“Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.” ~Oscar Wilde
I am not by nature a morning person, I love the late, late hours of quiet and darkness. Odd considering I am by nature afraid (or fascinated/in awe) of the dark.
In my ‘younger’ days I spent a decade working shift work. I loved knocking off at 4am and spending the early morning hours quietly alone at home. I also loved being able to sleep 8-10 (or more) hours without the need for an alarm clock. I am one of those people who takes awhile to wake up, not being able to really function until post coffee consumption. At the turn of noon hour however, I can string a sentence together. Sometimes.
I have always been baffled at those that rise early and can just kick off the second their feet hit the floor. Unlike Oscar, I don’t necessarily think the early riser is ‘dull’, I think they’re smart. As time goes by I now realise how beautiful the early hours are, retraining the night owl habit has become my intention.
The best part about morning? Breakfast.
I got the idea for this baked breakfast from Sash of inked in colour. I am partial to eating breakfast anytime of the day so this dish won’t only make an appearance in my kitchen before noon. The beauty of this dish is you can load it up with whatever you like – throw in your favourite herbs, add beans or sausage, add some spice or chilli – this breakfast is definitely not dull!
Ingredients // serves 2
2 tbs butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 mushrooms, halved
2 tomatoes, diced
1 tsp ground paprika
¼ tsp cumin
Sea salt and cracked pepper
Fresh coriander, parsley or basil
Preheat oven to 200C.
Melt butter in ovenproof frying pan, sauté onion and garlic until fragrant. Add mushrooms and stir for 2 minutes to coat mushrooms. Add tomatoes paprika and cumin, cook for a few minutes until thickens. Add spinach and stir until just wilted, take off heat.
Make wells in mixture and crack egg into each well. Season with salt and pepper and scatter feta over the top.
Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until egg whites are cooked.
Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with lashings of your favourite herbs. Serve with crusty bread.
I love spring. I love the change of season that acts as a gentle reminder that winter and its dreaded bone-aching cold is gone for another year. I don’t much like winter. I tolerate it, but I don’t like it.
Spring brings with it many changes. Hot soup is replaced with salad, boots are replaced with painted-toenail-exposed sandals, curled up couch days are replaced with walks in the sunshine and hours outdoors. My garden gets a makeover, it is currently smiling at the weed-free zone and freshly mowed lawn. I love spring. All week I have been spring cleaning and throwing out the old to make room for the sunshine.
This cake has nothing to do with spring, I just love pears and the sunshine has prompted me to get baking. This cake reminds me a little of the traditional Finnish Omenakakku (apple cake) my Mum used to make. I had the idea of adding cinnamon and cardamom, popular additions to ‘coffee cakes’ the Finns love so much, and I was glad I did. The simple yet delicious flavour of the cake with a hint of spice topped with caramelised pear, what a beautiful combination. Is there anything quite like caramelised fruit? I think not. Although spring does come close.
Ingredients // serves 8-10
2 medium pears, peeled, cored and halved
½ cup brown sugar
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups plain flour
1 ¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cardamom
½ cup milk
Vanilla bean pod, split and seeds scraped out
1 cup caster sugar
Preheat oven to 175C. Grease 21cm cake tin, line with parchment paper. If you are using a springform pan pop it on a baking tray in case the melted butter from the caramel oozes out.
Combine brown sugar and 50g of butter together in a bowl, rub together with fingers to form a wet crumbly texture. Scatter clumps over the base of tin (no need to smooth out as butter will melt while baking).
Slice pears thinly. Lay them decoratively overlapping over the top of the sugar and butter in base of tin, thin ends towards the centre.
Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Pour milk into a separate bowl, scrape in seeds from vanilla pod.
Beat remaining 100g butter and caster sugar in mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, for about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low, gradually add dry mixture and milk mixture in alternate additions until just combined, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Do not over beat.
Spoon combined batter over pears, gently smoothing out on top. Bake on middle shelf in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Remove cake from oven and allow to sit for 20 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Take care when inverting as caramel may ooze out from tin.
I love sharing good food, I really love sharing great food! So I am excited to announce a giveaway from my favourite Italian food and wine specialists, Enoteca Sileno. I am fortunate enough to have cooked with some of their fabulous products, their olive oil has become my kitchen staple and I am little disappointed they are in Melbourne and I am in Perth. Fortunately they do have an online store and I have just discovered they have a local stockist at The Grocer in Claremont. Happiness!
