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I’ve not always enjoyed breakfast. For years I would skip it because I didn’t generally feel hungry until about two hours after I woke up. Now though I am hungry as soon as I’m awake and am slipping down the stairs while Rasmus is still in the shower to see what there is to eat.

This morning it was a quarter of a cantelope melon, which we ate slurping the juice that ran down our chins. It was followed up with one of the luciabrød, leftover from Wednesday, and some orange juice. Simple but good.

Do you eat breakfast? I know lots of people skip it or just eat toast every day of their lives. But in the last year or so I’ve been a little inspired to make breakfast a bit more creative. We don’t eat the same thing every single day for dinner, so why would we do it for breakfast?

Now the daily choice nearly always includes yoghurt with nuts and dried fruit, or cereal, or some kind of bread I’ve made recently (the fruit bread I made at the weekend was perfect breakfast food), fruit (cantelopes, clementines, kiwis…) and maybe if I’m feeling energetic, eggs. And lazy weekend mornings provide even more scope for breakfast: pancakes! baked eggs! breakfast burritos!

So here on this rainy dreary Friday morning are some pretty pictures to inspire your breakfasts over the coming week…

Breakfast Inspiration

 

1. Martha Stewart’s bacon, egg and toast cups;  2. Tartelette’s parmesan roasted asparagus, tomatoes and eggs; 3. Daily Dream’s toast and jam; 4. Joy the Baker’s lemon raspberry breakfast rolls; 5. Ohdeedoh’s snowman pancakes; 6. Muesli, yoghurt and fruit (source unknown) via Bkfst; 7. Corrine E Rossi’s grapefruit and egg on toast.

p.s. if this has just wet your appetite for more, I found a great tumblr blog yesterday, just stuffed full of beautiful breakfast photos… click here to look

 

 

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I had a desperate need to bake on Saturday. Do you ever get that? This fruit bread was the result… it’s a really good, dense fruit bread, closer in texture to the Danish rugbrød than to British breads. It’s a recipe torn from a Danish magazine (no record any more of which one…) and is the recipe Rasmus used to make me fall in love with me (miss that story? see here).

I made it with dried figs which made it taste very Christmassy too. The dough is really stodgy, so much so that you wonder whether you did something wrong, and even the third time you make it, you run upstairs with the tin to check it with your husband. It also tends to brown on the top very quickly so I recommend keeping an eye on it and covering it with foil if it starts getting too dark.

Fruitbread recipe

 

Fruit bread / Frugtbrød

What you need:

  • 65g almonds
  • 30g oatmeal
  • 300g wheatflour
  • 125g dried fruits
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 dl natural yoghurt
  • 0.5 dl honey

What you do:

  1. Preheat the over to 200 c
  2. Chop up the almonds in large pieces. Fry them in a dry pan until they get lightly coloured. Add the oatmeal and fry a little longer.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the yoghurt and honey.
  4. Put the dough into a bread tin (approx 1.5 litre). Bake it in the oven (lowest shelf) for about an hour.
  5. Let it cool and then turn out and enjoy with butter (and cheese if you like that!)

Did I ever tell you the story about the party I threw for my friend Marissa in my old flat? It was October of 2008 and Rasmus and I were just friends but spending a lot of time together.

I’d organised the party at my place and invited all our friends, asking them to bring some food with them (I was a poor NGO worker so the potluck was the most sociable and affordable option!). Rasmus arrived with a loaf of home-baked fruit and nut bread. I think I may have fallen in love with him at that moment.

Pølsehorn opskrift

So although I am usually the baker in our home, and definitely the one with the sweet tooth, Rasmus can definitely hold his own in the kitchen. On Monday night he decided to make these pølsehorn that he’d been talking about for weeks, since we were last in Denmark and bought two big packets of sausages to freeze.

They are seriously yummy! He made half with tomato ketchup filling which are my favourite. They’re best warm but they last quite well. I may have eaten two yesterday morning, and then gone on a trip to ikea and eaten too more hotdogs there. What can I say, I like sausages! I think these would make great lunchbox fillers for kids – or for slightly bigger kids at the office.

Pølsehorn opskrift

 

Pølsehorn opskrift recipe

 

Here is the recipe. It is translated from the Danish cookbook God Mad – Let at lave, which seems to be the Danish cookery bible as far as I can tell. It has recipes for everything a Dane would ever want to eat.

