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Tag: food

The pleasure (and patience) of baking

The pleasure (and patience) of baking

I haven’t always baked. For a very, very long time I was absolutely terrible at it. I have always loved, however, the romance of baking. From my very own kitchen in the late hours of the night and early hours of the morning, to those […]

The glory of meal prep

The glory of meal prep

For a long time I thought that ‘meal-prepping’ was reserved for enthusiastic gym-goers who needed to monitor their calorie and protein intake by way of steamed greens and creepy, pale chicken and sad brown rice. HOW WRONG I WAS. Since having Hunter, I have gained […]

Day Thirteen: Christmas Morning Breakfast Menu

Day Thirteen: Christmas Morning Breakfast Menu

When I think of Christmas morning, what tends to come to mind first are the smells that come with it. The smell of the real Christmas tree, the smell of fresh coffee grinds and steamed milk, the smell of bacon and slightly burnt toast and butter in a hot fry pan. Christmas morning is magical in its own right, but it is the elements that are from my own specific experiences that really make my memories as special as they are. Food has always been a way that my family has brought each other together, and really, it is the reason that Mum and I opened the cafe – we wanted and love to bring people together over good, delicious, wholesome food.

I ca’t help but picture future Christmas mornings to come when our little man wakes me up (Pete will definitely stay in bed for as long as humanly possible) and we cook breakfast together. He will have a little step ladder so that he can help me mix things and we can drink hot chocolate or juice or anything. Ugh. Yes. All of my memories are now to serve as future plans for myself and my little family. So, in honour of my love of Christmas mornings and the times that my family have shared passing breakfast to one another, here is my menu for Christmas Day Morning.

 

The Cwikel Pancakes

 

There isn’t a whole lot that gets ‘passed down’ in my family in the traditional sense – our family is far too scattered and all over the place for anything like that. One thing, however, that has made its way down from my grandma, to my mother, to me is pancakes. Light, crepe-style, golden pancakes. We do differ when it comes to the utensils we use and the way we prepare the pancakes; my Nan has used the same long, thin container and stick blender combo to make her pancakes for as long as I can remember while my mum mixes her pancake batter with a hand beater in a bowl and then tips it into a measuring jug to pour into the pan. I also use a hand beater, but I just pour my mix into the pan straight from the bowl.

I used to be a strictly maple-syrup-on-pancake girl until one day my brother, who is a strictly lemon-and-sugar-on-pancake kinda’ guy made me try his combo. And I was sold. Lemon and raw sugar all rolled up in a delicious pancake is freaking delightful. Also blueberries. And stone fruit, all the stone fruit.

Ingredients – 

1 egg

2 cups of milk

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

2 cups of plain flour

1/2 cup of brown sugar

Method – 

Put all ingredients in a bowl and beat with a hand blender or stick blender

The consistency should be relatively runny, so add milk/flour as needed

Heat a pan on high and spray with olive oil (do this in between every pancake)

Pour enough mixture to cover the bottom of the pan, swirling it in a circle motion as you do

Flip the pancake when the edges start to curl and brown and cook other side

Eat the first pancake – everyone knows that is the unwritten rule of pancake-making

Enjoy!

Toppings – 

Canadian maple syrup

Lemon and raw sugar

For the stone fruit: halve your desired fruit (nectarines, peaches, plums, etc.) and, in a bowl, toss them in some raw sugar and vanilla bean shavings. Place the halves onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake until soft and golden and delicious

Fresh berries

 

Bagels with Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese and Watercress

 

I guess this one isn’t so much a recipe – as it is pretty self explanatory – but more of some inspiration for your Christmas Day Breakfast! Easy, delicious, simple, filling. I do love a bagel.

Ingredients – 

bagels

butter

cream cheese

smoked salmon

watercress

olive oil

salt

pepper

Method – 

Toast your bagels to the desired amount of toastiness

Butter the bagel and then lather on the cream cheese

Top with smoked salmon and a handful of watercress

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper

 

Poached Eggs with Avocado and Maple Bacon

 

This is actually a breakfast that we came up with for the cafe, but it is also incredibly easy to make at home. The slight twist of having maple bacon really adds something to this dish and, being Christmas after all, why not be a bit decadent?! Also, this goes great with a fresh orange juice.

Ingredients – 

sourdough bread (or whatever bread you fancy)

eggs

bacon

maple syrup

avocado

butter

salt

pepper

white vinegar

Method – 

Bring a pot of water with a dash of white vinegar in it to the boil and then turn it down to a simmer

Put bread in toaster

Once the water is simmering, crack the eggs carefully into the water and let them poach to the desired time

In a separate pan, fry some bacon until the edges are crispy, then add (a lot of) maple syrup and toss bacon in it

Butter your toast and slice your avocado, adding it to the plate

Remove eggs from poaching liquid carefully and set them down on some kitchen towel to remove excess water before placing them on the plate as well

Add bacon to the mix and let the feast begin!