To celebrate the first new pasta shape in 85 years from artisan pasta house Martelli, Enoteca Sileno are graciously offering a pack of Tuscan delicacies to the retail value of approx $75. Martelli’s Fusilli di Pisa are made to replicate the seven-tiered Tower of Pisa, so each fusillo has seven rungs. Don’t you just love the Italian architectural connection! Having received a box of goodies from Enoteca Sileno myself in the past, I can say this is fun stuff.
As a side note, if you’re attending the Italian Film Festival in Perth on Wednesday 16th October look out for delicious Italian delights by Enoteca Sileno. They’ll be there serving up a Ferron risotto salad before the movie. Lucky movie-goers.
Included in this delicious Tuscan box of delights:
Enoteca Sileno are offering one lucky reader the chance to win this box of gourmet goodness. To be in the running to win answer the following questions:
If you holidayed in Italy what dish would you over-indulge in? And what is it you like most about that dish?
Also, be a champ and head over and like Enoteca Sileno on Facebook. It’s the right thing to do.
Ts & Cs
Giveaway is open to residents of Australia only.
One entry per person.
Prize cannot be exchanged for money or other products not listed. Prize may vary to products shown here.
Giveaway commences Monday 7 October 2013 and closes Thursday 17 October 2013 at 12:00 noon WST. Winner announced here on Friday 18 October 2013.
Winner selected by me based on creativity of comment left, chance plays no part. Winner will need to provide mailing address (once announced) to receive prize.
To read more about Enoteca Sileno click on the links below. And if you live in Melbourne please head to Lygon Street and report back. I can’t eat there just yet but I’ll happily read others’ experiences with envy.
After a few weeks of incessant sugar indulgence, I’ve had enough. I am craving savoury dishes; good, hearty, healthy meals. Gone are the sugar cravings (and the headaches that come with them), the interest to dive into the chocolate has disappeared and all I can think about is fresh green herbs and delicious vegetables.
This is my first attempt at making noodle soup. I am not sure why I haven’t tried it before, I think I was scared off by the thought my attempt would wind up tasteless. For my first effort I was pleasantly surprised. The fragrant subtle soup is complimented by the robust flavour of the dumplings, made so by using beef mince. I bulked up the accompaniments to the beef such as the spring onions and coriander, they made for interesting texture and taste. I also didn’t dice the prawns too small so there were little chunks of prawn deliciousness in the middle of each dumpling. Next time I will try the dumplings with chicken mince, I think chicken will go beautifully.
This recipe was inspired by Marie Claire’s lifestyle/food section. There was a section on Asian soups, and the one that caught my attention was a fragrant dumpling and noodle soup. That version had pork dumplings, but since I don’t eat pork I made beef dumplings instead. The soup base is deliciously fragrant with the inclusion of star anise, kaffir lime leaves, ginger (I just can’t get enough of fresh ginger), black pepper and a hint of lime. The original recipe called for lemongrass, although since I am not a fan I omitted it and added a squeeze of fresh lime instead. A totally different flavour but fresh lime is always a winner when accompanying Asian spices in my opinion.
Ingredients // serves 4
(Inspired by Marie Claire’s Fragrant Dumpling and Noodle Soup)
100g peeled prawns, chopped
200g mince (pork, chicken or beef)
3cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 green chillies, deseeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
4 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil (for frying)
1 litre chicken stock
2 star anise
6 kaffir lime leaves, torn
5cm piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
6 whole black peppercorns
1 bunch baby pak choy
350g egg noodles
Fresh coriander and lime or lemon wedges to serve
Place all dumpling ingredients into a bowl (except the oil) and mix with your hands until well combined. Roll mixture into 12-14 walnut-sized balls and place into the fridge for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile place chicken stock, star anise, kaffir leaves, ginger and peppercorns into a pot over low-medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry dumplings in batches for 5 minutes or until golden brown, turn regularly. Drain on paper towel.
Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil, add pak choy and blanch. Take pan off the heat and remove pak choy. Add noodles to the water for 2-3 minutes (or according to packet instructions), remove, drain and separate.
