Saturday, April 21, 2007

Let's Eat!

Every Sunday morning when I was a kid growing up, my older brother and I, dressed in our “good” clothes, were sent off to Sunday School. Of course, my brother raced ahead, leaving me running behind trying my best to keep up with him. I scurried along, calling out to him to wait, but he never heeded my plaintive cries. At that stage in his young life, he thought it was the worst thing in the world to be seen out walking with a GIRL, and particularly if that girl happened to be his little sister!

Once Sunday School was over, (many times, if not every Sunday morning, my brother and a couple of his mates were sent from the room because of their disruptive, mischievous behaviour…and at threats of now-forgotten torture, I never did “dob in” him and his mates) we raced back home with the lure of a delicious Sunday lunch as our reward. Running through the yard, we would reach the backstairs leading up to the kitchen, to be greeted by the starvation-enhancing aromas of a roast meal wafting through the air. Sunday afternoons were spent at home. We were never allowed to go and play at our friends’ backyards, nor they in ours.

As I grew older, started working and was in my early teens, I discovered the biggest backyard of all. Sunday School and Sunday roast dinners/lunches were replaced by sand, surf, sun….and those glorious surf life-savers! And I don’t mean the lolly/candy ones!

And then as I grew a bit older (something that seems to happen every moment of the day. I've not yet learned how to kick this habit -I'll let you know when I do), home entertaining came in vogue. I've not broken that habit yet, either! Sunday brunches became a popular way to entertain friends and family. Because there is that saying "all things old, are new again" - I thought I'd share some brunch ideas with you.

Strawberry Pie: In a saucepan, combine 2-1/2 cups water, 2 cups white sugar and 5 tablespoons cornflour/cornstarch. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in 30z packet of strawberry jelly. Allow to cool. slightly. Arrange 2 quarts of strawberries, tips pointing upwards, in two 9-inch pre-cooked pie crusts. Pour jelly mixture over, covering the berries. Allow to set in fridge.

Breakfast Souffle: Preheat oven to 190C (375F) . Place a large (9x13 or so) baking pan in the oven and fill with about an inch of water. Spray a 1-1/2 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Melt 4 tablespoons butter and whisk in 1/4 cup flour, cooking for a couple of minutes over medium-low heat. Whisk in 1 cup milk until smooth and cook until thick, three minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup each grated cheddar and parmesan cheeses and a pinch of cayenne or dry mustard. Cook over very low heat until the cheeses melt. Beat a few tablespoons of the very thick sauce into the 4 egg yolks, then mix the yolk mixture into the sauce. Beat 4 egg whites stiff, but not dry. Mix a big scoop of the whites into the cheese sauce to lighten the mixture. Then carefully fold the sauce into the whites. When combined, put in a souffle dish and gently slip that into the water filled baking pan, bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve immediately with buttered toast.

Ham & Egg Pie: Pre-heat oven to 205C (400F) and plce rack in centre of oven. Have ready a 9-inch quiche pan or pie plate. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out one sheet of prepared puff pastry to fit the pie dish. After lining the dish with the puff pastry, arrange about 1/4lb (125g) diced ham on top of the pastry. Break 7 eggs, placing them evenly around the quiche pan. Prick each yolk with a fork but do not stir yolks and whites together. Sprinkle over about 3 tablespoons diced shallots (green onions), a light sprinkle of salt and pepper and then top with more ham....about the same quantity as previously. Roll a second sheet of puff pastry out to fit over the top. Cover pie with pastry, pinching the two sheets together, trimming off excess. Brush the top with egg wash. Place in oven and cook for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Serve cool or warm.

Fillings for Pancakes: Savoury: Lay thin slices of tomatoes on one half of crepe, and then sprinkle with crumbled goat's cheese and season with salt and pepper. Fold crepe into quarters and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Grill under griller/broiler until crepes are golden brown..

Ham, thinly sliced, gruyere cheese, thinly slice, freshly ground pepper to taste and proceed as above.

Fruit Fillings: Mangoes, (rock melon/cantaloupe, pawpaw/papaya, bananas, berries or whatever fruit takes your fancy) peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices tossed gently in sugar, fresh lemon juice and then placed on a crepe...fold over and serve topped with whipped cream.

Don't forget the Mimosas! I'm off to make some now!


