≡ Menu

This recipe is very similar to the 5 Minute Pressure Cooker Baked Custard featured in the Breakfast Cereal Challenge series back at the beginning of winter.  So it’s kinda nice to have the last of the winter recipes in the same vein.  A warm bowl of custard is the ultimate in comfort food, and with eggs, low fat milk, a small amount of sugar and anti-oxidant dark chocolate, it’s a healthy high protein low GI breakfast.

The recipe is super easy once you have sorted the right utensils to fit.  Besides a pressure cooker (which is one of my treasured kitchen tools) you need a ceramic bowl or cup per person, with a lid to fit.  I can fit 4 tea cups in my pressure cooker, with saucers from expresso coffee cups as lids  (The tea cup saucers won’t fit).

Ordinary tea cups are fine in my pressure cooker. If you are worried, you may need to do a test run with some cups or bowls that you won’t be upset to break.

The Recipe:

For a single serve.  Multiply by the number of cups you can fit in your pressure cooker.

Put the pressure cooker on with a cupful of water in it.

In a small saucepan, heat  2/3 cup milk (full cream or semi skim).

Break in one square of 70% dark chocolate and stir until it melts.

Meanwhile, blend together 1 egg and half to one teaspoon of treacle. It doesn’t need much sweetening – I like a scant half teaspoon, but if you are a sweet tooth you may like a little more.

With the blender going, add the chocolate milk.

There are two tricks to this.

  1. You need to blend before the egg starts to cook, so it needs to be quick.  I get the egg and treacle ready in the blending bowl while the milk is heating, pour in the milk, and blend.
  2. Ideally you want to create the least possible amount of froth so you have that silky texture right to the top.  I find with my stick blender, if I submerge the blender before I hit the trigger it does this nicely.

Pour the mix into your cups or bowls.  Cover with lids, and sit them in the little tray on top of the trivet in your pressure cooker.

Put the lid on, bring to pressure, turn down the heat so it is just burbling and cook for 5 minutes.  Then turn the heat off and let off the pressure slowly, ie, by releasing the pressure valve, not by running under cold water.

[relatedPosts]

{ 4 comments }

I’m loving my gem iron.  I found it in an op shop, and it’s the perfect implement for breakfast baking because gems are so very fast.    This recipe takes just minutes to make – with a bit of practice you can probably have it on the breakfast table within less than 15 minutes. And gone within 20. If you can manage to make enough for leftovers, they go well in a lunch box.  If you can manage to make leftovers.

The Recipe:

Turn the oven on to  high and put the gem iron on the top shelf. It needs to be sizzling hot before you put the batter in.

For a dozen gems, mix together:

  • a generous ½ cup of  polenta
  • a generous ½ cup plain flour
  • good teaspoon of baking powder
  • good pinch salt

Whisk together

  • 1 large egg
  • a generous half cup of buttermilk (or substitute  plain low fat yoghurt mixed 50/50 with water)
  • a dessertspoon of olive oil

Mix the wet mix into the dry mix.  Just whisk them together – don’t overmix. You will end up with a  batter like muffin batter.

Take the hot gem iron out of the oven and put a tiny dob of butter in each hollow.  You only need a small teaspoonful altogether.  It will sizzle.  Tilt the iron to spread the melted butter.

Working quickly, spoon the batter into the hot gem iron, filling each hollow two thirds full.

Put a little cube of feta cheese in each gem, and spoon the rest of the batter in on top, so the cheese is in the middle. I made these with Danish feta, which semi-melted beautifully.

Put the tray back in the oven, near the top and up fairly high. Bake for around 6 minutes till the gems are risen, golden and set.

(The Breakfast Cereal Challenge is my 2011 challenge – to the overpackaged, overpriced, mostly empty packets of junk food marketed as “cereal”. I’m going for a year’s worth of breakfast recipes, based on in-season ingredients, quick and easy enough to be a real option for weekdays, and  preferable, in nutrition, ethics, and taste.  The Muesli Bar Challenge was my 2010 Challenge.)

[relatedPosts]

{ 2 comments }

Soufflés have an undeserved reputation. I think they’re much easier and more forgiving than their rap. This one is basically just a white cheese sauce folded through beaten egg whites and baked. I can’t really say it’s fast enough for the Breakfast Cereal Challenge, but it makes a great brunch.

