Archive for the 'breakfast' Category

Excellent things from the last few weeks

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

I’ve been running a bit ragged recently, so it’s a perfect time to have a pot of tea, take stock, and list a bunch of good things.

 

1. I recently learned to add a star anise when making a long-cooked beef stew. Transformative!

 

2. I give thanks for dumplings, and that it is so easy for me to get good ones here. Recent standouts have been the steamed wontons with chili oil at Hutong (tender skins, good filling, perfect chili), xiao long bao at Shanghai Street Dumpling, and everything in general at my beloved Gourmet Dumpling.

 

3. The midwinter arrival of citrus and avocado season. I made this salad for dinner one night last week. So good and refreshing.

Salad of hot-smoked salmon, avocado, blood orange and watercress

80 g hot-smoked salmon, flaked
a small palmful of pine nuts, toasted
1 large blood orange, supremed
half a smallish avocado, peeled and cut into 1-2 cm pieces
the leaves of a decent bunch of watercress
good olive oil
wholegrain mustard

Combine the salmon, pine nuts, orange, avocado and watercress.

Make a dressing by whisking together the juice that escaped from the orange, a dash of olive oil, a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard, and a pinch of sea salt. Toss with the salad.

Serves 1.

 

4. Having watercress growing in the garden at last after a couple of failed attempts. Such a great winter salad green.

 

5. The Egyptian eggs (poached, rolled in dukkah, then lightly fried) on a potato and pumpkin rosti, with rocket and chili jam, at Dood328 in Brunswick. So good, and the staff there are lovely too. Also, not having to queue for brunch = a good, good thing.

 

6. Dainty Sichuan in the city. This place gets a bit of hate but I love it. Went there for dinner last night with the lab and ate 10 fantastic dishes. Fish-fragrant eggplant, chinese leeks with tofu threads, chili chicken wok, ultra-spicy black fungus, many other things I can’t remember.

 

7. This morning’s breakfast, which was delicious but, even I recognize, slightly crazytown. Man I love savoury breakfasts with greens and asian flavours though.

For the steel-cut oats, I use this recipe and make enough for four days at one time. I also usually make two or three serves of the greens and use them for multiple breakfasts, or add them to lunches.

Steel-cut oats with asian greens and a runny fried egg

dash of olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 small thumb of ginger, finely minced
chili flakes
150 g of mixed greens – I used a mix of what looked good in the garden: sprouting broccoli, cavolo nero, purple kale, a couple of broccoli leaves and red mustard leaf

1 serve cooked steel-cut oats

1 egg

tamari
sesame oil
sesame seeds

Chop the greens into smallish pieces. For broccoli and kales, I blanch them until they’re becoming tender, then drain. The softer greens I just chop.

Heat a dash of olive oil in a large pan, then add the shallot and cook a few minutes until golden. Add the garlic, ginger, and chili flakes to taste, and cook a further two minutes, then add the greens. Stir well, add a slosh of tamari and another of water if necessary, and cook until everything is tender.

Fry the egg. I do this by heating a pan over low heat, adding a dash of olive oil, cracking in the eggs, and putting a lid on top. Cook until the white is just set and the yolk is still liquid.

Put the oats into the middle of a flat bowl. Spoon the cooked greens around the oats. Slide the egg on top. Over all of this, sprinkle drops of tamari and sesame oil, more chili flakes, and sesame seeds. Eat at once.

Serves 1.

This week’s exciting tales from the stomach

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

I appear to be completely incapable of writing proper blog posts any more, even though I’m still cooking lots of great stuff and keeping the daily eating notes. But I’ve been feeling listalicious recently, so here is another list of good food that has been happening in our household this week.

 

1. Last weekend I made a big batch of kimchi, using Zoe’s recipe. I love this kimchi – the recipe is foolproof and easy, and produces some of the tastiest kimchi I’ve ever had. Love it. I’ve been snacking on kimchi all week and incorporated it into an ultra-delicious brunch this morning.

Here, have a photo of me doing the last mixing step in the kimchi production process. I used Edwige and Jean’s old (well cleaned!) laundry tub, because I am all class. Also because none of my normal kitchen bowls are big enough to handle the kimchi. Note that grey thing in the bottom left of the photo- it’s the chainmail-esque glove I wear when using the mandoline these days, after slicing off the tip of my finger with it a couple of years ago.

