Around the World in 18 Breakfasts: Peru

Quinoa porridge

Week 14: Quinoa porridge
This Peruvian quinoa porridge ticked all the boxes of the Fun Food Trifecta – healthy, yummy and easy to make. The cinnamon quill, cardamon and cloves give it an amazing aromatic spice, perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the honey. As many Peruvians don’t have fridges, this porridge is made with evaporated milk, which gives it quite a rich flavour. If you prefer a more subtle flavour (and you don’t mind being a little less authentic) you could substitute the evaporated milk with regular milk. We found two recipes for this porridge – one with dried fruit and nuts and one without. I’m not sure which is the more traditional way to prepare this porridge but we opted to top it with toasted almond flakes, chopped dates and figs. Crackers also decided to add some currants to his. Mmm mmm – we will definitely be making this one again!

Peru ATW banner

What you will need:
(Makes three serves)

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, to serve
  • optional – chopped dried fruit and nuts of choice, to serve (we used a handful of toasted flaked almonds, 3 dates, 2 dried figs and a sprinkling of currants)

Making quinoa porridge

1. Rinse quinoa and add to a pot with 2 cups of cold water. Add cinnamon quill, cloves and cardamom.
2. Simmer, uncovered, for around 15 mins or until most of the water has evaporated.
3. Remove the cinnamon quill and cloves. Stir in the evaporated milk and honey. We used about 2 tbsp but you can add more if you prefer a sweeter porridge.
4. Top with ground cinnamon and dried fruit and nuts.

Steaming quinoa porridge
Join us on our journey!
This is the 14th of our ‘Around the World’ breakfasts. Each week we’ll be making something from a different country as part of our ‘Around the World in 18 Breakfasts’ series. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Pinterest to be part of the journey. Next stop: Sweden!

Around the World in 18 Breakfasts: Canada

Canadian pancakes

Week 13: Canadian style pancakes with bacon and maple syrup
As the maple leaf is the focal point of the Canadian national flag, it makes sense that the country’s breakfast of choice would feature maple syrup – and what goes better with maple syrup than pancakes? The addition of bacon is where things start to get a little weird… But weird and wonderful is the name of the game in our foodie adventures, so for Week 13 of our Around the World journey we decided to give Canadian style pancakes with bacon and maple syrup a go. Can’t say I was entirely convinced by sugary bacon but Crackers came back for thirds, so clearly it was a hit with him!

Canada banner

In an effort to make our pancakes authentically Canadian, we used a recipe for Canadian style pancakes from Bonibakes. The result was quite a lot lighter and fluffier than the pancakes we’re used to – they were more like the hotcakes you get from McDonald’s. The secret was in the whipped egg whites. The recipe makes about 12 small pancakes.

What you will need:

  • 3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 25g castor sugar
  • 235ml milk
  • butter for frying
  • 8 rashers of bacon
  • maple syrup

1. Whisk egg whites until stiff.
2. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl.
3. Lightly beat egg yolks and combine with milk and sugar. Add to dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Fold in the egg whites.
4. Melt butter in a frypan over medium heat. Cook pancakes until golden on both sides.
5. While pancakes are cooking, fry up the bacon until slightly crispy.
6. Serve pancakes in stacks topped with bacon and maple syrup.

Making Canadian pancakes
Join us on our journey!
This is the thirteenth of our ‘Around the World’ breakfasts. Each week we’ll be making something from a different country as part of our ‘Around the World in 18 Breakfasts’ series. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Pinterest to be part of the journey. Next stop: Peru!

Around the World in 18 Breakfasts: Thailand

mango coconut sticky rice

Week 12: Coconut sticky rice with mango (Khao niew ma muang)
I first discovered coconut sticky rice with mango on a trip to Thailand in 1997 and it remains one of my all-time favourite culinary discoveries. Technically, this is not a traditional Thai breakfast, but it can be eaten at any time of the day – so in my book that’s good enough! (Any excuse to make this stuff – it’s awesome!). Sadly, we’re smack bang in the middle of winter, so fresh mango was nowhere to be found. We used the tinned variety which was ok, but you really can’t beat fresh mango if you’re able to lay your hands on it. Crackers decided to supplement his with fresh sliced banana – whatever floats your boat, I say!

Thai breakfast

What you will need:

  • 1.5 cups glutinous (sticky) rice (see picture below, if you don’t have an Asian grocery store nearby you can buy this online)
  • water for soaking rice overnight
  • 1 400ml tin full cream coconut milk (not light!)
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 4oog tins of mango or 2 fresh mangoes (fresh is better if you can get it)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
  • sprig of mint for garnish (optional)
  • bamboo steamer and wok
  • small saucepan for coconut milk sauce
  • baking paper
  • small bowl to shape the rice (optional)

1. Soak the rice in water overnight.
2. Drain the rice. Line a bamboo steamer with baking paper and fill wok with enough water to be not quite touching the steamer. Bring the water to a simmer and steam rice for 25 to 30 mins or until just tender and slightly translucent.
3. While the rice is cooking, heat up the coconut milk, sugar and salt. Bring to a low simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved. Keep sauce on low heat – just enough to keep it warm.
4. Slice mangoes (and banana if desired).
Sticky rice domes
5. When rice is cooked, scoop it into a small bowl to shape it into a ‘dome’. Turn out onto a plate and top with the coconut milk and fruit.
6. If desired, add a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and mint for garnish.

