Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Looking through the last dozen posts we’ve made, I see we’re really doing well in sharing seasonal recipes! This is yet another one in that category – I can’t help but keep eating pumpkin and squash, because it is delicious and versatile; and, especially, because starting in one month I will not be eating many vegetables for the next half-year…

I’m also curious to ask what other recipes people have for squash and pumpkin? Feel free to comment and share – as I’d love to try a few new ones myself!

This recipe was a great success. It’s simple, and I made it to use up the remaining pumpkin purée from the pumpkin pie I made for Thanksgiving. Not only did it help by re-interpreting left-overs, but it made a special brunch.

Ingredients – makes 16 scones

-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/4 cup sugar (I used light brown sugar)
-1/2 tsp both ground ginger and cinnamon
-pinch of nutmeg
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-pinch salt
-1/2 cup cold butter, diced
-1/2 cup walnut pieces
-1/3 cup cream (or yogurt if you are looking to reduce your cream intake)
-2/3 cup puréed pumpkin (I like to use fresh if I can, but if not, pure canned pumpkin can be substituted)
-1 egg, for brushing


Puréed pumpkin

To make the pumpkin purée, preheat oven to 400F. Halve a cooking pumpkin, remove the seeds, and place cut-side up on a baking tray. Bake for 40 – 60 minutes (approximately), until the flesh is tender and a few brown spots appear on the pumpkin. Remove from oven, let cool, and then scoop the flesh out of the skin. Place in a blender or food processor (or use a potato-masher, if you have one), and purée the pumpkin thoroughly (if you do it by hand, make sure you really put in the effort to purée it – it does not work well if it is watery or stringy).

Pumpkin scones

Preheat oven to 375F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the spices, sugar, salt, and stir.

Cut in the butter using a pastry knife or your hands (quickly), until mixture looks like breadcrumbs (you can also use a food-processor if you have one!).  Add the walnuts in after.

In a separate bowl, mix the cream and pumpkin purée. Add this to the dry ingredients, and mix them together with your hands or a wooden spatula until the dough begins to form into larger balls. Do not over-work.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take small amounts of dough into your hand and form them into a disc. Place on the baking sheet. Beat the egg together and brush over scones.

Bake for 15-20 minutes (check after 15, it’s best to be careful because you don’t want the bottoms to burn). Cool on a wire rack, and serve with jam, butter, or anything else you like with your scones!


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The first time I tried a smoked salmon and fresh basil frittata, it was made for me. I had never thought of the combination of basil with smoked salmon – usually I associate parsley, or dill – so this seemed unusual. With the first bite, however, I realized that they go very well together.

The great thing about this meal is that it is very simple, and yet very elegant. It can easily be made for an impromptu celebration – like celebrating the arrival of Saturday, or your friend for a spontaneous brunch.

This summer, we had an abundance of basil in our garden so vast that even eating it daily and making about 4 pounds of pesto to store in the freezer did not completely eliminate it. What a tomato-and-basil summer it was in Toronto!

This recipe comes from Donna Hay’s wonderful collection.

Ingredients – generously serves 2

-4 eggs, lightly beaten
-1/2 cup milk
-1/3 cup shredded basil
-1/3 cup grated aged cheddar cheese or gruyère
-cracked black pepper
-6-8 slices smoked salmon
-4 toasted slices of your favourite bread


Place the eggs, milk, basil, cheddar and pepper in a bowl and mix to combine.  Pour the mixture into a  frying pan and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until it is almost set.
Place under a hot grill (broiler) for 1 minute or until golden.  Remove from the pan and cut into wedges.  To serve, top with the gravlax, and buttered, toasted bread.

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In peak harvest season I’m always inspired to make granola, although I’m not sure why. In a blur, the kitchen becomes transformed as I bring in bags and bags in of nuts, fruits and seeds and then begin mixing in my largest bowl, which is never large enough. Then, after the first batch, I make another, and then another, and then another, until we have a supply of granola to last until Christmas.  Then it happens over again! This year, so far I have gone through 25 cups of rolled oats!

The great thing about making granola, aside from the fact that it is really easy and delicious, is that I know exactly what I put into it, and that means it’s all things I like and things that are healthy.

