Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

French Toast with Grilled Bananas

Posted: January 31, 2011 by lainey in Bread, Breakfast, Fruits, Vegetarian

Ingredients (serves 2)

6 slices of stale bread (I used Tuscany soft grain country bread from Trader Joe’s)

1 cup of soy milk (you can use regular milk if you want)

2 eggs

pinch of salt

pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon



1. Beat the eggs with the milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt

2. Heat up a frying pan with some butter.

3. Place bread into egg mixture (do not soak for too long or the bread will fall apart) and place on frying pan, fry each side till golden brown.

4. Grill some bananas ( I used a blow torch).

5. Serve french toast with grilled banans, strawberries and drizzle with good quality maple syrup.

I love french toast breakfast. This is my favourite breakfast to make when I want to be fancy on weekends. And I always prefer the home-made versions because I can regulate the amount of sugar/butter I use. I think this is a healthier version of french toast than what we get outside. And way more affordable too.


Easy Homemade Granola

Posted: November 21, 2010 by lainey in Breakfast, Fruits, snacks, Sweets, Vegetarian


Easy Homemade Granola

adapted from “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (I used grapeseed)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole almonds (I used chopped almonds)
1/3 cup of chopped dates
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (I ran out of parchment and used aluminium foil instead, that might explain why my granola got a little burnt)

In a large bowl, toss the oats with the cinnamon and salt.

In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until completely combined.

Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture and use your hands to combine them: Gather up some of the mixture in each hand and make a fist. Repeat until all of the oats are coated with the honey mixture. ( I did not do that…hehe)

Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it out evenly, but leave a few clumps here and there for texture.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola. Sprinkle the almonds over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven.

Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven. Let cool completely. Sprinkle the dates and cranberries over the granola.

Let it cool completely before transferring into an air-tight container. Or before the husbands starts eating it.

J has been raving about Cafe Fixe’s homemade granola for ages and has suggested buying boring supermarket granola to quell his craving. However, being rather the expert on granola, I know that the supermarket brands will never satiate his craving. One visit to Cafe Fixe revealed that a pound of that granola costs $18 and we were not about to spend that money. I reasoned that if it’s homemade, I can do it. So I did it.

Granola making took about 30 minutes. With the base of oats and cinnamon, salt and honey mixture, one can basically add any kind of nuts, grains and dried fruits as one liked. I bought the rolled oats (because we eat steel-cut oats at home) and basically threw together the granola with whatever I had at home. Now we have a really pleased husband who, for the first time, gave my cooking a 10/10. And this is slightly burnt granola.

Carrot and Celery Wholegrain Muffins

Posted: September 27, 2010 by lainey in Breakfast, snacks, Sweets, Vegetarian

Perfect Fall Food: Carrot and Celery Wholegrain Muffins

Recipe (Adapted from the back of King Arthur Flour package)

1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
(I used 1/3 cup of sugar because I’m paranoid about sugar)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt ( i used yogurt cuz I always have that in my fridge and never buttermilk)
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
(I used carrots and celery pulp leftover from my juicing)

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups and set aside. (I only have a 12 cup muffin pan and I think I had 1 muffin worth of batter left)

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.Mix in the yoghurt gently. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the carrot celery mix.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

I didn’t expect the recipe at the back of a flour package to be so good, but it is -wholesome and easy to make. I don’t have apples (Fall is here but not quite here yet so apples are NOT that cheap yet) and I have a lot of pulp left from my juicing summer days. I was worried that celery might taste a little gross in muffins, but surprisingly, it doesn’t. It gave the muffins a little of a savory taste which is what I like in my sweets. If you like your muffins SUPER sweet, you might want to consider adding a bit more sugar, both in the batter and as the topping. I love the brown sugar crust on top, but I didn’t put too much, as usual.

What a healthy snack/breakfast. Yumz.

Lemon drizzle cake

Posted: March 28, 2010 by nietize in Breakfast, British, Sweets
Tags: ,

From BBC GoodFood website


225g unsalted butter , softened
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
finely grated zest 1 lemon
225g self-raising flour

For the drizzle topping
juice 11⁄2 lemon
85g caster sugar

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, then add the eggs, one at a time, slowly mixing through. Sift in the flour, then add the lemon zest and mix until well combined. Line a loaf tin (8 x 21cm) with greaseproof paper, then spoon in the mixture and level the top with a spoon.