 

French Toast

 

Who doesn’t love French toast, honestly? It is the breakfast of all breakfasts. I am simple when it comes to food and toppings and I am one of those weird people who don’t like ice cream with things. I don’t like ice cream with cake, or french toast, or pancakes, or pie. No. Never. I don’t get why you would ever want something hot with something cold. Yuck. So for me, French toast is at its best when it is partnered with just maple syrup and the occasional blueberry. I do like blueberries as well, so they can stay. French toast is glorious by itself (Pete eats it plain with no topping at all), so why ruin it with too many other flavours?! WHY, I ASK YOU?!

Ingredients – 

sliced brioche (or any other bread)

eggs

cinnamon

vanilla essence

butter

maple syrup

icing sugar

blueberries

Method – 

In a large bowl, whisk two eggs with a generous amount of cinnamon and a generous amount of vanilla essence (a lot of people like using milk as well, but I find that it tastes good and is much lighter without)

Heat a large knob of butter in a pan until it starts to caramelise

Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture, pressing lightly on each side and fry in the butter

Cook until each side is golden brown but the bread is still spongy in the middle

Add butter to the pan each slice for better caramelisation

Stack on a plate and drown with maple syrup

 

Christmas Muffins

 

Surely I don’t need to write down all the reasons why a Christmas muffin is a must on Christmas morning.. surely..

Ingredients – 

2 cups of self-raising flour

1 cup of milk

150g butter

3/4 cup of raw sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

1 egg

shelled pistachios

sliced strawberries

white chocolate bits

Method – 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease muffin tray (or use paper muffin cups in tray)

In a bowl, blend butter and sugar with a hand better until combined and smooth

Add egg and beat until combined

Add the flour, milk and vanilla essence and combine by stirring with a wooden spoon

Once just combined, add the pistachios, strawberries and white chocolate bits

Spoon, in even amounts, into each muffin cup, sprinkle some raw sugar on top of each and bake until golden

Gnocchi Arrabiata, baby!

Gnocchi Arrabiata, baby!

Last week on my lunch break I was craving my usual chicken and salad banh mi with extra salad and no onion. This particular craving has lasted about six weeks so far with no end in sight. My friend and colleague Mika, on this particular […]

Day Twelve: Christmas Table Setting Ideas

Day Twelve: Christmas Table Setting Ideas

Do you love entertaining? Yes. Do you love Christmas decorations? Yes. Do you love food? Yes. THEN THIS IS THE POST FOR YOU. Combining all things festive and Christmas and food and hosting and entertaining and eating and being merry, today we will be looking […]

Day Ten: Christmas Cookies

Day Ten: Christmas Cookies

So a few weeks ago, I made these bad boys for Unwritten Cafe:

And I am happy to report that they all sold out! Over the weekend, I made a new batch of Christmas cookies that are on sale, in-store at Unwritten now!! They are my standard vanilla biscuits with fondant icing and delightful little sprinkles that I simply can’t get enough of!

As always, if you wish to make an order of Christmas cookies that are completely customisable for your get together ahead of the big day, please shoot me an email or a direct message on Instagram!!

Merry Christmas!

63 days until due date

63 days until due date

Sixty-three days?! That’s nothing. I have all the feelings. I am thirty-one weeks today and oh boy, do I feel it. Generally speaking I am doing well! I feel healthy, I have enough energy each day to get me through until about 1.30pm and although […]

Day Six: Best Christmas Reads for Kids and Adults

Day Six: Best Christmas Reads for Kids and Adults

Christmas and books and books about Christmas – THIS POST HAS IT ALL. I have always wanted to have a tradition where I read Christmas books throughout December. Until now, this has remained but a thought and a wish.. this year however, I plan on […]

Day Three: Everything I Love About Christmas

Day Three: Everything I Love About Christmas

There is just so much to love about Christmas. So much. And it isn’t just the day itself that I love and look forward to – it is the entire build up to Christmas that I get inappropriately excited for!

As it gets towards the end of December, when everyone is not only counting down the days until Christmas but also the days until work breaks up for the year, there is just a different feel about, out in the air, y’know?! Houses adorned with Christmas lights illuminate otherwise dark suburban streets, trays of mangoes are sold curb side, and then there is that absolutely glorious period of time where you have no idea what day it is, what date it is or what country you are in. Time becomes irrelevant, meals fade away and are replaced with mojitos and cheese boards and fruit salads. The smell of families barbequing is a staple every Sunday. And, as devastating as it is, that distinctive smell and glowing smog of bushfires is the Australian summer.