Ironically, soufflés are great for winter when chooks lay less and eggs are less in season, because they make eggs go a long way.  This recipe makes 5 eggs feed 4 hungry people, more if you have more accompaniments.

The Recipe:

  • Find the right baking dish.  You need a ceramic or ovenproof glass baking dish, 21 cm diameter or 18.5 cm square, or some ramekins with a similar volume.
  • Turn the oven on to heat up to medium-hot.
  • Separate 5 eggs, being careful to get no egg yolk in the white. (I do them one by one, into a cup, so that if one egg yolk breaks it doesn’t ruin the whole batch).  You may find it a little easier to whisk the whites if the eggs are a day or two old – very fresh eggs can be a little harder to get stiff enough.  And you may find it a little easier with room temperature eggs, rather than straight out of the fridge. But really, it only makes a marginal difference.
  • Grate 60 grams of low fat feta cheese and 60 grams of low fat mature or vintage cheese.
  • Melt 2  dessertspoons of butter in a pot.  Add 4 dessertspoons of plain  flour.  (I used wholemeal plain flour because that’s what I had, but I sieved the bran out first.) Cook on a low heat for a few minutes until the flour bubbles, but don’t let it brown.
  • Pour in a cup of low fat milk, stirring all the while.  Keep stirring until it thickens.
  • Take it off the heat and straight away stir in the grated cheeses, so they melt through,  then whisk in the 5 egg yolks.
  • In a clean, dry bowl, beat the 5 egg whites until they are stiff. An old fashioned egg beater is the perfect implement – it takes literally less than a minute.
  • Gently fold the cheese sauce into the beaten egg whites.  Pour into your ungreased baking dish.
  • Bake for around 30 minutes, till it is risen and set.  Mine has never sunk through peeking, though it is best served straight away as it does deflate a bit as it cools.  I opened the oven half way through this one’s baking to add a tray of whole mushrooms and halved cherry tomatoes sprinkled with oregano, which made it into a real gourmet breakfast.

[relatedPosts]

{ 2 comments }

I do draw the line at Cointreau for breakfast, and I like breakfast pancakes to be higher protein and lower fat and sugar than desserts. But with a bit of tweaking, Crepes Suzette work perfectly for a citrus season Breakfast Cereal Challenge recipe. They’re fast and easy, healthy and very delicious. We have a tree full of oranges at the moment, and this recipe uses a couple of them per serve, so they meet the criteria of being based on local in-season ingredients. I’m making these a couple of times a week at the moment, until the oranges run out.

The Recipe:

This is the recipe for a single adult serve. Multiply by the number of people.

Ideally you need a large, heavy based frypan for this. If you don’t have one, you can manage with a couple of smaller ones.

Start with the crepe batter.

All pancake batters work better if they get to sit for a few minutes, for the flour to soak up the moisture. I use a stick blender to blend (for each serve)

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup of milk (semi skim or full cream)
  • 2 dessertspoons of wholemeal plain flour

(For US readers, a dessertspoon equals two teaspoons, and wholemeal flour is wholewheat flour)

The Orange Sauce

While that is sitting, grate the rind and juice two medium oranges per person. (Much easier to grate the rind first)

  • You need one good teaspoon of grated rind and a cup of orange juice per serve.
  • Add a teaspoon of butter and
  • a teaspoon of raw sugar per serve.

Cook the Crepes

Melt a little butter in a large heavy frypan. Pour in a little crepe batter and tilt the pan to spread it as thin as you can. You want to end up with a crepe about 15 cm (6 inches)  across.

As soon as it is set, flip it and cook the other side.  The crepes don’t need to be browned, just set.

Take the crepe out and put it on a plate and repeat for all the batter. You should end up with three crepes per serve.

Assembling

Pour the orange juice, rind, butter and sugar into the pan.  Cook for a couple of minutes to melt the butter and sugar, then put one crepe in.  Turn it to coat in the sauce, then fold it in quarters and push to the side of the pan.  Keeping the orange mixture at a gentle boil, add the next crepe, turn and coat, fold and put to the side.

Continue until you have all the crepes in quarters in the pan.  They should very nearly have soaked up all the sauce. You can spread the quartered crepes around the pan and flip them again to soak up the last of it, then serve onto warmed plates.

They really don’t need anything else, but if you like you can serve with some slices of orange for decoration.

