Entertaining for Breakfast doesn’t have to be a stressful event. In fact it is probably the best time to entertain. You’ve got the most energy of the day, it doesn’t take all day to prepare and guests don’t stay on until all hours of the night. Speaking honestly here, what sells it for me is it’s probably the most cost effective meal to entertain.
If you follow my little blog or instagram you’ll probably know just how often I say that the key to a relaxed, happy hosting experience is to prepare beforehand. I like to think outside the box for breakfasts. Things that aren’t your usual ‘bacon and eggs’ or croissants… oh wait, let’s be real here! Nothing beats a fresh baked croissant. But if you want your guests to feel totally spoilt think of a few easy things that will work together. An easy example is my cute little menu this morning as we entertained 6 adults and 8 children.
It looked like this:
Breakfast grazing board
Israeli Shashuka served with fresh sourdough.
Champagne and fresh Orange Juice
Passion fruit Kombucha
Really friends it was so simple to do. Once we put the kids to bed last night we set the table, I cooked up the shashuka to a point where I know the next day all I had to do was fry the eggs in the delicious mixture. As for a grazing board… I’m sure most of you have made them in your time. But this was really fun. Hop onto Pinterest and literally type the words in. You’ll be met with a wealth of ideas to create your own style. Finally I wanted to have something ready for upon arrival. Something that took a few seconds to put together and gave a wow factor. And here the recipe (embarrassingly) is!!
500g organic plain coconut yoghurt (or any type you like)
Slices of fresh figs.
1/3 cup Organic honey
1/3 cup Organic granola or muesli
Keep fresh fig slices aside. Mix other ingredients.
Place a fig gently into the mould. Build the mixture around it, place one more sliced fig into the mould. Completely fill mixture to the top.
Serve on a platter of your choice with scattered nuts and a drizzle of honey.
Boy oh boy I sure do love a good lasagna. the classic beef, chicken, vegetarian and one of the most decadent to date was Jamie Oliver’s Duck Lasagna! It was everything warming, silky smooth and the flavours were off the charts good. BUT it takes 4 hours to make! Something I’ve made only twice as a special celabratory meal. In 2010 I had the brilliant opportunity to travel through Italy with my girlfriend. We ate our way around the country for 3 weeks. And my goodness we came rolling home a little wiser on the culinary delights of Italian cooking. So I started cooking the Romans famously known lasagna, however I was still adding the classic Aussie beef. Fast forward a few years later and I met James, he was working with a lovely Italian lady. She invited us over for a party and naturally served us huge lasagna’s. They tasted just like the ones back in Tuscany. Light and delicate. How is a good lasagna supposed to look on a plate? Actually like a hot mess! Not thick and clumpy, not hard. Oozy and once it hits your mouth it’s almost as if you don’t need to even chew. Different parts of Italy make lasagna slightly differently. But in my humble opinion the way I’ve perfected mine is the best (like most nonnas ha!). If you want the best lasagna you need to make your own lasagna sheets. Now, please don’t be scared! We’ve shown quite a few people how to make pasta now and they are surprised at how simple it really is!
So folks, this is as authentic as an Italian Lasagna can get (except I’m a mother so I add as many vegetables as possible and broth…. I love watching my children chow down on veggies they normally don’t eat).
800g grass fed, free range any red mince meat. Pork, Veal.
800g grass fed, free range beef mince.
5 Garlic cloves. (only buy fresh garlic thats Australian grown. Why? (Click here and see why…)
2 Celery Stalks
(Now add anything else that might be about to turn or you’ve been dying to feed your kids… eggplant, broccoli, mushrooms etc)
4 cans of Italian crushed Tomatoes (buy the ones from Italy)
ALTERNATIVELY: If you can’t find any of these fresh herbs or they aren’t in season and a little pricey, you can use your oils.
2 drops of Oregano
2 drops of Basil
2-3 drops of Rosemary
150g Pitted Olives
3 bay leaves
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 190 degrees.
Blitz the veggies to almost a pulp except the onion.
Dice the onions.
Add a tablespoon of butter and Olive Oil to a large saucepan. Allow to melt.
Add Onions and cook until transparent.
