Category Archives: Breakfast & Brunch

Zucchini, Mint and Yoghurt Fritters

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It’s been a long summer and a warm autumn in Melbourne and zucchinis are in abundance right now. This is a really lovely weekend breakfast that takes very little effort for maximum reward.

  • 1 medium sized zucchini, grated or processed in food processor
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt (please, use full fat)
  • 1 egg
  • About 1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
  • About 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil for shallow frying

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until combined.

Heat the olive oil in a frypan until hot, drop in large spoonfuls of the batter and spread a little. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side. You might need to lower the temperature a little so the oil doesn’t burn. Drain on paper towels and serve with your favourite breakfast accompaniments.

Makes 6-8 fritters, depending on the size you make them. This will be enough for 3-4 people. I freeze any leftover fritters for an after school snack.

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Cavalo Nero Omelette with Feta and Dill

Cavalo nero is in season, it’s ludicrously good for you, and it’s versatile and delicious. What’s not to like? I picked up a bunch at the market yesterday and I woke up craving it this morning.

This is a breakfast that will make you feel good all day.

If you can’t get cavalo nero, use silverbeet instead.

Serves 1

  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 cavalo nero leaves
  • 1 small shallot (spring onion), finely sliced
  • About a teaspoon of chopped fresh dill
  • A chunk of feta – about a quarter of a cup
  • 1/4 cup water

Step 1.

Cook the cavalo nero. Wash the leaves, place in a saucepan with about an inch of water in the bottom, put a lid on, and cook over a medium for about 10 minutes. The leaves will steam soft.

Step 2.

While the leaves are steaming, in a bowl, beat the eggs, dill, shallots, feta and water to combine. Season with pepper, you shouldn’t need salt as the feta will take care of that.

Step 3.

Remove the leaves from the pot and drain. Chop and add to the egg mixture.

Step 4.

Heat some oil in a frying pan with a lid. Pour the mixture in, turn heat down to low, place a lid on the top and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes, checking to make sure it’s not burning and that it’s cooking through. You can turn it if you like, but I don’t like to risk breaking it, so I put the pan under the grill for a few minutes at the end.

I like to serve this with something fresh and contrasting, like a tomato, basil and balsamic salad.

 

Baked Chai Rice Pudding

I felt pretty pleased with myself when I thought of making a chai flavoured rice pudding, then I googled it only to find someone else had already thought of it. There is nothing new under the sun. No matter. I still wanted to make it, and so I did this morning. After being up for a few hours with no breakfast on a cold Melbourne autumn morning, let me tell you this was utterly perfect. I double dare you to make this on an empty stomach and not devour at least half of it!

If you like, add some sultanas that have been softened in some warm apple juice. I prefer it without though.

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups milk
  • 200 ml weak black tea
  • 4 pieces cinnamon bark
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 12 cardamon pods
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 thumb size piece of fresh ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • A little butter, for greasing

Preheat the oven to 180C

In a pestle & mortar, crush the pepper, cardamon pods, cloves and cinnamon a little. Don’t ground to a powder, just smash them up a bit. Place in a saucepan with the milk, and grate the ginger in. Very gently heat for 10 minutes to infuse the milk. Do not allow it to boil, you want a very low heat.

While the milk’s infusing, make the cup of tea and set aside. Whisk the egg and sugar until combined. Add the rice to this mixture.  Grease an ovenproof dish with some butter.

Remove the milk from the heat, add the tea, and stir. Strain it into the egg/sugar/rice mixture so you don’t get all the chai flotsam and jetsam in your pudding.

Pour into your greased baking dish. Gently stir to ensure the rice mixture is evenly spread across the base of the dish. Scatter a few cardamon pods and cinnamon pieces from the strained chai, grate some nutmeg over the top, and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Serve warm.

OMFG Eggs

Eggs, fried in goose fat, flambéd in chilli vodka. Guaranteed to seal the deal with a hungover, newly minted beloved. First, you will impress them with your pyrotechnic skills, then you deliver the grease hit they are craving. If you don’t burn their eyebrows off first that is. Probably worth checking that they are not more of a french toast type too.

Flambéing is not for everyone, and I couldn’t take a photo while I was doing it as I needed both hands. Just google how to flambé, there are plenty of how-tos out there.  Take a great deal of care, and always use a lid with a pan: hold the lid in one hand and the handle of the pan in the other, just put the lid on and the fire will disappear.

I think the trouble is worth it: the chilli vodka leaves a subtle heat and flavour to the eggs that will have you wanting this again.

  • 2 organic eggs
  • 50 ml chilli vodka (infuse a bottle of plain vodka with 4-5 dried red chillis)
  • 1 tablespoon goose fat

Heat the goose fat until quite hot, crack the eggs in, reduce the heat and cover. When they are cooked to your liking, pour over the chilli and flambé according to whatever instructions you are following.

Serve with tea and sourdough toast.

Baked Eggs, Mushrooms and Tomatoes with Salmon Gravlax

I very rarely go out for breakfast, even though I live in inner city Melbourne where there is an abundance of cafes.  There’s something about forking out $15 – $20 for an ordinary plate of eggs that gets me all curmudgeonly.

