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Category Archives: Breakfast

Blood Orange Breakfast Sorbet with Granola and Fresh Fruit

It’s blood orange season and I love finding opportunities to use this beautiful fruit with its gorgeous colour and fragrant flavour. I made blood orange friands recently – here is the link to the post.

This is a super easy breakfast recipe which could translate into dessert with ease!  The sorbet is made by blending frozen blood orange segments with yoghurt – instant frozen delight. Add some granola, store-bought or home made, and any fresh fruit you fancy and you have a zingy, taste-bud tantalizing breakfast to start your day.

Here’s the recipe or the assembly – it’s pretty easy!

Blood Orange Sorbet

Peel and segment a blood orange, place on a plate, cover with cling wrap or a ziplock bag and freeze for at least a few hours or overnight.

Put the frozen segments into a food processor or blender with a couple of tablespoons of full fat yoghurt. The exact quantity is up to you – start off with a couple of spoonfuls, you can always add more for a creamier texture. Blend well until you have a sorbet like consistency.  You should wack the sorbet back in the freezer if you are not serving absolutely immediately – it does melt fast!

Granola

If you want to make your own, here’s a recipe:

Ingredients

2 cups of rolled oats

1 cup of any combination of seeds – I used chia, linseed, sesame, poppy, pepitas

1/2 cup of any nuts you like – I used macadamias, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts

1/3 cup honey, warmed to pouring consistency in a microwave

1/2 cup of any dried fruit – I used apricots, mango cheeks, cranberries, sour cherries

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C.  Line a large baking tin with baking paper. You need to be able to spread the mix out without too many piles.

Mix the oats, seeds and nuts together in a large bowl. Pour the warmed honey onto the mix and quickly stir it through. The mixture will be quite sticky, so stir fairly aggressively. Sometime I loosen the honey before microwaving with a little bit of water to make it more runny and easier to mix. Up to you.

Spoon the mixture onto the baking paper in the tin, spreading it out so that it covers the base of the tin and there aren’t any big lumps.

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture is golden brown and thoroughly toasted. You will need to turn the mixture over half way through cooking, so that the underneath mixture gets its time on top and gets toasted. The oven time is a bit of guess work – just keep checking and remove when the mix is golden and not burnt!

Let cool for 5 minutes then add the dried fruit, combining everything well. Don’t worry if there are some clumpy bits stuck together with honey – they are a bonus!

Breakfast Assembly

Put a big spoonful or two of granola on a plate and scatter on some fresh fruit  – more blood orange slices, and some strawberries and raspberries work well.  Lastly, add as much of the blood orange sorbet as you want to the plate, and you have a lovely breakfast to go.

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Flowerpot Soda Bread

Irish soda bread – the quick and easy bread you can make and eat in a matter of an hour. Which is exactly what I do on weekend mornings when I want freshly baked bread to go with my morning coffee!

My version has a spoonful of treacle to give it a malty flavour, alhtough it’s still quite a plain bread. You can zhush it up into a sweeter, more fancy bread by adding dried fruit – I like adding cranberries or sour cherries.

And baking soda bread in individual flowerpots is fantastic for making great little individual loaves. I love serving winter warming stews and casseroles with baby flowerpot loaves. Very rustic!

Of course, if you don’t have (clean) flowerpots on hand, you could just as easily make these loaves in muffins molds or even as free form loaves.

Here is the recipe for treacle flowerpot loaves and the fruity flowerpot variation.

Ingredients
340g plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ -1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbls black treacle
290mls buttermilk

For fruity flowerpots, add a couple of good handfuls or to taste, of dried fruit. For my bake, I made half  plain loaves, half fruity.

Method
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Lightly spray terracotta flower pots with cooking spray. Put a little flour into each pot, shaking the pot to make sure the flour coats the inside of the pot. Shake out any excess. You don’t need to be too precise – the main thing is to roughly coat the flower pot to allow easy removal of the loaf once baked.

Place flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir. Add the treacle to the buttermilk, stirring it well.

Make a well in the centre of the mixture, and pour in the buttermilk/treacle mixture, mixing quickly to form a soft dough. (Depending upon the absorbency of the flour, you may need to add a little milk if the dough seems too stiff but it should not be too wet or sticky.) Add the dried fruit if using.

Mix well, then turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead very briefly. You can even skip the kneading and pile the mix straight into the pots.

Put handfuls of the dough into the pots, filing to about 3/4 full, to allow for the bread to rise. Place the pots on a baking sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the loaves are risen and deep brown. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the flowerpots. The way to do this is to gently run a knife round the edge of the bread in the pot to loosen it, then turn out.

Serve with lashings of butter and nice jam. Here’s the link to my cumquat jam and other preserves, that I love with soda bread.

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Sweet Cherry Yorkshire Puddings

 

I love making and eating Yorkshire puddings. They’re great hot served with roast beef or other things. I sometimes make Jamie Oliver’s Baby Yorkshire puds with smoked trout and horseradish pate (see here for recipe).

