Can Do Breakfast Galette


Galette with a topping of sautéed onion, beef hash, flat leaf parsley and mushrooms


We make ourselves eat breakfast because we know that it’s so  important as our fuel for a busy day. But we’re all leaping up in the mornings with already too much to do- run to the train, finish that essay, walk the dogs, be on time for the first meeting. How on earth do we fit in a hearty but healthy breakfast beforehand?

I’ve had this dilemma for years. Eggs keep will keep you nice and full all day, and we love eggs; I could happily eat a few every day, but the jury is out on the wisdom of that so….what to do? Congee is great but can someone else please make it at 6 AM in the morning ? Good bread is so yummy, but no matter how many slices of toast I eat at breakfast, the hunger pangs kick in by late morning.

Recently, breakfast has been  radically and happily improved. This  as it is a no brainer, healthy, hot breakfast. Satisfying, nutritious and something you can change up according to what you feel like or what’s in the fridge. You have to put a little effort into some prep beforehand to have items ready in the fridge, but once you do that, this takes about five minutes to cook and have ready to eat in the morning.

Here are some breakfast galette topping ideas to have prepped and ready in the fridge. Use in combination or by themselves:

  • Chopped herbs (flat leaf parsley, basil, sage, thyme)
  • Cooked smoked trout or salmon, flaked into chunks (purchase in shrink wrapped slices at the supermarket)
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Cooked and crumbled bacon
  • Cooked and shredded chicken or any other sort of meat of preference
  • Sliced and cooked onion (this is my favourite option with chopped coriander/cilantro and green chillies)
  • Sliced cherry tomatoes (careful not to use too many; the juice of the tomatoes may curdle your egg mix.

For a sweet version try toppings such as:

  • Blueberries
  • Chopped strawberries
  • Choc chips
  • Thickly sliced banana

For the galette:

  • 1 cup egg white (you can buy cartons of egg whites in the egg section at the supermarket.
  • 1 tablespoon plain, low fat yoghurt
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons oat or wheat bran
  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil


  • In a small bowl, beat the egg whites, yoghurt and bran together.
  • Heat a 20 cm non-stick fry pan with the oil in it.
  • Pour the egg white mix into the heated frypan and turn the heat down
  • Add any of your desired toppings, and season with salt and pepper, unless for the sweet version.
  • Cover with a lid and leave to cook on low heat for two to three minutes, or until a crust begins to form on the bottom, and only a little liquid remains on the top.
  • Using a wide egg spatula, flip the galette over in the pan and leave for hardly a minute before turning onto a plate.
  • I usually have one of these to myself in the mornings, but if there is an interested bystander, there’s just enough to share with one other person.
  • If you are making the version with berries, serve with a swirl of maple syrup or yoghurt.


Egg whites in cartons

IMG_5654Some topping ideas

Rice and Beans: not quite Mujadara



I made this last night, second time in quick succession because it is much appreciated by the family. My vague intention was to document it here after a pretty long hiatus from this site.

I woke up this morning to find this message from our globetrotting model sprite:

Hello!!!! I am staying with family in Bristol and guess what my go-to website is for recipes to make them….IZZY HAVE YOU EATEN!! Please update it more, I love it so so much your recipes are amazing and so easy to follow! How is LA life? Missing u xxxoxooxxx

Well, such an enthusiastic message has gotten me off my rear end and here is that recipe I was contemplating.  It is so completely easy, but really tasty and a great side dish to go with a protein or else for a vegan or vegetarian, it is good with something like a saucy eggplant dish.

  • 2 cups cooked rice, white or brown
  • 1 heaped tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil, I use Rice Bran oil
  • handful of toasted walnuts (optional)
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • handful of soaked and drained currants (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and when hot, add all the powdered spices except the cinnamon.
  2. Add the onion and when the pieces have softened, lower the heat and cook further till brown and well coated with spices; all up about ten minutes.
  3. Place the warm rice in a serving bowl.
  4. Add the other ingredients into the bowl: walnuts, currants, beans, cinnamon.
  5. Add the hot spiced onion mixture with the rice and beans and stir well. Add salt to taste and if you like, you can add some chopped parsley for colour.



Barley Risotto with Mushrooms

I made this when we got home from a road trip on the week-end.  Whiling away the long hours  in the car, thinking about this and that. About how Jen had told me once how when the boys went camping they made risotto on the camp fire and substituted the stock with coconut milk…. it all got me thinking and creating when we got home.



Ready to eat!

it again tonight, I think I’ve fine tuned it enough to post it for everyone to use- this is a flavourful, richly delicious meal in one! Diary free- entirely vegan.  Also great served with a green salad on the side and some roasted vegetables: I did purple carrots and baby parsnips tonight. Dad, long adverse to mushrooms, ate a steak.