 

Pølsehorn

What you need:

  • 25g yeast (live; we used 7g dried)
  • 1 dl warm water
  • 50g butter
  • 1 dl yoghurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • c. 450g plain flour
  • 8 hot dog sausages
  • Ketchup or mustard (optional)

What you do:

  1. Stir the yeast into the warm water.
  2. Melt the butter and mix with the yoghurt. Stir this mixture into the yeast
  3. Add the salt, egg and flour and knead the dough well together. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200 c.
  5. Beat the dough down and divide it into 2 balls. Roll each ball out into a thin circle. Cut the circle into quarters or eighths (depending whether you want big or small pølsehorn).
  6. Spread half a teaspoon of mustard or ketchup on each triangle and lie one or a half hotdog sausage on top.
  7. Roll the triangles up, starting at the wide end. Place them on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Leave them to rise about ten minutes.
  8. Brush the pølsehorn with milk or beaten egg and then bake them in the oven for around 20 minutes until they’re a nice golden colour.
  9. Enjoy them warm!!

I’ve written about making soda bread on this blog before. It’s my other go-to recipe for using up buttermilk after scones, which I already made last week. I’d planned to make this bread first but had run out of baking soda and our little local delhaize didn’t have any.

Yesterday, when I got home from Luxembourg, I did have some soda in the cupboard. And not really having anything else to eat for lunch, and decided to make some. It’s another of those ridiculously quick and easy recipes, so that when you’re making it you wonder why on earth you only get around to it every nine months or so. It’s soft and a bit of the cakey side of the bread spectrum. And it has this wonderfully thick and crunchy crust surrounding it!

Our main room is flooded with sunshine from noon until about three, so I ate this sitting in the sunshine, enjoying the quiet before I started my afternoon of cleaning and organising. It’s best served warm, with generous amounts of salted butter and jam. Blackcurrant jam is my favourite right now. This time I just made a half quantity because there’s only me to eat it today and it’s best fresh. I can always make another mini loaf tomorrow… :)

Soda Bread (from The River Cottage Family Cookbook)

What you need:

  • 250g / 9oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 225 ml / 8 floz buttermilk

What you do:

  1. Heat the oven to 230c / 445f / GM8
  2. Sift the flour, salt and soda in a mixing bowl and add the sugar
  3. Stir in the buttermilk, at first with a wooden spoon, bringing it together in a doughy mass with you hands. It should feel soft and firm, not sticky (Fi: I didn’t need all the buttermilk, add a little at a time until it’s the right consistency)
  4. Knead for a minute until smooth and shape into a ball. Slash a deep cross in the top of the loaf (this will allow the bread to open out as the soda expands the dough)
  5. Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes, the turn the oven down to 220c / 400f / GM6 and cook for another 15-20 minutes, until the base sounds hollow when you tap it.
  6. Let cool for ten minutes, then cut into thick slices and serve.

This morning, one of my best friends was coming around for a morning of long conversation, so I did what any respectful part-Scottish woman would do and whipped up a batch of scones.

Scones are one of my favourite things to bake. I think they were probably one of the first things my mum taught me to make. They are so very easy and fast but so wonderfully delicious, that they’re just a joy to bake. Rubbing the butter into the flour is highly therapeutic and the smell of scones as they bake is like nothing else!

These can be on the table in twenty minutes. Ten minutes to mix together and cut into shapes (Scottish circles, not American triangles) and ten minutes in the oven.

We ate them sitting on the sofa in the morning sunshine (yey for the sun being back!) with some good coffee and orange juice. Is there anything so nice as scones, coffee and uplifting conversation on a Thursday morning??

I had some buttermilk left over from some cupcakes I made for a baby shower on Tuesday (more about that soon!) so I used this recipe from BBC Good Food, and they turned out great. I didn’t have SR flour so I just added a generous teaspoon of baking powder and a little salt. They really are the perfect little treat for when you have guests arriving in half an hour!

Yesterday morning, I met up with three girlfriends and we drove out of the city to Vieux-Genappe, a village I’d never heard of in the Belgian countryside by Waterloo. Our destination was La Ferme du Hameau du Roy, a small farm with an amazing bakery and a small cafe.

 

It was a grey, miserable day but that meant that the staff had lit the fire in the grate, so we chose the table right next to it, and ordered their “Imperial” breakfast for all four of us. It included freshly squeezed orange juice, hot coffee or tea, light fluffy scrambled eggs from the farm hens, little pots of jams and chocolate spread, also all home-made, and the most delicious assortment of their hand-baked breads and pastries. Delicious!