{ 1 comment }

A bowl of hot custard on a cold winter morning (with banana if you can keep the bush turkeys from getting all of them) and the world is a warm and nurturing place!  It’s high protein and doesn’t need much sugar, so it fits the Witches Kitchen version of healthy, and in a pressure cooker it takes 7 minutes from first thought to first spoonful.

(The Breakfast Cereal Challenge is my 2011 challenge – a year’s worth of breakfast recipes that are quick and easy enough to be a real option for weekdays, and that are preferable, in nutrition, ethics, and taste,  to the overpackaged, overpriced, mostly empty packets of junk food marketed as “cereal” .)

The Recipe:

This recipe is super easy once you have sorted the right utensils to fit.  Besides a pressure cooker (which is one of my treasured kitchen tools) you need a ceramic bowl or cup per person, with a lid to fit.  For just me, I use a bowl with a saucer for a lid.  For up to 4 people, I can fit 4 tea cups in my pressure cooker, with saucers from expresso coffee cups as lids  (The tea cup saucers won’t fit).  You could use aluminium foil, but I avoid foil – it costs a huge amount of energy to produce (and thus contributes a huge amount of carbon), and for something that can’t be reused and isn’t easy to recycle in my town, I just don’t think it is worth it.

Ordinary tea cups are fine in my pressure cooker. If you are worried, you may need to do a test run with some cups or bowls that you won’t be upset to break.

This is the recipe for a single serve.  You can multiply by as many servings as will fit in your pressure cooker.

Put the pressure cooker on with a cupful of water in it.

Heat half a cup of milk per person in a small pot until it starts to rise.

Use a food processor, stick blender, or egg beater to beat together, for each person:

  • ½ cup of hot milk (full cream or semi-skim)
  • 1 small egg
  • half a teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 1 small teaspoon of treacle

There are two tricks to this.

  1. You need to blend before the egg starts to cook, so it needs to be quick.  I get the egg, vanilla and treacle ready in the blending bowl while the milk is heating, pour in the milk, and blend.
  2. Ideally you want to create the least possible amount of froth so you have that silky texture right to the top.  I find with my stick blender, if I submerge the blender before I hit the trigger it does this nicely.

Pour the mix into your cups or bowls and sprinkle a tiny pinch of nutmeg on top.  Cover with lids, and sit them in the little tray on top of the trivet in your pressure cooker.

Put the lid on, bring to pressure, turn down the heat so it is just burbling and cook for 5 minutes.  Then turn the heat off and let off the pressure slowly, ie, by releasing the pressure valve, not by running under cold water.

They are good cold, but to my mind, the glorious way to eat is hot custard with banana on a cold winter morning.

[relatedPosts]

{ 5 comments }

I know so many people who don’t eat nuts because their only real experiences with them have been a) shelled nuts, usually highly salted, in packets, that have been sitting around supermarket shelves for ages, or b) nuts in shell at Christmas time.

Both these option are perfect ways to spoil nuts for you forever!  Nuts go off.  Once they are shelled, they go off fast, and even in the shell, they don’t last for months.  Most nuts are harvested in autumn.  Macas are harvested through winter. Any nuts in shell at Christmas are either imported or most of a year old and are not going to be at all nice!

Once you get the idea of only using fresh, in season nuts, preferably in shell, you’ll have a totally different experience with them.  Which is a good thing, because nuts are very delicious and very nutritious – good oils and a whole lot of minerals that are hard to get.   We’re getting to the end of our macadamias now, but the commercial picking season is just getting going, so you should be able to get fresh macas.

(The Breakfast Cereal Challenge is my 2011 challenge – a year’s worth of breakfast recipes that are quick and easy enough to be a real option for weekdays, and that are preferable, in nutrition, ethics, and taste,  to the overpackaged, overpriced, mostly empty packets of junk food marketed as “cereal” .)

The Recipe:

Ok, so this one takes more than 10 minutes to make.  (Actually, it doesn’t take much more than 10 minutes work, just that work is spread over 24 hours).  But I reckon it qualifies for the Breakfast Cereal Challenge because with a loaf in the bread bin, super healthy toast is 2 minutes away.

The basis for this is very much like my Everyday Sourdough recipe.  The fruit and nuts though inhibit the rising, and I like it best when it’s chokka with fruit and nuts.  So it takes time – 24 hours.  And it does best if you have somewhere warmish to put it.  The sourdough bugs breed up best in temperatures like a warm summer day, not this cold winter weather.