 

2. We had dinner last night with Danielle at Rumi in Brunswick East, and loved everything we tried. We started with pickled vegetables and then shared oven baked baby baramundi fillet with poached onion in a tahini and almond sauce; spiced lamb shoulder roasted on the bone with sirkanjabin; persian meatballs in tomato and saffron sauce with labne; and an orange and fennel salad. Every mouthful was delicious. The lamb was particularly amazing – slow cooked until it left the bone perfectly clean, and the meat extremely tender without even glancing at sloppiness. Incredible flavour, highlighted brilliantly by the sweet mint sirkanjabin. I found this earlier review of Rumi that says that the spice mix the lamb is coated with is advieh, containing rose petals, dried limes, cumin and coriander (as well as other things, I would guess, given its complexity of flavour).

 

3. It was the Veg Out markets at St Kilda yesterday and I stocked up big on lots of winter vegetables, astringent persimmons, multiple kilos of chicken and beef bones to make stock, and some other cow bits as well from the Warialda Beef stall. These guys are so great. Super friendly and very happy to give advice, share knowledge, and recommend different cuts and recipes. I ended up carrying away quite a few pieces of beef to cook up this month- short ribs, stewing beef, a pack of tendon and sinew to go in the stock pot with some Flintsones-sized vertebrae and joint bones, and finally a pack of very tender little trimmings from blade steak that I will use for a couple of stir fries this week – I’m thinking one with kimchi (something like this) and another with piles of chinese broccoli and pak choy.

 

4. And today’s breakfast, which made me exclaim multiple times, with lots of enthusiastic profanities, about how great it was: fried rice and kimchi with fried egg. My god it was so good.

This is really the perfect winter breakfast – spicy and flavoursome, chewy brown rice for that texture hit, and runny egg yolk melding everything together.

Breakfast rice, kimchi and fried egg

1 large handful cooked brown rice
2 scallions, green parts chopped
kimchi, a bit more than the volume of rice, roughly chopped
fresh coriander leaves
1 or 2 eggs
toasted sesame oil
tamari

Heat a large saucepan, add a dash of sesame oil, and sautee the rice until it is hot. Add the scallions and kimchi, and cook a further 5-10 minutes, until everything is warm and the mixture is catching a little on the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile, fry the eggs. I like to do this in a little non-stick pan – a dash of oil, crack the eggs in, cook over low heat with a lid on the pan until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still very runny.

Put the rice and kimchi in a bowl, slide the just-cooked eggs on top, and sprinkle with coriander and a few drops of sesame oil and tamari. Eat at once.

Awesome things I have eaten recently

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

1. This quince, almond and rum cake, from a recipe at Chocolate and Zucchini. I used a little more quince than called for, macadamia oil in place of the vegetable oil, and a really good rum. It was delicious, aromatic, and all gone within three days.

2. Ruth Bruten’s very good, very quick and very easy haloumi, spinach and nigella seed gozleme. We ate this with roasted sweet potato on the side.

3. Chicken with swede, cider and creme fraiche, with a salad of mixed leaves and apple. We only used a big spoonful of creme fraiche rather than the 150 g called for, and I think more would have made it a bit sickly. For the cider, we used Aspell dry Suffolk. Perfect dinner for a cold and wet winter evening.

4. Ox cheek braised with Pedro Ximinez at Livingroom. Always like it here.

5. Fantastic hotpot at Hot Pot Paradise in Clayton, for lab Friday dinner. $25 each for two soup bases (pork bone white soup and hot chili red soup), and approximately a million things to cook in them, including fresh and frozen tofu, mushrooms, tofu skins, rice cake, fish fillets and balls, pork blood jelly, taro balls, shrimp balls, pork and beef slices, bok choy, and numerous other things I have forgotten. Their 100% approval rating on Urbanspoon is not unwarranted.

6. And this morning’s breakfast, which made me laugh at how clearly my tastes and Ted’s have diverged over the years. Lucky we love each other so much. We were sitting reading on the couches this morning before breakfast, when Ted said, “I’ve been thinking about getting some breakfast… we have some bacon left in the fridge!”. I’d been thinking about breakfast myself, but my thought process had been slightly different: I’d been getting excited about the fact that we still had some Brussels sprouts left over. So Ted made himself eggs and bacon, and I made myself the delicious dish that follows:

6 decent size Brussels sprouts
2 scallions
2 eggs
soy sauce
sesame oil
chili flakes

Trim, halve, and slice the Brussels sprouts. Chop the scallions into 1 cm pieces. Heat a little oil (or bacon fat, if your husband has been cooking right before you) in a pan, add the sprouts and scallions, and saute over moderate heat until they are wilted and starting to catch and go golden in places. Whisk together the eggs, a dash each of soy sauce and sesame oil and a big pinch of chili flakes. Pour into the pan, stir the egg through the vegetables, and as soon as it is just cooked, take off the heat and serve. I ate it with a toasted slice of darkish seedy bread.

