used up, adding more butter as necessary.

Serve immediately, as pancakes are best eaten hot, with maple syrup and fruit.

From Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery by Rose Carrarini (Phaidon Press, 19.95)

Zijun Meng and Ana Gonalvess Ta Ta Eatery congee

Ta Ta Eatery congee. Photograph: Tata Eatery

Congee is a dish that Ana and I eat for brunch so much it has made it onto our weekend menu. Our congee incorporates our own Asian style herb sauce inspired by a green sauce we once tried at St John but, particularly at brunch, we often experiment with different flavours.

Serves 2
For the congee
short grain rice 100g
light chicken stock 1.5 litres
white pepper 1 tsp
salt to taste

For the green sauce
fresh ginger 50g
oil 150g
coriander bunch
parsley bunch
garlic 2 large cloves, peeled
black vinegar 10g
fish sauce 20g
wasabi 10g

To serve
dough stick sliced you can find these in most Chinatown bakeries, or you can replace it with croutons

For the congee, place the rice and chicken stock together in a pot and simmer on a low heat until the rice breaks down. It shouldnt take more than an hour. Make sure you stir every 10 minutes or so, so it doesnt stick to the bottom of the pan. If the congee becomes too thick add more water. Finish with white pepper and salt.

For the green sauce, peel the ginger and mince in the food processor. In a pot place all the oil and bring it almost to boiling point (200C). Drop in the minced ginger and fry until golden, stirring always so as not to catch.

Remove the pot from the heat and leave the oil to cool down; strain and discard ginger, but keep the oil.

Rinse the herbs. In a food processor, blitz together the cold ginger oil, coriander, parsley and garlic. Season with black vinegar, fish sauce and wasabi.

To serve, we recommend a small bowl of congee per person finished with a tablespoon of green sauce and a couple of slices of dough stick.

Leftover sauce can be use as a dipping sauce for grilled meat and fish, or served with potatoes and steamed vegetables.

Ana Gonalves and Zijun Meng are chefs and co-founders of T T Eatery, London E8;

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