Making mango sticky rice

Join us on our journey!
This is the twelfth of our ‘Around the World’ breakfasts. Each week we’ll be making something from a different country as part of our ‘Around the World in 18 Breakfasts’ series. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Pinterest to be part of the journey. Next stop: Canada!

Around the World in 18 Breakfasts: China

Pork and prawn dumplings

Week 11: Pork and prawn dumplings
For our Chinese ‘Around the World’ breakfast we had some special guests who let us in on the secrets to cooking the most amazing dumplings. I’ve made dumplings before but I can honestly say I’ve never made any that tasted this good! We turned breakfast into a bit of a banquet with the addition of barbecued pork buns (bought frozen from our local supermarket) as well as some homemade sweet Chinese egg custard tarts brought by our guests.

Breakfast around the world - China

What you will need:
Makes approx. 24 dumplings.

You can either steam or fry these. We steamed half and ‘steam-fried’ the other half. The steam-frying method was the little secret that our Chinese friend shared with us and having tried it, I’ll never be able to go back to plain old frying again! They were amazing, and much healthier than regular fried dumplings as you hardly need to use any oil.

For the dumplings

  • 250g pork mince
  • 200g raw prawn meat, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 24 gow gee wrappers (round)
  • small bowl of water for sealing the wrappers
  • lidded frypan and oil (for steam-fried dumplings)
  • bamboo steamer, wok and baking paper (for steamed dumplings)

For the sauce 

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

1. Mix together the pork mince, prawn meat, sugar, salt, spring onions, oyster sauce, cornflour and white pepper.
2. Place a small amount of the mixture (about a teaspoon) in the middle of each of the gow gee wrappers. Dip your finger in the water and moisten the edge of one half of each of the gow gee wrappers. Fold the wrapper over and pinch the edges together to seal.
3. Mix sauce ingredients together.

Making pork and prawn dumplings

For steamed dumplings
Steam dumplings, in batches, in a baking paper-lined bamboo steamer over a wok of simmering water for about 8 minutes, or until filling is cooked.

For steam-fried dumplings
Fry the dumplings in a small amount of oil on both sides until they’re lightly browned. Then add about half a centimetre of water to the frypan, place the lid on and cook for a few minutes until all the water has evaporated.

Serve with the sauce.

Around the world in 18 breakfasts - China

Join us on our journey!
This is the eleventh of our ‘Around the World’ breakfasts. Each week we’ll be making something from a different country as part of our ‘Around the World in 18 Breakfasts’ series. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Pinterest to be part of the journey. Next stop: Thailand!

Around the World in 18 Breakfasts: Spain

potato and chorizo tortilla

Week 10: Potato and chorizo tortilla
Despite sharing a name, the Spanish tortilla is nothing like its Mexican cousin. The Spanish take on the tortilla is more like an omelette crossed with a hash brown-on-steroids. Spanish tortillas are a staple of tapas and can be eaten at any time of the day. I first tried them on a tour of Europe BC (before children) so I had a vague recollection of what they were supposed to taste like. As usual, we took a number of recipes and cherry picked the bits we liked. The version you see pictured in this post was a little light on egg, so I’ve tweaked the potato-to-egg ratio slightly in the recipe below. I’ve also upped the chorizo component as ours could have done with a bit more meaty goodness (although, if you wanted to be a purist about it, you’d leave the chorizo out altogether). Also, if you want to be really traditional, throw some finely diced onion into the frypan when you’re cooking up the potatoes. We’re not huge on onion so we left it out.ATW banner Spain

What you will need:
(Makes one thick tortilla, 15cm in diameter)

  • 2 medium potatoes cut very finely (we found they expanded quite a lot once cooked)
  • 5 eggs
  • salt to taste
  • 60g chorizo, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • toothpicks (optional)

1. Shallow fry potatoes in the oil over medium heat until tender (about 10 mins). Add the chorizo in after about 8 mins. Add a generous sprinkle of salt. The aim is just to soften the potato. If it’s starting to brown, turn the heat down.
2. Take potato and chorizo mixture off the heat and let cool for about 10 mins. In the meantime, lightly whisk the eggs.
3. Add the potato and chorizo to the egg and mix well.
4. Fry on med-low heat until the bottom of the tortilla is set. Use an egg flipper or a spatula to loosen the tortilla, then take the frypan off the heat, cover with a plate and turn the tortilla out onto the plate. Gently return the tortilla to the pan and cook until the other side is golden brown.
5. Serve as wedges or as bite-sized squares with toothpicks.frying potato and chorizo tortilla

potato and chorizo tortilla bites

Join us on our journey!
This is the tenth of our ‘Around the World’ breakfasts. Each week we’ll be making something from a different country as part of our ‘Around the World in 18 Breakfasts’ series. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Pinterest to be part of the journey. Next stop: China!

