Category Archives: Breakfast

Crazy as a coconut

Banana bread has become a breakfast staple in cafés. A coconut bread recipe by Bill Granger was the inspiration for my recipe this week. I’ve changed ingredients and swapped it from a loaf to muffins, to come up with the below recipe.

I’ve packed in triple coconut, with desiccated coconut, coconut milk and coconut oil. Coconut oil is sometimes referred to as coconut butter, they are the same thing. If your coconut oil becomes solid, it can easily be melted my standing the jar in some hot water from the kettle and it will return to liquid again. Coconut oil is reported to be a good oil, with lots of health benefits, and works well in baking.

Coconut oil butter

If you are not a confident baker, muffins are the perfect thing to try making to build up your confidence. No fancy equipment is needed for mixing the batter. In fact, the less mixing you do, the better. It’s also a good recipe to get the kids involved with.

The salt quantity below is based on using fine salt flakes, if you are using regular table salt you will need to reduce the amount you include – adjust to taste but start off cautiously. If you need to reduce or limit your salt intake, you can of course skip the salt.

Delicious served warm straight from the oven, with a slather of butter or just as they are. Suitable for breakfast, morning or afternoon tea or a snack. Any leftovers can be frozen and zapped for a few seconds in the microwave to warm through again.

What I was cooking this time last year: Strawberry and White Chocolate Mousse

Coconut Muffins

* This recipe was adapted from a Coconut Bread recipe by Bill Granger. I have modified and adapted it to come up with the below reincarnation.

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 300mls coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 150g shredded coconut
  • 75mls coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt flakes
  • Cooking oil spray to grease your muffin tin

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven on to 180°C.
  • Add the dry ingredients (flour, mixed spice, coconut, salt and brown sugar) to a large bowl. Stir to combine.

Muffin dry ingredients

  • Add the coconut oil, eggs and vanilla to a measuring jug and mix to combine. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients in the bowl.

Eggs, oil, vanilla

  • Measure out 300mls coconut milk and add to the dry ingredients in the bowl.

Muffing batter ready to be mixed

  • Stir until the mixture is just combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  • Spray a muffin or cupcake tin with cooking spray.
  • Pour the batter into the muffin tray.

Muffin batter in tray

  • Cook your muffins in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until cooked through (test by pressing lightly on the middle of a muffin, it should bounce back, or when you insert a skewer into the center it comes out clean without any batter stuck to it).
  • Remove from the oven, and serve still warm, or allow to cool in the muffin tray. Enjoy.

DSC07609

What is your favourite breakfast recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Baking, Breakfast, Cake, Coconut, Recipes, Spices, Sweet, Vegetarian

Savoury baking

Most muffin recipes are for sweet muffins, but you can of course make savoury muffins. I am going for a walk tomorrow to Barrenjoey Head and wanted to bake something to take to snack on. If you are a bit scared of baking, muffins are a great way to build your confidence. With muffins, the less mixing and work you do the better and it is simply a matter of measuring and mixing then baking.

Akudjura ground bush tomato

Continuing with my Australian native spices experimentation, I used Ajydhyra or Bush Tomato in this recipe, which I tracked down at Herbie’s Spices. The akudjura gives the muffins a lovely roast tomato flavour. You can order Herbie’s Spices online, or they are stocked in many delis and gourmet food stores. I also used dried greek oregano, which is normally sold with the stems still intact – to separate the dried oregano leaves, you give the bunch a bit of a shake or a rub to separate the dried leaves.

What I was cooking this time last year: Watercress and Pomegranate Tabouli

Tomato and Cheese Muffins

* This recipe’s base ingredients were inspired by a Pear and Ginger Muffins recipe that appears in Nigella Lawson’s cookbook, Nigella Express. I have modified and adapted Nigella’s recipe to come up with the below reincarnation.

Ingredients:

Makes 12 muffins.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 300g self-raising flour
  • A generous pinch of salt
  • 80g pine nuts
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground akudjura or bush tomato
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried greek oregano
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 100g grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes

Wet Ingredients

  • 125mls natural low-fat natural yoghurt
  • 125mls vegetable oil [I used rice bran oil but any neutral tasting oil is fine]
  • 2 large eggs

Other

  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • Cooking oil spray

Method:

  • Peel, quarter and finely slice the onion.
  • Crush the garlic cloves.

Onion and garlic

  • Heat the teaspoon of oil in a small saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are soft and just starting to brown, stirring occasionally.
  • Set the onions and garlic aside to cool.
  • Heat oven to 200°C.
  • Line a cupcake / muffin pan with muffin cases. Spray the cases lightly with cooking oil spray.
  • Measure the flour, salt, akudjura, dried oregano, pine nuts and grated parmesan into a bowl.
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add to the bowl.