  • 1.5 cups barley , washed and drained in a colander
  • 1 x 400 ml can of light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 minced cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups fresh button mushrooms
  • 3/4 to 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (flat leaf parsley or basil)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pepper and salt to taste


  1. In a heavy based pot, heat the oil and fry the garlic till golden. Take care not to burn.
  2. Add the drained barley to the garlic as it turns gold, and stir well for two minutes.
  3. The chopped button mushrooms are now ready to be added.
  4. On a separate burner, warm the coconut milk over a low flame. Add  400 ml of water to the coconut milk.
  5. As for a risotto, add a ladle full of the coconut milk to the barley, every 2 minutes or so, stirring constantly.
  6. Lower the heat to a simmer and as the milk is absorbed by the barley grains, add a little more milk.
  7. Continue the process, stirring constantly.
  8. Add the thoroughly softened porcini mushrooms to the pot together with the water it is soaking in, and season to taste.
  9. Test the tenderness of the grains. The barley should be firm but tender.
  10. This amount of liquid should bring the barley to a point of being cooked to a good al dente tenderness.
  11. If  it is not quite there, add small amounts of water and keep stirring till you get the desired consistency.
  12. Turn it out into a warmed bowl and sprinkle with the fresh herbs.



Dried porcini mushroom soaking in hot water.


Mid-way:cooking gently in coconut milk


Adding the porcini mushrooms gives it the deeper colour and a richer flavour.

Garlic and Chilli Pasta: Speedy Quick!


Everyone’s always got a plastic container in the fridge at some time with languishing left over spaghetti.  You know, the night before when your eyes were bigger than your tummy, all that.

Well, here’s a perfect delicious speedy quick left overs lunch (or dinner) to make with that cold pasta with virtually nothing- well, some salt and chilli flakes and garlic do the trick. A few parsley stalks would be a bonus.


  • 1 cereal bowl left over cooked spaghetti
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 level teaspoons chilli flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1/3 bunch flat leaf parsley (optional)
  • grated parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs (optional)


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a  large shallow fry pan.
  2. When oil is hot, add garlic and chilli flakes.
  3. Stir until flakes darken and garlic turns golden.
  4. Add spaghetti and toss well so that the flavoured oil coats all the strands well.
  5. Throw in the parsley and toss for long enough for the parsley to soften.
  6. Sprinkle with salt.
  7. Add the extra tablespoon of oil after you’ve removed the pasta from the stove and toss to coat well.


In another small fry pan with no oil, brown the breadcrumbs while stirring slowly until it changes colour to a golden brown.

Add the breadcrumbs at the very end and mix well before serving . Serves 1 for a meal or two for a snack.


Helpful hint:

If you are using more pasta, increase the other ingredients like oil, chilli, garlic, breadcrumbs, etc in half measures.







Guest Chef Dave Cooks A Killer Chilli


After a slew of exams, your cousin Dave decided it was time to de-stress in the kitchen and cook up a huge pot of his famous chilli. There was no resistance from the rest of the house hold.

Chilli con carne, or just plain chill as we call it these days, is not like many think, a Mexican dish. Texan maybe, and Chasen’s  Restaurant in Hollywood is famed for its chilli. Elizabeth Taylor was known to have had some of it packed in dry ice and sent to her while on set filming ‘Cleopatra’ in Rome. There are many legends surrounding chill and the ‘chilli cook off’

Anyway….. all afternoon came industrious sounds from the kitchen, including the clink of a few beer bottles to keep the chef company….

It was worth the wait: we sat down to hearty bowls of rice and chilli and fresh made guacamole which cousin Tash whipped up after being on call all day….

Here’s Dave’s recipe which he kindly shares, but his emphasis is to tweak it to your preference:

2 large onions
4 cloves garlic
3  carrots
3 sticks celery
2 red chillies
olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon chilli powder
1 heaped tablespoon ground cumin
1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
sea salt,
ground black pepper
400 g tinned red kidney beans
2 x 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
500 g minced beef
1 small bunch fresh coriander
4 cups Chianti
200 g good dark chocolate
I litre beef broth


In a fry pan, heat two tablespoons of olives oil, and in small batches, brown the mice well and set aside.
Peel and chop the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and chillies. Put a heavy based pot on a medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and all your chopped vegetables. Add the chilli powder, cumin and cinnamon with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until softened.

Add the drained kidney beans and the tinned tomatoes. Now add the minced beef. Pour in the beef broth, and the Chianti. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and turn the heat down to a simmer with a lid half on, stirring every now and again to stop it from sticking to the base. Let the pot cook for 1 to 2 hours, allowing the liquid to reduce. In the last half hour, stir in the pieces of chocolate. Adjust seasoning.

