Tag Archives: Breakfast

Soft-boiled eggs

Maybe the problem with success is that we don’t take enough time to define it for ourselves.
~ Eric Karjaluto, co-founder of smashLAB

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I find this terribly simple and profound: soft-boiled eggs cracked into a bowl, topped with a mini mountain of toast fragments and too much black pepper.

Sometimes I think I could eat this every day.

A morning like every morning

Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.
~ Walt Whitman

Last night, I watched a spectacular sunset – one which said clearly, “Stop. Pay attention to me.”

That reminded me to be present in each moment… to know that the Good Life is not the Perfect Someday, or the Hive of Meaningless Activity. It is right here, right now. Walking on wet grass, releasing the scent of rain with each step. Feeling the wind graze every inch of my skin. Drinking in the glow of the setting sun. Gazing at the mist. Pausing on purpose. Dreaming, yes, but not losing sight of the waking moments or the really important things. Being thankful.

So this morning I met Herman for breakfast and there it was again – something which said, “Stop. Pay attention. Take a photo if you like…” Of what? The bright sun, the table askew, the berries stacked in his glass and the avocado spread on my toast. Or, in the case of the photo below, the End of Breakfast and the Start of Mid-morning Tuesday…

Conversation. Friendship. My work schedule for the day. The buzz of business people walking past clutching meeting agendas and other such things. Morning.

The mornings like every other morning – those are the gems.

Kith Bistro, Park Mall

Design is thinking made visual.
~ Saul Bass

Evening falls like a blue silk dress, smoothly and elegantly. A sweet breeze from ceiling fans above courses softly through my hair like welcome whispers. Traffic sounds and birdsong merge and mingle into a track for “Sounds of the City”. The tables around me look inviting with the soft, warm glow of candles. I soak in the pleasure of being outdoors on a summer evening, breathing in fresh air. Ahhh…

It occurs to me, briefly, that I am in a busy city with over five million people packed into a piece of land equal to the size of Lake Taupo – but the thought dissolves as I relax into my chair and a smiling waiter hurries over with menus for us.

I am at the outdoor area of the recently opened Kith Bistro. The place is far from sprawling and this is no idyllic resort, but its feel and layout create an effective illusion of spaciousness and play: I feel like I’m in an airy outdoor living space with room enough to breathe and relax. The furniture* here is simple but tasteful, and I spot a colourful corner for kids to play in. It’s a place to visit with friends, or alone with a notebook and good ideas. When I look up, I see a bouquet of leaves and branches – like a pretty silhouette against the evening sky (see above).

It is far too late for lunch and too early for dinner, so we get food perfect for the occasion of ‘in-between meals’ (the menu appears to cater well for all times of day!). Between us, we share a few tasty morsels, coffee and a very refreshing fresh juice. Everything arrives beautifully presented, and polishing off our plates is a pleasure. When we pop inside to pay after our meal, I visually feast on the yummy-looking array of cabinet food and the charming chalkboard menu… I already look forward to trying out their brunch menu sometime!

* Some of the great furniture here can be found at Xtra, conveniently located next door to the cafe. Well worth a browse is all I can say, even if furniture isn’t usually your thing. Xtra is a celebration of art and excellence, a perfect place to get inspiration (and great pieces for your home, if your budget allows for it)!

Kith Bistro (Park Mall) – 9 Penang Road, #01-01E Park Mall, Singapore – Phone: +65 6338 861

A Bircher sort of experiment

To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie –
True Poems flee.
~ Emily Dickinson

    Bircher muesli with mango, mint and macadamias*
    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup rolled oats
    zest of 1/2 orange
    1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (1 orange should do)
    1/4 cup unsweetened yoghurt
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    handful of mint leaves, chopped
    handful of macadamias, chopped
    2 tbsp shredded coconut**
    1/3 mango, cubed***
    1 tsp light brown sugar
    dribble of milk
    1/2 tsp honey (I used J. Friend and Co’s Beechwood Honeydew Honey)
    Method:
    Combine the rolled oats, orange juice, orange zest, yoghurt and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir well, then cover the bowl with cling wrap and place it in the fridge to chill for at least 1.5 hours.
    When ready to serve, stir in the other ingredients. Simple, gently sweet and so good when the sun is attacking your face and you want a cold, wholesome breakfast.
    Yields one serving.

* The alliteration here is entirely serendipitous – I picked the ingredients based on what I had left at home yesterday.

** I unfortunately forgot to add in the shredded coconut… but I know it would have been even better with it!

*** I find it easiest to dissect a mango this way: cut into three parts leaving the seed in the middle. Make deep diagonal cuts in the top and bottom third, so you get diamond-shaped mango pieces sitting in the skin. Invert and let the cubes fall into the bowl (you may need to coax them out with a knife if your mango isn’t ripe/soft enough – I had to do this yesterday). Eat the middle section while standing at the sink, letting the juices run merrily down your arms.

