Sep 032012

I’ve already waxed lyrical about Sunday brunches on the deck, so I won’t go on about that again (other than to confirm my ringing endorsement).

Actually – that’s a lie.  Below is a picture of my (renovated newly painted) deck, so you can appreciate just how nice it is to sit out there!

Moving on, if you are interested in having something a bit more novel for Sunday brunch, a savory fritter works a treat.  It’s also a cheeky way to start the day with a few extra vegetables.


Carrot fritters

Serves 2-4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Meal type Breakfast


  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (dry toasted in a pan)
  • 2 cups plain flour (you can use half wholemeal if you like)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 medium carrots (grated)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (add to reach desired consistency)
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil


1 In a bowl, mix together the flour, cumin, baking powder and salt and pepper.
2 Add the carrot and stir to combine.
3 Mix through the egg and sufficient milk to reach a smooth but not too runny consistency.
4 Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
5 Cook large spoonfuls of the fritter batter in frying pan, flattening down with the top of your spoon if they don't spread too easily.
6 Cook for a couple of minutes each side (flipping to top side when you start to see bubbles).
7 Serve with a fried/poached egg, and a rocket and parmesan salad, and a bit of chutney and yoghurt.
Aug 192012

I already have a banana bread recipe on the site, but if you’re anything like me, you can never have too many!

This one came from the insert to my Delicious magazine subscription.  It’s an advertisement for Uncle Tobys’ oats, by Mearle Parrish (whoever that is?).  I cut the sugar down from 3/4 cup to 1/3 and I found it was plenty sweet.  I did use the Carnation milk, but there’s no reason why plain old milk wouldn’t work also.

To increase the nutrition slightly (and make it easier to justify having banana bread for breakfast), I used 1 cup of wholemeal SR flour, together with 1 cup of white SR flour.  You could go all wholemeal, but it would make the end product slightly denser.

It was coming up to dinner time before the bread was finished, but I had to share the end slice with J, fresh and hot from the oven. It really is best that way.




Banana Oat Bread

Serves 10-12
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 10 minutes
Meal type Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Misc Freezable


  • 185ml Can (Carnation light and creamy milk (or milk))
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 bananas (very ripe, mashed)
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups self-raising flour ((I used half wholemeal))


1 Preheat over to 160* (fan forced).
2 Grease a loaf tin and line with baking paper
3 Whisk the milk, sugar and eggs together in a medium bowl.
4 Fold through the mashed banana, oats and flour.
5 Spoon the mixture into your loaf tin. Sprinkle with a pinch of rolled oats.
6 Bake for 1 hour, until a skewer in the centre comes out clean.
7 Serve warm, with a bit of butter.
Aug 022012

This is a lovely dish that unfortunately just doesn’t photograph very well (or at least, not with my limited photography skills!).  It’s lucky it’s so tasty then!

I only discovered lentils, green puy lentils in particular, in the last 3 or 4 years.  However, they are now on high rotation in our household.  I find them enough of a meal on their own, perhaps with a poached egg on top, but this dish adds in a hearty piece of chicken as well.  It’s a great winter recipe for those cold nights that Brisbane has been having lately.  We live in an old Queenslander, which is built to be beautifully cool in summer, but has the added disadvantage of being absolutely freezing in winter.  Any excuse to turn on the oven is welcomed at this time of year.

I know I got this recipe from someone else’s website.  Unfortunately, when I printed it out it appears I failed to make a note of it.  So I apologise for not being able to give credit where credit is due!  Although, as usual, I have made quite a few changes to the original recipe, so this is my own spin.

Chicken and lentils

Serves 4-6
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Meal type Main Dish


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 rashers bacon or proscuitto (diced)
  • 4 chicken thighs or marylands (skin on)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large onions (diced)
  • 2 stalks celery (diced)
  • 2 carrots (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1-2 cup red cabbage (sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • bunch parsley (diced)
  • 2 cups green puy lentils (rinsed well)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (more as needed)


1 Preheat oven to 180*. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat.
2 Fry off the bacon until golden. Remove and drain on paper towel.
3 Season chicken with salt and pepper and add, skin side down, to the pot (cook in batches if required).
4 Sear until golden on all sides over medium-high.
5 Remove chicken from pan and pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of fat.
6 Add onions, celery, carrot and garlic and cook over medium heat until onion becomes translucent.
7 Stir in the cumin and add the vinegar and half parsley, briefly saute.
8 Add the lentils, stock and cooked bacon.
9 Return the chicken to the pan and bring to a simmer on the stove.
10 Once simmering, cover with the lid and place the whole thing in the oven.
11 Cook for about an hour, until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has absorbed (you may need to add more stock to get the lentils to the desired consistency). Add the red cabbage for the last 15 minutes of cooking time.
12 Season to taste and serve. I recommend crusty bread to mop up any excess lentil sauce.
Jul 302012

To me, mushrooms should be treated simply – fry them in a little butter and garlic and maybe some sage or oregano if you’re feeling fancy.

This recipe takes this idea, and adds cheese and pastry.  Surely that can only be a good thing?

If you want to feel a little more virtuous, consider only having a small slice, and serving with a large salad.  Or don’t.







