Brinner | Pea + Ricotta Fritters

Nothing pleases me more than the world realising what we’ve always known: No one breakfasts better than Australia. But while Sydney and Melbourne get all the glory, make no mistake – Perth is no slouch on the brunch front.

When my beloved Bitchez Who Brunch posted this beauty from Sayers Sister, it was an instant yes moment – everything I was craving in one go. Except, it was 4pm on a Tuesday, and who can wait until the weekend?

Enter: Brinner.

(brin-ner) adj. breakfast eaten at the time in which you eat dinner.
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This dish is full of spring goodness, and hits all the flavour points – sweet, salty, creamy and sharp, with plenty of green for smug. Perfect for your weekend’s brekky with the girls, or you know, tonight’s dinner. I’m not going to judge.

Pea + Ricotta Stacks with Prosciutto and Parmesan

Adapted from Donna Hay

400g fresh ricotta
2 tablespoons self raising flour
2 egg whites
3/4 cup frozen peas
8 slices prosciutto
Handful shaved Parmesan
Handful rocket leaves
2-4 eggs (depending on the number of people/how hungry you are)

In a frying pan over medium heat, fry the prosciutto until crispy, a couple of minutes each side. Set aside.

For the fritters, mix together the ricotta, flour, and mint in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the eggs into the ricotta mixture until just combined.

Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan (non stick, if you can, they’re sticky bastards), and spoon a couple of tablespoons into the pan and cook for 3 minutes each side until golden.

While the fritters cook, poach your eggs to the required doneness (if you need help).

Stack as follows: Fritter, prosciutto, rocket, Parmesan and repeat. I went 4 fritters high, and topped with a runny poached egg.

For extra fancy, I also drizzled with basil oil (recipe here), but that’s up to you.

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Throes of Winter | Spiced Strawberry Ricotta Cake

The last few weekends have been pure Bri-bliss. Grey, cloudy, rainy, general miserable weather. Monday’s small talk around the coffee machine end in my gleeful recounting my weekend tales – ‘I didn’t leave the house once‘ – and then my colleagues looking at me like I’m mildly crazy and back away slowly.

You see, that is my heaven. In the throes of winter (as much of one as we get in our fair city), you bet your ass I’m going to build a nest on my couch, read books and drink more cups of tea than recommended.

I was struck with idea lightning on one of these weekends – all the tea I was drinking needed a side of cake to go with it. The idea came to me fully formed: I didn’t want to spend much time in the kitchen (it was a really good book I was reading), I wanted the lightness of ricotta, nothing too sweet, but maximum Wintry spice flavour. And so, this came to be.

This is one of those perfect cakes that you serve up for a friend who’s come over for coffee and a catch up. Then, once they’ve gone home, it just sits on the kitchen bench, and every time you walk past, you cut off a sliver to munch on as you go about your business. Sliver by delicious sliver, the cake won’t last the weekend!

Spiced Strawberry Ricotta Cake

Adapted from Bon Appetit

1½ cups plain flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1½ cups ricotta
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cardamom
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
57g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup strawberries (or any berries, fresh or frozen), halved of large
Icing sugar, to dust.

Preheat oven to 180°c. Grease a springform cake pan with butter or oil, and line the bottom with baking paper.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt in a large bowl.

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In a medium sized bowl, beat together the eggs, ricotta, and vanilla until smooth. Gently fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Add the butter, and again fold to combine.

Pour the batter into the cake pan, and then poke the strawberries evenly into the mixture.

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Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then cool completely on a wire rack. When ready to serve, dust with icing sugar.

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Hand Made Heaven | Salted Caramel Apple Crumble

I have a lot of cook books. Like, a lot. I’ve just realised that, of the bookshelf that is entirely dedicated to cook books, it’s full. I have come to the conclusion that I can never ever move from my current house, because moving the books is just too damn hard.

Whether you have overflowing selves like me, or no shelves, or you just want a book that covers all your day-to-day baking needs, get your hands on this. Hand Made Baking is an instant classic, and will be your go-to bible for years to come. Everything is practical, within reach of beginners, but with enough finesse to please a more seasoned baker. His tag line of simple, sophisticated, delicious is just about the perfect description for every recipe.

And Kamran? He writes over at The Sophisticated Gourmet, a gorgeous blog that I’ve been following for a little while now. Oh, and he’s 22. That’s right, TWENTY BLOODY TWO. To be so good, so young, Kamran quite simply had to be born to this. And we are all the better for it.

The forecast for Perth this weekend is pretty monstrous – storms, wind, rain, and cold, AKA Bri’s dream weather, on the proviso I can spend it in bed with books and movies. And probably a bowl of this, because why wouldn’t you? 

This apple crumble is perfect all on its own, but I couldn’t help but add lashings of salted butter caramel that I had tucked away in the fridge. There are few recipes that I make more than once, but I made this every weekend for a month, for the guys at work, for Rob, for friends at a party, because there is no one who won’t love this recipe.

