Category Archives: Breakfast Ideas

Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese Egg Custard Tarts)

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All-butter puff pastry filled with deliciously rich egg custard flavoured with vanilla is my idea of heaven – I love these!

I don’t like custard. Well I didn’t until I tried one of these! Rien’s Aunt made these at Christmas and I was reluctant to try one as I’ve never had custard and liked it before. I am incredibly glad I tried one, they were absolutely amazing. The pastry is flaky and buttery which goes perfectly with the creamy, thick egg custard.

I knew I wanted to make these for my Mum because she likes English egg custard tarts so these are perfect for her. I decided to make them for her birthday so I had a few months to wait before I made them! Since then, I have seen Patesis de Nata everywhere! They were featured in April’s issue of Good Food and were the cover recipe on Delicious. So by waiting and making these now I am right on trend!

Although both Good Food and Delicious featured a recipe, I knew I was going to use the recipe Rien’s Aunt, Carol, had given to me because I knew they were delicious. She found the recipe from the Guardian which was featured as Lucian Freud’s favourite breakfast dish. The recipe can be found here: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/oct/25/lucian-freud-custard-tarts-breakfast-champions.

This recipe featured a couple of firsts for me; all-butter puff pastry and vanilla pods. The all-butter puff pastry was a little bit harder to work with than usual puff pastry because it started to almost melt whilst working with it due to the high butter content. So try to handle it as little and quickly as possible. The vanilla pod added a fantastic flavour which couldn’t have been replaced with vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste and I was excited to finally use it.

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I went into making these having no idea what I was doing and only having a fairly brief recipe to guide me. A couple of times I had a few doubts and wondered whether they would turn out right. The main stage when I was a little worried was when I was pouring the custard into the pastry. On some of the tarts, the custard began seeping out so I thought these would not turn out very well. When I took them out of the oven though, I couldn’t even tell which had been the problem tarts!

One tip I would advise is when pouring, use a jug! When I was pouring the warmed cream into the egg yolks I thought it would be fine to pour from the pan – it wasn’t. If you’re anything like me, it will be far easier, and quicker, to use a jug whenever you’re pouring.

When the finished tarts first came out of the oven, they did look good but I remember thinking they didn’t look as good as Carol’s. I left them to cool and when I came back to them, the custard had settled and almost sunk down a little bit and I was very happy to see they did now look like Carol’s! So don’t panic if yours look slightly different when they first come out of the oven, they should settle and look amazing!

My Mum said these reminded her of when we were on holiday in Portugal and had Pasteis de Nata and that these were just as delicious. A couple of weeks before I made these, I went to Nandos with a friend and had one of their Pasteis de Nata. I am very pleased to say that these are far better than the ones in Nandos – don’t take my word for it, try them yourself!

If you manage to control yourself and not eat all twelve at once, store the in an airtight box. Heat them for approximately 20 seconds before you want to eat them, it definitely makes a difference and they will be as delicious as when they were warm from the oven.

rien

Makes 12
320g pre-rolled all-butter pastry
3 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
200ml single cream
250ml whole milk
½ vanilla pod
Spray oil for greasing
Icing sugar for dusting

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Grease a 12 hole muffin tray and put in the freezer
  2. Take the pre-rolled pastry straight from the fridge and dust with icing sugar. Roll along the longest side into a tight log and cut into 12 sections

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  1. Dust each section with icing sugar and roll flat until it is roughly 11cm across. Push each round into the muffin tray, it doesn’t have to be flat around the edges as they are meant to have folds in the pastry. Put the tray in the fridge

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  1. Whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar until creamy. Mix the cornflour with a splash of milk and then whisk into the egg yolks. This looks exactly like something we used to play with as a child, its a liquid until touched and then it turns solid. You’ll know what I mean when you get to this stage!
  2. Heat the cream and milk together in a pan along with half a vanilla pod with the seeds scraped out, until almost boiling

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  1. Remove from the heat and fish out the vanilla pod, then whisk slowly into the yolks
  2. Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat gently for three minutes, stirring continuously
  3. Pour into the pastry cases and bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden and dark spots appear on the custard

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  1. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin. Best eaten warm

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American Pancakes

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If I have a craving for pancakes, it is always for American pancakes. They’re thick and fluffy and make a perfect breakfast accompanied with bacon and maple syrup – yum!

