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Breakfast Recipes

04 January 2010

Poached Eggs: how to make them step-by-step


There are many ways to poach an egg. Some are more reliable than others.

If you’re like me, then you’ve experienced the miserable “egg soup" scenario. This is where your poached egg more closely resembles wispy threads floating in water than a delicate, coddled globe with a molten centre.  But don’t despair. There are ways to avoid this unfortunate situation.

One of the constants in successful poaching is the quality and freshness of the egg. However, finding really fresh eggs on grocery shelves can be a challenge.

First, check the use-by date. Sounds simple but it can often be overlooked when you’re faced with a wall of eggs. There can be up to two weeks' difference in use-by dates between eggs sitting side-by-side on your supermarket shelf.

Secondly, look at the eggs. Choose eggs with a chalky surface over those with a smooth one – this is a sure sign of fresh eggs.

Once you have your fresh eggs, you need to know the best method for poaching them... Read on...

Happy New Year!

Continue reading "Poached Eggs: how to make them step-by-step" »

02 November 2009

Berry & Ricotta Danishes


There’s something magical and fascinating about puff pastry and the way the buttery dough rises up to form crisp, golden layers of which there are anywhere between 513 up to 1459.

This week I’ll be learning for a second time in my life how to make puff pastry from scratch.

I first made it at the Pacific Culinary Institute in Vancouver. It was time-consuming work requiring what seemed like endless rolling combined with deft handling of the dough. And, then there was the butter. Oh so much of it, carefully and methodically rolled in between each layer.

It is thought that early puff pastry found its origins in Rome but was then re-introduced and perfected in the 17th Century by legendary French chef Marie Antoine Carême.

Carême, who likened the art of pastry to architecture, is credited with developing the ‘six turn’ method that resulted in unparalleled layers of light, flaky pastry.

Well that’s all well and good if you’re a master pastry chef. I’m most certainly am not. Yet. 

For now I'll just stick to the store-bought kind, which for my purposes, is fantastic. While I’m not creating the kind of otherworldly delights found in Paris’ Poilane, I am winning friends nonetheless thanks to Careme pastry

Unlike other ready-made pastry Careme is actually handmade using natural ingredients. Based in South Australia's Barossa Valley, Careme sells four types of artisan pastry including sour cream shortcrust and all-butter puff pastry which I used to make these berry and ricotta danishes. 

Continue reading "Berry & Ricotta Danishes" »

04 October 2009

Cumquat Marmalade


It’s been a long time since my last post. Thank you to those of you who have written to me to see if I’m still alive. I am. More than ever.  But busy. So, so busy.

I recently started studying to become a chef. While it’s a lot of fun, it’s also all consuming, so posts will be less frequent for a little while.

While I haven’t had much time to spare I did manage to attend a country wedding in a town called Wombat in south west New South Wales. I had hoped the town would live up to its name with constant sightings of the furry little creatures. While I never saw a wombat, the scenery didn’t disappoint. It was magical.

The wedding ceremony was held at the couples’ property amongst an orchard of blossoming cherry and apricot trees. I was suspicious. The blossoms were too perfect – like strategically placed props from a movie set.

I left Wombat in verdant daze lovingly clutching my gift from the bride and groom – a bottle of homemade apricot jam “made with love” from their own trees. That was it. I was moving to the country to grow my own fruit, harvest my own vegetables and bottle-feed lambs.

Two weeks later, I’m firmly ensconced back into city life but the dream of one day having my own patch of land, even a small backyard, is firmly lodged in my heart. And while I don’t have my own plot of land, I am living in a rather expansive, green urban haven with its own orchard of sorts.


Continue reading "Cumquat Marmalade" »

28 July 2009

Bacon & Egg Tarts


Sydney is a breakfast city. It does lunch well and perhaps dinner even better, but breakfast best fits its collective psychology.

When the weekend arrives cafes spill out on to the pavement with hungry customers vying for tables in anticipation of breaking their fast.

While I love going out for weekend brekkies, I can't stand the thought of lining up. It's been over 12 hours since my last meal. It can go one of two ways. One -- I faint. Two -- I turn violent.

For me, and those poor souls around me, hunger and queues are a potentially lethal mix. So the safest bet is to whip up something at home.