Serve the chilli with white rice, sour cream. guacamole, and a green salad. Plenty of lime wedges in a bowl for added zing!


Spicy Sticky Chicken For Chilly Nights (a tongue twister recipe)


It has been unusually cold in Sydney. But I  should really try to keep it all in perspective because only three years ago ‘cold’ for me was about five months long and much of it buried under lots of snow. I think you girls might have had it even colder in your cities  last week than us in Sydney- at least Aussie winters stay green and camellias just keep flowering like crazy!

Dad and I have been so pleased that we’ve seen you both quite regularly this year.  Tonight you are here in transit, about to embark on your study trip to New York. Exciting times ahead.  This morning CBiscuit headed back to her city to her job- you girls coming and going, I do love the revolving door with not too many long weeks between each visit.

Your aunty the Salsa Queen was in town recently for conferences….and dancing. We had the pleasure of sharing a meal with her.  I must put this recipe up as she thinks it will be one that her household will enjoy. I think it will work well for yours too. Easy, spicy and sweet and quick to make.Perhaps you can cook it one night for you new housemates in the East Village. We’ll miss you dearest Izzy, but have the BEST time!

Sticky Chicken

  • 1.5 kg chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large purple onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sambal olek
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 heaped tablespoon brown sugar
  1. Place the chicken pieces in a plastic shopping bag and add the corn flour, paprika,  pepper and salt. Tie the bag up and shake well until the chicken is evenly coated.
  2. Mix all the other ingredients together in a bowl except the onion and oil.
  3. Heat the oil in a large fry pan, and brown the chicken pieces in batches. Set aside.
  4. When all the chicken pieces are browned, add a little more oil to the pan, and stir in the onions. Cook until melted and soft.
  5. Add the browned chicken, and the sauce, and stir well.
  6. Cover with a lid, turn the heat down, and simmer for a further twenty minutes, until the sauce is thick and coats the chicken well.
  7. Serve with rice and some stir fried vegetables.

image image

Egg Curry and Sydney Dinner With The Barrs


This was a very quiet week-end in comparison to last! There were three young guys in the house last week-end with the ir parents, visiting us all the way from Toronto. On Sunday morning we all went to the zoo.

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Little C stayed home and baked cakes for dessert and prepped for the dinner party we were having that night at home. What a unique evening.  I kept looking around the room that night, savouring the sight of everyone there. How special that you girls could come and be part of the week-end.  We were TEN under one roof- just amazing! Thank goodness for blow up mattresses I say!

It was an eclectic menu of curry puffs, pork vindaloo (recipe coming one of these days), egg curry, a beautiful big salad made by your cousin, and rice.

I’m glad you enjoyed the egg curry, and it is a receipe that should be on the blog for you both. A nice alternative if you have vegetarian friends to feed. It is quick and easy, not expensive to make  and very satisfying.

The Barrs trip to Sydney was like a dream. I hear the patter of small feet on the floorboards, see the rows of shoes at the bottom of the stairs, and the beach towels hanging out to dry. The days sped by way too quickly.



Egg Curry

  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed and chopped fine
  • 1 red chilli chopped fine, or one heaped teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cummin seeds
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tub tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Place the eggs in a large pan of cold water and bring to the boil.
  2. Boil for five minutes, turn off the heat, and leave the eggs to cool completely.
  3. When eggs are cold, shell them carefully so whites remain smooth.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large fry pan. Add the turmeric powder when the oil is hot.  when the yellow spice sizzles, add the eggs.
  5. Stir around in the hot pan until the eggs are well coated in the turmeric and they begin to turn golden.
  6. Remove the eggs from the pan, and set aside in a dish.
  7. Return the pan to the fire, and add the rest of the oil.
  8. Throw in the cumin seeds and toss for a couple of seconds.
  9. Saute the onion, ginger, chilli and garlic in the oil, until the onion begins to melt.
  10. Add the crushed tomato and stir well, then add the tomato paste, half a cup of water and and the fish sauce.
  11. Bring the sauce to the boil, and then turn the heat down, and simmer for about ten minutes.
  12. Adjust seasoning, and make more spicy by adding more chill flakes if required.
  13. Now cut the eggs in half, and slide them gently into the sauce. Place a lid on the saucepan, and cook for an additional 5 to 8 minutes.
  14. Sprinkle with chopped coriander or mint.
  15. Serve with white rice or roti.