I also love get-togethers. I love a Christmas lunch. I love food. I love entertaining. I don’t know what it is about hosting a lunch that gets me so excited.. I think that a huge part of it is that I love going places where there is a huge amount of food available, and so when I host, I make damn sure that my guests and I are positively SURROUNDED by food. I get such joy out of cooking and preparing meals for those that I love as well, and there really is no better way of bonding with family and friends than over a table that is full of food. I love experimenting with different dishes and flavours and offering people meals that were made with love (I realise how corny that sounds, but whatever, you wouldn’t be saying that if you tried my rosemary roast potatoes). Though there are moments when I wish that we got white Christmas’ here in Australia, overall, I love celebrating in summer. Peeling fresh prawns from the Sydney fish markets (or getting someone to peel them for me, usually my Grandpa), demanding family members pull Christmas crackers and spending the rest of the day fixing the paper crown on your head, the all-time favourite pavlova that is loaded with fruit and drizzled with passionfruit pulp, the conversations had around the barbeque as people pass each other drinks from the esky.

We have never had a very close family. Immediate family, yes, but extended family we only really see at Christmas. Though I wish that that were different sometimes, there is something really amazing about everyone coming together and having so much to catch up on. Only seeing each other for the bigger events of the year means that generally speaking, everyone is over the moon to see one another and there is no time, reason or space for anything other than laughter and a lot of hugging. This year is the first year that I (and Pete) will be hosting Christmas. Normally, Christmas Day is spent at my grandparent’s place in Picton or at my mum’s place, but this year Pete’s side of the family and mine are coming together at our place, in our home. It is going to be a whole new experience for me, and although I will be ginormous and impossibly hot (PREGNANT IN SUMMER, REMEMBER?!), I can’t wait to host what is now my family and my son’s family.

Christmas also allows for me to indulge in craft and get really creative with wrapping and decorating. Every year I try and theme my present wrapping differently. One year I used really beautiful hand printed wrapping paper and then the next year I used brown paper and Christmas ribbon. One of my favourite sights is seeing a big pile of presents under the Christmas tree, and one of my favourite smells is Christmas wrapping paper (it totally smells different to regular wrapping paper). I love those times where you have to ban your partner or your family members from one room in the house so they don’t see what you are wrapping. This year, I have the added opportunity of creating really beautiful, handmade, crafty table place settings which I have never done before. Also, handmade Christmas cards and desserts and cookies. I mean, the dessert and cookies should probably be in the paragraph about food, but there is something about decorating cookies that feels more craft-y than cook-y.

Another thing that I love (there is a lot, if you haven’t noticed) is buying presents for people. I bloody love it. I would buy Christmas presents for those I love all year round if I had the means and the time and the money. I will generally write down a long list of things that my family, friends and partner love and then come up with unique and as-personal-as-possible gift ideas for each person. I have always appreciated a well thought out gift as opposed to something generic or expensive – something that really shows that the other person knows you well. I love everything about the gift process – buying it, wrapping it, putting it under the tree, giving it to the person and then watching them unwrap it (the unwrapping process is always a bit of an awkward one, but we get over it) and then the hugs that generally follow.

Christmas Eve for the past couple of years have been spent at our local pub – their busiest night of the year – and it’s great because everyone that I have ever known (pretty much) is there, and you run into people that you haven’t seen in years and everyone is happy and tipsy and extremely merry. Prior to that, Christmas Eve has been spent driving to a street in North Ryde that is known for their Christmas lights – every house in the street puts on a display. The road is closed and there are families, young and old, roaming the streets and pointing and laughing with kid’s eyes (and mine) wide open in awe. After that, we would drive home and watch a movie together before excitedly getting into bed ready for Santa the next morning.

Christmas mornings are absolutely sacred to me. Mum and I wake up early and head up to the cafe (and have done for the last nine years) to make fresh orange juice and coffees for everyone. We all wake up and find our Santa presents (but more on this tradition later), drink our coffee, put our Christmas hats on (more on this tradition later too) and open presents. After that, Mum and I will make a stack of pancakes for everyone with fresh berries, lemon and sugar, and litres of maple syrup. Then there is that glorious little pocket of time where everyone is fed and looking over their presents happily and lazily before getting ready for what is often a huge Christmas feast.

This Christmas is going to be a special one for me. I am pregnant with our son, hosting lunch for my family with my partner. I am sure that by the end of the day I will be a complete wreck, but everything that I mentioned here today makes every ounce of exhaustion worth it. Spoiler alert: I am making three kinds of dipping sauces for fresh prawns, we are barbequing octopus and chicken and beef, and Shari’s parents are coming from overseas to spend the day with us. There are so many other elements to our Christmas that I cannot wait to share with you all, but for now, I hope that this got you in the Christmas spirit – even just a little bit.

The (Oblivious) New Mama’s 25 Days of Christmas

The (Oblivious) New Mama’s 25 Days of Christmas

It’s December! It’s Summer! It’s the festive season! Our Christmas tree is up! Our cat has discovered a love of tearing baubles off the tree and waking us up at 5am by chasing them down the hallway! Seriously though, I am so freaking excited that […]