Don't Call Me Chef

Published: Saturday January 10, 2015 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday January 10, 2015 MYT 9:26:27 PM

Brunch is the best of breakfast and lunch

When you want that weekend sleep-in, a hearty brunch is the answer. There are no rules when it comes to brunch, really, which is what makes it so appealing. 

Under the cover of its name, you can serve breakfast, or lunch. Brunch food is often a combination of the best of breakfast (some form of egg dishes are a must and also bread) and casual mains. A savoury bread pudding sounds innocuous if it’s served for lunch or dinner but for brunch? Cool. Our pot-luck brunch table is filled with comfort food, for comfort is what brunch is really about.

Include the homemade granola in a breakfast parfait together with yoghurt and fruit.

By Jane F. Ragavan

First thing’s first: the difference between granola and muesli. They contain similar ingredients – pure grains, fruit, seeds and nuts – but while granola is mixed with oil and sweeteners and baked, muesli is raw.

That out of the way, I know which is superior. Granola may not be as wholesome as muesli, but for crunch and flavour, it wins hands down over bland health food.

Eat the granola on its own, with milk, and even bake with it – incorporate it into a bread dough or sprinkle it like streusel on top of coffee cakes. It makes a great addition to a fruit and yoghurt parfait.

Make individual servings in reusable glass jars for a pretty little dish. Now, that’s a power brunch.

Homemade granola
Makes about 6 cups
Adapted from 'Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day'

1/3 cup honey or agave syrup
¼ cup palm sugar syrup (or honey)
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp water
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
4 cups rolled oats
¼ cup sesame seeds (white and black)
½ cup skinned peanuts (kacang botak)
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¾ cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
½ cup cranberries
½ cup chopped dried fruit (dates, glacé pineapple, glacé ginger, apricots or a combination)

Chia seeds
Water or milk
Fresh soft fruit, diced
Greek yoghurt
Homemade granola

For the granola

Preheat the oven to 180℃. Line a large sheet cake pan with parchment paper.

Mix honey, syrup, oil, water, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl or measuring jar.

In a large bowl, place the dry ingredients except the cranberries and dried fruit. Add the liquid mixture and stir until everything is well coated. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until the granola is golden brown and crisp. This may take 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the pan.

After baking, stir in the cranberries and dried fruit. Allow to cool and store in airtight containers. Keeps well for a long time.

To make the parfait

First, hydrate the chia seeds. Place 2 tbsp of the chia seeds in a medium-sized bowl and add 1 cup of water or milk. Set aside for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a gel forms. This can be kept covered in the refrigerator for a few days.

Using a wide-mouth glass jar, layer the parfait ingredients as desired, ending with the granola. Do not prepare too far in advance as the granola will lose its crunch.

NEXT PAGE: Breakfast casserole

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By Ivy Soon

This dish is for lazy weekends when you want to sleep in and stay in ... perhaps after staying up late for a party or a football match. With the rainy weather these days, it’d be a nice break to have brunch at home instead of splattering through puddles.

But we also don’t want to spend mornings at the stove frying up eggs, bacons and sausages, and wiping off grease from the countertop and floor.

Make this dish the night before and pop it into the oven the next morning. It’s easily assembled with ingredients you already have at home and also a delicious dish to make with leftover bread. 

Apart from sausages, you can also use ham or bacon, or substitute celery with capsicum, zucchini, eggplants and tomatoes. All that’s required is a spoon for everyone to scoop their portion, which leaves mum, or whoever usually cooks, free to slowly savour her coffee and scroll through Facebook.

Breakfast casserole
Serves 8

Butter to grease pan
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
6–8 sausages, sliced
2–3 stalks celery, chopped coarsely
2 tbsp tomato paste
8–10 slices wholemeal bread, tear into big chunks
1½ cups mozarella cheese
1½ cups milk
5 eggs
¾ tsp salt
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Grease a 23cm round pie dish. In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally.

Add the sausages, and then the celery. Add tomato paste. Cook for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cover the bottom of the pie dish with the bread. Top the layer of bread with half the sausage mixture, and then half the cheese. Repeat the layers.

In a bowl, beat the eggs and milk, and season. Then, pour over the casserole. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Let the casserole come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 175℃.

Bake about 40 minutes or until top is golden and puffy and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

NEXT PAGE: Cheese and herb scones

Savoury scones fit well on the brunch table - eat with sour cream and maybe, if you dar, some marmite.

By S. Indramalar

I love scones. Sweet or savoury, I love how unassuming they are and how fluffy and buttery they are. I particularly love how little time it takes to make them – from start to finish (and by finish I mean polishing them off the serving plate), it takes just about 45 minutes. Scones are traditionally eaten with clotted cream and jam but for brunch, I sometimes add a savoury scone to the mix.

Cheese goes well as does herbs. I added some paprika in mine hence the darker appearance and slight kick in flavour. Instead of jam and clotted cream, I serve the scones with sour cream.

Cheese and herb scones
Makes 12

100g plain flour
100g wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp salt
70g cold butter, cubed
200g grated cheese (I use gruyere and cheddar)
3 tbsp chopped chives/parsley
1 egg
4–6 tbsp plain yoghurt
Sour cream to serve

Pre-heat the oven to 200℃. 

In a mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, paprika, and salt. Add the butter, and with your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. Mix in the cheese and herb, and then the egg.

Add just enough yoghurt to bring the crumbly dough together. It should not be too wet, but hold together in a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and flatten it till you have a 2cm-thick (rough) rectangle. Using a (fluted) round pastry cutter, stamp out circles and transfer them to a lined baking tray. You may brush the tops with beaten egg for a glossy finish but this is optional.

Bake for 15–20 minutes or till the scones have risen and the tops are lightly coloured.

Serve warm with sour cream.

Tags / Keywords: brunch, granola, casserole, scones, parfait, sausage, pastry

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Photo Shoot for Dont Call me Chef

Brunch is the best of breakfast and lunch

10 January 2015

When you want that weekend sleep-in, a hearty brunch is the answer. There are no rules when it comes to brunch, which is what makes it so appealing.


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