Cereal killers

Bart Beek | VOLUME 26, ISSUE 1

Bart Beek serves up some new options that can make the most important meal of the day the most exciting.

We’re often told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that most benefits are gained by making healthy choices. Of course, we are all creatures of habit and most of us stay with the standard breakfast choices we grew up with. Some people start the day with nothing but an empty stomach – and that’s where real problems begin.

A good, healthy breakfast will set you up for the rest of the day, so stay away from the quick fixes. Instead, go for good, fresh juices and whole fruits, low-fat yoghurt, whole-wheat breads and oatmeal. The secret to a good breakfast is to prepare meals high in fibre, protein and nutrients. And the real trick is finding a way to make these meals taste great.

In this issue there’s a great recipe for slow-baked spiced rhubarb, which is teamed up with Carman’s lightly-toasted, fruit-free muesli and fresh berry yoghurt. Wow!

Omelettes are delicious, easy to make and can be filled with almost anything. In this issue, I offer a family favourite: an omelette with herbed mushrooms and grated cheddar cheese.

For those with a liking for the classic big breakfast, try the baked eggs with roasted trussed tomatoes, bacon curls and herbed, grilled mushrooms. The eggs are baked in small, oven-proof dishes with butter and cream for 10 minutes. While they’re cooking in the oven, you have all the time to put the rest of the ingredients together.

The croissants with smoked salmon and whipped cream cheese are rather indulgent – and they get even better when matched with a glass of champagne.

For a little touch of France, I have included the amazing soft-boiled vanilla eggs with caramel and toasted cinnamon bread. A little rich, I know, but a fabulous treat when saved for special occasions.

Baked eggs with roasted tomatoes, bacon curls and herbed mushrooms

If your thing in the morning is having a ‘big-breakfast’, then try this combination. The baked eggs are very easy to prepare and quite delicious when backed up by the tomatoes, bacon and mushrooms.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4

1 tblsp butter

4 organic free-range eggs Salt flakes and freshly cracked blackpepper, to taste

4 tblsps thickened cream

8 rashers middle-cut bacon

4 medium flat mushrooms

4 sprigs lemon thyme, leaves picked

16 trussed baby tomatoes

4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

Pre-heat an oven to 175°C. Brush four small ramekin dishes with the melted butter and crack one egg gently into each. Season each dish with the salt and pepper and pour a tablespoon of cream on to each egg, trying not to cover the yolks.

Place the dishes onto an oven tray and pour boiling water halfway up the outside of the dishes. Bake for eight to 10 minutes in the oven, until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.

Twist the bacon around wooden spoon handles and bake until crisp. Grill the mushrooms with olive oil, seasoning and lemon thyme leaves. Roast the trussed tomatoes in a slow oven until just soft.

Present the baked eggs on a warmed plate with the tomatoes, mushrooms and the bacon twists. Garnish with the parsley and serve immediately.

Herbed mushroom and cheese omelette

I love making omelettes for the family because they are very quick to prepare, simple to cook and they never fail to satisfy. I prefer omelettes to be pale in colour, slightly torpedo-shaped and very moist in the middle.

Preparation time: 4 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes (mushrooms: 4 minutes, omelette: 1 minute)

Serves: 1

2 tblsps Jingilli extra virgin olive oil

1 cup sliced assorted mushrooms

2 tblsps chopped flat-leaf parsley

⅓ cup grated cheddar cheese

2 organic free-range eggs

Saltflakes and freshly cracked blackpepper, to taste

1 tblsp butter

Place a non-stick omelette pan and a small frypan onto the heat. Add the olive oil to the frypan and sauté the sliced mushrooms for four minutes until cooked and lightly browned. Turn off the heat and add the parsley and seasoning.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl and season well. Place the butter into the heated omelette pan and allow it to melt. Add the beaten eggs and cook for 10 seconds.

Using a flat wooden spoon, drag the cooked sides of the egg to the middle, allowing the uncooked egg to take its place. Do this quickly, and don’t allow the omelette to brown.

The bottom of the omelette should now be cooked and pale, but the top will still be quite soft and runny. Remove from heat and quickly add the mushrooms and cheese to the omelette’s centre.

Fold one third of the omelette over the filling, then roll again to enclose the filled omelette. It should have a slight torpedo shape. Return to heat and allow to cook for a further 30 seconds.

Roll the omelette over and slide it onto a warmed plate, brush it with a little melted butter and serve immediately.

Spiced rhubarb with berry yoghurt and muesli

Rhubarb is a delicious stewed fruit for breakfast. In this recipe, it is complemented beautifully with berry yoghurt and Carman’s lightly-toasted muesli. This delicious dish would go nicely with toasted nut bread and two café lattes.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

Serves: 2

4 sticks rhubarb

½ cup caster sugar

⅓ vanilla bean

½ cinnamon stick

½ cup apple juice

1 cup berry yoghurt

1 cup Carman’s original fruit-free muesli small jug of milk

Trim and wash the rhubarb stems well and cut them into 10cm sections. Place the sugar and vanilla bean into a food processor and blend for two minutes. This will become vanilla sugar.

In a bowl, combine the rhubarb with the vanilla sugar, cinnamon stick and the apple juice. Place into an oven-proof dish, cover with foil and gently bake at 140°C for 45 minutes or until just tender. Remove and cool overnight.

Present the rhubarb with the muesli, a jug of milk and a bowl of yoghurt.

Croissant with cream cheese, smoked salmon and snow pea sprouts

A beautiful way to start the day – and it helps lift the croissant to another level. For a lighter, healthier option, you could substitute the cream cheese with cottage cheese or ricotta.

Preparation time: 4 minutes

Cooking time: 1 minute to toast the croissants

Serves: 4

8 tblsps cream cheese

Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ lemon, juice only

4 croissants

4 slices Huon Aquaculture smoked salmon

½ punnet snow pea sprouts

1 tblsp baby capers

Place the cream cheese into a bowl and whisk in four tblsps of boiling water, lemon juice and the seasoning. Beat until light and set aside.

Cut the croissants in half and lightly toast the inside under the overhead grill.

Place the croissants onto a plate and spread with the beaten cream cheese. Top each croissant with a slice of smoked salmon and a sprinkle of the baby capers. Finish with a small amount of the trimmed snow pea sprouts. Top with the other half of the croissant, and serve with a glass of cheeky bubbles!

Boiled vanilla eggs with caramel and cinnamon toast

This is rather indulgent and is especially enjoyed by those who have a sweet tooth. Serve it as a surprise to the children and watch their faces light up with excitement.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 6 minutes

Serves: 4

4 organic free-range eggs

2 vanilla beans, split length-ways

1 cup caster sugar

½ cup boiling water

1 tblsp lemon juice

4 slices fruit bread

1 tblsp cinnamon sugar

Place the eggs and the split vanilla beans into an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the eggs from the refrigerator one hour before required.

To make the caramel sauce, pour one cup of caster sugar into a frypan and heat on the stovetop. Stir carefully, and when it turns a light golden colour, remove to the sink. Pour the boiling water and lemon juice into the caramel and combine with a whisk. Be very careful, as the mixture will splutter and could burn you.

Cook over medium heat for several minutes until the mixture is smooth, then place into a small jug and keep it at room temperature.

To boil the eggs, place them into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for two minutes for a runny yolk centre.

Serve in egg cups with the caramel sauce and toasted fruit bread fingers dusted with a little cinnamon sugar.