My recipe here is a tiny version of what happens in the kitchen at our place, so feel free to multiply it several times over if you want to make granola for a few weeks or even a month at a time. That, and also feel free to adapt the recipe with ingredients of your preference: if you don’t like the crunch of Kamut as much, substitute more oats or barley, for example. If you’re a big fan of pecans, then substitute those for almonds!

Ingredients – about 12 cups (feel free to multiply to make it even more worthwhile)

-2/3 cup honey
-1/2 cup water
-1 tsp maple extract (optional)
-1 cup canola oil

-2 cups rolled oats
-1 cups rolled Kamut Flakes
-1 cups rolled Barley Flakes
-1/2 cup sesame seeds
-1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
-1 cups wheat germ
-1 cup wheat bran
-1 cups chopped raw almonds
-1 cup chopped hazelnuts
-1 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
-2 tsp cinnamon

-1 cup dried blueberries
-1 cup chopped dried peaches
– other dried fruit if desired


Preheat oven to 275F.

In a small saucepan, bring water and honey to a simmer. Remove from heat, and once it has cooled a bit, add the extract (optional) and the oil. Let stand while mixing the next ingredients.

In your largest bowl, combine the next 11 ingredients. Using a wooden spoon (or your hands), mix it thoroughly. Then pour half of the honey/sugar mixture over the oat mixture. Mix well so everything is as coated as possible, then add the remaining honey mixture. Mix again.

In a separate bowl, mix the dried fruit. Set aside.

I like to use fruit I dehydrate in the granola – it makes it possible to have dried blueberries, peaches, and anything I like!

Pour half the granola onto two baking dishes or cookie sheets. Place in oven for 15 minutes, then stir. Return to oven for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and stir in the dried fruit. Let cool to room temperature then store in an airtight container.

Serve with milk or your favourite yogurt for breakfast or a delicious snack!


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For as long as I can remember, my family has always enjoyed coffee cake for Christmas and Easter brunch.  We would eat it at our dining room table still warm from the oven, with bacon and a selection of my mother’s homemade jams.  I spent my first ever Easter away from home this year, and I could not bare to break tradition.  So for brunch, I made my great-grandmother’s coffee cake in all its glory: absolutely fluffy with a delicious pecan cinnamon crunch.

Coffee Cake 

(10 generous slices)


1/2 cup butter

1 Tbsp Crisco

1 cup white sugar

3 eggs, one at a time

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cup flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 generous tbsp cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans are my favourite, but walnuts are delicious too)


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cream the butter, Crisco, and white sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time, the sour cream and the vanilla.  In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Gently combine the wet and dry ingredients.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts in a separate bowl to make the crumbs.  Place half the batter in a greased tube or bunt pan – it will be thick so you will have to tease it to spread evenly.  Sprinkle with half the crumbs.  Add the remaining batter, followed by the crumbs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Delicious served warm with fresh berries!

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It was a complete co-incidence that I woke up craving egg bread french toast. I went to the store in my neighbourhood, surprised that there was only one loaf left, until I realized it’s easter. Right. Isn’t it strange my cravings coincide with special occasions?

While cooking the french toast, I realized we had used up the last of our maple syrup in the ice cream a few weeks ago. Instead, I decided to make a simple vanilla-infused syrup, which was very different, and absolutely delicious.

Ingredients – to make a breakfast for two

French toast

-1 cup milk
-2 eggs
-1 tsp sugar
-1 pinch salt
-4 thick slices of egg bread
-butter, for frying

Vanilla syrup

-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 cup water-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 vanilla bean, scraped


French toast

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar and salt. Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat and melt a knob of butter. Soak 2 slices of bread in the egg mixture, and then fry one side until golden, around 4 minutes. Flip it over, and repeat the process. You may need to include a bit more butter.

Repeat with the next two slices, and more slices if any liquid remains.

Vanilla syrup

In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar, and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the vanilla extract and all the scrapings from the vanilla bean as well as the vanilla pod. Simmer it down 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk it all together at the end before serving to dissipate the vanilla granules evenly.