Bake for 45-50 mins until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. While the cake is cooling in its tin, mix together the lemon juice and sugar to make the drizzle. Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork, then pour over the drizzle – the juice will sink in and the sugar will form a lovely, crisp topping.

Leave in the tin until completely cool, then remove and serve. Will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Colleague of mine mentioned that she was making cake this weekend for her bf’s birthday and the idea of cake caught on and I decided to make some as well. I didn’t want anything too complicated since I am a complete novice at cake making so I settled upon this simple and basic recipe from the BBC website.

All in all, I am quite happy with the end product; i don’t think the drizzle is necessary but that’s just because i prefer my lemon flavours to be subtle and delicate. I think the lemon zest is more than sufficient in that sense. I have packed the cake into an airtight container and I am going to have it for breakfast in the office with my coffee!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Scones

Posted: March 21, 2010 by lainey in Breakfast

I’ve been running out to Starbucks to buy a scone for an afternoon snack lately and to pay $3 for that sugar filled bomb just doesn’t sit well with me. So I decided to make some healthy scones. Fortunately, Orangette has a apricot scone recipe this week and it looked simple enough and I get to use my whole wheat flour *yay*. I have an abundance of chocolate chips in my pantry (because J is a self-declared “chocolate-chip man”) and have not gotten to using any of it yet, so I thought I would substitute the apricots with the chocolate chips. I also used regular whole wheat flour instead and it turned out pretty good still.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Scones (adapted from Orangette)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. table salt
4 Tbsp. (½ stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
¼ cup sugar
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup half-and-half, plus more for glazing
1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture, squeezing and pinching with your fingertips until there are no butter lumps bigger than a large pea. Add the sugar and chocolate chips, and whisk to incorporate.

Pour the half-and-half into a small bowl, and add the egg. Beat with a fork to mix well. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, and stir (with the fork; it works fine) to just combine. The dough will look shaggy and rough, and there may be some unincorporated flour at the bottom of the bowl. Don’t worry about that. Using your hands, gently press and shape the dough, so that it holds together in a messy clump. Turn the dough and any excess flour out onto a board or countertop, and press and gather and knead it until it just comes together. Ideally, do not knead more than 12 times. As soon as the dough holds together, pat it into a rough circle about 1 ½ inches thick. Cut the circle into 8 wedges (and then I halved each wedge because I like my scones British-style, smaller than those gigantic ones here in the US).

Put the wedges on the prepared baking sheet. Pour a splash of half-and-half into a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the scones with a thin coat to glaze. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until pale golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm – with butter, if that’s your style.

Note: If you plan to eat them within a day or two, store the scones in an airtight container at room temperature. For longer storage, seal them in a heavy plastic bag or container, and freeze them. Before serving, bring them to room temperature. Either way, reheat them briefly in a 300°F oven. They’re best served warm.

These are really good scones. I thought my first attempt at baking scones will turn out disastrous, but they did not. I like how the recipe is not too sweet, allowing the sweetness of the chocolate to come through. The only other modification I would make is to add more chocolate chips.

This will be my default scone recipe  from now on. I will try diff ingredients in time to come…caramelized onions and pine nuts scone, anyone? 🙂

Portuguese Egg Tart

Posted: February 20, 2010 by lainey in Breakfast, Chinese, Dessert, Eggs

We have a Mardi Gras party to attend this evening and I have to bring something. Feeling totally uninspired and lazy, I was going make a salad and bring some beer until I chanced across this recipe on Tiny Urban Kitchen (who is based in Boston too!) It’s easy enough to make, though Batch 2 is more successful than Batch 1, Batch 1 looks kinda Jaundiced.

So they might not look like the real stuff, but they kinda taste like the real stuff.

So there.

I can make my own eggtarts. Yay.

No Knead Baguette

Posted: February 4, 2010 by lainey in Bread, Breakfast

lI love steamy kitchen’s bread recipes. Firstly, she gets her super cute 4 yr son to help out. That’s always reasurring for a newbie baker like me – if he can do it, so can I! So I tried her no knead baguette recipe which she took from Jim Lahey’s book. There’s something about baking bread. Having to plan a day in advance, the mess, the rising of the dough, staring at the monstrous bubbles, the smell the apartment fills with when the bread is baking….it’s such a magical- domestic- goddess-y process.