It was such a delicious brunch, and we devoured it all in no time, and then kept chatting and snacking on more bread until we were dangerously full! There’s really nothing quite like having brunch with friends. I feel like it should be a much more common occurrence. This was also special because our friend Sarah who used to live here was just back visiting for a week, so we had to make the most of every moment…

After we’d finished brunch, we walked back through the farm shop to see all the wonderful breads, cookies, marzipan sweets and tarts on display. They were already prepared for Christmas, and especially for Sinterklaas on 6 December, which is an important holiday here in Belgium.

It’s sad that I’m only discovering this wonderful place a few weeks before I leave. But then it does provide a great excuse to come back and visit – maybe they’ll insist on taking me out for a great brunch too :)

Last Thursday we had some friends round for dinner and we made beef burgers and chicken apple burgers for everyone. It was not the easiest of meals to bulk-cook but it was fun, and I got to try out a new bread recipe for the burger buns.

I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen because I can usually rely on her recipes to work pretty perfectly. Of course, making bread with two rises in the recipe takes quite a bit of time but there’s not really good bread rolls in our local supermarket (good for sandwiches, not for burgers) so this was the best (and most fun!) option.

They turned out really well. I had to gently reshape them after the second rise because they’d kinda risen outward instead of upward, resulting in some flatish burger buns, but the reshaped batch worked much better. They were soft and just a little bit sweet, and worked really well with the burgers.

And isn’t there something so meditative about kneading dough? I would put the timer on for ten minutes to make sure I was doing it enough, and then stand and daydream while I pummelled the dough around. I really should make bread more often…

I didn’t get any pictures of the rest of the evening but it was a lot of fun. We served the burgers with caramelised onions, chilli tomato relish and a big pile of roasted vegetables. Dessert was chocolate fudge pudding, and bread & butter pudding… :)

When we got married two years ago in the UK, we organised an afternoon tea party reception in the Village Hall immediately after the wedding. We were having a big party the next week in Brussels so we didn’t want anything too big or too complicated, so we planned to make most of the food ourselves. My mum made most of the delicious cakes and finger foods, with some of our talented family bakers contributing plates of this and that to the table, which looked so incredible delicious!

I didn’t in fact get to eat anything. Yes, I was that bride. Honestly, I tried so hard, but every time I got close to the table some well meaning person would intercept me to tell me how happy they were for me and how lovely I looked and how many blessings they wished us in our new life. Yes, how kind, but the food!!

In the end, some wonderful person (Jen? Hannah? Fancy?) handed me a piece of gingerbread through the window of the car as we drove away and I munched happily on it as we drove off up the A40 and marveled that we were, in fact, married.

Well I may not have got to eat much, but Rasmus has frequently spoken of the malteser cake he had. I swear this cake had reached legendary proportions. I discovered that it was my cousin Allie who was responsible for said malteser cake and she promptly emailed me the link to the recipe.

I guess I am not quite such a good housewife because it has taken me a whole two years to make it for my dear husband. My sister in law had asked me to bake something for the baptism at the weekend, which I was very happy to. “What do you think I should make?” was the innocent question which got a fast and confident “Malteser cake” in reply. Malteser cake it was.

The recipe comes from a blog called Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments. It seems she’s a lass from Northern Ireland who also posts such heart-attack inducing concoctions as the mars bar rice krispie treats on her website. Sadly, she doesn’t seem to be blogging any more but the recipe was happily still there.

Ruth calls them “malteser buns” but buns in my mind are sweet bread-like things. Cake is not a good description either. These are neither cakey nor bunish. What they are is very bad for you. Since the ingredients consist of chocolate, butter, maltesers, biscuits and not a lot else, this will not come as a huge surprise.

But they are still very very good and if you cut them in small little squares you can excuse the naughtiness of them. And then take a second…

Malteser Buns/Cake/Traybake

Recipe from Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments

What you need:

400g milk chocolate
200g unsalted butter
4 tbsp golden syrup
250g digestive biscuits
175g maltesers
250g white chocolate
50g unsalted butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
75g maltesers, crushed

What you do:

1. Blend the digestive biscuits to make fine crumbs (Fiona: or bang ’em with a rolling pin)
2. Set up a double boiler and melt together the milk chocolate, 200g butter and 4 tbsp golden syrup.
3. Mix in the crushed biscuit and maltesers and stir well.
4. Spread out the mixture in a swiss roll pan and compact the mixture in the pan. (It can be helpful to place this in the fridge until you have your topping ready)
5. Set up the double boiler again. Melt together the white chocolate, 50g butter and 1 tbsp golden syrup. (Fiona: Melting white chocolate is HARD. Seriously, it only went well for me the THIRD time. May you have much better kitchen luck)
6. Pour the white chocolate over the top of the compacted biscuit mix and spread evenly.
7. Pour on the crushed maltesers and spread over the top pushing gently into the melted chocolate.
8. Leave to firm up in the fridge for a couple of hours then slice into portions.