Bejewelled buttermilk pancakes

Sunglasses wrapped like a fallen angel’s
~ John Kinsella, Divine Comedy – Canto of Wings

“Pancakes” – a word for any Dictionary of Words that Elicit Smiles. It seems to me that every time the word “pancakes” is uttered, ears prick up and faces start glowing with warm-fuzziness while mouths chime in on a chorus of “Mmmmm…”

I remember that four years ago, when I cooked so poorly that a certain flatmate tried to ban me from the kitchen permanently (I kid you not – he trembled on my Cooking Nights and once stood at the entrance to the kitchen begging to know what I would come up with this time)… one of the things I desperately wanted to learn to make was pancakes. I thought that if I could just make them, I would be well on my way to being a Wonder Woman in the kitchen. Wonder Woman in general. With Nigella coursing through my veins.

I did make pancakes that year. Sometimes they resembled good pancakes. Sometimes they did not. One time I made these blueberry pancakes that looked a great deal like a freckled face dotted with pimples and bruises. My friend Justin ate them with a bright smile, and then we sat down and watched “Star Wars” DVDs till Yoda snuggled into my eyelids.

I am sure that must be one of the reasons Justin and I are still good friends – I admire the qualities of humour and courage very much. (Justin likes berries and madness.)

Mastering the art of making pancakes was to me so synonymous with achieving success in cooking (plus I knew no one who disliked them), that I was pretty blind to the shortcomings of pancakes. It took me a while to realise I was more in love with the idea of being in love with pancakes, than actually in love with them.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had jolly good pancake/crepe/hotcake meals. I remember in particular one pancake party my friend Hellie hosted a while ago – it kept me in a reverie for days afterwards! Also, I like maple syrup as much as anyone could like maple syrup, and they happen to take to pancakes exceptionally well :-)

It’s just that, good as they are, pancakes seldom taste as good as they look and smell to me. (Some say the same about coffee).

The truth is that, most of the time when I DO venture to eat pancakes, they excite me at the start, evoke boredom and a bloated stomach midway through the meal… and I leave the table sad.

So, all that said, I awoke at 6.30 this morning and was pretty surprised that I had a picture of pancakes in my head. I peeked at a few sites on Google, scribbled down a list of ingredients and decided to make a small batch of pancakes.

I had buttermilk, condensed milk and pomegranate seeds on hand, so that is how this recipe came into being.

And, you know, it wasn’t so bad.

    Bejewelled buttermilk pancakes
    Ingredients:
    1/4 cup flour
    1 tsp caster sugar
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    pinch of salt
    pinch of cinnamon (optional)
    pinch of lemon zest (optional)
    1 egg, separated
    1 tbsp melted butter
    1/4 cup buttermilk
    pomegranate seeds
    2-3 tbsp condensed milk
    Method:
    Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and cinnamon if using, then set aside.
    In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg yolk and butter. Add this to the dry ingredients and whisk together. Do not over-whisk.
    In a separate bowl, whip the egg white, then fold it into the above mixture.
    Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Grease with a pat of butter or some olive oil (butter tastes better in this instance). When it shimmers, ladle batter on to the skillet, making pancakes of any size.
    I found these cooked pretty quickly – keep an eye on them and flip them before they burn (approximately 1-2 minutes)! Once the second side is lightly browned, rescue and keep them in a warm spot in your kitchen.
    Once they are all done, place a pancake on a clean plate, drizzle condensed milk and scatter pomegranate seeds on it, then add a pancake on top and repeat these steps till you have a sparkling pancake stack. Substitute condensed milk and pomegranate seeds with your favourite pancake toppings if you wish.
    Open the windows, greet the morning, and eat your meal with fork and knife.
    This recipe yields three small pancakes – when cooking for a crowd, you can probably adjust the dry ingredients to scale (i.e. 1/4 cup flour for three pancakes, 1/2 cup for six pancakes, etc) but I think you’ll have to adjust the number of eggs and amount of wet ingredients based on how your batter looks! This batter seems pretty forgiving, anyhow, so just experiment and have fun. Also, preheat the oven to 50°C and keep the stack of pancakes warm in the oven while you cook all of them.

P.S. Through a stroke of great fortune, I got a complimentary ticket to attend the opening night of Cav & Pag last night. Blood, jealousy, love, blue skies and the scent of orange trees. Pathos. Humour. Surprises. Themes reflected in colours, posture, juxtaposition. A moving stage set. Luring singing. Enjoyed the two hours of magic! In Auckland? Get your tickets here.

Breakfast, as of late

I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you till China and Africa meet and the river jumps over the mountain and the salmon sing in the street.
~ W. H. Auden

I have been eating this every day for breakfast this week. Kids, try this at home: lay a piece of your favourite bread on a plate. Cover it with fresh spinach leaves. Decorate with oily oh-so-good-that-you-want-to-swoon-over-it smoked salmon and healthy flecks of parmesan cheese. Squeeeeze a wedge of lemon over the whole lot. Poach an egg in salted water, and place on top of the lot. Sprinkle with black pepper if desired. Eat immediately with knife and fork.

Golden

The beginning is the most important part of the work.
~ Plato

Haven’t made this in a while, and last night I decided to toast a tray of this for my next few breakfasts. Remembered again everything I like about this! So much more fun to make and eat this than to buy and eat a box of Vogel’s too…

Make your own good morning.