Fry-Up Bowl – An Easy Meal For Anytime!

 

“If you can eat with mates or friends or family, I mean, it’s such a brilliant thing isn’t it? If you feel really rubbish and you have a nice bit of food it makes you feel good, you know?” 
~  Jamie Oliver

 

Fry-Up Bowls are a favourite easy meal in our house.

To be honest they are not always 100% fried, and the ingredients often change, but they are always served in a bowl, so that’s something consistent I guess.

We eat this kind of food when a decent breakfast is called for. But it also works well for lunch and dinner, and is a fabulous way of using left-overs. In fact I often cook more food than can be eaten in one meal just so that I have left-overs to use at another. Don’t you?

Also, those potatoes? Totally worthy of being cooked ON THEIR OWN for immediate consumption when comfort food is called for or when the football is on!

Here are the basic ingredients:

Cold boiled potatoes or any leftover roast vegetables

Some chopped up green vegetables that I can quickly boil or fry

Salady things – chopped or ripped

Protein – This could be eggs; cold cooked meat from a previous meal; sausages, bacon, or any other meat that suits a quick fry-up.

Fermented Vegetables and a dab of butter to finish.

*Use variations of any of the above based on what you have to hand.

Method:

Squashed Crunchy Potatoes – Oh, we love these! I often boil up a heap of spuds, have some for dinner and then use others to chop into pasties or pies, to mash and add to the top of some savoury thing I’ve whipped up and some for fry-ups or as Squashed Crunchies. (Did I mention I’m the Queen of Leftovers?)

So, start with some boiled and well-drained or cold potatoes. Turn your oven up to HIGH and get out a heavy baking dish. Pour a good slug of oil into the pan and rub it around with your fingers to coat the bottom. Dump your cooked potato pieces into the oiled pan and then squash them down with your hand, the back of a spoon or a potato masher – whatever is closest. The potatoes will flatten and break up. Great! Now drizzle more oil over them and sprinkle with salt and a bit of herb (fresh or dried rosemary or oregano is good) and chuck them in the hot oven. Turn after ten minutes and cook again for another ten. You’ll end up with nice hot crispy potatoes that are still fluffy and soft in the middle.

While the spuds are baking put some hot water into a saucepan and bring to the boil (only do this if you aren’t frying everything – but know that frying everything is an option…) and get your frypan on. Add a little fat/oil to the frypan and then add any meat you are going to cook up or reheat.

Chop up any vegetables you’ll boil. I often use broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, brussel sprouts, carrots, green beans or asparagus. If you already have these as cooked vegetables from a previous meal you can reheat in the frypan. Put the hard texture vegetables in first – eg carrots and brussel sprouts (chop these dudes into halves or even quarters to speed cooking time) to give them a head-start with cooking. Add the broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini next and things like asparagus and beans just a few minutes before the rest are done. Drain when cooked and dump back into saucepan with a lid to keep warm. (Hint – I will often put an egg or two in their shells in with the vegetables if I couldn’t be bothered doing a fry up. When the vegetables are done just use a spoon to halve the eggs and scoop contents out onto your bowl of food. Three to four minutes for a soft yolk, longer for a hard yolk.)

Fry-up – your sausages, bacon or cold leftover meat will be well on its way to cooked or hot. Now you can add tomato, onion, mushroom, an egg or whatever else takes your fancy – or any vegetables that are pre-cooked and which need reheating. Turn occasionally to prevent sticking and allow even cooking.

To assemble:

Place some potato in bottom of bowl. Add some cooked vegetables and whatever you’ve fried up. Dab that butter on if you’re a butter kind of person. (Hint – pre-slicing cooked sausages or other meat makes eating it a whole lot better!) Add any salad items or chopped fresh herbs to the top, and a spoonful or two of fermented vegetables like kimchi or sauerkraut. Salt and pepper if you want. Eat!

 

Loaded Porridge with Cinnamon Spiced Apples

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“It follows that they never understood Reginald, who came down late to breakfast, and nibbled toast, and said disrespectful things about the universe. The family ate porridge, and believed in everything, even the weather forecast.”
~ Saki

 

Now that the weather is finally cooler, porridge is one of my favourite breakfasts. It’s easy to make, and provides me with the energy to work hard all morning without flagging. Plus it’s yummy!

I load my porridge up with lots of healthy extras, but I’ll start with the basic recipe and then you can choose what else you may like to add.

