Fancy Fruit Platter

With the festivities of the Christmas season now in full swing, I wanted to share with you one of my favourite additions to the family breakfast table.  For when the sun is shining, and day ahead is filled with family and celebrations, we like to keep things light and simple at breakfast time (no doubt saving all important calories for later in the day).

Namely – a Fancy Fruit Platter.

Put a bowl of whole fruit in front of me, and I will look at it with relative ambivalence. But slice the fruit and make it into a salad or a fruit platter? Well you won’t keep me (or the kids!) away from it.

On this occasion we filled the platter with all the wonderful seasonal fruits the market had on offer.  Mango, melon, pineapple, pear, passionfruit, kiwi fruit, apricots, nectarines, strawberries, grapes and blueberries.

Served with some lovely vanilla bean yoghurt and honey granola, and we had ourselves quite the delicious start to the day.

Canberra Dining with Kids – The Museum Cafe

Our next foray into the world of brunching with a toddler, saw us visit an iconic Canberra institution… – the National Museum. I’ve been here for a few work functions over the years, but never for breakfast, and heard that new caterers (Broadbean Catering) were on board. IMG_2211 We didn’t make a booking in advance, but secured a table inside pretty easily with views of the lake. The venue also had some outdoor seating that looked like a great option for the warmer months. IMG_2197 The Service It was a little confusing when we arrived, with no menus on the table or direction as to whether table service was offered. We found a menu on the blackboard (and later some printed menus at the counter) and soon realised that we had to order at the counter. Truthfully, we find this to be a good option for us (and our impatient toddler!) as we can set the pace of the service and our dining experience generally. IMG_2201 On this particular day, we arrived at the same time as a large group, so the ordering process was a little slow. The server also seemed a little confused when we were placing our order (which didn’t inspire a lot of confidence), however our coffee and meals come out pretty quickly in the end, and were correct, so I really can’t complain. The Food Given the start of our experience was a little chaotic, I was a tad sceptical as to the quality of the meals that would arrive (the venue seeming more kiosk than cafe at this stage….) IMG_2204 However, I was pleasantly surprised when my meal was placed in front of me. I went for the scrambled eggs  with grilled asparagus, parmesan and sourdough – and I couldn’t fault it at all.  The eggs were cooked perfectly, and the flavours were spot on. IMG_2205 Mr BBB opted for the poached eggs with avocado salsa with serrano ham, and was also really happy with his meal. IMG_2207 And, as for the little Miss, her serving of sourdough proved quite the hit as she insisted on buttering every slice herself. And then proceeded to eat most our bacon and gobble up my scrambled eggs! IMG_2210 For the kids? The ‘kiosk’ style of this venue actually worked quite well for dining with a toddler, as it wasn’t too quiet or stuffy. We had problems finding a high chair, and then when we did it had odd straps, meaning that it was a little difficult to keep C at the table. So while not a ‘kids cafe’, as such, we didn’t feel out of place with our toddler in tow. Overall Despite a few issues with service (and highchairs!), this proved to be a great brunch option. I loved that we could walk in and get a table without booking, and the meals were served pretty quickly. A nice place to bring the family next time they are in town I think. IMG_2213 The details Name: The Museum Cafe (site) Where: National Museum, Lawson Crescent, Acton Phone: 02 6208 5000 Open: Every day from 9am to 4.45pm (except Christmas day). What about you? Are you a fan of ‘ordering at the counter’ or do you prefer table service?

