The way to one's heart is... breakfast
Freedom Farms brings you inspo on how to make the first meal of Valentine’ Day the very best, harnessing peak summer produce on the breakfast table, and a look beyond the mighty mānuka honey...
What better way is there to demonstrate affection than presenting the first meal of the day, thoughtfully prepared? Preferably served in bed, naturally – but exceptions are acceptable for those messier ideas which could place your favourite linen in peril. Here are our top picks for a morning love-in:
Infuse crepe batter with a vanilla pod and a small amount of crushed cardamom seeds, and serve a wee stack of delicately folded crepes topped with a dollop of Greek yoghurt with a swirl of lemon curd, and a scattering of pomegranate arils and dried rose petals.
Take an omelette up a notch, to omelette souffle level. Basically this – separate the eggs, beat the whites to soft peak stage, whisk the yolks with a little of the beaten whites plus salt and pepper, then gently fold the yolk mixture into the whites. Heat an ovenproof pan with a generous knob of butter, then add the omelette mixture and tilt then pan to spread out evenly. Top with grated Gruyere or crumbled goat’s chevre, and cook under the grill until golden and puffy. Slide onto a plate and top with fresh herbs – or if you’re feeling very fancy, with caviar or truffle shavings.
Shape streaky bacon into hearts (two strips per heart, folded to create the rounded heart tops) and grill till crisp, then carefully lift with a spatula to place as the crowning glory on top of an English breakfast line-up, or on top of any brekkie dish you like!
Make a chocolate short sweet pastry (or use Paneton’s ready-made if you’re short on time/patience) and bake small tart cases to fill with a classic creme patissiere, and top with summer berries, glazed to to mirror-finish. Served with dainty cups of Earl Grey tea, it’s one elegant love letter.
Translating as ‘pick me up’, tiramisu has a reputation as a dessert for lovers… but we reckon it makes even more sense shared with a loved one in the morning, when the espresso hit is needed! Layer yours in a stemless wine glass and use the very best quality ingredients you can for ultimate up-picking.
Take blood-red heirloom tomatoes, slice and arrange into a big heart, and top with with basil leaves, your best extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and Il Casaro’s locally made burrata – its bouncy mozzarella outside cosseting an inner chamber of runny cream.
Use late summer berries (blackberries and boysenberries are wonderful here if you can source them) to make rumtopf – a classic macerated conserve that goes great on sweet breakfast dishes such as crepes, bircher muesli, granola and waffles. The very name rumtopf has a somewhat of a romantic ring to it, no?
Seek out those double yolkers! The ultimate heartwarming edible allegory, double yolked eggs are in fact common in our Freedom Farms XL size packs – the more you crack open, the more you’ll find...
Elvis knew a thing or two about wooing – take a leaf from The King’s book and make a Graceland inspired bonanza: homemade banana bread, fried in butter and topped with crisp bacon and caramelised banana, drizzled with a peanut butter caramel sauce.
Simple, to the point and sumptuous: take sliced of a nice brioche loaf, butter, and sandwich around chunks of good-quality dark chocolate, with a sprinkle of sea salt and drizzle of olive oil. Toast until the brioche is golden and chocolate is oozing. Serve with a scoop of premium vanilla ice cream.
Capture the season...
Summer produce is looking mighty fine right about now… we say start at breakfast as you mean to go on through the day – making the most of the season’s bounty before it’s gone!
They’re wonderful just on their own, sliced to grace cereals and pancakes – try tossing them first in honey melted and combined with lemon or lime juice for extra zing. Halve and remove stones or pits and cook in a heated pan with some butter and brown sugar, till fragrant and caramelising, and enjoy alongside grilled bacon, with a drizzle of maple syrup. Cut into small dice and toss with mint leaves, and a sweet balsamic reduction to top crepes.
Use a melon baller to scoop balls of watermelon and serve in an emptied out watermelon half with crunchy, nutty granola and dollops of yoghurt. Slice wedges of watermelon and make like fruity pizza, topped with coconut yoghurt, toasted coconut flakes, a strip of grilled streaky bacon if you’re feeling adventurous, and a scattering of crumbled freeze-dried plum or strawberry.
Make fritters – grate and toss with a couple of seasoned whisked eggs, slivered almonds, lemon zest, crumbled feta, and chopped mint leaves, then cook spoonfuls in hot oil till golden on both sides, and top stacks with grilled bacon and tomato.
Tomatoes and capsicums
Put in a bit of time the night before and confit tomatoes and sliced capsicum, baby onions, and garlic, and in the morning, place back in the oven in a baking dish, spiked with breakfast sausages and eggs. Roast cherry tomatoes and sliced capsicums with whole cloves of garlic and wedges of red onion till tomatoes are blistered, then toss with sliced chorizo and rocket leaves and serve on toasted sourdough.
The heat from chilli needn’t overwhelm; it can instead be a gentle presence that amplifies other flavours. Cook down jalapenos to make a clear jelly, which goes wonderfully dolloped onto grilled sausages and bacon. Check out Sami Tamimi’s recipe for shatta in his recent publication Falastin – if you’re anything like us you’ll be adding this mild, umami chilli condiment to every savoury breakfast in sight!
Honey… there’s more than just mānuka!
We’re not here to throw shade on Aotearoa’s most renowned honey… but rather to shine a light on a few of the other delicious varieties that deserve your attention at breakfast time.
Pale yellow kāmahi honey is mostly produced in the South Island’s West Coast, and its pure, sweet taste is lovely simply slathered on toasted bread, especially something with a sourdough zing, or drizzle it over halved grapefruit to balance the bitter tanginess.
Amber-coloured honeydew is a fascinating affair: made from the glistening, dew-like secretions of teeny aphids, notably in the West Coast’s beechwood forests, which bees go crazy for. It has a distinctive, tangy taste somewhat akin to molasses and is beautiful stirred through creamy porridge or drizzled over grilled bacon.
Pale colour but bold in flavour, thyme honey has distinct floral notes. Try it drizzled over breakfast bruschetta with stunning Belle Chevre Creamery goat’s chevre and toasted walnuts, or to accompany sliced pork and fennel sausage and crumbled blue cheese in a filling for a buckwheat galette.
Floral with malty notes, the origin of rewarewa honey is a native honeysuckle. It’s perfect for stirring into tea or adding to banana smoothies.
Stemming from another member of the wider myrtle family that manuka belongs to, kanuka honey is sourced from Kunzea ericoides. It has a similar flavour profile to manuka (and is said to share its health benefits) but is usually a little lighter in colour and a bit milder in taste. Its butterscotch notes are lovely with grilled stone fruit, pineapple, or banana, tossed through toasted muesli, or whipped with softened butter and orange zest to make a spread.
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