Get your apples cooking first and then make your porridge.

 

Basic Porridge Recipe

Ingredients: 1/2 cup of rolled oats and 1 cup of water per hungry person, pinch of salt (You may notice some brown lumps and black spots in my porridge pot! This isn’t basic – but I’ve also added a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped pecan nuts and a spoonful of chia seeds to my pot. Not necessary, but yummy.)

Method: Place oats, salt and water into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture is thick and creamy. About five minutes.

This picture is of a double serving!

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Cinnamon Spiced Apples –  (I make a big batch to last a few breakfasts. Feel free to halve if you want!)

Ingredients: 8 to 10 apples, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or 6 whole cloves, juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoons raw or brown sugar of your favourite sugar substitute, 1/2 cup of water

*If your apples are sweet to eat you may want to use a little less sugar. If they are tart you may want a little more. Sweeten to your own preference. Natvia works well if you need to be sugar-free.

Method: Peel, core and chop your apples into wedges. Toss them with the lemon juice to prevent them going brown.

Place the water, sugar and spices in a large saucepan over medium heat, and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Add apples and stir to coat in the spice mixture. Leave on medium heat until water begins to bubble. Place lid on pan, turn down heat and cook for ten minutes or until apples are soft.

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To serve (unloaded):

Spoon some porridge into a bowl. Top with apples.

Add a little yoghurt and extra cinnamon if you wish. I used coconut yogurt. Heavenly!

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To serve loaded:

Here are some of my favourite porridge toppings. Choose whatever combination from the list below that appeals to you and add on top of your basic porridge recipe.

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Bacon and Egg Sandwich with Caramelised Onion

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“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”
~ A.A. Milne

 

I have workmen to feed again today at the farm. This is a tasty, easy and rustic meal that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner with equally good results. Served up with a big pot of coffee or tea and a slab or two of my boiled fruitcake, the hungriest stomach can be made content.

What makes this sandwich extra good is using fresh, seasonal local produce. I source all of my ingredients from the local farmers markets or my back yard. Fresh artisan bread, organic free-range eggs and bacon lift this from tasty to sublime.

The caramelised onion takes a little time to make, but is well worth the little extra effort, and it can be made in advance so that you always have some on hand. This sandwich is fancy enough that I have often served it for breakfast at Christmas and New Year. At Christmas time you can substitute Christmas ham for the bacon. 🙂

Note: If you have non-bacon eaters, swap the bacon out for grilled haloumi cheese or some grilled sweet red capsicum (bell pepper).

Caramelised Onion Ingredients:

3 large brown onions, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 1 to 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar, salt and pepper. – This will cook down to about one large cup’s worth of caramelised onion, which would give me a hearty filling for three to four sandwiches.

Method:

Peel and halve the onions and slice. Don’t make them too thin. Place a heavy bottomed frypan over low heat with the oil, add the onions and sprinkle with a little salt. Leave on low heat, stirring occasionally for about twenty minutes or until the onions are soft have begun to turn golden.

Now add the balsamic vinegar, sugar and a grind or two or pepper. Continue to cook over low heat for a further ten minutes until the onions are sticky and caramelised.

Set aside to cool. Any leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the fridge for up to two months.

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Sandwich ingredients per person:

Two pieces of a good sourdough bread (I used a Sourdough Light Rye) or get super fancy and use half a baguette or a charming bread roll, enough bacon to generously fill each sandwich, one fresh egg, a handful of rocket leaves (arugula), and a slice of crispy apple. A generous portion of caramelised onion, a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Method:

Put your frypan on over medium heat, add a slug of oil and when the pan is hot add your bacon slices. Cook until golden but still soft. Super crispy bacon isn’t great for sandwiches. Set the bacon aside on some paper towel or in a warm oven until you need it.

While the bacon is cooking, finely cut some fresh apple into matchsticks. I used half a large Pink Lady Apple for four sandwiches. Toss the apple and rocket together, ready for your sandwich assembly.

Turn the heat down a little and add the eggs in on top of the bacon fat. You can cook them sunny side up, or however you like them. I always like to leave my yolks a little on the soft side.

Get your bread ready. I toasted mine, which is not essential, but gives the sandwich a little extra yummy crunch.

Place a generous layer of caramelised onion on one slice of bread.

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Then heap some rocket and apple on. I know that using apple may sound weird but trust me, it’s amazing!