Remove aromatics from soup. Divide noodles over 4 bowls, spoon over soup, add dumplings and pak choy, and garnish with fresh coriander. Serve with lime or lemon wedges.
The folks at The Good Guys sent me a Sunbeam Risotto and Rice Maker for my second post as part of the Gourmet Gadget Challenge. Although this little kitchen whizz has made risotto and rice a handful of times since it graced our kitchen, it was screaming out to make something a little quirky. When a very cultured and clever friend suggested I try kedgeree, I was instantly intrigued.
As history would have it *opens google*, kedgeree was thought to have originally derived from an Indian dish called khichri by British colonials in India, and was later introduced to the UK. It became a popular breakfast dish in the Victorian times and can be found on many an English breakfast buffet until today.
It was fusion before fusion became a trend, combining traditional Indian spice and rice with smoked haddock and more recently cod or smoked salmon. I have tried it with both smoked salmon and cod, and prefer it with the latter. The smokiness of cod teamed with the curry flavour topped with a hint of citrus is intriguing. It took a couple of spoonfuls for me to get a grasp on the overall flavour, it’s such a simple yet interesting combination.
The other reason I was intrigued by kedgeree was the idea of having rice for breakfast. With an Indonesian influence in our house, we are partial to a spicy breakfast. Go to any Indonesian buffet breakfast and you’ll see a full table dedicated to bubur ayam, which is essentially savoury rice porridge. It is made with chicken stock and served with optional additions such as shredded chicken, spring onion, soy sauce, boiled egg, sambal and cakwe (portions of deep fried dough – a must in bubur in my opinion). Bubur is the quintessential comfort food for many, the equivalent of chicken soup when feeling under the weather.
I realised although kedgeree can of course be enjoyed any time of the day, it makes for the ultimate breakfast or supper meal. The undercurrent of spice and lemon combined with fish makes for a unique breakfast dish. And it’s so simple to whip up.
Our rice cooker gets a generous workout, we use it every other day. It is as essential as our refrigerator. So this new addition to our kitchen has been welcomed with open arms, or rather mouths. It’s been churning away nicely since its arrival, at the time this post was going live it had already made kedgeree three times.
And next I think I’ll have to try making bubur ayam.
Ingredients // serves 4
2 tbsp ghee
1 brown onion, diced
1 inch piece ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, diced finely
1 tbsp good curry powder
2 tsp mustard seeds
200g Basmati rice + water
500g smoked cod or haddock*
2 fresh bay leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tomatoes, diced
4 tbsp plain yogurt
Handful fresh coriander, or you could add parsley if you’re not partial to coriander
* I read somewhere that as a guide kedgeree should yield the same amount of fish as rice, so you could probably get by with about 300g fish. I am mad on seafood so I beefed the cod up.
Melt ghee in pan over low heat. The ‘Sunbeam Risotto and Rice Perfect’ lives up to its name, you can sauté ingredients without the need for an extra pan. Perfect! On a side note, it also switches straight to warm once your rice is cooked to perfection. Too easy.
Add onion, ginger and garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add curry powder and mustard seeds, stir for a few minutes.
At this stage I just added rice and water to the rice cooker, popped the lid on and cooked like I would when I make steamed rice. If you have sautéed your ingredients in a separate pan, place them into your rice cooker, add rice and the correct amount of water according to your rice cooker instructions, stir then cook.
Once rice is cooked, allow to stand in rice cooker for 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile place fish into a shallow pan with enough water to cover. Add bay leaves and bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove fish from pan and set aside to cool. Once cool, remove skin and flake fish into bite size portions.
Boil eggs to preference, peel once cool and cut into quarters.
Once rice has sat for 5 minutes, add fish, lemon juice, chopped tomatoes, yogurt and season. Combine.
Plate rice and top with coriander and eggs.
If you have a family of mean rice eaters and are on the look out for a rice cooker, I highly recommend you check out the Sunbeam Risotto and Rice Maker. It whips up beautiful risotto and rice literally at the press of a button. You could also get yourself in the running to win one by heading to The Good Guys blog and leaving a comment. Good luck!
Have you ever had kedgeree for breakfast? Do you regularly have something a little different to the usual cereal/toast on your breakfast table?