Archives for category: Breakfast

I love waffles.

For my last birthday I received a Cuisinart Waffle Maker from my mom, making waffles a breeze!

I’ve been experimenting with different waffle recipes I found across the web – mostly from Pinterest – such as egg nog or pumpkin waffles. These are more autumnal and christmas seasonal recipes, so I have been on the look out for something to tide me over until spring arrives. Enter the blueberry waffles.

Blueberry waffle recipe

I found a recipe on Pinterest from Pass The Sushi blog that piqued my interest. However, I altered her recipe slightly using buckwheat flour instead of wholewheat pastry flour and plain yogurt instead of sour cream giving them a slightly savoury quality, which acts as a nice foil to the sweet/tart blueberries.

This recipe yields 14 regular sized square waffles.  Since I’m the only one who eats waffles in my household, I bag them up in twos and pop them in the freezer, keeping in breakfasts for a whole week! When I’m ready to eat, I just stick them in the toaster and serve with plain yogurt.

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Et voila! Waffles for any morning.

It’s sunny.
Sunny Saturday Morning

It’s Saturday.Saturday Pancakes - Leon

It’s time for pancakes. Leon Saturday Pancakes - first side

Leon Saturday Pancakes - Flipped

Although this is a little belated, going camping the first time with my family was one of the highlights of my summer. I have fond memories of camping as a child at Folsom Lake and hoped to introduce the same joy to my son. I didn’t want anything fancy, nothing with ‘holiday park’ in the name or a place that heavily featured caravans. All I wanted was something in the woods with a water source nearby (lake, river, pond, sea) and a flushing toilet.

I hopped on the Cool Camping website and happened across Haddon Grove in Derbyshire. It ticked all of the boxes, was VERY reasonable… none of this deposit melarky or two night minimum. (I don’t really get the two night minimum thing, why is it so hard to get that we only want to camp for one night. There is only one night in the weekend, really. People work on Friday and they have to work on Monday, all we want to do is set up camp on a Saturday morning and break it down on Sunday… anyway, rant over.)

So, having chosen our destination, we borrowed the necessary gear from my in laws and tried our hands at camping. Thankfully, the weather worked in our favour!

home sweet home

Haddon Grove is two fields away from Lathkill Dale. If you’re into panoramic and dramatic views, this place is incredible.

At the top of the mountain

We decided to descend into the gorge, searching for rocks and minerals, and also to see the river that ran through.

Heading Down Into Lathkill Dale

G Hikes Lathkill Dale

After a long hike, there’s nothing better than relaxing by a river. This one happened to be closer in town. As I had never been to Derbyshire before, we took the opportunity to explore the local area. Bakewell is definitely one of my new favourite towns.

By The River Derwent

S’mores are synonymous with camping. I recently introduced G to the wonders of S’mores on Bonfire night, but it is a must for camping. Unfortunately, the top of Lathkill Dale can be a bit windy so our little disposable BBQ wasn’t going to do the job. Instead, we made do with the gas cooker to toast the marshmallows.

roasting marshmallows

G tucks into a smore

The next best thing about camping is breakfast. I love sitting out in the fresh air sipping coffee as the world wakes up and nothing beats bacon sandwiches cooked in the outdoors.

Camping bacon

Bacon and egg sarnie for breakfast

As we packed up to leave on Sunday, I snapped the view through the trees from the place we called home for the weekend.

View from our campsite

From our camping experiment, we discovered that yes, The Whiteman 3 are definitely campers. In fact the next weekend we went out and bought our own tent! Haddon Grove is the perfect place for us and we’ll definitely be back. If only the weather would co-operate!

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I’ve done well to maintain eating healthy over the past year, but the holiday indulgences took over a bit throughout December. Now that the holidays are over, temptation has been put away and I am back to exploring new, inventive and healthy recipes to tempt the taste buds.

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, and weekend breakfast is the time where I can spend time preparing tasty delights.

This weekend I spied some ricotta leftover in the fridge, some eggs and jalapeño peppers… Perfect for a healthy omelette.

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The combination of spicy jalapeños and creamy ricotta is fantastic. I used two eggs, heaped tablespoon of ricotta and half of a jalapeño pepper finely chopped. Fast, easy and tasty!

At the end of October, we popped by my father in law’s house to pick up the ‘bushel’ of apples. Waiting with the apples outside of his house was a plastic container of what looked like batter and a recipe attached. The recipe was for Herman – The German Friendship cake.

Since the 30th of October, Herman has lived on our kitchen worktop feeding and growing, as well as feeding us and our friends. I have made five batched of German friendship cake and passed on six ‘starters’ to friends and family. Herman has served us well. Today, I say goodbye to Herman. He’s been a very good friend, so this blog post is in his honor.

If you want to make your own ‘Herman’ see the recipe below.

Starter
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 package dry yeast

Mix starter ingredients in a large bowl and let stand at room temperature undisturbed for 24 to 36 hours.

Friendship cake starter

Once the starter has, well started, the cake process takes around ten days.
Keep the starter batter on the kitchen work surface for the duration, do not refrigerate, or it will die.

On the first Day and fifth Day add:
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar

On the second, third, fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth day stir well.

And on the tenth day, divide the batter into four equal parts. Give three away to friends and keep the fourth to make the cake.

