Archive for the 'Breakfast' Category

Home made bagels

Monday, June 4th, 2012

These boiled circles of bread have been on my “to do” list for a number of years – I have a VERY long to do list by the way, which is why it’s taken me this long to do it.  But having seen Alice do it on Masterchef, I thought hey maybe today’s the day.  I have to admit… i didn’t start off well – the bread mix I had was 7 months past its use by date, and the yeast was 3 YEARS past (LOL – shows how often I make bread ;) ).  But you might know that once you’re committed, you’re committed, and I thought too bad it’ll have to do.  I tested the yeast to see if it activated (frothed) in the warm sugar water mix – it did – so I took that as the go ahead.

I used this recipe:

As I didn’t obey the instructions fully where it said to not use ALL the flour, I did – and as a result, the dough was quite dry.  I thought – great… this ain’t going to work, and I was pessimisstic the whole time.  Nevertheless, I kept kneading for the full ten minutes – great upper body workout – and the dough gradually became softer and more malleable – but still not soft like bread dough should be.  I attributed this to the fact that I’ve never made bagels before, and also to the fact that I didn’t follow the instructions and used old yeast.  Well, put it in a warm spot to rise – it didn’t rise much, and at the punch down stage, it was still very solid :(

Still wasn’t looking good, but hey , this far down, might as well continue.  I had fun making the hole  - spinning it around a wooden spoon – and let it rise a bit more – which it sort of did.  The moment of truth came when it came time to boil the bagels. I always wondered how on earth that worked – they kinda just floated to the top and still felt hard.

Drained, sprinkled with sesame and poppy seed, they went into the oven.

Not really caring, I went back to check – WOW!!!  They WORKED!! I was ssooooo amazed that they grew!!!!  I tapped the bottom – hollow – awesome!!!!

The moment of truth – I cut it in half and the texture was also akin to the ones I’ve had in the shops. SO happy :)

And yes, they tasted amazing too. Will definitely become part of my repertoire!!  Give it a go guys!  I cut them in half and froze them and I can confirm they’re still good toasted :)

Espresso Organica, Concord

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Reasonably new to the Majors Bay Road cafe/restaurant scene is boutique coffee roaster and cafe, Espresso Organica.  It’s on the quiet side of the strip – opposite Coles – which offers you the added advantage of a greater chance of finding a parking spot!  It’s especially quiet on Sundays when the childrens store next to it is closed.  It’s actually a tiny cafe. More like a shop with a few tables inside plus tables outside – brrr in winter!  If you are lucky enough to get a table inside (the staff are very kind and obliging), you will then have the problem of jostling for space with the person behind you, because both of you, even normal BMI’d people will find it hard to sit comfortably without getting into an airline seat style fight for room. Tip: Go in summer when it’s warm enough to sit outside!  First thing to hit you is the glorious dessert counter.  They don’t sell the usual bulk made ordered-in cakes, I believe they are home made in the premises.  I really really really really really was dying to try the baked cheesecake. But down to business, we are here for breakky and coffee. Since apaprently it’s my pastor’s favourite coffee in Sydney!

Cappuccino – indeed, not bad I’m told.

And the latte.  These come in small and large. Syrup or non syrup. Quite reasonably priced.

Okay, having gained a bit of a spare tyre aka muffin top over winter, I tried to go for something healthy (ie no sausage or bacon).  For me this came in the form of the mushroom, ham and pesto omelette with no cheese.  With a slice of sourdough and some mange-tout as salad, it was very satisfying, and not over cooked at all. Baby Lucas adored it too and helped me polish off a third of it!  The filling was generous but did not overcome the eggs.

Salmon benedict – perfect chubby ooozy eggs and a generous amount of salmon.  But what puzzled me was why it wasn’t served on english muffins, and instead only one piece of toast? Not that much sauce, but oh well, my friends seemed to not care much! (more…)

Brunch for friends: 3 courses – bircher muesli, english breakfast and french toast

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but Sunday brunch is my most favourite meal of the whole week.  I love enjoying my lazy day as Saturday is usually when I have stuff on – you know, birthdays, errands, dinners – each with its own required prep – and Sunday is my slow day to catch up with friends.  I also love being outside in the sun – as opposed to the artificial neon cylinders of an enclosed drying office.  And of course, Sunday brunch has mandatory bacon.  Yum!   This week I decided to bring my brunch home, and instead invite 6 friends over to eat, hang out and get to test out some recipes.   Why not a 3 course brunch?  Obviously, since brunch is on the early side of midday, one course must be prepared beforehand – I’m cooking, not sacrificing sleep after all ;)  And what better dish than bircher muesli, which is supposed to be made the day before!  I have a confession – I decided to make it even though I’d never even eaten it! Who wants a healthy option for breakfast when you can have a fat option? ;)  Well, it sounds relatively easy…. and can I just say- I totally fell in love with it since!!  It’s sooooo easy.

