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 bear biscuits

Teddy bear biscuits

We’re in full party prep mode around here as it’s my younger son’s 2nd birthday party this Sunday. The theme is ‘Teddy Bears’ Picnic’ in honour of his favourite thing in the world – a raggedy old stuffed polar bear, affectionately (but not so creatively) known as ‘Bear’. These little teddy bear biscuits were made using a basic gingerbread recipe, some royal icing, white chocolate melts and smarties. Very simple to do and I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say I’m pretty sure they’re gonna be a hit with the kids! (If they’re received with the same enthusiasm as the Thomas the Tank biscuits we made using basically the same recipe, we’re on a winner!)

What you will need:

For the biscuits
(makes approx. 18 biscuits)

  •  125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup golden syrup
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 4tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp bicarb soda
  • electric mixer
  • baking paper
  • rolling pin
  • circle cookie mould (4-6cm in diameter)
  • a small circle mould (1-2cm)
  • baking tray

For the icing

  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 egg white
  • small drop of brown food dye

For the faces

  • 2 pink or orange smarties per biscuit (approx. 36 in total)
  • 1 brown smartie per biscuit (approx. 18 in total)
  • 2 dark brown mini smarties per biscuit
  • 1 Cadbury’s white chocolate melt per biscuit

1. Preheat oven to 190°C.
2. Place butter and sugar in a bowl and beat with electric mixer for 10-12 mins or until light and creamy. Add the golden syrup, flour, ginger and bicarb soda and beat until smooth dough forms.
3. Roll out the dough between sheets of baking paper to about 5mm thick.
4. Use the larger circle cookie cutter to cut out the face biscuits. Then use the smaller circle cutter to cut out 2 small circles for each face to make the ears. Push the ‘ears’ onto the faces, shaping them into semi circles as you go.
5. Line your baking tray with baking paper and bake them for 8-10 mins or until golden.
6. Once the biscuits have cooled, mix up all of the icing ingredients and ice the biscuits.
7. While the icing is still wet, decorate with the smarties and white chocolate melts. To stick the nose smartie on, use a bit of the icing.

Making teddy bear biscuits

Around the World in 18 Breakfasts: Switzerland

Swiss Bircher muesli recipe

Week 8: Bircher muesli

The only things that seem to be consistent about bircher muesli recipes, as I discovered in researching our eighth Around the World breakfast, are oats soaked (in something) overnight, some type of nuts, and grated apple. Beyond that, it’s pretty much anything goes. So we took a bit of creative licence here and ran with cranberries and almonds as the key flavours. We also chose to soak the oats in apple juice for sweetness but some other recipes we found suggested soaking in water, milk or yoghurt, and sweetening with honey or maple syrup. I’m not really a fan of super heavy bircher muesli so we opted for just a small dollop of yoghurt at the end, rather than soaking the oats in it. It’s a bit of a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’, so vary it up however you like!

Switzerland ATW banner

Makes approx. 2 full cups of muesli (or 3 medium sized serves).

What you will need:

  • 1.5 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (or your dried fruit of choice)
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 2tbsp walnuts, crushed
  • 2 apples, grated (skin optional)
  • 1/3 cup milk (we used almond milk for extra almond flavour but any milk would be fine)
  • dollop of plain or vanilla yoghurt
  • mortar and pestle or a blender

1. Put oats and cinnamon into a plastic container and shake to distribute cinnamon evenly.
2. Put the oats in a bowl and add apple juice and dried fruit. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
3. Dry fry the almonds in a frypan until just browned and crunchy. Crush them into small pieces in a mortar and pestle or blender.
4. Add half of the almonds to the oat mix, along with grated apple, walnuts and milk.
5. Top with a dollop of yoghurt and the remaining crushed almonds.

Making bircher muesli

Join us on our journey!
This is the eighth 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: Ukraine!

We’ll be taking a break from our Around the World series next week, for my little one’s 2nd birthday. In the meantime, we’ll bring you some behind the scenes snaps from Mr.2’s Teddy Bears’ Picnic party…)

Around the World in 18 Breakfasts: Sri Lanka

coconut roti - Sri Lanka

Week 7: Coconut roti

I’m a sucker for anything that involves fresh coconut and our coconut roti certainly did not disappoint. They were more like dense pancakes than the layered roti we’re used to, but that didn’t take anything away from the fact that they tasted AMAZING. Our only disappointment was that we didn’t make more! Once we got past the initial hurdle of actually cracking the coconut open (a feat that involved a hammer, a screwdriver and a small axe in our case), we found the process of making this recipe really simple. The firmness of the dough also makes them a lot easier for little hands to flip than traditional pancakes. And with just four ingredients, you won’t have to turn the kitchen inside-out to make them.

In Sri Lanka, coconut roti is served both as a savoury (often as a side dish with curry) and a sweet dish (for example, served with palm syrup). We didn’t have any palm syrup on hand so we settled for maple syrup. The bananas were our own embellishment. The recipe below was drawn from a number of different sources, including this excellent video tutorial on making coconut roti that was actually filmed in Sri Lanka.

Around the world in 18 breakfasts - sri lanka

Makes 4 roti of approx. 10cm diameter.

What you will need:

  • 1/2 cup fresh coconut flesh (even though we have a mature coconut pictured above with the dish, we actually used a young drinking coconut bought from Woollies to make the roti)
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • water (approx. 2tbsp)
  • a blender
  • oil
  • heavy-based frypan
  • optional, for serving – sliced fresh banana and maple syrup

Making coconut roti

1. Blend coconut flesh until well ‘minced’.
2. Add flour and salt and work through the coconut to a breadcrumb-like consistency (much like you would do with butter and flour when making scones).
3. Gradually add water and knead through to create a dough. The amount of water you need will depend on how watery your coconut is but we used about 2 tablespoons. Knead the mix until all the flour is worked through. Roll the dough into balls (about the size of golf balls).
4. Let sit for 20 minutes.
5. Heat a small amount of oil in a heavy-based frypan over medium heat. Flatten out each ball of dough to about half a centimetre in thickness and cook until golden brown.
6. Serve with banana and maple syrup or your topping of choice.


Join us on our journey!
This is the seventh 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: Switzerland!