So I woke  up at 6 (yea I wake up at 6 for bread but not anything else) on a Sunday morning to bake bread for a special breakfast for the husband. It was lovely, I had time to do yoga during the second rise, and spend some good “me” time that’s not sleeping or working.

I will definitely make this bread again, lots of improvements to make it perfect but just for today, our four baguettes will make us satisfied.

Oh, and I think I need to go buy Jim Lahey’s bread book.

New York Times’ No – knead bread

Posted: September 9, 2009 by lainey in Bread, Breakfast


My friends, C & J, are European and do not like American bread. As a result, C bought J a French Oven and a Kitchenaid Mixer for Christmas and they’ve been making their own bread since. Since I have my very own Le Creuset now, I thought I would give it a try, because well, supermarket-bought bread is just not very appetizing and Clear Flour, though fantastic, is too much of a treat for us to go daily. So I found out that lots of food bloggers out there have tried Bitten’s no-knead bread recipe (which I believe help soar sales of Le Creuset French Ovens everywhere around USA) but decided that Steamy Kitchen’s post about the process, with her little boy doing each step, was easy to understand and extremely accessible for a visual learner like myself. I was so hesitant until I saw her little boy making the bread, and I decided – so can I!


Some notes about my experience:
1) I have a 3.5 Qt French Oven while it’s recommended that we use a 5qt or above. To improvise, I simply cut the dough into half after the first rising and split up the second rising process – so I made 2 cute little loaves of bread instead of 1 big one. I find that more accessible for a 2-person family.

2) Like Smitten Kitchen, I did not have instant yeast in the refrigerator but have some active dry yeast. Smitten Kitchen recommends 1/3 tsp of active dry yeast to replace 1/4 tsp of instant yeast. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I suck at estimating anything. I don’t have a 1/3 tsp measuring spoon so I used 1/4 + 1/8 tsp of active dry yeast. I think that’s pretty close to 1/3 (6/24 + 3/24 = 9/24 ; 1/3 = 8/24) .

3) I don’t have non-terry cloth towels at home. After reading a lot of comments, I decided the best way to make the bread is to put the dough on parchment paper for the second rise. Parchment paper works perfectly, because you just lift the parchment paper with the dough to put in the French Oven, and after the bread is done, you lift the parchment paper out and it’s easy to remove the paper then. None of those sticky fingers that’s pertinent in so many comments about the bread-making process.

Somehow, my second loaf is prettier than the 1st because I did try remove the dough from the paper the first time round and simply did the paper plopping antic the second time round.

4) Finally, Le Creuset says its French Ovens can only handle 400 F but everyone thinks it can do so for 450 F. Some bloggers wing it with the plastic knob on the cover, but I’m poor and I don’t want to risk it. So I found some advice and it’s really simple to just remove the knob with a screwdriver (I don’t even have a screwdrive, I used a knife) and just stuff the hole with some aluminum foil. Minimum fuss for a paranoid gal.

5) The bread is fabulous with just some butter. Seriously, butter elevates it to another level altogether.


Julia Child’s Omelette

Posted: August 17, 2009 by lainey in Breakfast, Eggs


Jeff made this after watching Julia Child on PBS! I’m so impressed. It was really delicious and light and moist.
Sorry about the photo though, I took a bite of it before taking the picture.

Oh, he also improvised by adding buttermilk.

Jewish Apple Cake

Posted: June 13, 2009 by lainey in Breakfast, Dessert

Recipe (from Smitten Kitchen’s Mom’s Apple Cake Recipe)

6 McIntosh apples
1 tablespoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons sugar

2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.


I’ve been baking because 1) I want to finish up all my flour before we move and, 2) my parents appreciate snacks to bring out when they go explore Boston. However, as I’ve no baking soda, and I refuse to buy any, the challenge is looking for recipes that do not require baking soda.

So I found the Jewish Apple Cake, which is easily, one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. It is dense, moist and extremely tasty.

1) I used 3 apples instead of 6, I think four would be a good number here.
2) I used a regular 9 inch baking pan instead of a bundt pan and 10 more minutes of baking time is required.
3) I already used less sugar (1 tablespoon less on the apples and 1/4 cup less for the batter, but it’s still pretty sweet, so go ahead and reduce the sugar if you do not have a sweet tooth like me.
4) Out of cake guilt and necessity, I used 1/2cup olive oil and 1/2 cup canola oil for the vegetable oil. I would use grapeseed if i had some