P.S. Kamran’s tip of using half sweet apples and half tart is the perfect way of getting a balanced, not overly sweet crumble. Genius.

Salted Caramel Apple Crumble

Adapted from Hand Made Baking by Kamran Siddiqi

2 tsp lemon juice
6 apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup caramel sauce (store bought is fine, or something like this)

120g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
Pinch of cinnamon
85g cold unsalted butter, chopped
150g traditional oats
70g brown sugar

Heat your oven to 200*C. Spray a brownie pan with oil, or grease with butter.

Combine the sliced apples in a large bowl with the lemon juice. Combine the sugar, salt and cinnamon, then add to the apples and carefully stir to coat. Pour into the baking dish, scatter tablespoons of caramel over the apples.

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl large enough to get your hands into. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the oats and combine.

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Cover the apples with the crumble, then bake for 20-25 minutes until the crumble is golden. Serve with custard or ice cream

 
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Good Mornings | Coconut + Almond Granola

I’ve perfected just how long I can stay in bed and still be not-unreasonably late to work. As you can imagine, breakfast does not fit into that equation. That’s valuable sleeping time! Instead, I eat breakfast at my desk around 9:30, when I’m semi-awake and finally hungry.

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This granola comes to work with me in its own little Ziploc bag, with a piece of whatever fruit is going in my house. It’s tasty enough on its own but lends beautifully to whatever flavours you like. Add extra nuts, different dried fruits, change up the spices. It’s one of those recipes with ‘good bones’; it won’t fall to pieces if you’ve run out of something or want to change it up.

You know how I feel about repeating recipes. I rarely do it. But this, this is a staple in my pantry, and I’m still not sick of it. If that’s not a glowing recommendation, I don’t know what is.

 

Coconut + Almond Granola

From A Lot on Her Plate by Rosie Birkett

350g traditional oats
1 tsp chia seeds
80g pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
15g sunflower seeds
150g flaked almonds
50g desiccated coconut
1 1/2 tsps each of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground nutmeg
4 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp maple syrup
60g sultanas

Heat your oven to 180*C. Line a baking tray (something long and shallow, rather than a roasting dish) with baking paper.

Combine the oats, seeds, almond and spices in a large mixing bowl. If the coconut oil is cold or solid, melt gently in a small saucepan with the maple syrup, then pour over the oat mix and stir until well incorporated.

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Spread the mixture in an even layer in the baking tray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so until toasty and golden. Leave to cool completely, then add the sultanas. Keeps beautifully in an air-tight container for 4 weeks.

I like mine with cocoa nibs, Greek yoghurt, sliced fruits and a little bit of honey. Or poached pears! Or roasted strawberries. Yeeeeees, the roasted strawberries are amazing. Do that.



Sexy AF | Chocolate Cake

Guys, it’s time to get sexy.

There is nothing in this world so reliable as good ol’ chocolate cake. But over the years, it’s earn itself a reputation as bland, dry, even boring. I mean, I get it. Cheap cocoa powder is no one’s friend. Neither is tins of pre-made frosting (or anything out of a box, for that matter).

But this, this is none of those things. This is the moment in the movie when the nerdy girl takes off her glasses, shakes out her hair and Robert Palmer kicks in as she werks it down the high school corridor. Be prepared to have your jaw drop.

The book that this recipe is from called it The Little Black Dress cake. I get it, it can be dressed up or down, it’s always a winner. But I really don’t think that title really encapsulates just how good this cake is. It is, without question, sexy. as. fuck.

I mean, look at this. It’s gorgeous. It’s pretty hard not to feel very Nigella Lawson while slowly stirring that melted chocolate until it’s all thick and glossy.

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The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of liquor, and this is a good time to get creative, or see what’s in the cabinet. Dark rum and brandy taste expensive and rich, coffee liquor (or just espresso) adds depth, Frangelico or Grand Marnier add a little fun. You can leave it out entirely if you prefer. It definitely could do with a little bit of double cream, because screw it. Be bad. Enjoy it.

 

Sexy AF Chocolate Cake

From Delicious. Simply the Best

500g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
125g unsalted butter, chopped
6 eggs, separated
90g caster sugar
150ml thickened cream
2 tbsp liquor
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

450g good quality chocolate, chopped
175g unsalted butter
600ml thickened cream
1/4 cup liquid glucose

Heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a springform cake tin and line it with baking paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in either a microwave proof dish or in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir the two together until smooth, then set aside to cool slightly.

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until thick and pale. Add the cream, liquor, vanilla and chocolate mixture and stir until well combined.

In a clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mix in 3 batches. Do this carefully, you want to keep as much as air in the mixture as you can.

Spread the mixture into the cake pan, and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out with a couple of crumbs. Leave to cool in the pan on a wire rack.

To make the ganache, melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl in a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. In a saucepan, bring the glucose and cream to just below boiling point, then remove from heat, pour over the chocolate mixture and stir until combined. Chill for 30 minutes until thick. Spread the ganache over the cake and decorate.

