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Home-grown honey and home-made marmalade

It is a good week to be a toast eater in this house. We have a slightly wild mandarin tree here that threw out more fruit than we could handle this winter, so I’ve been making marmalade. When life gives you mandarins, etc. This is the second batch that I’ve made (the first had Cointreau in it — very fancy) and I feel like I’m becoming pretty pro at it now. Especially since I have worked out a nifty little hack to get around the most tedious part of marmalade making: shredding the peel. Our mandarins have a very soft, thin peel, which becomes even softer after cooking, and I discovered that it shreds up quite nicely when given a whiz in my Tupperware Turbo Chef. (Oh wow, could I sound any more Soccer Mom?) Of course it’s not as neat and even as hand-cut peel, but it’s a good shortcut in what is otherwise a very slow-food process.

This is the marmalade recipe that I’ve been using, and it’s a winner.

Anyway, no sooner had I proudly screwed the lids on Marmalade Mark II than I received a kilo of some of the nicest honey I’ve ever tasted. And guess where it came from? Our own block of land. A friend of ours had been trialling a couple of hives of bees on part of our block a few months ago and this was our sweet, sticky kickback. Honey generally tastes pretty great no matter where it comes from, but this has a creamy, mellow flavour that is truly delicious. Who’da thunk a bees with a diet of basically nothing but lantana could produce something so yummy?

So it’s been tea and toast more or less round the clock here these past couple of days. You don’t eat much more local than this!

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You know how there are certain treats that are better bought from the bakery because there’s no way you could create the same deliciousness at home? Well, this is not one of those treats. These buttery, caramelised scrolls are so much better than the regular scrolls you find at mainstream bakeries that they almost shouldn’t be allowed to share a name. Yes, they do take a couple of hours to make but don’t let that deter you; the end result is totally worth it.

 

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Macadamia cinnamon scrolls

 

Makes 8 scrolls

Adapted from The New Zealand Bread Book by Simon and Alison Holst

 

Ingredients

Dough

14 grams (about 2 teaspoons) dried instant yeast

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons warm water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

25g melted butter

2 cups strong flour

 

Filling

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar

Optional: 2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts

 

Topping

2 tablespoons soft butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts

 

Method

Making the dough

Mix the yeast, milk, warm water, sugar, salt and half the flour in a large bowl. Allow to stand, covered, for 10-15 minutes in a warm place.

Add the remaining flour and combine into a dough firm enough to knead. Adjust the texture with a bit more flour or water if necessary.

Knead the dough for 10 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic. You can try using the window pane test to see if you have sufficiently kneaded your dough.

Coat the ball of dough in two teaspoons of neutral oil (strong-flavoured oils such as olive will interfere with the flavour of your dough) in a large bowl. Cover with cling wrap or a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm, draught-free place for 30-40 minutes or until doubled in size. (I use my microwave — not switched on, of course — as it is a reliably draught-free place)

Shaping

When the dough is nearly ready, prepare a 20cm round cake pan with your Topping ingredients: rub the butter all over the inside of the pan, then sprinkle with the brown sugar and chopped macadamia nuts.

Punch down the dough and roll out to form a rough 30cm square. Gather your Filling ingredients; brush the dough square with the butter, then sprinkle with the brown sugar and chopped macadamia nuts.

Roll up the dough to form a long cylinder, then cut into 8 equal scrolls.

Arrange the 8 scrolls in the cake pan. They won’t fill the space completely yet — this gives them room to rise.

Cover the pan and leave in your warm, draught-free place to rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. Your scrolls will rise even further during baking.

Baking

Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius.

Place your pan on a baking tray to catch any drips (my scrolls leaked caramel all over my oven the first time I made these!) and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Invert your pan over a plate or board immediately and serve while warm.

 

Serving tip: These scrolls are best served while still warm from the oven, but keep ok for a day or two. (Pfft, as if they will last that long!) Just warm them again in the oven or microwave before serving.

Laduree The Melange and teacup

 

Good morning! The house is silent and I am settling in for a productive workday, this morning with the added power of a dainty cup of Ladurée Thé Mélange. I tasted it for the first time a few weeks ago at Ladurée in Sydney during a weekend away with my sister. My tastebuds instantly fell in love: it’s like Earl Grey mixed with roses and honey. (Maybe that sounds like it shouldn’t work but trust me, it totally does.)