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On goes the bacon.

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And then the egg.

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A sprinkle of salt and pepper, pop the lid on and it’s ready to eat!

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Hot Buttered Apples with Tumeric and Ginger

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“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
~ Desmond Tutu

 

This sounds like a tasty and warming dessert, right?

Well, it is, and if that’s how you want to enjoy it, go right ahead, It’s yummy and good for you.

But then again, this recipe is so much more…

Ever suffered from drug-induced nausea, morning sickness, adrenal exhaustion, upset tummy, chemo mouth or a complete lack of appetite when you need to be taking medicine with food?

These apples contain spices like ginger, cinnamon and cloves – that quell nausea, reduce inflammation  boost circulation and your immune system, fight candida and chemo mouth, and aid digestion. The fat from the butter will let you absorb all of the benefit from the turmeric, plus it gives the apples a lovely silky texture. It’s low in sugar, and soft to eat. When you’re sick it’s supreme comfort food that works to help you feel better too.

I usually make a big batch, but you could halve the recipe, or even double it! You can eat it on its own, with breakfast cereal or porridge, or turn it into a crumble. It’s delicious hot or cold, but if you’re not well, warm apples will be easier on your body.

I’ve made two batches today – some for a friend who is going through chemo right now, and some for us to enjoy at home.

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Ingredients:

12 large Granny Smith apples – peeled and sliced, 1 cinnamon quill, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 8 whole cloves, 1 tablespoon ground turmeric, 1 inch of root ginger – peeled and cut into fine matchsticks, 1 heaped tablespoon of butter (grassfed if possible), 4 medjool dates – seeded and chopped, natvia or other sweetener of your choice if desired.

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Place the apples in a large saucepan with about 2 centimetres of water in the bottom of the pot. Add the spices, and dates, and bring to the boil. Then lower heat.

Now add the butter to the apples, and stir through until it melts. Add sweetener if using. I used about a tablespoon of natvia for these apples. Place lid on pot and simmer on lowest heat for ten minutes or until apples are soft.

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Remove cinnamon quill and cloves before serving.

Serve on its own, or with a dollop of yoghurt, coconut cream (my favourite!) or cream and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon.

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Easy Baked Eggs Recipe

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“A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal.”
~ Pat Conroy

 

Sometimes I need a warm, easy meal that takes just  a minute or two to throw together, but that is more substantial than toast. If I’m writing, and don’t want to leave what I am doing for too long, or at the end of a long working day when I want a tasty but effortless meal, baked eggs is a favourite go-to.

Baked eggs are remarkably simple, and can be thrown together with other ingredients in endless combination. Just a minute to assemble, some oven time, and no major clean up. I will often make one to eat straight away, and another to eat cold.

Ingredients:

The basic ingredients you will need per person are an egg, some butter, a little cream and cheese, some vegetables and if wanted, a little ham, cold meat or smoked salmon.

Good vegetable choices are tomato, capsicum (bell pepper), corn, spinach, kale, mushrooms, or diced cold leftover vegetables from a previous meal (go crazy!).

This is the perfect meal for anyone who is time poor or domestically challenged. It can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you don’t have individual ramekins you could use a cup, or select a larger shallow bowl or tray and make a couple of servings in the one dish.

Method:

Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit) and prepare a ramekin for each person by greasing lightly with a little butter.

Slice enough vegetables to nearly fill the ramekin. Today I’ve used golden tomatoes, mushrooms, red capsicum and a little smoked salmon, all roughly chopped into smaller pieces.

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Layer the vegetables and salmon (or whatever else you are using) with a sprinkle or two of cheese and a grind or two of salt and pepper. Fill to nearly the top of the ramekin.

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Crack an egg over the top, and then pour over a tablespoon or two of cream, and a final sprinkle of cheese. Add herbs or seasoning if wanted.

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Bake for twenty minutes for a soft-yolked egg. Perfect for dunking toast. That’s the soft yolk, right in the centre of the pic, under the cheese! Mmmmm….

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Break yolk and cook for thirty minutes if you prefer your baked egg to more closely resemble a quiche. ( A good option if working and not wanting to drip egg on keyboard.)

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Serve on its own or with toast or a quick salad. So yummy and good!