Last weekend I made these dainty little bacon and egg tarts spiked with a little Parmigino Reggiano for a sharp bite. The tarts are easy to make and are delicious served hot or cold. They're also quite nice with the addition of little baby spinach or wild rocket (arugula). 

Continue reading "Bacon & Egg Tarts" »

12 March 2009

Cashew Cream Parfait


I was recently in Portland, Oregon on a girls' weekend where we spent several days exploring the city’s surprisingly empty streets and eating.

I had several good meals but there was one that outshone everything. It was breakfast at the Blossoming Lotus – a casual café-cum-yoga school serving raw and vegan meals. Sounds appetizing? Perhaps not for some but after several days of sheer gluttony sometimes a bowl of slow oats, rice milk and fresh fruit is what you need.

The dish I had was more of a 'breakfast dessert'. It was a cashew cream parfait served with live buckwheat, apples and kiwis. Dazzling.

On the way back to Vancouver I was mulling over in my head how to re-create it. I tried it the next day and met with success.

The best thing, apart from getting to eat this every morning for breakfast, is that it’s healthy. The "cream" is simply a combination of raw, organic cashews, water, pure vanilla extract and raw honey. I blend the ingredients until they’re smooth and resemble a silky mousse-like cream and that’s it. I’ve been eating it everyday for almost 10 days and I can't imagine tiring of it anytime soon.

The small triangular grains you see in the picture is buckwheat, and incidentally, they're actually seeds from the same family as rhubarb and sorrel. This was my first experience with whole buckwheat. I've only ever used the flour in cookies and blinis. The buckwheat seeds don't have a strong flavour, but they add a great texture and crunch with added health benefits.

Continue reading "Cashew Cream Parfait" »

23 November 2008

Scrambled Eggs with Roasted Tomatoes and Potatoes


Today is the last day of my detox diet. Tomorrow I'm going to treat myself to a breakfast of ricotta hotcakes or maybe I'll just skip the hotcakes and go straight for a chocolate cupcake.

The detox breakfast itself hasn't been too bad, especially on weekends when I could enjoy a hearty meal of scrambled eggs with roasted tomatoes and potatoes. 

During the week I'd be more reserved with breakfasts consisting either of apples and berries, slow oats and soy milk, strawberry soy smoothies or a boiled egg on brown rice crackers with slices of fresh tomato. So it wasn't as if I had to sustain myself on a cornflake and a sniff of an orange peel.

For the scrambled egg recipe, I substituted milk with a little soy milk however I still cooked them with butter, which (for some reason I don't quite understand but am very grateful for) was the only dairy allowed in small quantities during the detox. I like my scrambled eggs to be soft and moist. And for that reason I very rarely order them when I go out for breakfast as they're undoubtedly rubbery and sponge-like.

To prepare the eggs, I whisk them using a small whisk or a fork until they're foamy. I melt the butter in a fry-pan over a medium-low heat and then add the eggs. I let them sit without stirring for about 40 seconds to allow them to set just a little. I then use a wooden spatula to push the eggs towards the centre while tilting the pan slightly to cook the runny bits. I continue to do this while breaking up the eggs with the spatula for another minute or two then I take the pan off the heat and serve the eggs. They might look a little too moist and soft at first, but it's important to remember that they continue to cook when removed from the heat.

In lieu of toast, I served young Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced and then roasted in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. The vine ripened tomatoes were roasted for about 15 minutes until the point that they're just bursting and juicy.

Continue reading "Scrambled Eggs with Roasted Tomatoes and Potatoes" »

06 November 2008

Orange Ricotta Hotcakes


As of next Tuesday I'm embarking on a 12-day detox diet. It doesn't in any way involve starvation, just the cutting out of certain foods and drinks.

So I'm considering this week as a bit of a 'last hurrah' and I'm enjoying all the things on my detox 'not allowed' list. The list being yeast, alcohol, flour, dairy, sugar and tropical fruits.

This brings me to detox no-no number one -- orange and ricotta hotcakes. Small in size but not in flavour, these mini hotcakes are infused with cinnamon, orange zest and oozings of fresh ricotta. The hotcakes themselves are made of a mixture of finely ground corn flour (corn meal), unbleached flour, Castor sugar, milk and eggs. The syrup is simply a combination of honey, water and orange zest boiled with a vanilla bean. The mingling of citrus and vanilla is intoxicating and only becomes stronger as the syrup heats up.