As readers of the blog will know, I’m fond of anything sweet, so a couple of weeks ago I created a great breakfast or brunch recipe, basically sweet Yorkshire puddings filled with cherries. They worked a treat, and were delicious warm from the oven and also at room temperature. I served them with Greek yoghurt and more cherries.

Ingredients

Extra light olive oil
3 large free-range eggs
115 grams plain flour
A pinch of salt
1 tbls caster sugar
285 mls milk
1 cup frozen cherries

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Pour a small amount of oil into a 12 cup muffin tin, so you have a thin layer covering the bottom of each muffin mold. Put the tin onto the top shelf in the hot oven for around 10 minutes so the oil gets really hot.

Beat eggs, flour, salt, caster sugar and milk together, either by hand or in a food processor, until light and smooth.  You can make this ahead of time  – the mixture actually improves in the fridge.

When you are ready to bake the puddings, stir the cherries through the batter.  You mightn’t get 12  – it’s more important to really fill up some of the molds full than fill all of them.

Carefully take the tin out of the hot oven and quickly and confidently pour the batter into the hot muffin tin, filling each mold reasonably full. Return the tin to the top shelf of the oven to cook for around 10 to 12 minutes, or until the puddings have risen and are a golden brown. But don’t open the oven door, otherwise your puddings will deflate!

Once cooked, remove from the oven. Carefully slide out of the molds. Eat warm or at room temperature. When you break open the muffins you will get a lovely cherry ooze.

Serve with yoghurt or creme fraiche,  honey or cinnamon sugar and more cherries. A delicious take on the traditional Yorkshire pudding.

 

 

 

 

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Fig and Frangipane Muffins

 

 

Here’s another muffin recipe – I’m always experimenting with ingredients and tweaking recipes to create new taste and texture sensations.

Figs are plentiful in early autumn in Sydney, and a colleague brought me some beautiful bounty from the Southern Highlands from her very own fig tree. Lucky Ms L to have a tree bearing such luscious treats!

This recipe is based on one from Mike McKenearney’s “Kitchen by Mike” see here for details – with a bit of method thrown in from Matt Stone’s Greenhouse Muffins and my own flavour combo of fresh figs, stem ginger and frangipane.

Ingredients

150g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of sea salt

80g butter, softened

65ml vegetable oil

150g caster sugar

2 free-range eggs

75ml buttermilk (or ordinary milk with a good squeeze of lemon juice added)

6 fresh figs

6 pieces stem ginger, finely chopped

1/2 quantity of frangipane

A couple of teaspoonfuls of a good jam – apricot works well

Handful of flaked almonds, toasted

Frangipane

100g unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

1 free-range egg

Method

These quantities make 6 big muffins. You could probably get 8 or so daintier muffins from the mixture.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a six-hole muffin tin with baking paper or paper cases.

In an electric mixer, whisk the butter, oil and sugar until smooth, and the sugar has dissolved. The mixture should look creamy.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Slowly add the buttermilk or lemon-soured milk.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into another bowl and then add  1/2 cup of the flour mixture and whisk on a low speeed until smooth. Be careful not to overmix and this will toughen the muffins.

Fold in the remaining flour mixture, again being careful not to overmix.

Chop 4 of the figs into quarters and then half each quarter. Carefully fold the chopped figs and the chopped stem ginger into the muffin mixture and then spoon evenly into the baking papers or muffin cases.

To make the frangipane, cream the butter and caster sugar in a food processor, add the egg and ground almonds and process until smooth. (You will only need 1/2 this quantity, if that).

Mix a good teaspoonful of the frangipane into each muffin. It doesn’t matter if it’s not mixed in too well – it’s nice to have an almond surprise in the centre of the muffin!

Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

When the muffins are cool, brush the top of each muffin with jam, then sprinkle on some toasted flaked almonds.

I decorated with slices of the remaining 2 figs. It would be nice too, to bake some fig slices on the top of the muffins. My track record of having baked fruit pieces stay on top of muffins and cakes is not good! They always sink. So I content myself with decorating the baked goods with fresh fruit.

Serve on their own or maybe with a spoonful of Greek yoghurt.

 

Nectarine, Zucchini and Apple Muffins

 

img_5282img_5280Here’s another riff on my latest muffin recipe, Matt Stone’s beautiful Greenhouse Muffins from his book “The Natural Cook Maximum Taste Zero Waste”, see here to buy the book.

Matt’s recipe uses carrots and apple. I substituted zucchini (courgettes) for the carrot, and added nectarine slices inside the mix and also as decoration on the top.

Ingredients

4 eggs

280g raw sugar

200g zucchini unpeeled and grated

1 apple unpeeled and grated

1 nectarine chopped into small pieces

150ml vegetable oil

100g nuts, roughly chopped –  pecans, walnuts, almonds would be good. I used pecans.