Preheat the oven to 175C/350F and grease a large roasting tray or 13″x9″ pan.

To make the cake, add the following to the remaining batter:

2 eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla

The batter will be stiff, but do not add any liquid.

Optional additions:
2 large apples – cored and roughly chopped
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple , well drained
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Topping

Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of the cake batter.

1/4 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour

Spread across the lined and greased roasting tray, sprinkle the topping and bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes. (check after 35 minutes).

I used apples in my first go at the cake. It created a moist, cakey bread like consistency.

Friendship cake with apples

I left the apples out of the second go and it was like a dense cinnamon bread. Both are very tasty and ideal for breakfast or a snack.

Friendship cake finished

Goodbye Herman. We’ll meet again, I am sure…

I love banana bread. It is a versatile bread that’s more like a cake. You can have it for breakfast – toasted with a bit of cream cheese spread over it or as a tasty snack.

Recently, I received the latest Leon cookbook – Baking and Puddings as a gift and came across their version.  I had to give it a go!

In the past, I have generally gone for a straight up banana bread, no additions like nuts or chocolate, but I was intrigued with the inclusion of pecans in this recipe.

pecans

ingredients

You should always use ripe bananas in a banana bread. Under-ripe ones just wouldn’t taste right.

bananas

This recipe uses spelt flour, which gives the bread a really nice hearty texture.

Banana bread batter

This recipe recommends slicing a banana in half, lengthwise, and placing it on top of the batter just before it goes in the oven. As the bread bakes, the banana sinks to the middle.

fresh out of the oven

sliced banana bread

I have to say, this is the best banana bread recipe I have come across. The whole banana running through the middle of the bread added more banana flavour and texture and the addition of pecan nuts gave the bread a slight maple-y flavour.

This recipe will definitely be in heavy rotation in our house. YUM!

In my quest to eat healthy and get fit, I have been eating a lot of Total Greek yoghurt for breakfast. One of my favourite things to eat is an adaptation of the recipe for Magical Breakfast Cream from Mireille Guliano’s French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook.  

MBC ingredients

In my recipe, I use Total 0% Greek Yoghurt, fresh lemon juice, honey, ground almond and ground bran flakes.  According to MyFitnessPal it only has 268 calories.   A very healthy breakfast after a morning walk.

Lemon

The lemon is a great morning pick me up.

Honey

The honey sweetens it and adds a bit more luxuriousness.

Bran Flakes

And the bran flakes add crunch. This is one of my favourite breakfasts.

Additionally to mix things up, I’ve enjoyed Total Greek’s 0% Yoghurt with Strawberry with a bowl of Bran Flakes on the side this week.

Total Greek with Strawberries

Total Greek Yoghurt in the morning is a perfect way to start the day.

* I am reviewing Total Greek Yoghurt in a series of posts over the next week. I am not being paid to do so, but have been sent the yoghurt free of charge from Total. These views are my own. *

Ever since @jojogifford tweeted about the Leon cookbook, I was intrigued.  Luckily, I received the Leon Ingredients & Recipes Cookbook shortly after and my intrigue had turned into joy. This cookbook is fantastic.  In fact, every time I am in London and anywhere near a Leon restaurant, I go there and take a new friend with me. (Try the meatball hotbox!!) So, wanting test out my new cookbook, I decided to incorporate one of its recipes into my Easter brunch menu.  Granola won the draw.

The history of my Easter brunch is a long standing tradition. It was the cornerstone of Easter in the Bals household.  Early memories of brunch go back to when I was about nine or ten years old, first going to a golf club in Rocklin (The cherry pie was full of cornstarch… yuck… but why was I eating cherry pie at brunch in the first place. My mistake!) to Charlie Browns.  Ok, this place was the brunch place of all brunch places- enough to rival the morning buffet spread at a high end Vegas hotel (I think, I’m only speculating).  Omelette bars, crepe bars, carvery, salad bars and the ultimate ice cream bar. Yes, you heard me: ICE-CREAM-BAR, like hot fudge sundaes, banana splits, you name it.  When you are 12 years old this is heaven, mecca, valhalla or whatever afterlife you believe. Ice cream bar. We’d go there every year whether it was just the immediate family or with Papa Joe, Aunt Sharon and my cousin, Lauren.  You saved up for brunch – like didn’t eat for a week to prepare for this.  Unfortunately, or fortunately for my waistline, Charlie Brown’s shut up shop in Sacramento. So these extravagant brunches ceased for our family tradition.  But brunch did not.  In fact, even when we lived in Seattle Lauren and I made sure to meet for brunch on easter (14 Carrots… mmm).

Where was I, oh yes… brunch. Many years later, I find myself living in England. A country that has not quite grasped the beauty of brunch (no, all day breakfasts do not count).  I decided this year I would host brunch on Easter Monday. And I did. And it was awesome.

I made lemon ricotta pancakes, recipe courtesy of one of my heroes Mireille Guiliano, served with smoked salmon, greek yogurt, homemade damson compote and the Leon granola.  I cannot recommend this recipe enough.  It makes a kilo and the only downside is that it’s not enough.  Between brunch and subsequent breakfasts for my husband and I, it didn’t last long.  (I really do need to make some more).

So, if you are still reading after my waxing lyrical about brunch and you are a granola fan, definitely try the Leon granola recipe.

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