Step 1: Make a Sponge

Put one cup of sourdough starter in a bowl and stir in a cup of bakers flour.  (I use Laucke Wallaby Unbleached Bakers Flour, which I can buy in 5 kg bags at the supermarket).

Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave it in a warmish place overnight or for 8 hours or so. We have the slow combustion stove going these days, so my kitchen bench is reasonably warm place. By morning, it should have grown to more than double its original size and be a sticky sponge like the picture.

Step 2: Mix in the fruit and nuts

macadamia ad fruit sourdough mixI like largish chunks of lightly toasted macadamias in this bread.  So crack half a cup of macadamia kernels (this is the tool that makes cracking macas a reasonable proposition). Chop them coarsely and dry roast for just a couple of minutes in a dry pan, till they just start to colour.

Tip half a cup of bakers flour on your work surface.  Tip the sponge out on top on it.  Tip another half a cup of flour on top and flatten it out.  Over the sponge, spread:

  • Your ½ cup of coarsely chopped lightly toasted macas
  • 1 cup of mixed dried fruit. (I used chopped dates, sultanas and currants)
  • a teaspoon of salt
  • You can also add 1 teaspoon of grated orange rind and ½ teaspoon of mixed spice if you like.

Roll it up and knead briefly until it has incorporated all the flour and the nuts and fruit are mixed through.

Put a good swig of olive oil in a clean bowl and put the dough ball in it, swirling it around to coat.  Cover with the clean cloth again and leave it in your warmish spot again for 8 hours or so, until it is doubled in size.

Step 3 – Knock Down the Dough

Tip the dough onto the bench and knead very  briefly, just to knock it down and make it into a loaf shape.  Put it in an oiled baking tin. Because of all the fruit, a boule is a bit difficult – the outside will tend to burn before the inside is cooked.  A fairly long, shallow loaf is easier. I try to poke any sultanas on the outside in as they tend to burn, but this isn’t too crucial.  Slash the top with a sharp knife to give it room to rise. Cover with the clean cloth again and leave for 3 to 4 hours.

Step 4 – Bake

The bread will double its size again and it is ready to bake.  Because of all the fruit it will tend to burn easily.  If you are using a gas or electric oven, you can put it on the second shelf (that is, not right at the top) of  a cold oven and turn the oven on to medium.  With my wood stove oven, I leave the door open for half an hour to cool it down before putting the bread in.  It is done when the crust is nicely brown and it sounds hollow.

[relatedPosts]

{ 6 comments }

I love mandarins straight from the tree, sun warm and juicy and full of Vitamin C. But there is a limit to how many you can eat like that.  And mandarins are  such a good source of “bioflavanoids” that strengthen blood vessels and protect against all kinds of cell damage that it is worth challenging the limit.  And citrus season is so abundant that there’s plenty of scope.

(The Breakfast Challenge??)

The Recipe:

You need a heat tolerant bowl that fits neatly in a saucepan with a couple of inches of boiling water, without touching the bottom. Like this:

In the bowl heat 1 cup (250 ml) of mandarin juice and pulp. (This is 5 of my smaller, early season mandarins). The pulp is really good for you so don’t strain it out.

Add 2 dessertspoons of butter and heat until the butter melts.

Meanwhile, in another bowl, use an egg beater to beat together 3 medium (50 gm) eggs, or 4 of my little bantam eggs, with 2 dessertspoons of sugar till it goes pale and fluffy.

As soon as the butter is melted, pour the egg mix all at once into the mandarin juice and straight away beat it in with the egg beater. Continue stirring with a wooden spoon, over the boiling water, for 4 or 5 minutes until the mixture starts to go thick and custardy. It will thicken up a bit more as it cools, quite a lot more if you chill it. Don’t boil it.

Take it off the heat and give it another beat with the egg beater, then let it cool. (If you want it to cool fast, put the bowl in the sink in some cold water).

From this point you can do many things with it.

If you want to be voted best cook ever by a five-year-old, give them a bowl of warm mandarin curd and a spoon. It’s not exactly a balanced breakfast but it’s high protein, low sugar and pretty healthy, and oh so good.