Tomato muffin ingredients

  • Crumble the feta and add to the bowl.
  • Add the cooled onion mixture to the bowl.
  • Stir the ingredients in the bowl until everything is well combined and coated in flour.
  • Measure the oil and yoghurt  into a jug.
  • Add the eggs to the oil and yoghurt and stir to combine.

Muffin wet and dry ingredients

  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined – the less mixing you do the better.
  • Add spoonfuls of the mixture to the muffin cases.

Tomato and cheese muffin mixture

  • Place muffins in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the muffins spring back when touched in the middle.
  • Remove muffins from the oven and either eat warm or when they have cooled. Enjoy.

What is your favourite baking recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Baking, Breakfast, Cheese, Herbs, Recipes, Savoury, Spices, Vegetarian

Breakfast in bed

Next Sunday (the 2nd Sunday in May) is Mother’s Day in Australia, and lots of kitchens will be preparing breakfast in bed as a special treat for mum.

I first got the idea of using cottage cheese in pancakes from a Cheesecakelets recipe by Nigella Lawson, in her book Feast. Nigella’s recipe calls for separating the eggs and whisking the whites. This does produce lovely light pancakes but I think facing a whisk first thing in the morning is a bit much, especially if you have little helpers assisting with the cooking.

Cottage cheese is an under-utilised ingredient, it is a great alternative to ricotta cheese in cooking if you are trying to watch your fat intake. I am not using cottage cheese in this recipe because of it’s low(er) fat properties, but because the cottage cheese retains its curds, and once cooked, they melt and give a delicious oozy texture to the pancakes.

If you haven’t tried strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar you may be skeptical, but the acid from the vinegar draws out the strawberry juice and you end up with a sweet sauce. You could add a little sugar to the vinegar and strawberries if the strawberries are especially tart, but I don’t find it is required. My only tip is to not leave the strawberries marinating too long (I wouldn’t leave them overnight) or they will continue to break down. Preparing the strawberries just before you start making the pancakes is sufficient time to allow the flavours to develop. Strawberries are expensive in Sydney at the moment, so if you wanted to skip them you could serve your pancakes with maple syrup, lemon and sugar or other fresh or defrosted berries.

What I was cooking this time last year: Bircher Muesli

Pancakes with Marinated Strawberries

Serves 2 – 3

Ingredients

Pancakes

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 250g cottage cheese
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 100mls milk
  • 20g butter (plus extra for frying if you don’t have a non-stick frying pan)

Marinated Strawberries

  • 1 punnet of strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

Method

  • Wash then hull your strawberries and roughly chop. Add your chopped strawberries to a bowl and add the balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Set aside to marinate.

Strawberries

  • Measure out the  flour, sugar and cottage cheese  into a bowl.
  • Add the egg to the bowl with the flour.
  • Zest the lemon peel into the bowl.

Pancake ingredients

  • Juice the lemon and add to the bowl.
  • Add the milk and stir everything to combine.
  • Melt the butter in a frying pan over low heat. Add the melted butter to the pancake batter and stir to combine.

Pancake batter

  • Heat your frying pan over a medium heat and add spoonfuls of the pancake batter to the pan.

Pancakes cooking

  • Cook on one side, your pancakes are ready to turn when bubbles start to appear on the top of the pancakes.
  • Flip your pancakes and cook on the other side until golden brown.
  • Dish up straight from the pan or place in a low oven to keep warm until all of the pancakes are cooked.

Pancakes with strawberries

  • Top the pancakes with marinated strawberries. Enjoy.

What is your favourite breakfast in bed? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Berries, Breakfast, Cheese, Lemon, Recipes, Sweet, Vegetarian

Easter antidote

Easter is next weekend and I am super eggcited because it is one of the few times in the year when I can eat chocolate for breakfast without too many raised eyebrows. For most of us, the 4 day Easter break means we go away somewhere, or spend some quality time with family and / or friends. I will be going on a road trip with friends to the Blue Mountains, and will also get to spend some quality time with family (thanks mum and dad for letting us all invade your home).

With a steady stream of visitors calling in during the Easter break, and everyone prone to over-indulging in chocolate, I wanted to share with you my recipe for Apple Sour Cream Tea Cake. My recipe is adapted from a Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe by Annabelle White, who I believe is the New Zealand equivalent of Australia’s Margaret Fulton – someone who a lot of Kiwi’s grew up learning to cook with. I like that Annabelle included her recipe in the breakfast section of her book, but you can eat this cake any time and it goes really well with a cup of tea or coffee.

