hungry girl lunch

Today I got up fairly early. I have gotten up earlier, and on a regular basis, but today was slightly different. I’d stayed at my sister’s because I had an exam today. My last.

Yay! No more uni for five weeks!

So, today I had an exam. Then I had some errands to run – tickets to pick up, spare tyres to order, you know, everyday stuff like that. (not mentioning that it’s the second spare tyre I’ve had to get in the past couple of months. Me and my car, we’ve had some ups and downs.)

ANYway, by the time I got home it was past one, and I hadn’t eaten since seven. I’d had two coffees, but coffee does not a meal make. Well, maybe breakfast sometimes. Anyhow, I had this plan to fry some eggs and eat them on toast with butter and cheese. I was so hungry and so ready to eat but then I remembered that our stove blew (it’s electric. Luckily the oven’s still ok, otherwise I’d be going stir crazy).

Anyway, I wanted eggs. And carbohydrates. And cheese. And when I thought about it, some mustard, salt and pepper, tomato wouldn’t go astray.

So, taking inspiration from The Pioneer Woman and Smitten Kitchen, I made a miniature strata for lunch.

Take a ramekin and rub it with butter. Lots of butter, if possible.

Tear up some bread (turkish bread is really nice…I used bread from the bakery0

Add some cheese and tomato.

Some more bread and cheese

Now crack two eggs in a bowl (I did one, but then added another later)

Add some dijon mustard…

Salt

and pepper

and milk

Whisk and pour over the bread

Crumble some cheese over the top and bake for about twenty-five minutes in a 180 degree oven

Try not to burn your mouth!

almost muffins

I say almost because I kinda forgot an important ingredient.

See, when you make muffins – even awesome muffins born from the cinnamon walnutty goodness of last post’s cookies – it’s kinda important to have some sort of ingredient that works together with the other ingredients and does some sort of scientific thing that not only helps it to taste awesome but makes it rise and makes the texture fluffy and lovely.

It’s a leavening agent. Yes, ladies and gents, I forgot the baking powder AND the baking soda. I am a very smart cookie.

But I’m a nuff nuff muff muffin.

They taste really really good, don’t get me wrong. They taste just as good as the cookies. (maybe even better. I don’t have a direct comparison. We ate all the cookies already.)

I get this feeling I’m missing something in my life. Flour one day, baking powder the next… I don’t know what’s going on. Baking still calms me down and makes me happy, but I think I need to … re-evaluate or something. Journal more. Be more. Just be.

This is why it’s a good thing that holidays are around the corner. This is also why I’m trying not to freak out about the fact that I’ve got two exams in the next two days, and I’ve been procrasti-baking and procrasti-cleaning and procrasti-tooling around on the internet for the past week. Or so.

It’s ok. I have almost-muffins. And hot chocolate. And Glee.

I’m ok.

And I’ll be even more ok when I visit my Oma on Friday for her birthday.

It’s a pretty special occasion. She’s turning 21! No, that’s me next year. She’s… thirty! No, no one needs that freak out again. Or do they?

40? She is looking pretty good for her age.

Keep going… Ok, no, we’re actually going to stop there. Let’s just say that it’s rude to ask a lady her age, and my Oma is grand and wonderful and mature and sometimes giggles like a schoolgirl with me and my sister and our mum.

And her party is going to be so much fun! But I can’t think about it until after my exams.

Well, after these two anyway. I do have another (yep, I chose four subjects that have exams in my first year of university) but it’s not for a couple of weeks and I’m going to smash it out of the water. Just like I’ll smash these and the one I did today.

Ok, time to stop talking about [exams] and tell you about these muffins you absolutely have to make.

Just don’t forget the baking powder. And soda.

P.S. Please tell me about them! I was totally going to make a new batch but I’d run out of walnuts. And dates. And there weren’t any apples. And my nose is cold. And this blanket is warm.

Make these.

Date-Walnut Muffins

125g butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

1/2 cup greek style yoghurt (I’m sure other plain yoghurt would work just as well)

1/2 cup milk

1 cup walnuts, chopped

about 3/4 cup dates, chopped

2/3 cup flour

1/3 cup ground almonds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Beat the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla and scrape down the bowl, beating until fluffy again. Stir in the yoghurt and milk.

Using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients (you can sift ’em first if you want to … or not…) and the walnuts and dates. Scoop tablespoonfuls into patty cases lining muffin tins (I have a feeling these would be brilliant in the kind of huge, Muffin Break-esque texan muffin incarnation. Try it. I dare you.) Bake… in a 180 degree oven… well, mine took about twenty-five minutes but I don’t know how leaveners change the baking times. So, check them regularly. Then eat them.

I know what I’m having for breakfast.

happy mouth breakfast – a five am moment

This morning, I had a proper Sunday weekend breakfast.

Here’s what I did. I sauteed an onion, a couple cloves garlic, some green capsci and one very small potato in butter and olive oil. (Mmm, smell that garlic!)

Place that one aside for later.

I then used the same pan and melted some more butter, added cream and reduced it a little. I stirred in a handful of baby spinach (I heard someone kinda likes baby spinach… just a little… I’ve been CRAVING greens the whole week) and cracked an egg in, to poach for a couple of minutes. (Idea from NY Times via… someone? I can’t remember who posted about this! I feel it was a passing mention.. sorry!)

While that was going on, I made coffee, in my coffee bowl. It’s really nice to drink coffee out of a bowl, you know? Mine’s actually a ramekin I got from Spotlight. I feel it will become a large part of my future. I’m totally sitting here, sipping hot chocolate out of it RIGHT NOW.