300g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

Topping

50g cold butter

70g plain flour

50g rolled oats

50g sunflower seeds

3 tsp honey

1 nectarine cut into thin slices

Method

Whisk the eggs together in a large mixing bowl until they are frothy. Slowly pour in the sugar. Keep whisking until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has doubled in size. Whisk in the zucchini , apple, oil and nuts. Using a spatula,  gently fold in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Lastly gently fold in the nectarine pieces.

The mixture can be baked straight away but Matt suggests leaving it in the fridge overnight. This will give the flour a chance to hydrate and the baking powder to activate, resulting in a more consistent muffin texture. The mix will keep for 3–4 days in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. For the topping, place the cold butter and flour in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips. Add the oats and seeds and mix well, then mix in the honey to create a crumble-type mixture.

Grease a 12-hole standard muffin tin and line the holes with squares of baking paper. Spoon in the muffin mixture and press it down to the level of the tin.

Cover the top of the muffins with the crumble  topping and place 2 or 3 nectarine slices on top of the crumble. Place the tray in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes. After  15 minutes check the muffins using a skewers and test  for “doneness”. My experience has been that they will need another  5-10 minutes, so keep checking until you are sure they are cooked.

When done, take the muffins out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5–10 minutes. Then finish cooling on a wire rack. They keep fine in their paper wraps, making them easy to store  and transport.

 

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Summer Breakfast Trifles

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Here’s another easy, healthy and really delicious way to start the day off – breakfast trifles!

I love breakfast – I think it’s my favourite meal of the day. And I love cereals and grains, and I make batches of muesli and granola, switching the ingredients to suit the mood or the weather! Nuts and seeds feature strongly in the mix. It’s great to add in fresh fruit, whatever is in season.

So breakfast trifles are the logical extension of the muesli/granola idea. They’re easy to make as they need no preparation, and can be portable if you make them in jars instead of glasses.  I have been inspired by some recipes from Jamie Oliver in his Everday Superfood  and Superfood Family Classics, where he layers goodies in glasses for visually appealing and very tasty breakfasts.

So here are 3 ideas you can do really easily and quickly. They’re designed around the wonderful summer fruit in season in Sydney now – berries of all kinds, stone fruit, mango and figs. You don’t have to do any preparation, but as an alternative, you could lightly toast the nuts and seeds in a frying pan to bring out their flavour.

You can make and eat straight away, or keep in the fridge for a couple of days. They will soften up a bit, kind of like bircher muesli.

Here is a guide to putting these trifles together. Nothing too prescriptive, feel free to layer in any way you like.

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Ingredients

Fresh fruit – strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, figs, mango

Nuts – macadamias, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios

Seeds – pumpkin, linseed, poppy, sesame, chia

Rolled oats

No fat yoghurt

Raw honey

Method

Layer sturdy glasses or glass jars with ingredients. I started with fruit pieces, then nuts, seeds and oats, and more fruit. Finish with a dollop of yoghurt and drizzle a little honey over the top.

My fruit combos, photographed here, are – mango apricot and fig; peach, nectarine, fig and raspberry; blueberry, blackberry, raspberry and strawberry.

To serve, eat straight from the glass or jar, or you can loosen the mixture with a little milk if you like.

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Bircher Muesli Trifles

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I get to work quite early and really enjoy having breakfast at work after I’ve done the first round of emails. I bring in all sorts of tasty treats – home baked sourdough, treacle soda bread, fruit rolls and scrolls, all with lots of my jams and marmalades, and different combinations of cereals, muesli and granola that I put together in the store cupboard for quick breakfasts.

My latest addiction is Bircher muesli, piled into jars with fresh fruit, nuts, seeds and anything else I fancy, plus a drizzle of honey. This becomes a Bircher Muesli Trifle. The basic muesli can be made on the weekend, enough for the week, and the individual jars or pots put together in the morning ready for transportation to work. Just add some milk to pull the whole thing together. An incredibly easy, tasty and very healthy breakfast!

Here is the basic recipe for the Bircher muesli, and my suggestions for what to layer your trifle with. The quantities will make 4 jars. Just multiply for bigger amounts.

Bircher Muesli
Ingredients
75g rolled oats
100g no fat yoghurt
1 apple or pear, grated

Trifle additions
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, passionfruit, quinces, apples, pears
Macadamias, pecans, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pistachios
Any seeds you like
Drizzle of honey – raw if you can get it

Method
Combine oats, yoghurt and grated apple or pear in a bowl. At this stage you can cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or you can use straight away.

When you are ready to make your jars, start layering. It really doesn’t matter what order you use. I start with fresh fruit first as it’s much easier to turn out the trifle into a bowl – if you go Bircher first, it tends to stick to the bottom of the jar!

Suggested order – fruit, Bircher, fruit, nuts, seeds, honey.

Pop the lid on tightly and that’s it! When you’re ready to eat, loosen with a splash or more of semi-skimmed milk. You can eat straight from the jar or tip into a bowl. Depending on how hungry I am, I sometimes add a banana or a chopped apple to the bowl. That makes a really substantial breakfast to get me through the day.

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