Posts Tagged ‘brunch’


Good for breakfast, brunch or brinner.

I served these as part of a two-course brunch for Les Chicas. We also had fancy (but very easy to make) breakfast trifles to finish. And champagne. A lot of champagne.


  • 300gm grape tomatoes (approx 5-6 per person)
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 240gm ricotta (I accidentally picked up light ricotta)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 and 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 and 1/4 cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 very thin slices of red onion
  • 250gm rocket

Serves 5 people (3 pancakes per person).

I made the pancakes before my guests arrived, then popped them on a baking tray lined with baking paper and covered with alfoil. Then I popped them back in the oven to heat up closer to brunch time.

In a largish mixing bowl, whisk ricotta and egg until combined. Whisk in milk, then flour. When everything’s combined, stir through basil and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt a bit of butter in a large fry pan, then pour in 1/4 cups of mix per pancake. I could fit about 3 pancakes in my largest fry pan (the pancakes will spread to 10-15cm wide, so allow for that). Cook until golden, then flip to cook on the other side.

When your first batch is done, do a second batch. I could do 2 batches before I needed to wipe out the pan and add more butter. It look 5 batches to get through all the mix. When you’ve finished each batch, stack them in servings (3 pancakes per person) in your baking paper lined baking tray. Don’t forget to cover the tray with alfoil when done.

Preheat your oven to 220°C, timing it so that when your guests arrive you can pop the tomatoes in to roast (they take 10-15 minutes). Pop the tomatoes in a baking dish with 1 tbsp of EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the skins have split.

At 10 minutes, pop in the baking tray with your covered pancakes into the oven. If you are taking the tomatoes out, dial down the oven to 160°C. The pancakes need about 5 minutes to warm again.

Add the rocket and red onion to a bowl, pour over the remaining olive oil and the apple cider vinegar. Toss thoroughly.

To serve: pop a pancake stack (3 pancakes) on the plate, put a pile of the rocket & red onion salad on top, then artfully place 5-6 roasted grape tomatoes on top.

I recommend serving with a french champagne to drink on the side 🙂



Artfully placed tomatoes.

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Recipe: Breakfast Trifle


Little pots of joy

Having made my toasted muesli, I swung on to making breakfast trifles for my brunch with Les Chicas. I made these trifles on the day, because I wanted the muesli to still have crunch.


  • 1 punnet of strawberries
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 125 mL ricotta (I used light ricotta, because I picked it up by accident)
  • 250 mL greek yoghurt (I used light greek yoghurt, mainly because there was no non-light greek yoghurt in stock)
  • 100 mL thick cream
  • Toasted muesli (if you make my recipe, you’ll have leftover muesli for breakfasts)

I made this for 4 people, in Bonne Maman jam jars. The jars are ~7.5cm in diameter, and ~9.5cm high, to give you an idea of portioning ingredients.

Hull and slice the strawberries, then pop in a bowl with the caster sugar and mix well. Leave to macerate for about an hour.

Whisk the ricotta, yoghurt and cream together until smooth, then add the agave syrup. Chill for about an hour.

Assembling the trifles happens in layers, and I discovered over the course of assembling that the perfect proportions for each layer is:

  • 3 soup spoons of the yoghurt mix
  • 2 soup spoons of the muesli
  • Strawberries in a layer

Order of the layers:

  • Yoghurt
  • Muesli
  • Yoghurt
  • Strawberry layer
  • Yoghurt
  • Muesli
  • Yoghurt
  • Strawberries to top

Pop back in the fridge to chill until needed. This is where making them in jars was so handy: I could pop the lid on and chuck them in the fridge.


Et voila!

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Recipe: Toasted Muesli


Toasted muesli, served traditional style.

I had Les Chicas over for brunch last week, so decided to kick it up a notch with a two course brunch of basil and ricotta pancakes (savoury) and then breakfast trifle (sweet). To make the breakfast trifle, I needed a toasted muesli. This recipe is pretty delish on its own (yes, you can eat it by the spoonful), with milk and in the breakfast trifle so I thought I would share.