Around the World in 18 Breakfasts: Ukraine

syrniki cheese fritters

Week 9: Syrniki (sweet cheese fritters)
If it’s possible to serve up heaven on a plate, syrniki is it. It’s hard to properly describe them as there really is no parallel in modern Australian cuisine. Slightly sweet, slightly crispy on the outside, and melt-in-your-mouth soft in the middle, these things are to die for. Syrniki are traditionally served with sour cream and jam, but we had some frozen raspberries in the freezer so we opted to make our own raspberry sauce. They’re quite filling but devilishly morish. I dare say I think we’ll be making these again…

Ukraine ATW banner

We actually tried out two different recipes for syrniki. The first one used cottage cheese but the texture was nowhere near as nice as the second batch that we made using Russian farmers’ cheese (also known as tvorog or quark). The consistency of this cheese is very much like fresh ricotta (the kind that you buy from the supermarket deli) so if you can’t lay your hands on the real deal, I think fresh ricotta would quite adequately serve the purpose (there are a number of recipes that back this up). The recipe that we ultimately went with was more or less based on this one.

Tvorog (also known as quark)

Tvorog (also known as quark).

What you will need:

For the syrniki
(makes 10-12)

  • 250g tvorog (quark) (or fresh deli-style ricotta cheese)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2/3 cup plain flour (plus some extra for rolling)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • extra oil for frying
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar for dusting
  • sifter
  • electric beater
  • sour cream for serving

For the raspberry sauce
(can be substituted with jam if preferred)

  • handful of frozen raspberries
  • approx. 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sugar

1. To make the sauce, cook raspberries, water and sugar over a low heat until it reaches the desired consistency. Turn off and let sit while you cook the syrniki.
2. Combine cheese, flour, egg, sugar, oil, baking powder and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl and mix with an electric beater until you have a sticky dough.
3. Prepare a non-stick surface with flour and use a soup spoon to scoop out ‘patties’. Lightly coat the patties with flour and roll into balls of about 3cm diameter. Flatten them slightly on top.
4. Heat oil in a heavy based frypan and fry over medium-high heat on both sides until lightly browned. If the syrniki are cooking too quickly, turn the heat down – the filling should be soft but not ‘gooey’.
5. Dust with icing sugar and serve with a dollop of sour cream and raspberry sauce.

Making syrniki

Join us on our journey!
This is the ninth of our ‘Around the World’ breakfasts. Each week we’ll be making something from a different country as part of our ‘Around the World in 18 Breakfasts’ series. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Pinterest to be part of the journey. Next stop: Spain!

Teddy Bears Picnic Party

Teddy Bears Picnic Party Ideas

Last Sunday we had my younger son’s 2nd birthday party. We decided to go with a Teddy Bears Picnic theme, in honour of his favourite thing in the world – a raggedy looking stuffed polar bear we unimaginatively call ‘Bear’.

Teddy bears return

This is ‘Bear’, after turning up at the Lost Property section of DJs on Christmas Eve last year – and being delivered home by ‘Santa’ on Christmas morning… If my son’s second birthday party wasn’t his happiest day on Earth, the day he was reunited with his beloved ‘Bear’ most definitely was!

The Entrance to the Party

Teddy Bears Picnic Welcome

Party guests were greeted by bear footprints (made with chalk) and a faux wooden sign on the door.

Teddy Bear Biscuits

Teddy bear biscuits

We made these Teddy Bear Biscuits using a gingerbread recipe as the base. The idea for the plate came from Pinterest.

The Cake

Polar Bear Cake

I used white fondant icing, a black food pen and some shaved grey artist’s chalk (‘painted’ on with a paintbrush) to recreate a miniature version of Bear for the cake. I found this teddy bear ribbon at a cake shop and on the final version of the cake, I wrote my son’s name with curly fondant letters in different colours.

Teddy Bear Games

Pin the bow on the teddy bear

Using my older son’s paintings, we made a personalised bow-tie for every little guest (with their names written on the white part in the middle) and drew a teddy bear on a big sheet of cardboard for ‘Pin the Bow-tie on The Teddy Bear’. You can find the pattern to make the bow-ties here.

Treasure hunt maps

My older son helped me make some coffee-stained treasure maps for a treasure hunt around the ‘woods’. The kids teamed up in groups of three or four to find the ‘treasures’. The other game we played was Statues (also known as the Freeze game) using teddy bear themed songs (Teddy Bears Picnic, Five Little Teddy Bears, and Teddy Bear Teddy Bear Turn Around).

The Party Bags

Teddy bears picnic party bags

In keeping with the picnic theme, we made up party bags with brown paper bags and ribbon. I didn’t want to use full lunch-sized paper bags, so I managed to convince a fish and chip shop to sell me a packet of smaller paper bags for $2! The party bags featured a little pack of tiny teddies and some gummy bears, among other things. Each ‘little bear’ had their own beary-personalised name tag on their bag.

One Happy Little Teddy Bear…

Happy teddy bear

And this happy little face made it all worthwhile!