Mmm. Chocolate.

Now put the cream sauce with spinach and poached egg in the same bowl as the ‘breakfast hash’ (thanks Joy the Baker for the idea!), add a couple spoons of yoghurt to the mix (Greek style being my favourite and a perfect accompaniment, I have to admit. I don’t think any other flavour would be right. But hey, your choice:) and when you take your first bite, don’t be surprised if you have a foodgasm.

Oh my giddy aunt.

Now, to be honest, I didn’t eat this at five am. I didn’t even get up at five am. It’s doubtful you’ll ever see me up at five am unless it’s absolutely necessary. But a five am moment is when you create your day. When you sit down to your breakfast and you are proud of what you are eating because it’s organic, local, good for you and most importantly, delicious.

I have never understood people who don’t eat breakfast. If I don’t eat breakfast, everyone within a ten metre radius knows it because my stomach announces it to the world about an hour after I’m up. A delicious breakfast is the perfect way to start the day. Most of the time, I’m in a rush and so I have a bowl of muesli (the only cereal I eat. And the only pre-made muesli I’ve bought that I’ve liked is Carman’s. Just saying.) or some toast and a coffee. And only the coffee if a)I have time and b)I know I won’t be getting coffee where I’m going. I get it free at work, see, and I figure the less I drink, the better it is for me. It’s a treat. A daily treat, yes, but a once only daily treat.

five:am yoghurt is the brand I bought most recently, and the write-up in Epicure was why. I wanted to find out more so I read this article, but the basic scoop is that five:am yoghurt is made from organic milk and comes from farms that are free from pesticides, herbicides, hormones and antibiotics. The yoghurt itself is free from gluten, gelatin, preservatives and starches and has no artificial colours, flavours, stabilisers or sweeteners.  It’s absolutely amazing. My breakfast was a party in my mouth, I’m telling you. And made all the better knowing that the owner of five:am yoghurt has a background in sustainable packaging. Yays!

Make yourself some awesome breakfast this week. If not for you, then for me. Please?

Party for One Breakfast

1 small brown onion, peeled, halved and sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons butter

1 side of a small greed capscicum, diced

1 small washed potato, sliced thinly

1/2 cup cream

handful washed baby spinach

1 large egg

2 tablespoons yoghurt

Saute the onion and garlic about a minute in 1 tablespoon butter. Add capsci and potato and fry about five to ten minutes, until the potato is tender.

Scoop into a bowl and set aside.

Melt remaining butter in the same pan. Add cream and simmer a few minutes, reducing the cream. Stir in spinach and crack in egg. Carefully ladle some of the cream over the top of the egg and poach about three minutes.

Slide spinach and cream with egg onto the hash mixture. Add yoghurt and enjoy.

caramel breakfast rolls

These are actually titled ‘Dulce de Leche Brioche Rolls’ but as it’s kind of a mouthful and also, no one I know knows what dulche de leche is or even brioche… I know, it’s tragic. I’m moving towards an education, however, which started with these.

Which are amazing.

Dulce de leche, for those of you who are fifty seven words into this post and still don’t know and are wondering why someone’s been holding out on you your whole life, is caramelised milk which comes traditionally from Argentina. There is a recipe for homemade dulce de leche here. I went the lazy route. Brioche is a sweet French breakfast bread; you can halve the dough for the rolls and make a loaf of it if you want.

And so. Tartelette via Smitten Kitchen via slumber party breakfast deliciousness, here we come.

Dulce de Leche Brioche Rolls

1/3 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)

1/3 cup warm milk (105°F to 115°F)

2 envelopes instant yeast

3 3/4 cups plain flour

3 large eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups (375 grams) salted butter (I use salted and I don’t add salt. Feel free to do what you please here), cut into 12 pieces, room temperature

1 egg, beaten to blend with 1 tablespoon water (for glaze)

Place 1/3 cup warm water, warm milk, and yeast in bowl of standing heavy-duty mixer; stir until yeast dissolves. Fit mixer with dough hook. Add flour and salt to bowl; mix on low speed just until flour is moistened, about 10 seconds. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl.
Beat in 3 eggs on low speed, then add sugar. Increase speed to medium and beat until dough comes together, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding next (dough will be soft and batter-like). Increase speed to medium-high and beat until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 7 minutes.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Lift up dough around edges and allow dough to fall and deflate in bowl.
Cover bowl with plastic and chill until dough stops rising, lifting up dough around edges and allowing dough to fall and deflate in bowl every 30 minutes, about 2 hours total. Cover bowl with plastic and refrigerate an hour.

Take the dough out of the fridge and divide in half. Roll out the dough to a 14×9 inch rectangle. Spread 1/3 cup softened cream cheese, leaving a 1 inch border. Spread the Dulce de Leche on top, it is messy, it will spread but hey! it’s good. Roll into a log and cut into 12 pieces. Place them in a buttered 9 inch round pan, cover and refrigerate until the next morning. The dough will rise slowly overnight.

In the morning, bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Repeat with the other half or make a brioche loaf.

The lazy method of making dulce de leche: Take a can of condensed milk and place in a large saucepan. Cover with water and 3-4 hours. If you put it in at about the same time you start making the rolls, it’ll be about done by the time you have to use it, and it’s the exact amount you need for the amount of dough you have here. I suspect that the homemade version is better; but that’s a story for another post.