Add the crushed garlic, cook for 2 minutes.
Add the blitzed up veggies and cook until darkened in colour.
Place the meat into the saucepan. Allow to brown.
Now add the tins of Italian Tomatoes, Broth, Red wine, Fresh Herbs, Dried herbs, Olives and the juice if you are using them.
Bring to the boil.
Bring it back, cover and simmer for 3 hour hours.
Once cooled add a little more fresh herbs so keep it vibrant in colours.
This is now ready to use for Bolognese or Lasagna. It makes a huge quantity for the freezer.
Bechamél Sauce is the easiest thing in the world to make. Really you can find any easy recipe anywhere. James is a wizz at making the stuff. He says the perfect amount of nutmeg makes for a brilliant lasagna!
To layer the lasagna use any size tray, we like to use lots of the disposable foil trays so it’s portioned perfectly and an easy pre made meal for those who are in need! No washing up necessary.
What you want to do is begin with a layer of meat sauce, pasta sheet, Béchamel and a good grating of cheddar and Parmesan Reggiano. Layer 3 times and top with the cheeses.
Cook until golden and bubbly on the outside.
* note: this will make you multiple lasagnas. They freeze brilliantly for someone in need of for those busy sports evenings 😉
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Pumpkin Soup. I almost don’t want to share this one! It’s my favourite secret weapon. Everyone who’s tried this absolutely LOVES it! The secret to get the nutty flavouring is roast and sautée all ingredients until VERY well browned!
One whole pumpkin (I love Jap) cut up and seasoned well. And lathered in olive oil.
2 onions diced.
2 tablespoons of butter.
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil.
350g of Milk. (Or to your liking).
2 litres of chicken stock.
Nutmeg added to your liking.
Method: Set oven to 200c. Cook pumpkin until almost black. Yep! I’m serious. Meanwhile melt butter and olive oil, add onions and slowly cook with the lid on simmering until dark brown. Once pumpkin is ready place in large saucepan with the onions, add stock. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Add milk, simmer for a few minutes with a good dash of nutmeg. Season well. BLITZ everything, including the skins until smooth and creamy.
*note, you can substitute cows milk for Almond.
* I have a large family so I tend to double this entire recipe to make 6-7 litres. I freeze it in portions. The perfect go to meal!
My girlfriend just added a great idea. For a change why not add a Tablespoon of my green curry pasteto create ‘Thai Pumpkin soup.’ – Thanks Loren xx
Alrighty, this is a winner of an idea. You can place the paste in a jar and throw a ribbon around it… or maybe not even go that far. And BOOM, a delicious homemade gift! Or keep it in the fridge for a week to use. Alternatively, this is my favourite. Freeze it up in your ice cube trays! That is the perfect portion to add into the pan to make a fast curry. I have made curry’s a lot more involved and they have been out of this world but for a weeknight meal, who has the time! Below are a few of my top picks. Remember this is a quick meal and perfect for the winter go to’s! I haven’t been able to find any recipe or play on a few that beats Jamie Olivers Red Curry. Look it up and add this to your curry repertoire.
Green Curry Paste
2-4 Large green chillies (the little ones are super hot!).
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 small Brown Onion
1 tbs Garlic
Small Bunch of Coriander leaves including their stalks
2 tsp grated Lime peel
Juice of 1 Lime
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground Coriander
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp Lemongrass
1 tsp peeled Ginger
2 tsp Fish Sauce
1 tsp ground Tumeric
1 tsp oil
Yellow Curry Paste
I once made this paste for friends with 40 dried chillies!!!! Oh my, I nearly died when we cooked with it. So let’s say a few less and you might get the kids on board also.
10 small dried red Chilli’s. Soak chillies in a bowl for 3 minutes.
A good pinch of Salt
4 cloves of Garlic
1 lemongrass stalk. Peel off the outer layer and cut off the hard ends.
6 inch piece of Ginger, peeled, roughly chopped.
2 tsp of Fish Sauce
2 tbps Curry Powder
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Tumeric
1 tsp Cumin
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of water.
Blitz Everything, adding a little more oil, salt, juice, chilli to taste. Play around with each recipe and make it your own!