This would be even better with shiitake or enoki mushrooms, and some fresh coriander. (Crap! I just remembered that I now have coriander growing in the garden. Next time, Gadget, next time.)

Roast rhubarb with lime and cointreau

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

This is so basic it’s hardly worth writing, but for my own records, it was great.

500 g rhubarb stems (weighed after trimming)
2/3 cup sugar
juice of 1 decent-sized lime
a good glug of Cointreau

Cut the rhubarb into 3 cm lengths. Put in a baking dish, and toss together with the sugar, lime and Cointreau. Roast, uncovered, at 180 C for about 20 minutes, until the rhubarb is softened. The pieces will still be intact and beautiful red. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before eating, or eat cold later. Good with yoghurt for breakfast, or creme fraiche and crisp almond biscuits for dessert.

 

Baked eggs with backyard tomatoes

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

This summer was the first time we’ve ever had a garden we could grow things in. We’d previously attempted (and eventually killed) many pots of herbs in many apartments, but nothing more. Despite this not very stellar record, I was smitten with horticultural lust when we moved into a house with a sunny back wall and a fallow garden bed. I went a bit overboard ordering heirloom vegetable seeds from Diggers, then carried through a major operation starting seeds of seven different kinds of tomatoes, two kinds of peas, many different herbs, Italian broccoli varieties, and so on. And then, after preparing the soil (and filling quite a few pots as well) I planted them all out, pruned, staked, weeded, picked caterpillars and treated for whiteflies. It was a joy. It made me happy every morning when I went outside and checked how much things had grown, what varieties were flowering, which was the first to set fruit, which the first to ripen.

Like I say, it was blissfully satisfying. And I will do it all again next summer. But with one difference: I will start about three months earlier. I knew I was getting everything started late. We’d just moved to Melbourne, I was trying to catch up with things in the lab, we worked some weekends, I delayed putting in the seed order because was I really sure that I was going to do this, given my previously black thumb? By the time I committed and put in the order, it was the start of November. The first seedlings came up in late November, and I transplanted them outside in late December. This might have been ok in Brisbane, but Melbourne was not quite so forgiving. Our garden has been a lush, gorgeous, endlessly enjoyable paradise in which I have spent scores of happy hours working or sitting, but our first tomatoes only ripened a couple of weeks ago. About the same time, in fact, that I was writing an entry about how the autumnal weather was making me long for osso buco.

Since then, despite the recent rain and cold nights, a handful of tomatoes have slowly ripened, turning yellow or orange or red one by one, like lights coming on at night. Their texture wasn’t the best, but the flavour was excellent – sweet and sharp, each variety distinct. This morning we harvested all that were ripe, to roast for breakfast. We got one jaune flamme, several brown berries and lemon drops, a couple of black cherries, and about twenty incredibly tiny wild sweeties. The plants are becoming decrepit now, dropping brown leaves and looking exhausted. I’ll leave them in for another week or so to see whether any more fruit ripens, and if not then pull them out for compost. But even if this morning’s small dish of tomatoes is all we eat from this crop, it’s still been absolutely worth it. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve shown myself that my thumb is not entirely black, and I’ve gained hours of relaxation and pleasure. I’m without regret, though I have put a reminder in my diary to start the tomato seeds in August this year.

 

Baked eggs and tomatoes with sourdough and chevre

This wasn’t the prettiest dish, but it was delicious. I took our bowl of mixed tomatoes (probably the equivalent of about 25 cherry tomatoes), halved all but the smallest, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted in a smallish baking dish in a moderate oven (about 160C) until they were softened, about 15-20 minutes. I pushed the tomatoes aside to make a couple of indentations, into which I cracked eggs. Back in the oven for 5 minutes or so, checking frequently towards the end, until the whites were cooked but the yolks were still runny. Meanwhile, I’d toasted a slice of sourdough, and spread with some young chevre. I spooned the egg-and-tomato mixture out of the baking dish over the toast, and ate immediately.