Tag Archives: Brunch

Brunch Part 2: Avocado Pudding and Kale, Ricotta and Artichoke Tart


Continuing with the brunch theme, in this post I’ll feature avocado pudding and kale and artichoke ricotta tart. I must thank my dear Zirka for sending me the recipe for avocado pudding (see below and thank you Kitchn.com). When I think of pudding I think of something a bit on the heavy side and lots of sugar. But, this morning snack is anything but. The avocado is light and fresh, and a bit of milk and honey breaks up its creaminess to make for a light and delicious snack 🙂

You have to start off with ripe and soft avocados. This recipe is a good way to use up those old avocados that are overripe. I blended the avocado first and then addit a bit less than the recommended amount of milk, so I can control the consistency. The trouble with saying one avocado in the recipe is that the size of it matters. So, I would suggest blending the avocado first and then adding milk and honey little by little until you get the desired consistency.

The pudding should have a consistency of yoghurt – it should be able to hold its shape and not be too runny. I opted to top it with some granola, but nuts are also a good choice, for a change of texture.
As Zirka pointed out in her email, you can substitute coconut milk or even hemp milk for variety.

This kale, artichoke and ricotta tart is super easy to make. Again, I had a slight problem with the measurements recommended in the recipe. A bunch of kale is not specific enough for me, as the bunches can be different sizes. I followed the recipe but ended up with much more kaley tart than what I had intended. I also ended up having to use more eggs because there was so much kale.

I would suggest doing the egg and cheese mixture first and then adding kale in small quantities until you get the consistency you like. You may even have to add a few more eggs. Overall, the taste was good, but I think the kale overpowered the rest. Next time I will add the kale a bit at a time.

Regardless, these brunch additions were delicious. A great way to start your Sunday!

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Click on each photo to view the high resolution images.

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RECIPES

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Avocado Pudding with Honey

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 2-3 TBS of granola (or, as I used, crushed almonds)
Scoop avocado into a blender (or cusinart). Add 1/2 cup of milk. Add the honey and blend until smooth. Garnish with granola or almonds. You can also chill for about an hour for a refreshing coolness.

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Kale, Ricotta and Artichoke Tart

  • Olive oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 4 ounces Parmesan, grated
  • 1 cup canned artichokes, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan lightly with olive oil. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and cheeses. Roughly chop the veggies and add to the cheese/egg mixture. Stir until combined. Pour contents of bowl into the greased cake pan and cook until custard is set, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool on a wire wrack for 5 to 10 minutes and serve.

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These recipes are courtesy of: The Kitchn.com

Brunch Part 1: Organic Warm Quinoa with Toasted Nuts, Potato and Egg Skillet, and Coconut Granola


What is the best thing about Sunday morning besides sleeping in? For me, it’s the Sunday brunch. By now, most of us know brunch to mean a meal combining breakfast and lunch (as the portmanteau indicates), but I was curious about how this phenomenon started. The word brunch, or as the French like to call it “le grand petit déjeuner”, was coined in Britain in 1895 by a journalist G. Beringer, to describe a meal for Saturday-night carousers that would be a substitute for the British Sunday afternoon early dinner.  As Beringer describes in his article in Hunter’s Weekly: “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday-night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well. Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week”

I find Beringer’s description to be spot-on. Brunch IS talk compelling, sociable and cheerful. Especially when the great food is shared with the people you love.

In spirit of brunch, the next two posts will feature some of brunch-type recipes that I have recently tried.

First up, organic red and yellow quinoa. I have only recently started making quinoa dishes as a result of something D wanted to try, and I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised. My dear friend Zirka has been making quinoa for a long time as a substitute for breakfast oatmeal, and introduced me to the different kinds. Red quionoa has a slightly more earthy and smoky flavour than regular yellow quinoa, which is more plain.  It’s also slightly more expensive. I thought it would be good to buy a bit of both and mix them together. The cooking time for each is the same, not to mention the colour palate is so much more exciting :). 

Quinoa can be made savoury as a side dish, but in light of brunch, I decided to make it as a morning cereal instead. The graininess and the texture of the quinoa is very filling and satisfying for a breakfast meal. I substituted maple syrup for agave and found that to work just as well. There can be many other substitutions made, such as the type of nuts or berries. All in all, I was very happy with the result and I’m excited to try many other different variations.

For the savoury part of the meal, I thought a skillet bake would be good. I must admit that this recipe didn’t go as well as I had planned. This may have been partly to the fact that I had grated the potato and onion and then soaked it in water to prevent it from browning while I prepared other things. In retrospect, the potatoes really need to very very dry, otherwise they won’t get nice and crispy in the skillet.