Now, how you decorate the cake is up to you. While the those little silver cachous are pretty, they’re a chipped tooth waiting to happen. Stick to edible gold or silver leaf, or for a more modern touch, caramel popcorn.

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Slow decent into madness| Pollo Con Salsa

And so begins the slow decent into end-of-year madness. There’s people to see, parties to attend, shopping to do, and nowhere near enough time to do it all. Why do we do it to ourselves?!

How do you handle this time of year?
Are you a list person?
Did you start buying Christmas presents in June?
Do you promise yourself every year that this will be the one where you’re organised, only to find yourself 3 days out from the big day having a meltdown in Myer? Yeah, no, me neither.

With all the demands on your time that come with this time of year, you’re going to want some recipes that aren’t too taxing on the effort front, right? Right.

This recipe comes from one of my favourite books this year – The Feast Goes On, from The Monday Morning Cooking Club. If you see it, pick up a copy. It’s so full of really comforting recipes, kind of like a food hug, that it will be a book that you go back to again and again. I’m waiting for an excuse to make the insanely magical but also filthy fried cheese pie.

You heard me.

Fried.

Cheese.

Pie.

But until that day, there’s this. A great, family friendly dinner, that’s ready in an hour. This is the kind of thing you’ll find yourself eating weekly for it’s sheer simplicity and adaptability. Throw in whatever’s in your fridge, you can’t go wrong. You’re welcome.

 

Pollo Con Salsa

From The Monday Morning Cooking Club

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large red capsicum, thinly sliced
8 skinless chicken thighs
500ml chicken stock
400g tin diced tomatoes
1 large handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

 

Heat the oil over medium heat. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, then add the onion and cook until soft, stirring, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and capsicum and continue to stir for a further 5 minutes, until the capsicum softens. Scrape from the pan and set aside. Add the chicken to the pan and brown well on both sides.

Add the onion and capsicum back to the pan, then add the stock. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Stir in the tomatoes and parsley, season, then cook for another 15 minutes until slightly thickened.

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Serve with your favourite carb.

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This would be great with rice or mash, but I couldn’t say no to Israeli couscous.

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Cops & Spiders| Apple Pie Biscuits

If you follow me on any form of social media, you will know The Spider Story.

If you don’t, here’s a quick recap:

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Essentially, I had a great time joking around (mostly… Seriously, I need an on-call spider killer. Please. Apply within.) with the Kensington Police about sending someone to squish a spider for me. Before long, it had taken on a life of its own, and I found myself delivering morning tea to the station to say thanks for them having an excellent sense of humor.

I had a really great morning getting to meet Senior Sargent Goy, Constable Roberts and the rest of the team. But what I enjoyed the most was getting to chat to them about their love for Vic Park, swapping coffee tips and restaurant finds, and generally sharing the love for an up-and-coming hub. It was really lovely to spend time with people who genuinely love the city that they serve and protect, and are working towards making it a better place. Hats off to you, Kenso Cops!

Biscuits are essentially American scones, typically made with buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk (it’s in the fridge section of the supermarket with the milk), this is my favourite substitute. Works a treat!

Coming into Spring, these are a great treat to take along on a picnic (that still happens, right?) or barbecue. If your kids are on holidays, this is also a great recipe for them to make themselves.

 

Apple Pie Biscuits

From Joy the Baker

 

For the apples:
1  apple
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

For the biscuits:
2 cups Self-Rising Flour
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 to 3/4 cup cold buttermilk

For the topping:
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

 

Preheat the oven to 220 C/425 F. Line a baking tray with baking paper, and set aside.

For the apples, peel and slice thinly with a mandolin. Toss together the apple slices with the melted butter, cinnamon and brown sugar until coated, then place in a baking tray. Place in the oven for 5 minutes, then set aside (you don’t want the apple cooked through).

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To make the dough, place the flour and cold butter in a bowl bug enough to get your hands in to. Work the butter into the flour with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the sugar. Add 2/3 cup of buttermilk, then mix together until well combined and the mixture is moist, soft and holds together. Add more buttermilk if needed.

Dust your bench well with flour, then turn out the dough. Shape the dough into a rectangle, the, with a rolling pin, roll out to a large rectangle about ½ inch thick, about 18cm by 25cm.

Spoon the apples in a single layer over half of the dough, leaving a small border. Fold the rest of the dough over the apples, and press the edges together to seal. Cut the dough into 12 then place on to your baking tray.

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Combine together the sugar, cinnamon and salt. Brush the top of the biscuits with the egg wash, then sprinkle over the sugar mixture.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden. Enjoy warm or cold, with custard or cream. Or ice cream. Or on their own. It’s all good.

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I found that they went a little soggy the day after, so they’re best eaten the day you make them (they’re still delicious the next day though, so don’t let a little soggy stop you).
P.S. If you know of a cop in your community who’s doing an amazing job, why not nominate them for a WA Police Excellence Award?