Today we are on our way to Denmark, for the baptism of our brand new niece, Madicken, on Sunday. This is particularly special as Rasmus and I will be standing as her godparents, which is such an honour.

I’ve also been charged with baking a cake for the reception so I am travelling with all my recipes and ingredients :)

We’ve been making a lot of snacks to take along on the journey with us so we’re not tempted my burger king, or the usual sweets, crisps and coke diet that are our long road trips usually! A few days ago we made a huge batch of frikadeller (Danish meatballs), and this morning I’ve just spent the last hour and a half making spring rolls with leftover chicken from a roast earlier in the week. Add to that carrots, tomatoes, radishes and some freshly popped popcorn, I don’t think we’ll be too hungry when we get there!

Have a great weekend!

We’re in to week two of our month long detox diet. Last week everything was going quite well. I was eating well and regularly and wasn’t getting hungry. We’d not had huge cravings for any forbidden foods and our meals had generally been pretty delicious (did you see the pumpkin, chorizo and chickpea soup from Saturday’s lunch?)

But this weekend the problems arrived. Saturday night was a leaving meal for some friends in Brussels. First the waiter put down bread bowls on both sides of me which I quickly passed out of arm’s reach. We couldn’t partake of the wine that had been ordered with the meal. And then the meal that I had tried to choose for it’s lack of forbidden foods arrived swimming in a rich cream sauce. Hm. After dinner we stayed in the bar for drinks while lots more friends arrived. Drinking fruit juice all night felt so miserable, so in the end we both ordered a cocktail and said it was in name of being sociable ;)

Then on Monday we went to Luxembourg for the day and it turned out to be a day of wanting what I couldn’t have: we couldn’t stop for a coffee and pastry after our stroll around town, it was yoghurt and mint tea instead. My mint tea came with a cinnamon cookie which I had to hide under the sugar pakcets to stop me eating it. Lunch was tricky and we ended up going to a soup cafe which was nice, but not exactly what we had been hoping for. And I had to avoid the big chunk of wholegrain bread they served it with. And finally for dinner we found a steakhouse which was actually very very good. But no wine with my steak, hide the bread behind the salt and pepper, order the steamed vegetables instead of the chips…

What I have learned is this:

  • If it’s in front of me, I want it. Even if I hadn’t thought of a cinnamon cookie before my tea arrived, now I am bummed I am not allowed to eat it.
  • Eating out is hard on this diet. Planning in advance where to go and checking the menu for options that fit really helps.
  • I am glad to be doing this detox (really, I am) but I am also incredibly grateful that it is a choice, and that at the end of the month we can reintroduce the foods we love in healthy amounts.
  • A little creativity can help…

And that’s where the title of this post comes in. Being deprived of rice and potatoes and “fillers” like that has made me have to think a little more carefully to be able to cook a dinner that is both healthy and filling (in a good way, not in a stuffed way, which is what we’re trying to avoid!).

Enter, grains. Meet millet and quinoa. I picked these up in a health food store last Thursday because finding them in our little local GB was impossible (GB did have Bulgur wheat which I bought for cooking with the day my gluten ban is up!).

I figure that a key to enjoying the rest of this month’s diet, rather than resenting it, is to have fun with exploring new foods and new recipes, and making sure the fridge is always stocked with delicious things to eat.

So I went off in search of millet recipes… (I didn’t even get as far as the quinoa search and look how many delicious recipes I have!)

Now tell me you’re not drooling already?! With this to eat every day I will be a full and content lady :)

 

Millet recipe sources (by row from top):   1. Farro & Millet Risotto, from 101 Cookbooks; 2. Autumn Millet Bake, also from 101 Coobooks3. Cranberry Mango Millet Salad, from Healthful Pursuit; 4. Millet & Sweet Potato Cakes, from Cooking Books5. Millet Breakfast Cereal, from Wholefoods; 6. Apple Pie Millet Breakfast Bake, from Healthful Pursuit; 7. Stuffed Peppers with Millet Black Bean Pilaf, from Jeanette’s Healthy Living; 8. Beef and Millet Stew, from Betty Crocker.