Mushroom quiche

Serves 4-6
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish


  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 2 cups mushrooms (sliced thickly)
  • 20g dried porcini mushrooms (soaked in hot water for 20 mins)
  • 1 clove garlic (diced or minced)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I used provolone)
  • 1/2 cup cheese (I used a soft goat's cheese, sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon butter


1 Preheat oven to 190*.
2 Grease a pastry tin or pie tin with oil or butter.
3 Line pastry tin with sheets of puff pastry. Trim any excess.
4 Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium high.
5 Add the garlic and onion and saute over medium until soft.
6 Wring out the porcini mushrooms and dice.
7 Add all the mushrooms to the pan and saute until golden. Remove pan from heat.
8 Line the base of the tart with pieces of the goat or sheep cheese.
9 Whisk together milk and eggs and salt and pepper.
10 Spoon the mushroom mixture into the tart base.
11 Sprinkle half the grated cheese over the mushrooms.
12 Pour in the egg/milk mixture.
13 Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top.
14 Cook in the over for 30-40 minutes, until the egg mixture is set and the pastry is brown.
15 Serve with a rocket salad (if desired).




Jul 172012

I’ve been hearing quite a bit of buzz lately about Willow and Spoon, a (relatively) new cafe on Samford Rd at Alderley.  J and I finally got our act together, and decided to celebrate his birthday with brunch.

On arrival, we were led through the kitchen and out in what could be just about any suburban backyard in Brisbane.  The tables and chairs were mismatched and quirky, there were toys for children and even a place to tie up your dog!  Elmo would have loved to join us if he’d known!

We settled in to survey the menu while waiting for the rest of our rather large party to arrive.  I was tickled to see the unusual options, and to read that the menu changes every month.  Both are reasons I’ll be heading back for another visit.

It was hard to choose when there were options such as “la boheim” – a leek, ricotta and spinach filo with tomato mustard chutney, cress and sheep’s pecorino, or the “uuefs de canard” – scrambled free-range duck eggs with sweet tarragon and red pepper jam.

Finally, I settled on the “Voodoo chicken” – southern fried chicken, home-style beans, poached egg and (a rather spicy) papa gede salsa.  I’m not normally one to have such a large meal for breakfast, but by this time it was close to 10am, and anything goes at brunch!  This dish was sensational – the chicken was crumbed in a spicy, crunchy coating that wasn’t at all greasy.  The beans were nothing like your SPC baked beans (not that I’m paying out that Australian diet staple).

As good as this dish was, I might have to return simply to try the “Sweet Jesus”.  I had just a tinge of plate envy when this dish was set down in front of my sister-in-law.  The “Sweet Jesus” is described as a frangipane bread and butter pudding, muscat pear, polenta and a white tea and vanilla syrup.

The birthday boy went for the “Twelfth Night” a beef wellington with mushroom, confit potato, poached egg and green peppercorn gravy.  Rather than having a whole piece of beef wrapped inside the pastry, the beef had been slow-cooked and was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

We finished our meals, and were having such a nice time we ordered another round of coffees.  The Blue Sky Coffee was delicious, although they need to work on the chai tea!

Full marks to Willow and Spoon – inventive and inviting.

Willow and Spoon
Shop 2, 28 Samford Rd, Alderley
Ph: 3113 3810
Web: www.willowandspoon.com.au


Jul 042012

I love Sunday mornings.  We wake up in our own time, or when the dog decides he doesn’t want to wait any longer to be taken on a walk.  We step in the door after the walk, switch on the coffee machine to heat up, and ponder what to make for breakfast.

J makes the coffee, I make breakfast.  Usually eggs, or pancakes.

Occasionally, nothing really sounds appealing.  This happened the other day.  J put in a vote for pancakes, but I just wasn’t in the mood.  I opened the fridge, stared in with a bemused look on my face, hoping inspiration would strike.  Nothing fell out and hit me on the foot.  I guess that was a good thing.

Finally, my eyes wandered over the huge punnet of fresh strawberries J’s aunt had given us the day before.  Perfectly plump and ripe, they were the first strawberries we’d had this season.  These might work.

Then I remembered this recipe on Smitten Kitchen’s website.  Scones for breakfast?  Scones made with heavy cream for breakfast?

I couldn’t think of a good reason why not.

So now here we are.

Strawberry and cream biscuits (scones)

Serves 12
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 22 minutes
Meal type Breakfast, Snack
Website Smitten Kitchen


  • 2 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter (cubed)
  • 1 cup very ripe strawberries (chopped roughly)
  • 1 cup heavy cream


1 Preheat oven to 200* and line a baking sheet with paper.
2 In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
3 Either process the flour mixture with the food processor, or rub in with your fingertips.
4 Gently stir through the strawberries until they are coated in the flour mixture.
5 Stir through the heavy cream, gently and being careful not to overmix.
6 Bring the dough together with your hands - it's more important not to overmix than to have the dough well kneaded.
7 Flour your benchtop and transfer the dough onto the floured surface.
8 Sprinkle flour on top and roll out or press out the dough to about 3cm thickness.
9 Cut out circles of dough with a cutter (or use a wine glass)
10 Transfer the scones to the baking tray, leaving some room between each scone.
11 Bake the scones in the oven for between 12-15 minutes, until they are brown on top and sound hollow when you tap them.
12 Cool briefly before serving.