Brunch

IMG_1238 Brunch, that little meal squeezed in between breakfast and lunch, is fast becoming a weekend favourite in our house. Sure – long gone are the days when we could sleep til noon. In their place, a fairly rigid schedule with a certain little toddler that sees us up and moving by 7. At the latest.  IMG_1224 But our weekend mornings tend to be lazy, nevertheless, lingering over that first cup of tea or coffee – our appetites taking a while to fire up. On Sundays we also head to a morning swim class (for C) – where I make the most of an extra set of parental hands, and fit in some laps of my own. So brunch, has been the perfect weekend option for us lately. Yum cha is always a favourite, and the all-day breakfast cafes are also a hit when a craving for eggs strikes. Actually, it has been our goal to try lots of new places before the newest addition to our family arrives, and we still have quite a few more to tick off our list. But on this particular occasion, we were at home. After a jam-packed long weekend the weekend before, we found ourselves pottering around the house attending to the chores that had been put off for too long. The deck was oiled, the garden watered, and wallpaper was hung… And French toast was cooked. IMG_1221IMG_1222IMG_1223 I used 4 eggs, with a splash of milk and lots of pepper, then let slices of freshly baked sourdough work their magic and soak up all the mixture.  IMG_1225 Then it was into a pan – and cook for 3 or 4 minutes each side – until golden. IMG_1227IMG_1228 Made into a meal with some grilled bacon and tomatoes, avocado sprinkled with lemon pepper, and fresh strawberries. Oh, and maple syrup for the man of the house Winking smile IMG_1232 The little Miss was a big fan of the ‘eggy toast’ and dived in with gusto. Her favourite will, however, always be the bacon, and we were lucky to get any! IMG_1234 As for me? Well my love for the avocado + lemon pepper combination was rekindled, as was my love for French toast. Such a simple meal, all things considered, but a delicious food start to the day! IMG_1242 What about you? Are you a fan of brunch?

Lazy brunch

IMG_9938 Long weekends, and lazy  brunches. The two go hand-in-hand just nicely. Well I think so anyway. And with an abundance of mushrooms in the fridge, we opted to ‘stay in’ and create a homemade brunch – instead of rugging up and joining the masses at what was probably a busy cafe down the road. On the menu? IMG_9936 Wholemeal toast, rocket, mushrooms and a poached egg. Oh and lots of cracked pepper too. With coffee on the side. The mushrooms, couldn’t have been simpler. Just pan-fried in a little butter for 5 minutes or so, then seasoned and finished with a drizzle of Worcestershire sauce. IMG_9939 From ‘thought bubble’ to plate in around 10 minutes. Not bad service from the BBB kitchen Winking smile  What about you? What do you like to serve for a homemade brunch?

Yum Cha Brunch – the details

If there is one meal that I love to share with friends and family, it would have to be yum cha. A meal of “entrees”, served en-masse and served communally.

IMG_3768

So this year for Father’s Day, I wanted to create a Yum Cha brunch of our very own at home. Partly because Charlotte’s lunch time nap can make it difficult to eat out, and partly because I had some tasty recipes that I wanted to try.

The food

IMG_3715

For the meal itself, we went with a collection of dishes. Some, like the pork and chicken that I could marinate in advance and then bake just before serving…

IMG_3767IMG_3769

(Recipes here and here).

And others like pork buns, dumplings, spring rolls (purchased frozen) and greens, that required a bit of time-management to get them all heated and on the table at once.

IMG_3766IMG_3765

But somehow it all came together, and we managed to get everything on the table at once. Then the feast began!

IMG_3776IMG_3780

The drink

What Yum Cha meal would be complete without tea? And copious amounts of it.

IMG_3710

I found some Green tea with jasmine that tasted just delightful – and we were sure to re-fill this little teapot on many occasions throughout the brunch. Oh but let’s not forget the other ‘adult’. beverages Chinese beer – in the cutest beer bottles I ever did see!

IMG_3819

The added bonus being that they tasted pretty good too.

The dessert

Not being the biggest fan of Asian desserts, I went with a more European end to our brunch. Profiteroles!

IMG_3763

Filled with crème patisserie, and dipped in dark chocolate…

IMG_3748

A delicious, albeit a not-so-traditional, end to our yum cha brunch.

IMG_3756

(Recipe to come)

The scene

Perhaps not quite the same as our local yum cha haunt, where the food is fast paced, the tablecloths are plastic and the waitresses are more on the ‘pushy’ side than pleasant, I went with a simpler theme. Chopsticks (of course!) and lovely little bowls and plates that I picked up at the local Asian grocer.

