A history lesson over breakfast

We rise before the sun to try and catch Matariki in the sky, delve into a Anglo-Indian breakfast favourite, and ponder tamarillos as a friend for bacon…

Ooooh boy we’ve got some goodness for you in this weekend’s edition of The Breakfast Club.

One of the (minor) pitfalls of working in our office is the number of times each week we stumble across recipe ideas that make our tummies rumble – we’re chuffed we get to share some of them with you this morning!

But we’re also struck by how so many recipes are really great stories too – fascinating insights into the people and the places that created them.

If this idea delights you as much as it does us, we’d recommend getting your hands on a copy of The Book of Difficult Fruit by Kate Lebo. While the focus is firmly on fruit, it’s a nice reminder that food is actually not always a straightforward endeavour: the cultivation, harvest, preparation, brevity of its perfect eating moment, even the way it might overrun your garden. It’s a fraught undertaking, but the rewards are so worth it!

Kia pai tō rā whakatā have a great weekend!

Anna, Hilary, Gregor and Cameron

If you’re not familiar with Freedom Farms… we’re a 100% NZ-owned company that set out over a decade ago to bring you bacon farmed the Freedom way… from NZ farmers who care about the same things we do. Simply put, that is farming that is kinder for farm animals, and takes it easy on the environment. When you buy our bacon, eggs, pork, sausages and ham you are supporting a wonderful little group of NZ farmers… and for that we’re really really grateful!

A history lesson over breakfast

The beloved Anglo-Indian mashup brekkie dish kedgeree has its roots in the legume and rice dish khichdi (khichri, kitchari and so on – the dish has many iterations across the Indian subcontinent and beyond – Egypt’s beloved pasta and chickpea koshari is a cousin, too). British colonials brought the concept back to the United Kingdom, albeit tweaked, where it became known as kedgeree. They took out the lentils and added smoked fish and boiled eggs, and this, along with the common belief that the dish was ‘good for hangovers’, helped put kedgeree firmly in the breakfast camp. 

Kedgeree is open to infinite variations – first you might start with raw rice, or use leftover cooked rice. You might add individual spices or reach for a generic curry powder, stick with haddock (hard to here in NZ) or switch it up.  Whatever you do (you can read Felicity Cloake’s deep dive on kedgeree if you want some pointers), don’t skip those hard boiled eggs! The eggs are key and you want the yolks to be prominent, so opt for Freedom Farms size M eggs which have smaller whites. 

And for an insight into the fascinating way in which kedgeree and other elements of Indian cuisine have a hand in shaping the cuisines of the colonisers, check out this feature on Al Jazeera

How to hard boil an egg

Place eggs in a saucepan and add cold water to 1 inch above the eggs.

Bring the water to the boil, cover the pan with a lid and remove the pan from the heat. Do not lift the lid. Set a timer for the type of boiled egg you want – for kedgeree you want the yolks reasonably firm, so here 7-8 minutes is good.

When time goes off, transfer eggs from the hot water, using tongs, and gently lower into a bowl of icy cold water to cool for around 10 minutes.

Gently tap the eggs against the bench to crack, then peel away the shell. 

Morning meditations

Matariki celebrations are happening up and down the country during this year’s Pipiri festival period, June 19 to July 11. We reckon a lovely way to acknowledge the occasion is to rise early, before the stars give way to rā, the sun rising in the east. Take some time to reflect on what you want to give to the day ahead, and what you want to receive from it. Te Papa has shared a collection of whakataukī you might like to call on. Such reflection is best done over a delicious first meal of the day…  so here’s a quick recipe for paraoa parae – Māori fried bread. Slather them with golden syrup, honey or jam, or serve alongside grilled bacon, fried eggs, sauteed spinach and Hollandaise sauce and you’ll be satisfied for hours. 

  • In a bowl combine ½ cup each warm water and milk, 2 tsp sugar and 2 tsp plain flour, and sprinkle over 2 tsp dried yeast. Set aside for 10 mins until frothy. 

  • In a large bowl combine 2 cups plain flour, pinch salt, and 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, then slowly add the frothy yeast mixture and gently combine. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 1 hour or so, it should double in size. 

  • Tip dough out onto a floured bench and roll into a rectangle 2-3cm thick, then cut into 5x5cm squares. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to proof for 20 mins. 

  • Heat oil for deep frying (to about 170℃ – you can test by poking the handle of a wooden spoon in, if bubbles form around it, the oil is ready). 

  • Cook dough squares in batches of several at a time, until crisp and golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. 

I See Red

Tamarillos tend to be an opinion polariser – some love the rich subtropical flavour and tartness, which others find unpleasant. Lovers will find tamarillo a great addition to breakfasts and desserts, while haters… well, haters you may like to keep on reading to see if we can persuade you. (For further persuasion we prescribe a summertime visit to Zippy’s fresh fruit ice cream truck in Lang’s Beach, Northland).

Known as tomate de arbol in the Spanish-speaking parts of South America, the continent it originated in, the ‘tree tomato’ moniker was eschewed here in favour of a newfangled title drummed up by a promotional council in the 1960s in the hope of making this fruit more marketable. ‘Tamarillo’ stemmed from tama – Māori for boy, and ‘rillo’ from amarillo, Spanish for yellow (which original varieties were).

Raw, a generous sprinkling of brown sugar on the sliced open halves does wonders to mellow the acidity of the flesh, or you might like to make that a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Stewing the flesh with brown sugar and spices makes a lovely compote to serve with granola or creamy oats. 

We reckon that on a savoury tip, tamarillo goes wonderfully with Freedom Farms rindless eye bacon – the tart fruitiness contrasts nicely with the bold, smoky-sweet bacon. We recently made an Ecuadorian-style tamarillo aji (type of salsa) and can confirm it’s very good indeed – we spooned it over grilled bacon and sliced avocado on toasted sourdough, layered it into a bacon, rocket and havarti grilled brekkie sando, and generously spiked it through a breakfast burrito of bacon, folded eggs, pickled pink onions, and sauteed leftover roast potatoes. 

Tamarillo Aji

Cut a cross in the non-stem end of 4 large tamarillos. Put in a bowl, cover with boiling water, let sit for 5-10 minutes, then gently peel the skin from the tamarillos and discard along with the stems. 

Place in a blender the peeled tamarillos, 1 peeled onion cut into quarters, 2 cloves peeled garlic, 1-2 habanero chillies (to taste, our chillies were surprisingly mild so we used two, seeds and all), ¼ cup fresh lime juice, ½ tsp salt, grind of black pepper, generous handful coriander. Blitz until it reaches the consistency you prefer. This will keep in a jar in the fridge for a week or more. 

Note – you can add 1 Tbsp olive oil when blending, if you like, which will result in a thicker, kind of ‘creamy’ consistency.