Cooling in the pan


  • 1/3 cup rice malt syrup (finally a use for the remainder of the jar of “honey for sad people” that I bought for a recipe)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup golden flax flakes
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Makes enough toasted muesli for 6-7 days worth, or 4-5 days worth and 4 breakfast trifles. (NB: I only eat small rice bowls of it for breakfast, see picture at the head of this post. That’s what my serves are based on.)

Preheat your oven to 160C and line a large roasting pan with baking paper (hot tip for making sure the paper doesn’t slip: spray a little oil in the pan, then put the paper in. It’s a lifechanger).

In a bowl mix together the rolled oats, coconut, pepitas, flax and chia seeds. Pour in the rice malt syrup and maple syrup and mix to coat everything well.

Spread mixture in roasting pan, make sure it’s an even layer, then pop in the oven for 15 minutes. Take out, stir well and then make sure it’s all laying evenly before popping back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then pour into a bowl and stir in the cranberries. Then transfer to the jar you’re going to keep in. Will keep in an airtight container for ~1 month.



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A recycled mayonnaise jar full of breakfast goodness

aka: how to make breakfast while you’re sleeping

After my successful experiments with Chia Porridge, I wanted to try the more traditional overnight oats. It’s an easy, low calorie breakfast that can be customised to what you have in your pantry. And it’s very quick do to, all you need is to:

  1. Throw ingredients into a jar or bowl (jars are good for transport)
  2. Get the oats to liquid ratio right
  3. Stir lightly to ensure you get even distribution of oats, liquid and flavourings
  4. Leave in your fridge for anywhere between 30 minutes to overnight

How hard is that?

There are heaps of exotic and delicious recipes out there, Buzzfeed compiled a list of the 19 best recipes (served as a parfait with rhubarb and strawberry sauce layers, brownie batter overnight oatmeal, apple pie flavoured versions and maple pecan peanut butter versions – ZOMG), popsugar picked out 18 different recipes off instagram. So many recipes, so much wow!


Aerial view

The key takeaways that I got from reading all the recipes are:

  • get the portion of milk to oats right
  • if you have dried fruit in the oats, you won’t need a sweetener
  • There are two ways to get flavour into your oats, which I categorise as:
    • Mixings: things you leave in the oats to infuse and flavour and soak up the liquid overnight (great for dry ingredients)
    • Toppings: stuff you add in the morning before you leave for work (great for fresh and frozen ingredients)

Weighted towards cranberries end of the overnight oats spectrum

I decided not to purchase any additional ingredients, but to experiment with what I had: dried fruit, nuts, seeds and coconut. Having already discovered with the great Chia Porridge experiment that some of the breakfast servings are too big, I worked on getting the perfect portion for my breakfast and the perfect amount of milk to go with it.



  • Dried fruit: Cranberries (1 tbsp), Blueberries (1 tbsp), Cherries (1 tbsp), Peaches (1 tbsp chopped)…
  • Nuts: Almond slivers (1/2 tbsp)
  • Seeds: Sesame seeds (1 tsp), Pepitas (1 tbsp), Sunflower seeds (1 tbsp)
  • Coconut: Shredded (1 tbsp) or Dessicated (1 tsp)


  • Frozen berries
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Yoghurt

I mainly worked off the Mixings side of the spectrum: expecting me to get up and cut fruit or pull anything other than lunch out of the freezer…is a big ask in the morning. So I just added dried stuff to the oats and let it infuse overnight with the milk.

Basically combine your mixings with your oats in a jar, add milk, stir to combine, screw the lid on the jar and then leave for 30 minutes to overnight. If leaving overnight, put it in the fridge. If leaving for 1/2 hour: it can stay on the counter.

The two photos I took with mixings were as follows:

  • Weighted towards the seeds end of the overnight oat spectrum:
    • 1 tbsp dried blueberries
    • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
    • 1 tsp chia seeds
    • 1 tsp dessicated coconuts
    • 1 tbsp pepita seeds
    • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • Weighted towards cranberries end of the overnight oats spectrum:
    • 1 tbsp dried cranberries
    • 1 tbsp dried blueberries
    • 1 tsp chia seeds
    • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds

Weighted towards the seeds end of the overnight oat spectrum

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Recipe: Chia Porridge

I’ve compiled this recipe to document my adventures with Chia Porridge. This ticks all the boxes in terms of gluten-free, paleo, lactose-free and low calorie, if you are interested.