I have a plentiful supply of vanilla beans at the moment, so borrowed Jamie Oliver’s trick and blended a whole vanilla bean in with the sugar. If you don’t have a vanilla bean you could use a teaspoon of vanilla paste or vanilla extract and add that in when you add the eggs. I use raw sugar rather than white sugar in my baking because it is less processed. Apples are in season at the moment in Sydney and delicious. I like the presentation of a bundt tin, but you could of course use a round or loaf tin. Next time I make this recipe I will need to use a larger cake tin, as some of the mixture spilled out during the cooking.

Apple Sour Cream Tea Cake

* This recipe was adapted from a Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe in “Annabelle White’s Best Recipes” by Annabelle White. I have modified and adapted it to come up with the below reincarnation.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 300mls sour cream
  • 2 cups of self-raising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Cooking oil spray to grease your baking tin

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C, spray your tin with a generous coating of cooking oil spray.
  • In a food processor, blitz the vanilla bean and sugar until the vanilla bean is finely chopped.
  • Add the butter to the food processor with the sugar and vanilla and blitz until light and fluffy.

butter sugar vanilla

  • Add the eggs to the food processor, and blitz to combine.
  • Add the sour cream to the food processor, and blitz to combine.

Tea cake mixture

  • Peel, core and chop the apple into small dice.
  • Add the diced apple to a bowl and mix with the brown sugar and cinnamon.

Apple cinnamon

  • Add the flour and salt to the food processor and blitz until everything is combined and smooth.
  • Add alternate layers of apple and cake mixture to your cake tin.

Apple Sour Cream Tea Cake batter

  • Bake the for approximately 45 minutes. When the cake bounces back when touched and is cooked, remove from the oven.
  • Leave the cake to cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the tin.
  • Turn the cake out of the tin onto a serving stand or plate.
  • Your cake is ready to serve, enjoy it while it is still warm or once it has cooled.

Apple Sour Cream Tea Cake

What is your favourite Easter tradition? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Apple, Baking, Breakfast, Cake, Recipes, Spices, Sweet

New Year Resolution

Like a lot of people at this time of year, I am making an effort to eat a healthy and balanced diet.

I used almond milk infused with spices as the base for my sorbet. I let the spices infuse overnight, then strained the almond milk before churning in the ice cream machine. I have been wanting to experiment with almond milk for a while now, and it is cholesterol and lactose free. The sorbet is lovely served with your favourite summer fruit, I used mango. You could even eat this for breakfast on a hot day without feeling guilty.

I have previously made a similar sorbet using a tin of coconut milk to infuse the spices, then adding 100mls of natural yoghurt when churning in the ice cream machine. If the recipe is not sweet enough for you, feel free to add a little sugar when heating the almond milk to infuse the spices.

Liquid glucose can be found in the baking section of the supermarket and will provide a little sweetness and help create a silky smooth sorbet.

Spiced Almond Sorbet

* Please note you will need an ice cream machine for this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 500mls almond milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • Small piece of fresh ginger, about the size of your thumb nail
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 vanilla pod, split to release the seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons of liquid glucose
  • Mango, to serve

Method

  • Put the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, vanilla, star anise, nutmeg, liquid glucose and almond milk in a saucepan.

Spices

  • Heat on a low heat until the almond milk is hot (just starting to steam) but not boiling.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, and allow the mixture to cool. Cover and allow to chill in the fridge.
  • Strain the infused almond milk to remove the spices.
  • Pour the chilled and strained almond milk into an ice cream machine and churn.

Sorbet churning

  • Transfer ice cream to a container and put into the freezer.
  • To serve, put into fridge to soften slightly up to half an hour before serving. Serve with mango chunks or your favourite summer fruit. Enjoy.

Spiced Almond Sorbet with Mango

What is your favourite summer fruit? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Almond, Breakfast, Recipes, Spices, Sweet

Sage corn cakes

I had friends staying this weekend and I wanted to treat them to a cooked breakfast. These corn cakes are super quick to make and are ideal for a weekend breakfast or brunch. I’ve used a basic pancake recipe and added a few twists. The creamed corn and egg provide enough liquid to bind all the ingredients without the need to add milk or other liquid. Cayenne pepper adds some heat and interest to the batter.

Sage is a pretty, versatile herb, that adds an extra depth of flavour to the corn cakes. Sage is relatively easy to grow, I have a plant growing on my kitchen windowsill, so that it is close by to add to dishes as I am cooking.

For tips on how to prepare an avocado, refer to my earlier post on Guacamole.

You could serve these corn cakes with some smoked salmon or bacon. I like mine with salsa, a dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of hot chilli sauce.