  1. Those all look very good. Somehow I never did the brunch thing. I think it would be great in Australia where the weather is good and you could enjoy it outside.
    My friends and I seem to do lunch or dinner.

  2. I've not done a brunch for a while, jmb, but they can be lots of fun. I mainly do lunches...I prefer luncheons to dinner, to be can have a great time and still have the night to one's self. My luncheons have a habit of turning into lengthy affairs, for some insane reason or other! ;)

  3. I think I just abandonned my diet...

  4. Oops! Sorry, Lee! Back to the spa with you the week after next! ;)

  5. Oh, what fabulous food! And I love the grumpy cat picture! I want to make the strawberry pie but can't get jelly here. [Must get a friend to send some.] I haven't kicked the "getting older" habit, either! I love brunches - they can be so long and relaxing.

  6. Just logged in to see what was happening Lee. Just love it when you post recipes. :) Can't wait to make the Ham & Egg Pie.

    P.S. Enjoy all your stories as well.

  7. Hi could used jam or preserves...heat it up to boiling, let it simmer a couple of minutes...add a little gelatine and brush it over the strawberries in lieu of the jelly. That's what's good about brunches and lunches, Welsh...the going on and on and on of them! ;)

    Hey there Nancy, thanks for popping in. Let me know what you think of the ham and egg pie when you make it. You could even sprinkle a little grated tasty cheese over the ham too before closing up the pie if you wanted to.

    Thanks for your comments, Welsh and Nancy. :)

  8. Yummmmm .
    That all sounds good. I'll have to print those recipies out to try later.

  9. Hi Kid, we've had a brief rain delay in our farming so I'm trying to catch up. I'm trying to lose some gravity so am a bit offended at the pic of the strawberry pie. We have a lady in town who makes one to die for. When she is gone, I'll need your recipe.
    I love brunches too.
    Now, onto your last story.

  10. Hiya Marc and Cliff...make sure that's a sweet short-crust pastry under the strawberries...and a tasty additive (not at all appropriate for "gravity-losing" people) is make thick vanilla custard, fold whipped cream through it...spread it over the base of the pie before sticking the strawberries into it...then spread it with the jelly or the melted jam! ;)

    I know...I know...I'm evil! I'm wicked!

  11. Anonymous4:04 PM

    Everything looks and sounds delicious! Hopefully I will be back strawberry picking in 2 weeks. Your strawberry pie is on the menu, as well as more jam and strawberry shortcake (with angelfood cake)!

  12. I love strawberry shortcake, Janine...I used to make them in the restaurants for St. Valentine's Day as part of the dessert menus.

    I also marinate them in orange juice, raw sugar and brandy...(my cheap version of Grand Marnier, which I love, but can't afford to buy often,if ever these days, let alone afford to marinate strawberries in! The above serves the same purpose...yum!

  13. Wow, at this rate I will never get rid of my double chin. :) Now all I need to figure out is how to get my daughter to eat ham. My granddaughter and I love ham but her mom is not a ham person. I keep telling her she doesn't know what she is missing. Maybe Charlise and I will be the only ones to eat the ham and egg pie. That is ok my daughter will just miss out on more good food. I love the recipes.

  14. Sandra...don't put the ham in...substitute it with something else. Recipes are only around with it and put into it what you like. Mushrooms, tomatoes, cheese...I suggested to Marc in LST...Chorizo or any good tasty sausage could replace the ham...I never stick to recipes...I cook to taste...even when I was cheffing in restaurants...I never followed recipes. I use recipes I said they're are only limited by your own go for it, girl! Break free from those ties! ;)

  15. oh man! One of my weaknesses is strawberries! Thanks a bunch! lol... now i want strawberries! lol i don't suppose sending one of those pies to New Jersey would make it huh? lol

  16. Oh my gosh! I am so hungry! Excellent recipes Lee! I love making souffles. For some reason, I never had a problem with eggwhites or meringue. I make the most excellent chocolate meringue pies. I guess I do it right, but I never did understand when the recipe (guideline) said to beat the egg whites until stiff, not dry. What the heck is dry?

  17. BTW, Lee, I love the term "guidelines!" It reminds me of the pirate code in the Pirates of the Carribbean!

  18. Deslily...I'd eat it all before it even got packaged! ;) I love strawberries, too...but then I love all fruit and eat stacks of it daily. you've made me hungry! This is going back and forth! lol

    "Dry" is just when they're over-beaten they to explain it...dry out! lol