Just make sure you let it thicken enough to be syrupy – so don’t hesitate to let it boil down a little longer than I recommended because it depends on the stove!

Pour it over the french toast, and you can dress it up even more with fruit.


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This morning, we woke up to the sound of high winds and rain lashing at our windows reminiscent of the village my family comes from in Normandy. Perhaps surprisingly, I quite enjoy a good storm. And the cold and wet outdoors will be less appetizing as a distractor from my current challenge of studying for my very last two exams of undergrad.

With the weather reminding me of Normandy (and France, in general), I got out of bed with the idea of making madeleines au citron, one of my grandfather’s very favourite things to dip into his café au lait. They make a great substitute for sunshine on a day like today.

Instead of a café au lait, we ate them with soft-boiled eggs and a lemongrass-hibiscus flower tea.  To complete it all, our forsythia bush has burst into bloom, and so its sunny flowers accompanied our lovely breakfast. It was one of those mornings you wish could never end!

This recipe is another I have very slightly modified from Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table (p 409). Just a quick warning – they are best when the batter rests for over 3 hours before being baked. My solution to this problem, being a spur-of-the-moment type of person, is to double the recipe.  I can then have a delicious treat right away (by baking the first dozen) while the remaining batter can sit in the fridge until the following morning when they become even more delicious. It works every time!

Ingredients – 12 madeleines

-2/3 cups all-purpose flour-3/4 tsp baking powder
-pinch salt
-1/2 cup sugar
-2 eggs
-zest from 1 lemon
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-7 Tbsp cooled melted butter (browned butter
is the best)


Preheat the oven to 400F, with a rack one notch below the middle.  If you have a mixer, this is the time to use it – and if not – then this is your time to build a lot of arm muscles!  In a large bowl, mix the sugar and lemon zest with your fingers, working the lemon zest into the sugar to infuse the flavour as much as possible. Then add the 2 eggs, and beat (with a mixer) for 2 minutes (takes more like 5-10 minutes of vigorous beating by hand, and it’s totally do-able), until the mixture is frothy and thickened.

Once the mixture is ready, beat in the 2 tsp vanilla.

In a separate bowl, blend the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly and carefully incorporate the flour into the egg mixture with a rubber spatula, 1/4 at a time. Finally, add in the melted cooled butter while gently mixing with the rubber spatula.

Grease the madeleine mould (or muffin tin if you don’t have one) and sprinkle with flour.  Add enough batter to each to fill it but do not make them overflow. Bake in the oven for 9-13 minutes, until the tops are springy and golden.

Bon appétit!


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It’s no secret that I’m a morning person.  And there’s nothing more I like to do (well, not much) than wake up early and bake something delicious to share for breakfast.  Today, it was these muffins, which we accompanied with mocha yogurt and bohemian raspberry (green tea with raspberry plant leaves) tea.  It was such a treat, and was helpful in getting my cooking bug/procrastination out of the way for a big day of essay writing.

It took a few tries to perfect this recipe – to make them fluffy and not too sweet or too tart, with a hint of lemon.  I think it’s now ready to share with you all!  I can also add this recipe to the cranberry compilation I posted right at the beginning. I love cranberries.

Ingredients – 12 beautiful muffins

-1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
-1 cup whole-wheat flour
-1 Tbsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-pinch (1/8 tsp) cinnamon

-1 large egg
-1 1/4 cup milk + juice from 1/2 lemon
-1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
-1 tsp vanilla
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-zest from 2 washed lemons

-2 cups fresh or frozen (but try to avoid dried – you would need less sugar if you used those) cranberries


Preheat the oven to 400F.  Line a 12-muffin tin with muffin liners (the easy version) or grease and dust with flour.

In a large bowl, mix all wet ingredients, the sugar and the lemon zest.  In a separate bowl, combine all the first 5 dry ingredients, and stir well.  Quickly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ones, and add the cranberries.

Spoon mixture into the muffin tins evenly.  They should fill almost to the top. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean and the tops are golden.  Remove the muffins from the tin and let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes.  Enjoy for breakfast, a snack, or with tea!  These are definitely a treat anytime.


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