Take 3 cups of rolled oats, and soak overnight in 1.5 cups of apple juice.  Then in the morning, stir through a cup of yoghurt – any flavour – I’ve used vanilla or strawberry.   Let it continue to sit in the fridge and let the oats get softer, and then when you’re about to serve, stir in some chopped roasted almonds, some grated apple and some honey.  I garnished it with more almonds on top of a dollop of more yoghurt; and some apple which I grated with my finger slicing device otherwise known as a mandoline.  *shudder*.  Well, off to a healthy start, it must mean that you’ve earned the right to a fry up.  cooking bacon and eggs and sausages for 7 people could mean a morning of slaving away at the stove, rather than entertaining – a definite no no.  And that’s where my tray bake english breakfast comes in.

You can have it all prepared and put in the oven and all you’ll need to do is cook the eggs, and delegate someone to make your toast!  Turn on your oven to 200 degrees, put in as many sausages as you need, cook for 10minutes.  Then, put your mushrooms in, and drizzle with some oil, and layer your bacon on top.  Bake for a further 10 minutes until your bacon is cooked to your liking and the mushrooms are soft. How easy is that??  I served it with sunny side up free range eggs and woodfired italian toast.  With my 3 course breakfast, one sausage and one piece of toast was enough!  My tomatoes were gorgeous – sweet and rose red, so i opted to serve them au natural and simply seasoned.  They tasted amazing!  And if your guests still aren’t stuffed, serve them what was regarded as the favourite of the day – french toast with poached pears and caramel sauce.  Again, really handy because you can make both the poached pears and the caramel sauce before people come!

I poached some buerre bosc pears in a syrup of half water, half sugar with a cinnamon quill chucked in.  I boiled them til i could poke a knife in.  Then chill in the fridge.  For the caramel sauce, mix butter, cream and brown sugar in a saucepan on low heat until combined.  For the french toast, beat eggs with some sugar and milk, and soak the bread in until it’s all soggy.  Then panfry in a little butter.  Plate up and enjoy warm and you’ll forever have your friends banging on your door for more :)

Caffe di Stefano: Brand new Coffee Warehouse Cafe & Deli, Homebush

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Hot off the press!!!! Coffee Warehouse Cafe & Deli (CWCD for short) has JUST opened TODAY!!!  Driving by this site formerly a motorcycle shop, I was soooo excited to see that it was a proposed coffee ROASTER, warehouse, cafe and providore – 4 in 1 of my favourite things!!! Many a time I drove by, wistfully waiting for opening day.  I thought that day approached when I saw the ad in Seek for the head chef. But alas, more days passed before the paper went up behind the glass facade and then such a tease – the “opening soon” sign!!  And FINALLY this day has come! I saw movement there last week and called up Caffe di Stefano and said they were opening today. I made sure I was there.  It was definitely a low key opening – only locals in the know would find out about it! Just a bunch of balloons at the entrance, and signs of life, as opposed to most of the surrounding Parramatta Road area which is derelict!  The first sight you see is the pizza bar – wood fired of course.  Serving as a takeaway, and provider of freshly baked super thinly authentic pizzas for the restaurant.

The restaurant itself is a wide open warehouse space on ground level, and a mezzanine level.  A number of very large communal tables made of polished timber are surrounded by trendy stainless steel chairs.  A bar runs along the length of the window for gazing out into the street – or for me to sit and read my paper as I intend to, every single weekend for the rest of my life ;)  There are also tables of four as well.  Well , not time to eat yet – so I browsed around the shop.  It wasn’t so huge, but the offerings were quality.  Fresh italian crusty bread in every shape you would need for your weekend gourmet table, and at VERY reasonable prices.

The deli has a wide variety of salumi and other meats, as well as anti pasti.  Judging by the hooks above it, I am guessing that some lovely legs of proscuitto may soon arrive :)