For me, the really interesting and pretty thing about this recipe was the variety of colours and how vibrant the cracked egg looked on top of the crispy potatoes.  I just love that bright yellow colour 🙂

The potatoes eventually lost their moisture and started to crisp up but not before they slightly burned, so this was definitely a lesson for next time. Regardless, the bake was still delicious, albeit not to my crazy standards for prettyness. I guess you can judge for yourself 🙂

Going back to grains, I decided to also add the staple to this brunch round-up :). Granola. So versatile and so easy to make. One can pretty much put anything one wants into her granola and experiment with different ingredients until perfect. I used a simple recipe but also added a few more types of nuts for variety.

The granola can keep for up to 2-3 weeks in an airtight container.

I like to have my granola with plain, no-sugar added yoghurt. My favourite brand is the Astro Balkan Style 6% kind. Greek yoghurt is also good.  If one doesn’t want all the fat of the Greek yoghurt, but like its smoothness and creaminess, one option is to drain the plain yoghurt overnight.  This leaves all the liquid out and you get a thicker, creamier version :).   I find that the plain yoghurt adds freshness and breaks up the sweetness of the granola. One may like to add a drizzle of honey or even olive oil for additional sweetness and flavour. Berries are always a good addition and a nice change in texture.

Stay tuned for the second part of Brunch: I will be featuring avocado pudding and kale and artichoke breakfast tart. Yummo! Until then, toodles! 🙂

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Click on each photo to view the high resolution images.

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RECIPES

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Warm Quinoa with Berries and Roasted Pecans

  • 1 cup organic 1% low fat milk (I used 3.25% milk for creamier quinoa)
  • 1 cup water (this can also be replaced by more milk for more creamier quinoa)
  • 1 cup organic quinoa, (rinse quinoa before boiling)
  • 2 cups fresh berries
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted*
  • 4 teaspoons organic agave nectar ( I substituted maple syrup) 
 
Combine milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in blackberries and cinnamon; transfer to four bowls and top with pecans. Drizzle 1 teaspoon agave nectar over each serving.
Serves 4.
*While the quinoa cooks, roast the pecans in a 350F degree toaster oven for 5 to 6 minutes or in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes.

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Hash Brown Eggs

  • 1 cup grated potato
  • 1 cup grated onion
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • chopped red pepper and green onion for garnish
 
Fry 1 cup each chopped onion and grated potato in a cast-iron skillet with butter until crisp. Add 1/2 cup grated cheddar and crack in 2 eggs. Bake at 425 degrees F until set; top with green onion and red pepper.

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Homemade granola with Coconut, WheatGerm and Honey

  • 5 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup blanched slivered almonds
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • 1 cup raisins (you can get some golden some sultan raisins for colour)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
I added some peanuts, cashews and pumpkin seeds. 
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In a large bowl, stir together the oats, almonds, walnuts, pecans, sesame seeds, wheat germ, coconut and sunflower seeds. In a small pan over medium heat, stir together the oil and honey. Cook and stir until blended. You could also do this in a large measuring cup in the microwave, heating for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Pour over the oat mixture, and stir to coat evenly. Spread out in an even layer on two cookie sheets.  The layer should be thin to prevent uneven baking.
Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until the oats and nuts are toasted. Immediately after it comes out of the oven, stir in the raisins and dried cranberries. Let stand until cooled, and stir again to break up any large clusters.

Beyond the Currywurst: German Culinary Adventures


When you think of German cuisine, are the first things that come to mind boiled sausages, souerkraut and beer? Or perhaps the unidentifiable sausage with ketchup and curry powder, better known as currywurst? Well, my recent trip to Allemagne proved to be much more gastronomically exciting. I did try the famous currywurst, and of course the “traditional” doners and shwarmas (I say traditional, but this ‘tradition’ is only about 40ish years old, that I would say started with mass Turkish immigration to Germany starting in early 1970s). However, I was also lucky to have delicious home meals prepared for me as well. This post highlights some of my culinary “adventures” in Njemačka 🙂

Being an avid cappuccino drinker, I’ve found it interesting to document different ways this espresso-based treat is made and presented in different establishments…you may say I even went a little crazy with the number of photos depicting this 🙂
On Sunday, a typical Berliner will go out for brunch, and in  Quartier Friedrichshain, there are plenty of brunch places to choose from. Since we were visiting Belgium next and needed to prep our taste buds for all the waffles to come, we chose Tempo-Box, for their brunch, as they offered make-your-own waffles as the dessert part of brunch.