For weekday mornings when we all need to be out of the house by 8 am, I cool the curd and spread it thickly on toasted sourdough. A batch like this will make several breakfasts and will keep in the fridge for a few days.

For a more leasurely gourmet breakfast, while the curd is cooling, make a batch of crepes.

[relatedPosts]

{ 3 comments }

Soft boiled egg and tomato on sourdough

My superpower is boiling eggs. It’s not an infallible superpower, but most times I can sense when an egg is done.  I can make coffee and toast, listen to the radio, feed the sourdough and at some point think “egg”, and it’s just right.  I love using my superpower because it works best when I’m in the kind of mood where everything I touch turns out right, so when it works I know I’m going to have a good day.

There is no rule against using a timer though to train your superpower.  The trouble is that how long an egg takes to cook to perfection depends on the size of the egg.  The little eggs from the Australorp bantams I have at the moment take just over three minutes from boiling water to white all set and yolk just starting to set, the way I like them.

This cold snap has probably finished off the tomato season for most of you, so this will make the most of the last of them!

The Recipe:

Take one very fresh egg from a happy chook. You do not need to refridgerate eggs, so it should already be at room temperature.  Put it in a small pot with just enough water to cover it.  Bring to the boil, turn the heat down, and simmer, just at boiling point, for just over three minutes for a small egg, up to four and a half minutes for a very large one.

While the egg is boiling, put a slice of toast on and  finely chop one small perfectly ripe tomato and a couple of leaves of chives or spring onion.

Dunk the egg in cold water and cut off the top.  It will be impossible to peel a very fresh egg.  Don’t try.  Just scoop it out of the shell with a teaspoon, into a small bowl. Add a teaspoon of butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and chop it into the egg. Add the chopped tomato and chives and pile the lot onto a piece of hot sourdough toast.

Think how good the day is going to be.

[relatedPosts]

{ 6 comments }

Kids may not like this one (though it is surprising, sometimes, what kids like).  This is a recipe for people who like their chocolate dark, who like expresso coffee and olives and beer and marmelaide.  If you do like bitter flavours though, it is addictive and it’s my current favourite breakfast.

What led to this – a friend mentioned turmeric nut butter to me, and having fresh turmeric in the garden and a good macadamia season this year, and now the first of the season’s mandarins – I had to experiment.  I like sweet nut butters like the Macadamia and Pear Butter a couple of weeks ago, and the turmeric adds a lovely interesting spiciness to it.

Besides being an addictive taste, this is a real super-foods health breakfast.  Fresh turmeric is a really good source of anti-inflamatory anti-oxidants with some solid science behind it being a cancer preventative.  Macadamias are rich in the kind of oils that actually lower cholesterol, like the “clinically proven to lower cholesterol” margarines that are being so aggressively marketed these days (which are actually based on hydrogenated sterols from pine tree wood pulp).  And mandarins are a good source of “bioflavanoids” that, among other things, strengthen blood vessels (helping to prevent things like kidney disease and varicose veins).

(The Breakfast Cereal Challenge is my 2011 challenge – a year’s worth of breakfast recipes that are quick and easy enough to be a real option for weekdays, and that are preferable, in nutrition, ethics, and taste,  to the overpackaged, overpriced, mostly empty packets of junk food marketed as “cereal” ).

The Recipe:

This recipe makes enough for two slices of toast – one adult for breakfast.  It will store though, covered in the fridge, so if you decide you like it, you can make it in batches for a few days.  I actually think it is at its best on day two, though it is probably at its healthiest when fresh made.

First crack your macadamias.  This tool makes buying or harvesting macadamias in season in their shells a realistic option. (The recipe might also work with almonds, which are also in season now – I’d love to hear if someone tries it).

In a small pan, dry roast together 10 chopped macadamia nuts with a knob of fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped, about the equivalent to 5 macadamias – ie about half as much. Roast for just a couple of minutes, shaking, till the nuts start to colour.

Add the juice from one large-ish mandarin and a couple of dessertspoons of olive or macadamia oil and a good pinch of salt.

Blend this mixture in a food processor or with a stick blender till it is smooth and pale coloured, adding more juice or water if necessary to get it to the right texture.

Meanwhile  make some toast, and just warm some mandarin segments in the same pan.

Slather the turmeric and mandarin nut butter on toast, top with the warmed mandarin segments, and eat.

[relatedPosts]

{ 1 comment }