I first came across American pancakes when we went on a family holiday to America (obviously). Back then I don’t think it was very common for people to consider having bacon with pancakes as a lot of people associated pancakes with thin crepe style pancakes served with sweet toppings. I am a fan of a wafer thin crepe with lashings of Nutella but I think they are best left to the professionals. I had a lovely crepe when we went to Berlin last December for the Christmas Markets, they’re cooked in less than a minute and are delicious. Crepes are lovely for a treat, but I wouldn’t think of making them at home.

Since our first trip to America it has become a tradition in my family to have American pancakes and bacon for breakfast on Christmas Day; after all Christmas is all about indulging! My Mum bought an American pancake maker which plugs in and can be put on the table so the pancakes can be cooked there and then without someone being stuck in the kitchen or the pancakes getting cold. She makes the batter up and can then cook six little pancakes at the same time.

I made these on pancake day which is the perfect excuse to have breakfast for dinner. This recipe is simple and makes lovely thick and fluffy pancakes.

135g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
130ml milk
1 large egg
2 tbsp butter, melted and allowed to cool slightly
spray oil

  1.  Sift the flour, baking power, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl
  2. In a jug add the milk and egg and whisk lightly before adding the melted butter and whisking again
  3. Pour the milk mix into the flour mix and whisk until you have a smooth batter. If you have any lumps, just keep whisking until they disappear
  4. Let the batter stand for a approximately 15 minutes

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  1. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and spray with oil. When the pan is hot, add a ladle of batter to the pan. If your pan is big enough you can add two at the same time. Don’t worry if the batter seems thick, it is meant to be. When the top of the pancake begins to form small bubbles, it is ready to flip onto the other side. In total it should cook for roughly a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown. You don’t want the heat to be too high or else the pancakes will brown on the outside but not be cooked in the middle

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  1. Keep going until you have used up all of the batter. The cooked pancakes can be kept warm in a low oven or under some kitchen paper

Breakfast Burrito

This burrito makes the perfect weekend brunch dish and is that little bit special. 

Breakfast in my house seems to be the least though about meal. Although I do love a good breakfast, I seem to fall into the pattern of having the same things for breakfast, especially during the week when I’m at work. Sometimes at the weekend I do branch out and make a bacon sandwich, but this Breakfast Burrito is definitely a treat. 

This isn’t a recipe I recommend making as a regular breakfast, but for a brunch dish every so often I do definitely recommend! It takes a bit longer to make than a bacon sandwich, but in my opinion it is worth it! This is why I suggest making it as a weekend brunch dish, after you have had a nice lie in or a lazy morning and then have the energy to potter around in the kitchen. This energy is what I lack early in the mornings!

This recipe is really adaptable. You can use as many different chilli powders and as much of them as you like. I personally would keep it relatively mild as it is a breakfast/brunch dish and I do not fancy something really spicy in the morning; but feel free to increase the spice if you want. You can also add other ingredients that you like, for example onions and mushrooms. These would go really well with the other flavours so it just depends if you like them. You could also add more eggs and less potato if you want the eggs to be more of a prominent ingredient.  

This burrito is very tasty but is definitely a hearty meal so perfect for a lazy Sunday at home. 

Serves 2
2 large tortilla wraps
1 potato, diced (approx 300g)

2 peppers, diced
4 eggs
150g chorizo, cut in half then sliced
1 tbsp milk
½ tsp chilli powder (use more or less depending on how hot you like it)
¼ 
salt
Twist of pepper
Spray oil
60g grated cheese
Your chosen sauce i.e tomato ketchup  

  1. Cut the potato into cubes keeping the skin on. Put in a pan of boiling salted water for 10 minutes until just soft
  2. Meanwhile in a different pan, heat the spray oil and add the chopped peppers. Cook for approximately 5 minutes before adding the potatoes. Cook for a further 10 minutes until coloured and crispy. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Cut the chorizo into slices and add to the pan and cook for 5 minutes until golden and crisp

  1. Mix the eggs in a bowl with the milk, chilli powder, salt and pepper

  1. Add the eggs to the pan and cook on a low heat, stir every so often to make them scrambled. This should only take a minute or so
  2. Lay a tortilla wrap on a board and add any sauce you want. My chosen sauce is tomato ketchup sauce. Then add the filling making sure you keep it in the centre and then add the grated cheese on top. Fold the two ends of the tortilla in, then fold the bottom over the filling and tuck in. Roll until the seam is on the bottom. Cut in half and serve hot