That beautiful sister gave me box of the tea for my birthday so I can relive the experience whenever I like. To be honest, sipping it at my messy dining table isn’t quite as good as having it alongside salted caramel macarons in a Marie Antoinette-inspired tea room… but it’s close.

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Gosh I love breakfast food. I’ve mentioned before my love of the most important meal of the day, and this week I recreated at home one of my favourite cafe breakfasts. 

Lure on Latrobe is one of our favourite breakfast spots. All the seating is out on a wide verandah-patio area and it is cool and shady even in the nastiest part of summer. My favourite thing on the breakfast menu there is the persian fetta scrambled eggs — I will often go there with the best of intentions to try something new, only to get sucked in by my old favourite. Anyway, this week we were in the market for breakfast long after Lure had stopped serving, so what were we to do? As the old saying goes, those who can’t do (the buying of persian fetta scrambled eggs), teach (themselves how to cook this delicacy). 

And now you can too!

 

Persian fetta scrambled eggs, á la Lure on Latrobe

Serves 1 greedy breakfast lover 

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • slurp of milk or cream
  • persian fetta (buy from a deli or the deli section of the supermarket)
  • 1 or 2 rashers of prosciutto
  • cherry truss tomatoes
  • slab of turkish bread, cut to make two sandwich-style pieces
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, if you like 

Method

  • Heat the oven to about 200 degrees Celsius 
  • Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and place the tomatoes on it, stems still attached. Drizzle turkish bread with olive oil and put them on the tray too, and stick them in the oven for about 10 minutes while you make the rest of your breakky
  • To crisp the prosciutto, stick it in a nonstick pan for 30 seconds to a minute, turning once
  • To make the scrambled eggs, whisk the eggs and milk or cream until well combined. Scramble over a medium-low heat until just done. Crumble persian fetta over the freshly scrambled eggs (keep it chunky or it will melt and disappear) and stir through just a little
  • Place it all on a big plate, high five yourself and then tuck in!

 

Eating and drinking — specifically, eating breakfast-type food and drinking hot, milky drinks — would have to be two of my most favourite things. Luckily for me, Brisbane has plenty of places to do both. Here are a sampling of the lovely spots where I have supped lately…

 

Flamingo Cafe, Fortitude Valley

Butter = Love

I think I’ve mentioned the delightful blog Little Jane Street in a previous post. Well Alarna, the mastermind behind LJS’s crafty sweetness, has opened up a shopfront for her brand in Winn Lane in the Valley. It’s a great spot, not least because it’s very close to the Flamingo Cafe, where you can sit on a stool shaped like a cob of corn and eat scrambled eggs that comes with heart-shaped butter. And if there’s anything I love more than butter (and there’s not much), it’s butter in the shape of a heart.

 

Paladar Fumior Salon, South Brisbane

Anyone who has ever driven through South Brisbane/West End is bound to have passed this place, and probably done the same as me — vowed to return sometime for a coffee and a poke through what looks like a fascinating little shop. But its opening hours are more suited to weekday breakfasts and lunches rather than dinners or weekend eats, which conflicts with the time of day I’m normally hanging around West End. But the other day — after seriously years of driving past this place — I happened to find myself in the perfect storm: a weekday afternoon in South Brisbane, a hankering for a hot drink, and a lovely, sunlit day. (The company was also excellent.) So I finally got my chance to venture beyond that red facade. Inside: hilarious, friendly staff and a hot chocolate that tasted like melted Easter eggs. I think I need to move to West End.

Finally time to go inside

I was told they only stock decaf coffee when one of their regulars (which I'm not) is pregnant (which I am). It turned out well for me though, because the hot chocolate was to die for!

Almond croissant, my favourite!

 

The Corner Store, Toowong

Down on the corner, out in the street

This is the newest edition to our breakfast circuit: the Corner Store Cafe. I think it’s been open for less than a month, and we have been there three times in the past week. It doesn’t hurt that it is less than a 10-minute drive from our place, but it also does delicious breakfast things like chilli-fried eggs and zucchini and haloumi fritters. And out the back of the eating area they have garden beds where they grow their own herbs. So cute! It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re a westsider. Might be worth booking a table though if you’re planning to arrive much after 9.30am on the weekend — the good word is obviously spreading fast.