Here is a bad-cafe-breakfast saviour that is fantastically easy to make – there’s little to no chopping, everything goes in the oven so while its cooking itself you can be reading the paper instead of standing in a queue.

I served mine with salmon gravlax (from the little food mart at Ikea!) but you can use smoked salmon if you can’t find any gravlax.

Serves 2

  • 2 organic, grain fed eggs
  • 6-8 mushrooms (eg portobello, swiss browns, or a mix)
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • smoked salmon or gravlax slices
  • toast with avocado
  • snipped chives

Preheat the oven to 200 c.

1. Make a bain marie for the eggs: grease two little ramekins or jelly moulds (I have just used little glass bowls) with some olive oil, and crack an egg into each. Place in a baking dish and pour boiling water into the dish until its halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Place in the oven.

2. Toss the tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic and thyme in another baking dish, and drizzle over a generous lug of olive oil – mushrooms love soaking it up.  Toss around to coat.  Place in the oven next to the eggs.

3. Cook for 20-25 minutes.  Check the eggs toward the 20 minute mark with the back of a teaspoon, they go very quickly from uncooked to overcooked.  Snip the chives over the eggs when done, if you wish.

Serve with toast spread with avocado, the salmon, and some lemon wedges.


Raspberry and Ricotta “Head Wound” Pancakes

I know a lot of people who say they don’t acknowledge halloween because its an American holiday.  My view is that I listen to American recording artists, read American books, and watch American tv shows and films, so what’s the difference?  Having said that, I’ve been too busy this week to do anything special for Halloween, which is unlike me. So this morning when my son started probing me about Halloween activities, I quickly thought these up.

They were delicious, and if I were making them again, I would put a few more ricotta/raspberry blobs on the top to maximise the “wound” effect.

If you’re looking for halloween inspiration this weekend, here are some suggestions:

http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/halloween-recipes-and-appetizers

http://www.notquitenigella.com/2010/10/26/halloween-party-food/

This may well be the last time I post a pancake recipe for a while, as my son seems to have gone off pancakes altogether, and I prefer eggs for breakfast on the weekend.

Makes approx 9 pancakes

In one bowl mix:

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar (note I deliberately don’t use a lot of sugar as my son likes to drizzle lots of honey on the top, so add more if these aren’t sweet enough for you)

In another bowl mix until combined:

  • 2 eggs
  • half a cup of frozen raspberries
  • half a cup of ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • a little lemon zest (I love the combination of lemon and raspberries)

You will also need:

  • butter
  • extra ricotta and raspberries
  • honey or maple syrup


Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until you have a batter.  Heat butter in a non stick fry pan and pour the mixture in – roughly the size of a fried egg each should do it.

Blob some extra ricotta and raspberries on the top, and gently cook until golden.  Keep the heat to a medium or they will  burn.

Flip over, and cook for just a minute then serve drizzled with honey or maple syrup.

Super Healthy Toasted Muesli

A lot of people think toasted muesli is fattening, but this is because of the oil that is used in most commercial toasted muesli.  Mine has no added oil, and no sugar either.

This is a slightly adapted version of my Toasted Muesli, and its a fantastic healthy start to the day.  I’ve added some extra nutritious ingredients such as quinoa flakes and prunes just to give my system a kickstart.  By the way, if you think this muesli sounds too healthy to be enjoyable, think again. I eat this most weekdays, and I never feel like I am depriving myself of anything, it really is delicious.  I have mine with oat or rice milk, and a super healthy fruit like red papaya, blueberries, or kiwifruit.

I have found all of these ingredients at my supermarket, but you will also find them at health food stores.

  • 2 cups puffed brown rice or kamut (if you can’t find either, use puffed corn, puffed regular rice, or any puffed cereal)
  • 3 cups of organic whole oats
  • 1 cup almonds, 1/3 cup linseeds and half cup sunflower seeds ground together in a food processor (or use 1.5 cups LSA mixture)
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 cup organic sultanas
  • About 3/4 cup organic prunes, chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa flakes
  • 140 ml rice malt syrup

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Combine all ingredients except for the sultanas, prunes and rice malt syrup in a large bowl.  Melt the rice malt syrup in the microwave until runny, and pour over the mixture, stirring with a metal spoon.  The syrup will start to set, so work quickly to blend through. Don’t worry if its not perfectly coating the mixture, it will melt into it more as it cooks.

You will either need to bake this in two batches, or if your oven is big enough you can do it in two large baking dishes.  Tip the mixture into the baking dish/es, spread evenly and bake for 15 minutes, stirring everything around once.  Remove from the oven and mix everything around again, add the sultanas and prunes, and return and bake for another 15 minutes.  Keep a close eye to make sure the mixture isn’t burning, and give it another mix around during this second 15 minutes of cooking. Remove when it looks golden.

Tip the mixture into a large airtight container, allow to cool, then seal tightly.  It will keep fresh in an airtight container for several weeks.

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