What did you have for breakfast this morning? A slice of toast on the way out the door? A quick takeaway coffee from the petrol station, or worse still, nothing at all?

You wouldn't be alone. According to new research, a quarter of us skip brekkie once or more during the week, while 13% of people never eat it.

The survey was commissioned to coincide with Breakfast Week, which runs from January 25-31 and aims to get people enjoying morning mealtimes.

It's being backed by chef Phil Vickery, who is no stranger to early starts from his cookery slots on This Morning.

The 53-year-old, who won a Michelin star as head chef at the Castle Hotel in Taunton, admits he often missed breakfast during his days in restaurant kitchens.

"Chefs go to work, most of them smoke, most of them drink black coffee, and don't eat anything else," says Vickery, who is married to presenter Fern Britton. "About 20 years ago, I started eating a proper breakfast, and I found that I felt a lot better."

The Kent-born, Buckinghamshire-based chef now enjoys a daily bowl of porridge with a drizzle of honey on top (his advice is to make it in the microwave, and keep stirring to make it creamier).

The father-of-one and stepdad-of-three now focuses on TV work and writing cookbooks, but admits he sometimes misses his time at the 'coalface' in restaurants.

"I think it's the camaraderie and the hitting that deadline twice a day, and your life is so rigidly set," he says.

"When I was a single man, it was fine, but I certainly wouldn't want to have done it as a married man, because you just wouldn't see your kids."

It also means he can indulge his passion for the great outdoors.

"I'm a part-time farmer; I keep pigs. When I was a young boy, I worked on a farm up until the age of 17, and we picked potatoes, milked cows and that kind of thing. It's always been in my blood. But as I got older, I always wanted to do a bit of farming and I felt it was a release.

"Having spent something like 25 to 30 years in underground kitchens, I used to crave the outside. Now I just love it."

And he still makes time to treat Britton - who he met on BBC Two show Ready Steady Cook and wed in 2000 - to the occasional breakfast in bed.

"We're not big eaters, but she does love a bacon sandwich," says Vickery. "I do whatever I'm told, I'm very obedient!"


(Serves 4)

125g new potatoes
1tbsp rapeseed oil
4 cooked sausages, sliced (e.g. Cumberland)
6 medium eggs, beaten
200g can reduced sugar and salt baked beans
2tbsp chopped parsley
150g cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper

Cook the potatoes in boiling water for six to eight minutes until tender, drain and then slice.

Heat the oil in a 20cm frying pan and fry the potatoes and sausages for two minutes.

Beat the eggs with the beans and parsley and season. Add the tomatoes to the pan and pour over the egg mixture, cook gently for six to seven minutes.

Place under a preheated grill for three to four minutes, until golden and cooked through. Allow to rest for a few minutes before removing from the pan.


(Makes 12)

100g butter
softened 25g golden caster sugar
1 medium egg yolk
50g oats
25g oatmeal
75g wholemeal plain flour
1/2tsp baking powder
25g dried apricots (or other dried fruits)
chopped 25g sultanas

Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Line two baking trays with baking parchment.

Whisk the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients and then mix into the butter mixture to make a firm dough. Chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll or press out the dough to a 22 x 16cm rectangle, cut into 12 biscuits. Place on the prepared trays and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Cool slightly before transferring to a cool rack.


(Serves 4)

4 ripe vine tomatoes, halved (plus extra to roast and serve)
4 large Portobello mushrooms
halved horizontally
1tbsp vinegar
4 large eggs
75g fresh baby spinach, rinsed
1tbsp rapeseed oil
4-8 slices of Irish soda bread, toasted (or thick cut granary bread)
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C or gas mark 6. Lightly grease a large baking sheet then place the tomato halves on the tray with the halved mushrooms. Season well and bake for 13 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the eggs, bring a medium pan of water to simmer and add the vinegar. Crack the eggs and gently drop them into the water. Cook for five to six minutes until softly poached and transfer to a warmed plate with a slotted spoon.

Arrange the spinach onto the mushrooms, drizzle the tomatoes and spinach with the oil and cook for a further two minutes until the spinach has wilted.

Squash one tomato half into each slice of toasted bread. Then sandwich the mushroom and spinach together and place on top of the tomato toast. Top with the softly poached eggs and serve with an extra roast tomato.

Season and serve straight away.

For more information on Breakfast Week, visit www.shakeupyourwakeup.com