breakfast in bed, please!

Breakfast in bed, please

A good breakfast sets you up for the rest of the day. It kick starts the metabolism and provides enough fuel to keep you going ‘til lunch.

Some people have the same thing day in day out (me included –porridge and fruit).

With so many quick and easy options, there’s really no excuse for skipping it.

On weekends, generally there’s more time to spend cooking delicious breakfasts.

French toast is a family favourite at my house. It’s very easy for kids to make, too. Use different types of bread for variety. I have used a French baguette, sliced thickly on an angle, in the recipe below. Good quality maple syrup is essential.

Eggs, a great breakfast staple, are quick and nutritious. However, poaching eggs can cause panic. So many different instructions for cooking the perfect egg! Do you swirl the water? Add vinegar? I have an easy, fail-safe recipe that will have you poaching eggs like a professional in no time.

Muesli is another fantastic recipe to try. The best part is that you can add whatever your favourite ingredients are. My basic version uses maple syrup for sweetness and ginger and cinnamon to spice things up. Then, use this as a basis for the bircher muesli. Bircher is, essentially, rolled oats soaked in liquid with some grated apple, but you can make this as extravagant as you like. I like to use delicious toasted muesli to which I add grated apple, orange pieces, extra flaked almonds for crunch and finish with a good quality natural yoghurt and some fresh berries. This is the perfect breakfast if you’ve got an early start, as you can prepare it the night before. Or, like me, enjoy a sleep-in on Mother’s day with breakfast in bed!

Toasted muesli

Raid the health food shop, nut stand or supermarket aisle for all your favourite muesli ingredients. Cheat (a little) and look on the back of the pack of your favourite muesli for a list of what you need.

2 cups whole grain rolled oats

half a cup of coconut flakes

half a cup natural almonds

quarter cup sunflower seeds

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

half cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup mixed dried fruits of your choice (sultanas, dried cranberries, dried apricots etc)

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Mix the oats, coconut, nuts and seeds, spices, syrup and oil in a large bowl.

Spread mixture out on a large baking tray.

Bake in oven for about 25 minutes, stirring to redistribute after about 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool on tray.

Mix together with your choice of dried fruits.

Store in airtight jar.

Makes about 4 ½  cups.

Bircher muesli

2 cups toasted muesli (see recipe above)

2 cups milk

125ml (half cup) freshly squeezed orange juice

juice of 1 lemon

2 small Granny Smith apples, unpeeled and grated

2 oranges, peeled and roughly chopped

2 tbsp flaked almonds

natural yoghurt to serve

fresh raspberries to serve

Place muesli in a large bowl with milk, juices, apples, oranges, almonds and stir to combine. Cover and place in a fridge overnight before using.

Serve with fresh yoghurt and berries.

serves 4.

Cinnamon french toast with strawberries

2 punnets (500g) strawberries

juice of 1 orange

¼ (quarter) cup caster sugar

3 eggs

3 tbsp milk

pinch cinnamon

8 slices stale bread, thick cut (such as good quality baguette)

2 tbsp unsalted butter

maple syrup to serve

Hull the strawberries and cut in half. Place in a medium bowl with orange juice and sugar. Stir to combine and set aside to macerate.

Place eggs in a large shallow bowl and beat lightly. Add milk and cinnamon and beat to combine. Soak the bread in the egg mix on both sides.

Melt half the butter in a heavy based wide pan over medium low heat. Add half the soaked bread and cook for a few minutes on each side until cooked and golden.

Remove from pan and set aside on a large plate. Use an upturned plate to cover and keep warm.

Heat remaining butter and cook the rest of the bread.

Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup and the fresh strawberries.

serves 4.

How to poach an egg

Sometimes, the simplest things seem the most difficult. Use fresh eggs for the best results. You will need a deep saucepan with a lid.

4 large eggs

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

Half fill a wide based saucepan, at least 10 cm deep, with water to 5 cm depth. Add vinegar and bring just to the boil. The water should be moving slightly, not boiling too hard.

Break the eggs into individual small bowls. Turn off the heat and tip the eggs gently into the pan. Place the lid on and leave for 3 minutes.

Remove lid and use a slotted spoon to gently take out the eggs.

Trim the edges with a small knife to make a neat shape, if desired.

Serve immediately.

Makes 4.

Poached eggs with roasted tomatoes, bacon and sorrel

Fantastic quality heirloom tomatoes make this dish special. You could also use ripe cherry tomatoes. It’s worth sourcing the best quality bacon you can find, as you’ll taste the difference. I have used sorrel from my garden, for its refreshing lemon flavour, but basil or parsley would also be delicious.

400g medley mix heirloom tomatoes

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

8 slices good quality middle bacon

8 slices good quality bread

4 poached eggs (see recipe above)

shredded sorrel leaves to garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place tomatoes in a baking dish, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes, until the skins start to split.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a non-stick pan. Toast bread until golden.

Remove tomatoes from oven and place on plates with the toast and bacon. Place a poached egg on top of the toast and garnish with some fresh sorrel. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves 4.


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