Appropriately named, Carpe Diem brunch had plenty of choices, from cold cuts, gourmet cheeses, croissants and granola to heartier dishes like different types of pasta, pesto gnocchi, sausages, etc. For dessert, of course, waffles and plenty other goodies 🙂

Carpe the croissant! The last one left (we got there late :))

The terrace of Tempo-Box is colourful, summery and a perfect place to people watch 🙂

As you can see, plenty of things to choose from – although my favorite was the pesto gnocchi, featured in the front of this photo – so creamy and perfectly al dente! 🙂

Table decoration at Tempo-Box – flirty and summery 🙂

Pièce de Resistance!  The waffles!  So many different topings to chose from.  The top photo shows them immersed in cream, chocolate and bananas.  For me, I like to try a bit of everything, so some chocolate and raspberry jam were also delicious options.  And, as true Berliners, after brunch, a visit to the flea market is a must 🙂  The near-by flea market in the Quartier Friendrichshain proved to be excellent for old cameras and antique keys.  My collection is expanding! yay!

 
 
In the south of Germany, in Keiserslautern, one morning we opted to have a quick and easy breakfast…and of course, you start with dessert first! 🙂  Chocolate pastries are one of my favorite (I wish they weren’t), and this one was looking way too delicious to be left behind 🙂

Is there anything better than fresh bread?  I think if  I could choose one food to eat for the rest of my life, it would be bread 🙂  Choosing a loaf of bread in Germany is so much fun, because there are always so many to choose from.

Keiserslautern is home to many beautiful parks that are home to beautiful flowers such as this one 🙂

Sometimes when you’re on vacation, not having a plan is the best plan of all.  On this particular day, the only ‘plan’ was to walk around Berlin, stop at things that looked interesting, lounge in cafes, people watch and take lots of photos.  While walking around in Quarter Mitte, I sat down at a cafe to have yet another cappuccino 🙂

It’s already gone! 🙂 🙂

Through a small walkway in Hofgarten, you can find this little gem, the famous – Café Cinema,

A familiar scene: domestic and foreign press.  There’s something so charming about newstands.

Very simple presentation for this cappuccino, but it was gone quickly nevertheless.  I really like the spoon that it came with.  Yes, I’m weird 🙂

I love visiting friends, and I felt very priviledged to have a home cooked meal prepared for me.  One of my dear friends, an avid photographer and constructive critic of this ‘publication’, Mirabelle invited us to share a meal and exciting board games!  We arrived a bit early, so I had lots of time to distract her with my constant picture taking while she cooked (but she was a perfectly good host and didn’t show her annoyance 🙂 :)).

We started the meal with a melon apperitif.  The preparation is super simple, it was ready in minutes, and having beautiful glasses to serve it in, makes for a very elegant yet quick presentation. Boysenberries add a punch of colour, and are delicious to boot.  Preparation includes blending frozen melon/honeydew/cantaloupe, then adding  honey or maple syrup and water until desired thickness and sweetness is achieved.  Less water for a granizado to be eaten with a spoon, more water for a drink.  If don’t have frozen melon, then regular melon and ice instead of water works as well!  So easy!

Being early to a dinner party has its advantages 🙂 At least from my perspective. Mirabelle didn’t quite agree 🙂 I find that the preparation process is many times as fun as eating itself. And what better way to capture it than to showcase the ingredients?

These beautiful and wonderful smelling flowers came from Mirabelle’s white garden.  The delicate stems complemented her antique apartment perfectly.

And when all the ingredients were masterfully prepared, we got to enjoy the following!

Roasted vegetables ready to be plated.  Again, Mirabelle is a master of delicious yet simple dishes – variety of peppers, zuchhini, onion and eggplant roasted in oven until golden and slightly charred.

The finished creation!  Vegetables were coupled with tortellini pasta in tomato sauce and a beautifully presented multi-coloured tomato and cashew salad (I think I may have to steal this presetnation technique for the future :))  The pasta is put in the oven when the vegetables are almost done (past only needs under 10 min to cook), with some olive oil and a touch of maple syrup, and melted mozzarella on top…. yummm!!

And while Mira was putting the finishing touches on dessert, we were able to climb on top of her building (which is not far since she’s on the top floor), and enjoy this spectacular sunset 🙂  It’s a bird! It’s a plane!  It’s Berlin at sunset!

Mirabelle’s top-floor apartment and white garden.

The rest of the evening was spent enjoying dessert and learning how to play Settlers of Catan 🙂 And then running for the train…