IMG_3728

Not strictly necessary…no. But I am always on the lookout for new pretty bowls Winking smile

IMG_3730

Finished with a freak out for my employer if this fortune cookie insight comes true…

IMG_3813

Or perhaps it was just a hint that I should open a yum cha restaurant lol.

What about you? Are you a fan of yum cha?

Sweet times

What a wonderful wonderful weekend we have just had. Sunshine, laughs, good food, great company…. IMG_9180_thumb[2] What more could a gal want?? With my best friend and her husband in town, we wasted no time in brunching our way through the weekend… IMG_9176_thumb[1] Chatting over coffees, lingering over lunch, indulging in some lovely red wine with dinner. And generally catching up on life. Saving room for some delightful desserts, of course, along the way… IMG_9196_thumb[2]IMG_9202
IMG_9210 - Copy_thumb[2] The big difference from our previous catch ups was most certainly that we had the little miss in tow. She seemed to love being out and about – taking in all the new sights, sounds and smells. IMG_9185_thumb[2] Although it was perhaps a little too much for her at times… IMG_9178_thumb[1] Yup – fast asleep at the breakfast table! Be-still my heart. What about you? Are you a fan of brunch??

Ladies brunching

Sadly, the time has come for my Mum to head back to Melbourne. I have been so lucky to have her here for the last two weeks, as we settled into life with the newest addition to our family. Be it conversation over early morning cups of tea, discussing all things ‘baby’ during midday feeds, or just a much needed hug after a long unsettled night (or hospital stay), I am so grateful for her support. And I know that ‘Nanna’ has enjoyed every single cuddle with her first grandchild. IMG_5586 We celebrate / commiserated Mum’s last day in town with brunch at a local cafe. IMG_5636 Canberra put on a wonderful show, providing glorious warm sunshine for the occasion.  And, after abstaining throughout my pregnancy, my brunch selection this morning was a no-brainer… Runny yolk poached eggs on GF toast, with a side of ham. IMG_5633 Oh. my. deliciousness. How I have missed the awesomeness that are perfectly poached eggs!! Actually, so much so, that I raved about these eggs for the rest of the day! But now – time for Miss C and I to mope a little now that Nanna has gone home Sad smile What about you? Do you have family that lives interstate? Even having lived out of home and interstate since I was 17, I still get sad every time a visit with my family comes to an end. I wish we lived closer!

Make mine a (GF) muffin

Training: Bike 31km After a celebratory Christmas and a fun-filled New Years, today was all about finding routine. And balance. We took a long bike ride, ate a healthy lunch, finally organised our new internet connection and caught up with friends for a farewell dinner. But no doubt the highlight of my day was breakfast. IMG_3905 Yes breakfast. For what better way to start the day, than with a batch of fresh, warm, savoury muffins. IMG_3890 IMG_3891 When I woke up this morning, the cooler temperatures had me yearning for a warm breakfast. However, bacon and eggs did not sound that appealing and I have been overdosing on porridge lately. Rather, savoury muffins, eaten fresh out of the oven, were just the thing I was craving. So quick to prepare, the house smelled amazing as these little bundles cooked in the oven. IMG_3892 IMG_3893 Packed to the brim with taste, and enjoyed with a cup of tea. IMG_3894 Just the breakfast I was after. And, once cooled, these muffins  keep well in an airtight container in the pantry so that you can also enjoy them at lunch and afternoon tea! IMG_3902 IMG_3903 IMG_3904  You must make a batch of these sometime soon. Seriously. GF Savoury herb muffins (makes 12)

Ingredients
  • 2 tbs onion relish
  • 2 cups GF self raising flour (or you could use regular SR flour)
  • 100g reduced-fat feta, crumbled
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbs dried thyme
  • 1 tbs dried parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Lightly grease a muffin tray or 12 x silicone muffin moulds.
  2. Combine onion relish, flour, feta, spinach, tomatoes and cheese in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine herbs, eggs and milk.
  4. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until combined.
  5. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

Variation: You could also add olives or bacon to the muffin batter, or grated carrot / zucchini for an extra veggie kick. What about you? What is your favourite warm breakfast? Happy Baking 🙂