The addition of ricotta is delightful and results in a light, moist hotcake. The trick to adding the ricotta, is to very gently fold it into the hotcake batter, making sure that there are noticeable ricotta lumps in it.  Just don't over mix, although I'm sure if you did, it'd be ok.

I had some leftover batter and I couldn't resist making some 'mini-minis'.

Someone has to feed the hotcake fairies.


Continue reading "Orange Ricotta Hotcakes" »

05 November 2007

Breakfast for one: Eggs (salmon) benedict


Syrie had to go out early this morning. So I woke up today alone and with the kitchen to myself. I love cooking breakfast for myself. Syrie prefers the simplicity of a dippy egg or the wholesomeness of bircher. This morning, though, I cooked myself my favourite breakfast: Salmon Benny!

After almost three years of living in Vancouver, I have yet to find a place whose Benny I love. In Sydney, I loved Le Petit Crème's on Darlinghurst Rd (although it was so rich, you often developed slight feelings of regret for the following half hour). Most of the Benny's I've sampled recently, however, have no tang. They taste like a cheesy butter sauce. I think the difference is that I learnt to make Hollandaise with lemon juice and vinegar. I'm not sure vinegar is widely used to make Hollandaise around here.

There are lots of variations on Eggs Benedict. My favourite replaces the ham or bacon with smoked salmon.

Continue reading "Breakfast for one: Eggs (salmon) benedict" »

17 October 2007

Maui Pancakes in Vancouver


This time last year we were sunning ourselves on a beach in Maui - life was idyllic.

We'd wake up around 10am, make Maui pancakes and wash them down with Pina Coladas. Not your usual breakfast drink but we were on holidays and I think this is what people do on holidays. If they don't, they should.

Yesterday, some friends of ours got married in Maui. Sadly, we were unable to attend the festivities so to celebrate in some way, we made Maui pancakes in honour of the lucky couple.

So here's to Kim and Derek...Maui Banana Buttermilk Pancakes topped with fresh coconut, macadamia nuts and of course, dark maple syrup for a Canadian touch.

Enjoy! While you two were tying the knot on a pristine beach, we were sitting here stuffing ourselves in your honour.


Banana Buttermilk Pancakes with Fresh Coconut and Macadamia Nuts
(serves 2)

Dry ingredients:
1 1/8 cup of unbleached flour
1/2 tsp of sea salt
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of baking powder

Other ingredients:
1.5 cups of buttermilk
1 large egg
3/4 cup of sour cream
1/3 cup of butter
1/4 cup of freshly grated young coconut
A handful of macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
Dark maple syrup for topping


  1. In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients together well.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the buttermilk, egg and sour cream. Add the dry mixture to this bowl and stir gently with a wooden spoon until the batter comes together.
  3. Heat up a pan or griddle on a medium heat and add about 1 tsp of butter to the pan. Swirl the pan around to coat the base with butter.
  4. Pour in about 1/2 a cup of the batter mixture into the pan and then gently push several pieces of banana into the batter.
  5. Once bubbles start to appear on the surface of the pancake, flip it over gently with a spatula and cook the other side until golden brown.
  6. Remove the pancake and repeat the process with the remaining batter.
  7. To keep the pancakes warm while cooking the rest of the batter put them on a plate and cover them with a sauce plan lid.
  8. Once all the pancakes are ready, serve with a sprinkling of young coconut and macadamia nuts.

`ono! (Hawaiian for 'delicious')

17 August 2007

Canoeing Cornmeal Muffins


These golden muffins were an essential source of fuel on our recent trip. They kept us going for 4 days of, at times, gruelling canoeing in the rain.

They were bumped around in a bag, and often not kept in an airtight container, yet they were still moist and delicious throughout their ordeal...and ours.

I should mention: as these were our main energy source for the better part of a week, this recipe makes quite a few (24 to be exact). For less strenuous times, halve the ingredients' quantities.

Canoeing Cornmeal Muffins

Dry Ingredients:
4 cups of unbleached flour
2 cups of cornmeal
3/4 cup of sugar
2 tbs baking soda
2 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp of sea salt

Other ingredients:
4 cups of buttermilk
1/2 cup of corn oil
3 large eggs


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F (180C).
  2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the buttermilk, oil and eggs together well. Add to the dry mixture and stir.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin tins.
  5. Bake for about 15 -20 minutes or until golden and firm to touch.


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