I found the original recipe on Yumsugar, but as I was making it I found I needed to adapt the recipe to make the porridge to my preferred consistency.

The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of chia seeds, 1 cup of coconut milk and 1 tablespoon of honey. You bung all the ingredients in a jar, shake thoroughly, leave it overnight and the next morning you have a 206 calorie breakfast.

I don’t know if it’s the type of chia, the difference between the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere or a different alignment of the stars on the day I made it, but I found following those ratios meant that I had twice as much chia porridge as I could reasonably eat at breakfast and it was less of a liquid porridge and more of a…solid version of frogspawn.

The image below is of half the portion I got using the original recipe:


Chia Porridge Mark #1

I prefer a more liquid porridge (but not too liquid), but I persevered by adding pepitas and diced fresh mango:


Chia Porridge Mark #2

I then experimented with ratios before finding the perfect consistency (and perfect portion size): 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, 1/4 cup of coconut milk and 1 tablespoon of honey, left anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight.


Chia Porridge Mark #3

Not to big, not too little, just right.


Chia Porridge Mark #4 right consistency, with mango and pepitas

After experimenting with consistency, I experimented with coconut milks. Standard coconut milk is too rich for me (I drink skim milk), so I recommend either the lite coconut milk (if you have the storage space in your pantry and your fridge) or the powdered coconut milk (you don’t even need to premix it).

Then I experimented with toppings: mango and coconut is amazing, but so is kiwi fruit and coconut.


Chia Porridge Mark #5 with Kiwi Fruit


  •  1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup of coconut milk (either lite coconut milk or 1 tablespoon of powdered coconut milk and 1/4 cup of water)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Combine all ingredients in a jar, mix well. Leave anywhere from 30 minutes on the kitchen counter (while you’re getting ready) to overnight.

If the mix is a little too liquid for your taste in porridge, add a teaspoon of chia seeds and shake well, then leave for 15 minutes. If the mix is a little too firm for your taste in porridge, add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of water and stir well then shake.

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Recipe: Scrumptious Brunchious

Nina Ballerina came over a couple of weekends ago to bestow upon me a belated birthday/housewarming gift and have brunch.

She only lives 5 min up the road (now).  And since getting up for brunch on a Sunday when you are only going 5 minutes up the road is a lot easier that getting up for a brunch when you have to travel 25 minutes up the road, we should be able to have more regular brunch occasions.

So I decided to raid my delicious stash and cook an adaptation of something super deluxe.

I ended up making french toast with ricotta and berry compote, which is surprisingly easy to make and relatively cheap. It also has the bonus of making one look like one is a certified, guaranteed, knock-out, drop-dead, super chef:

How're YOU doin'?

It was so easy to make – it’s basically the ricotta mix from the peach, raspberry and ricotta torte on french toast with a berry compote.

Serves 2

French toast

1 egg, whisked

50-100mL milk

1tsp caster sugar

4 slices of nice bread

Berry Compote

200gm mixed frozen berries

1/4 – 1/2 cup water

2tbsp caster sugar

Ricotta Cream

150mL thick cream

150gm fresh ricotta

1/4 cup caster sugar

Splash vanilla essence

Combine berries, water and sugar in saucepan on low heat. Simmer until berries are softened and liquid is reduced.

In a bowl, combine ingredients for ricotta cream and break down with fork until mix softens and you can whisk it. Whisk until mostly smooth. Cover with gladwrap and chill.

Whisk egg, milk and caster sugar for french toast until combined. Lay bread in flat pan (ceramic baking dish worked for me) and pour combined ingredients over bread. Be sure to turn bread before all the liquid is absorbed to ensure even coating on both sides.

Oil frypan with a little spray oil and heat, add slices of bread and fry each side until golde brown. I went a bit further and fried until darker brown to ensure all of the french toast liquid was cooked.

Assemble on a plate – 2 slices of french toast, large dollop of ricotta cream and spoon over berry compote and sauce. Et voila:

Hungry now.

Now for the most important part, serve your brunch on the amazing trompe d’oleil placemats your guest has given you for your birthday/housewarming:

Bon Appetit!

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