I have even served these with a salad and good bread,  a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream on top, a sprinkling of herbs and given them to guests as a pretend-fancy meal when I was too tired to do proper cooking. 🙂

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Easy Stewed Apple Recipe

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“If God had intended us to follow recipes, He wouldn’t have given us grandmothers.”
~ Linda Henley

 

Stewed apples always remind me of my grandmothers’ kitchens. Both of them were avid fruit stewers, especially when fruit was beginning to get a little old, or soft, or if there was too much to eat fresh, or if it was tart and not so great for eating. Nothing was ever wasted in their kitchens.

Of course you don’t need old apples for this recipe. Any apples are fine. They are a simple and thrifty dessert that is easy and quick to make. Served plain, or with a little cream, custard, yoghurt or ice-cream it is wholesomeness in a bowl. I guess most people call it ‘fruit compote’ these days, but good old-fashioned stewed apples works for me.

I like to make a big pot so that I can have some for a warm dessert and some left over to gift others or to eat during the week. They are delicious served cold, spooned over cereal or teamed with yoghurt for a yummy breakfast. They also make a smashingly good base for an apple crumble. My Nana often served this apple with pork chops or roasted pork too. Both grandmothers served them up to us as children if we had upset tummies or were feeling poorly.

I’ve gone a bit crazy with cinnamon in my stewed apples (much more than what I state in the recipe). Why? It’s a brilliant anti-fungal and anti-bacterial spice, and it helps normalise blood sugar and reduce inflammatory responses within the body – so it’s great for people with lyme disease.

This recipe freezes well, or will keep refrigerated for one week.

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Ingredients:

8 to 10 apples, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or 4 whole cloves, juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoons raw or brown sugar of your favourite sugar substitute, 1/2 cup of water

*If your apples are sweet to eat you may want to use a little less sugar. If they are tart you may want a little more. Sweeten to your own preference. Natvia works well if you need to be sugar-free.

Method:

Peel, core and chop your apples into wedges. Toss them with the lemon juice to prevent them going brown.

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Place the water, sugar and spices in a large saucepan over medium heat, and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Add apples and stir to coat in the spice mixture. Leave on medium heat until water begins to bubble. Place lid on pan, turn down heat and cook for ten minutes or until apples are soft.

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This is me in my pyjamas and slippers, eating my yummy stewed apples and yoghurt in front of television last night. Cosy, snug and feeling very nurtured after a big stressful day.

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 PS: How cute are these slippers, although if you look closely the one on the left does look a little gnawed. Thanks, Harry!

Simple Stewed Plums Recipe

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“What is more mortifying than to feel that you have missed the plum for want of courage to shake the tree?”Logan Pearsall Smith

 

There is something deeply comforting about a bowl of warm sweet fruit, and stewed fruit is so simple that it should definitely be a go-to recipe in every household.

I love this easy recipe, and it is versatile enough to use with a whole range of different fruits including stone fruit, berries, apples, pears, rhubarb and pineapples. Stewed fruits can be eaten on their own or with something creamy as a dessert. They can be spooned over breakfast cereal or made into fruit crumbles, and they are even good served as a side with roasted meat.

Stewed plums have that tart-sweet flavour that I adore. If you prefer a very sweet stewed fruit add more sugar to your recipe. But I advise a light hand to start with, and taste as you go. I will sometimes omit sugar altogether if the fruit is ripe and sweet to start.

The stewed fruit will keep in the fridge for one week, and can also be frozen.

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Ingredients:

500g of plums, 2 tablespoons of sugar or your favourite sugar substitute, a squeeze of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of water (Adjust the sugar to your own taste. If the fruit is very ripe and sweet you may need less. If it is quite tart you may prefer more.)

Method:

Wash the plums and drain them. Using a sharp knife cut the plums in half, twist to separate, remove stones, and then slice into smaller pieces.

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Put plums into a saucepan, and add the sugar, water and lemon juice. Don’t worry that it isn’t much water. The fruit will release their own juices as they heat.

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Place pan over medium heat, and stir occasionally, cooking until fruit is soft. This will take between five and fifteen minutes depending on how ripe the fruit is, and how small the pieces are. Taste the syrup carefully (it will be hot) and adjust the amount of sugar if necessary.

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When the fruit is done, it will be soft and luscious. I love how the plum skins stain everything a pretty ruby colour.

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Ladle the fruit into bowls with a little of the syrup. Enjoy on its own or  serve with a splodge of cream, yoghurt or ice-cream for a simple and tasty warm dessert.

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