Sage Corn Cakes with Salsa

Ingredients

  • hot chilli sauce, to serve
  • sour cream, to serve
  • Smoked salmon or bacon, to serve (optional)

Sage Corn Cakes

  • 25g butter, plus extra for frying the corn cakes
  • 1 cup of self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 20 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 420g tin creamed corn
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salsa

  • 2 small or 1 large avocado, diced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped, or 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 2 tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped

Method

  • To make your corn cake batter add the self-raising flour, bi-carb soda, creamed corn, egg, cayenne pepper, chopped sage, chopped spring onions, lemon zest and salt and pepper to a bowl. Stir to combine.

  • Heat the 25g of butter in a frying pan, and add to the corn cake batter. Stir to combine.
  • Heat the oven to 120°C and use the oven to keep your cooked corn cakes warm.
  • Add spoonfuls of batter to the frying pan.

  • Cook in a similar way to pancakes or pikelets, cook until golden brown on one side, then flip and cook on the other side.
  • Transfer your cooked corn cakes to the oven.
  • Add a little more butter, then repeat cooking spoonfuls of batter in the frying pan until you have used all the batter.
  • Make the salsa while batches of corn cakes are cooking. Add the avocado, tomatoes, parsley, chopped spring onion or shallot and lemon juice to a bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Once the corn cakes are cooked and your salsa is prepared, you are ready to serve. Top your corn cakes with salsa, sour cream, chilli sauce. Enjoy.

What is your favourite breakfast recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Breakfast, Lemon, Recipes, Salsa, Savoury, Spices, Vegetarian

Bondi as a foodie shopping destination

I wanted to share with you some foodie shopping ideas from my part of Bondi, and the shops included in list below are all within walking distance of each other. Up the hill and tucked away a bit from the beachfront Campbell Parade strip, these are some of my favourite spots in Bondi. My recipe this weeks lets some of these amazing products take centre stage without too much interference from me, with details for mini smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels.

Kemney’s

137-147 Bondi Road, Bondi NSW 2026

If I am having trouble tracking down a specific ingredient for a recipe, I can normally find it here. Kemney’s is part independent supermarket, part gourmet deli, part independent liquor store. It stocks a variety of labels and products you won’t find in mainstream supermarkets, including a wide choice of European, Kosher and even Brazilian products. I love just having a browse through the treasure trove and seeing what I come across. The liquor section has a fantastic range at good prices, including extensive clear skin wine options. There is also an online website for ordering liquor http://www.kemneys.com.au. Parking can be tricky but you might be able to score a parking spot in the car park on Watson Street behind the store, and if you’ve stocked up you might even get some help transferring your purchases to your car.

Wellington Cakes

157 Bondi Road, Bondi NSW 2026

The bus load of tour group people are an indication of how popular this bakery is. This bakery sells a delicious range of breads, bagels, pies, quiche, biscuits, studels, cakes, slices and biscuits. The cherry and cheese strudel is my favourite.

Glick’s Cakes and Bagels

173 Bondi Road, Bondi NSW 2026 (other branches also in Sydney and Melbourne)

Glick’s produces the most amazing bagels, including mini-bagels which are perfect if you are catering for a girly high-tea or bring-a-plate type get together. Be warned, they are closed during the day on Saturdays, and it pays to place an order ahead of time if you want something specific (I pre-ordered my poppy seed mini bagels) and to get there early (open from about 7am) as the line extends out the door as the morning progresses on Sundays. As well as bagels, Glick’s also sells a range of breads, biscuits, cakes and pastries.

Krinsky’s Kosher supermarket

175 Bondi Road, Bondi NSW 2026

Next door to Glick’s, Krinsky’s stocks a wide range of asian, middle eastern and other Kosher foods. A handy place to stock up on vegetarian jelly that does not contain gelatin. Worth having a browse if you want to try cooking with different ingredients or are looking for a bit of inspiration.

Russkis Deli

131 Bondi Road, Bondi NSW 2026

A Russian inspired deli that has an extensive range of smoked fish products, caviar, cured meats, dips, and other European delights.

Mini smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels

Ingredients

  • 200g cream cheese
  • 1 bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 400g smoked salmon
  • 18 mini bagels
  • lettuce

Method

  • Add the cream cheese, chives, lemon juice and zest to a bowl and mix to combine.

  • Wash your lettuce and cut or break into smaller sizes to suit your bagels.
  • Cut your bagels in half.
  • You are ready to start asembling – spread a generous amount of cream cheese to the bottom half of each bagel. Top with some lettuce and smoked salmon. Add your bagel top.

  • Refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Enjoy.

What is your favourite foodie shop? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Breakfast, Cheese, Foodie Shopping Tip, Lemon, Recipes, Salmon, Savoury, Seafood