Coconut Biscuits And Remembering Our Gourmand Alice

You left us on a beautiful summer day this week-end. It was so special that Izzy and Little C were here to hug you and kiss you. The house was filled with flowers and candles, and oranges- all of which you adored. Little C baked a huge orange drizzle cake, and all your favourite people were here to share a slice.

Alice, you always found the flowers in the garden, where ever we lived, and would go over to stand near them. We have so many family snaps of you posing by the flowers…….


Alice amongst the flowers…..



Our Alice vigil



A candle for Alice


You also loved a good sausage, Dad maintains it was because of your German heritage. And croissants! Oh my! You knew exactly how many were on the table and what was left over, but  we always kept a portion for you….. Yes, you were a dog of good taste always, but your old age meant a much stricter diet. A far cry from early days in California where you started the day with a breakfast of cream cheese on toast,,,,

While I bake these coconut biscuits this evening, the kitchen is so quiet.  You usually make the rounds while I am in here, clattering through, nose to the ground, hovering any fallen crumb.  How I will miss your big, sweet presence, dearest Alice- you had a post at every home we lived in, where you could watch me in the kitchen. My true gourmand. May you start your mornings with a pile of croissants and eat many a fine sausage for dinner in doggie heaven. Adios, sweetest girl.


Our perfect sweet girl Alice


Comfort Coconut Biscuits

1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 egg
½ cup melted butter


  • Mix all ingredients together with a fork or wooden spoon.
  • Place teaspoons of the mixture onto buttered cookie sheet and bake for 12 mins at 180c depending on your oven.

IMG_2498 photo 1 photo 3



Shortbread Sunday

photo 4

I thought I’d stay on board the whole food processor easy biscuits thing, and add a recipe on the heels of the parmesan biscuits recently posted.

These are equally easy to make- and why would you ever buy a packet of shortbread when you can make them so easily? From a block of butter, some flour and icing sugar, you can make a wonderful gift too; the next time you are thinking of a present for a hard to buy friend, Izzy, make up a batch of these!

Saw the Chuck Close exhibition today- it was good being at the water on a sunny day with so many people about. There is a huge P&O ship parked next to the MCA-quite a sight in the middle of the city! I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to seeing these huge ships, right in town!



  • 100 grams icing sugar
  • 200 grams plain flour
  • 100 grams cornflour
    200 grams softened unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Put the icing sugar, plain flour and cornflour into the bowl of a food processor and give them a whirl.

Add the softened butter.

Process again until the soft mixture begins to form a ball, loosely clumping around the blade.

Turn this out on to a buttered cookie tin and press to form an even layer.

Using the tip of a sharp knife cut the pressed-out shortbread into fingers.

Using a fork, make little holes in each marked-out biscuit.

Put the tin into the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, by which time the shortbread will be pale still.

Remove the tin from the oven and cool for 10 minutes or so. Store the pieces in an airtight container.

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Australia Day From Afar : Parmesan Biscuits for Nibbling.


I’ve really welcomed this quiet long week-end. We’ve all been so occupied with lots of ‘family business’. Thank you everyone for the perseverance getting it all worked out and happening. Izzy, I know you fretted at not being right here in the thick of all the action, but believe me, your timely messages and cheery voice on the phone were more support that you probably know. You certainly did you bit from Melbourne, actioning a bunch of plans from there.

Some Izzy art

Now Little C is in snowy New York, catching up with high school friends and  doing all her art related things, and Dad is on his amazing ski adventure. May they stay safe and well while they travel.



I cooked the plum cake again yesterday for a lunch with friends in the most charming back courtyard in Annandale. And Anzacs, of course, it being Australia Day and all.

Also, I whizzed up these parmy biscuits a few times over the Christmas holidays,  Your sweet cuzzie T and her hubby are quite into them. I’ve made them to serve with demitasse cups of chilled gazpacho, rolled them in cumin seeds for a bit of spice, and chopped rosemary into the dough too. A bag of them even made their way to the ski slopes of Aspen! There’s really no wrong way to make them, or taste them! The nice thing is that when you’ve rolled out the dough, you just wrap the extras in some baking paper and refrigerate: then its all ready to slice onto a baking tray for next time!

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Parmesan Biscuits

1 cup (250g) plain flour
1 tablespoon cornflour or rice flour
1 ½ cup (120g) finely grated parmesan
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
150g cold butter, chopped and 1 tablespoon milk, plus extra for brushing

Preheat oven to 180°C (355°F). Mix flour, cornflour, parmesan and salt in a food processor and process until combined. Gradually add the butter and with the motor running, process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add fennel seeds or cumin or chopped fresh herbs and milk, and process until a dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a 15cm log. Wrap in baking paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. Slice into 5mm rounds and place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Brush with extra milk if desired. Bake for 12–15 minutes or until golden. Makes 20.