food for thought

by michelle

Archive for the ‘breakfast’ Category

black truffle

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When in France I spent some time in the Dordogne, the home of the Périgord Black Truffle. I felt compelled to bring one home and here’s what I did with it.

60º eggs on potatoes fried in duck fat with shavings of black truffle.

Actually, these were really 62.8ºC (145ºF) eggs as I prefer my whites a little opaque. They need to be cooked in a water bath at this temperature for at least an equal number of minutes to their metric weight. That means an 58g (2oz) egg will take 58 minutes to cook. While the eggs are cooking, dice some potatoes and cook them very slowly in some duck fat until they are golden brown then season with salt. When the eggs are ready, place the potatoes down first then very carefully peel the eggs and place onto the potatoes. Season to taste and top with shavings of black truffle. A truly delicious combination!

How about a truffled cauliflower gratin?

Preheat your oven to 190ºC (375ºF). Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a sauce pan, then stir in 3 tablespoons of flour. Stir and cook for a few minutes making sure there are no lumps. Whisking constantly, slowly add 2 cups of heated milk. Bring to boil and cook until it thickens. Remove from the heat and add 1 teaspoon of salt, plenty of freshly ground black pepper, ½ a cup of grated Gruyère, ½ a cup of grated parmesan, some shaved black truffle to taste and a little freshly grated nutmeg. Mix thoroughly and set aside. Cut the cauliflower into florets and cook them in some boiling salted water until just al dente. Butter your oven dish, spread the cauliflower evenly on the bottom and cover with the sauce. Finally, top with a mixture of grated Gruyère, grated parmesan and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden brown.


Written by michelle picker

October 4, 2017 at 12:16 am

stewed rhubarb with vanilla yoghurt

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An excellent version of a classic from Jamie Oliver. Serve it for breakfast or dessert.

Place 750g (1.6 lbs) of chopped fresh rhubarb in a medium-sized saucepan with the juice and zest of 1 large orange, 100g (3½ oz) of caster sugar, 2 tablespoons of water and 2 pieces of finely diced or grated fresh ginger. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the rhubarb is soft and cooked but still holds its shape. Meanwhile, scrape the seeds from a vanilla pod and mix them into 1 cup of natural yoghurt, adding 1 tablespoon of caster sugar. Serve the warm rhubarb topped with a large dollop of vanilla yoghurt.

Written by michelle picker

July 26, 2017 at 5:41 am

salty-sweet orange and tahini pretzels

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Another delight from Honey & Co The Baking Book by Sarit Packer & Itmar Srulovich and my first attempt at pretzels.

Mix together 200g (7 oz) of strong white flour, 150g (5⅓ oz) of plain flour, ½ a teaspoon of salt and 3 tablespoons of icing sugar. Warm 140ml (4¾ fl oz) of milk to blood temperature and add 4½ teaspoons of dry active yeast, the grated zest of 1 orange and 50g (1¾ oz) of date molasses or dark honey. Stir to dissolve then add this liquid to the dry ingredients and knead together to form a ball. Slowly incorporate 80g (2¾ oz) of tahini paste then 50g (1¾ oz) of unsalted butter (diced and at room temperature). Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for at least 1 hour. On an un-floured work surface, divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Roll each one into a long 40-45cm (16-17″) snake. Lie the snake in a semi-circle with the 2 ends facing you. Lift the ends only and twist them around each other then lower them towards the remaining half circle and press the ends down gently. Carefully flip the pretzel onto a prepared, paper-covered baking sheet so that the ends are underneath. Repeat the process until you have 8 pretzels, allowing a little space between each pretzel. Prove for a further 90 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (390ºF). Brush the pretzels with an egg yolk beaten with a pinch of sugar and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes until they have a dark golden brown crust. Delicious at any time of day.

Written by michelle picker

June 2, 2017 at 5:30 am

almond honey spread

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Moroccan amlou is a spread (much like peanut butter) made of almonds, honey and argan oil which is generally eaten on bread for breakfast.


Argan oil, which is apparently quite nutty in flavour, is endemic to Morocco and, I discovered, hard to find and very expensive in Australia! I opted for a version without it. If you love friands, almond criossants, frangipane or marzipan then this is for you. Combine 1 cup of finely ground almonds (with or without skins), 1 tablespoon of good fragrant honey, a few drops of bitter almond oil or essence and 2 tablespoons of oil. I used grape seed oil (which has very little flavour) and added a little more bitter almond to taste. Other nut oils such as macadamia or walnut would work too. Mix well and add enough extra oil to make a good spreadable consistency.

Written by michelle picker

February 15, 2016 at 6:03 am

flourless almond bread 2

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My first flourless almond bread, although delicious with butter, was unsuited to more savoury toppings. With the addition of flaxseed meal and olive oil this new version is more savoury. Enjoy it with bacon and eggs, cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, avocado or just about anything. It toasts well and can be used for sandwiches.


Preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF). In a bowl combine 320g (11¼ oz) of almond meal, 70g (2½ oz) of flaxseed meal, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 4 eggs, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and ¾ of a cup of water. Mix well and allow to sit for 5 – 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and stir to combine. Spread the mixture into a greased small loaf tin and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the tin to cool.

For a really delicious breakfast try frying this bread with tasty cheese on the outside.


Written by michelle picker

February 18, 2015 at 5:48 am

banana hazelnut loaf

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Another delicious variation on a classic, this loaf is not too sweet and can be toasted for a great breakfast.


Whip 125g (4½ oz) of butter and 100g (3½ oz) of honey then add 3 large or 4 small eggs one at a time. Add 4 ripe mashed bananas, 100g (3½ oz) of hazelnut meal and 1 teaspoon of fresh grated nutmeg and mix well. Add 2 cups of sifted plain flour and 4 teaspoons of baking powder until well combined then pour the batter into a prepared loaf tin and bake in a moderate oven for 50-60 minutes or until it tests clean.

Written by michelle picker

December 19, 2014 at 5:56 am

poppy seed cake

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This is more like a slightly sweet bread than a cake. It’s delicious for breakfast and is actually traditionally eaten as a wedding breakfast amongst the Sorbian people, a Slavic race who number only 60,000 and live in Saxony, Germany. The recipe is adapted from the book Culinaria GERMANY.


To make the dough mix 4 cups of flour with 2¼ teaspoons of dried yeast, ¼ of a cup of sugar, a pinch of salt, 1 egg and 1 cup of lukewarm milk. Butter a baking tray with sides and press the dough into it. Leave it in a warm place to double in size. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). In a saucepan add 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste to 4 cups of milk and bring to boil. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of semolina, leaving it to swell. Add 2 cups of ground poppy seeds, mixing well, then allow the mixture to cool. Whisk together ¼ of a cup of sugar, 2 egg yolks and the zest of 1 lemon until creamy then fold this into the cooled poppy seed mixture. Finally beat the remaining 2 egg whites until stiff and carefully fold them through. Spread the mixture over the dough base and bake for 40 minutes.

Written by michelle picker

September 2, 2014 at 5:47 am