The Scrooge’s Brunch: Avocado and Feta Sourdough Toast, with Pomegranate Seeds et al.

Hello hello, and welcome to The Scrooge’s Brunch.

The aim of the game is to have a sublime and divine (and other posh words) brunch, without having to spend upwards of $20 (AUD!!) for a single plate of wholesome, tasty, real (i.e., recognisable components) food.

The good thing about wholesome “real” food is that it isn’t so hugely extraordinarily hard to figure out what went into the meal. If you can figure out what went in and approximately how to make it, then technically, a Melbourne style brunch should be within your grasp every weekend (twice!). And by you, I mean me, because I have unfortunately been seduced by Melbourne cafe culture, and eat brunch out far too often.

Inspiring stuff, no? I’ll at least attempt to plate everything in a nice cafe-ish way. And I’ll obviously only try to recreate dishes that I thought kicked some serious coffee cup.

Also, I promise not to ask any of cafes in question about how they make their food. That’s cheating, plus they will probably look at me weirdly/hipster snub me. The point of the exercise is independent recreation at home, not the copying  of a cafe recipe to a T.

First up is a variation on the infamous Avocado and Feta Sourdough Toast. I decided to start with a relatively easy one.

The original:

The original

The Scrooge’s Brunch: 

Pomegranate thievery!I overmixed a littletwo orders of avo-feta sourdough coming up!

Avocado and Feta Sourdough Toast, with Pomegranate Seeds + Other Fun Stuff

Fresh and crunchy and yum, this is a refreshing and satisfying brunch for relatively little effort. 

1 large ripe avocado
1/3 cup feta – I used about half the amount of feta to avocado, it isn’t an exact science here
1/2 cup cooked, drained, cooled chickpeas
2 – 3 radishes
1/2 a pomegranate
1/4 cup toasted pistachios – I used cashews because I didn’t have pistachios
1/8 cup fresh coriander leaves

Loaf of sourdough

  1. Ingredient preparation:
    • Avocado: peel and chop roughly in cubes, at least 1.5 cm long
    • Feta: crumble
    • Chickpeas: if tinned, drain, rinse, and set aside. If you cook them yourself you need a bit more prep time – use a water ratio of 1:4, and stick them in a slow cooker for 2-3 hours the night before. Drain, and leave to cool in the fridge overnight. If you pop the little skins off the texture will be better, do this by gently rubbing them against each other in a metal sieve.
    • Radishes: clean and slice into little sticks that look like toothpicks. Mine as pictured are a little thick.
    • Pomegranate: as carefully as possible, extract all the little pretty seeds.
    • Nuts: toast your nuts briefly and allow to cool
    • Sourdough bread: toast this!
  2. Now, in a big bowl, gently mix all the toppings together. You don’t want to mash it. As you can see above, I mixed a little too enthusiastically.
  3. Just before serving, artfully (yeah right) scoop it onto the toasted bread. Hooray, you saved $20!

Portion control: makes enough for 4 regular portions or 2-3 “Melbourne brunch” portions

Do aheads: you can do the chickpeas, radishes, pomegranate, and nuts ahead. Then just toast the bread and mix everything up with the feta, avocado, and coriander before brunch.

Verdict: 70% likeness, because I swapped the pistachios for cashews. I’m also pretty convinced they candied their pistachios, Bigfoot claims otherwise – this dispute requires another brunch visit to settle it. Also, my radish slices were too thick.

A note on attribution: I have left the name of the cafe in question off the post, as I thought it was better not to publically identify how to make specific dishes at specific cafes (even though this is a re-creation rather than the actual recipe) – though in my view, a huge part of Melbourne brunch culture is the cafe atmosphere, for which, of course, there is no recipe. If this isn’t correct attribution, please let me know and I’ll happily fix it. 

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Shrek Pasta for Hot Days

Ok so this isn’t really Shrek pasta, I didn’t mash him up and put him in a bowl. Stop being so morbid. It just struck me that the creamy yet refreshing  avocado sauce was same shade as said ogre. You can’t un-see that colour. No, the red tomatoes don’t represent mashed donkey. You really are disturbing sometimes.

Yes, I know I’m scaring our very small readership. Sigh. But you know, that’s the deal when you don’t go back over your posts later for a sanity check, all kinds of rubbish gets posted. I’m sure lots of other websites operate that way too.

So, the deal is: it was a hot day, I wanted something cool and refreshing, and I was being lazy. And avocado pasta has a raw sauce. Raw sauce! It’s almost a pasta salad! Pasta, and raw vegies? I’m certain it’s a pasta salad. That means you can eat more and it’s considered healthy because it’s not pasta, its salad.

I try to delude myself because I haven’t been going to the gym recently.

Avocado Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes 

Borrowed from Eats Well With Others

2 small avocados (or one medium/large avocado)
1/2 a lemon – I used a whole tiny lime as I didn’t have a lemon. I think it’d be even better with lemon, though the lime did an upstanding job considering its lime-y-ness
4 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup basil – I used about a 1/4 of a cup of dried basil, I’m sure fresh would be fantasticker, but I didn’t have any
2 portions of pasta – portion size is really up to you, I’m not telling you how much I used *burp*
A handful of pine nuts – if you have them 🙂
Salt, black pepper, and chilli flakes to taste
A large handful of cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved

  1. Boil your pasta how you like it. Drain, but not too dry! Keep the pasta a bit wet so that the sauce will mix in easily.
  2. Toast pine nuts in a dry pan until they’re a bit brown and taste nice. Don’t burn your fingers picking them off the pan, yes I do that.
  3. Blend the garlic in your chopper/food processor.
  4. Add the avocado, peeled of course, in to the chopper. Whiz it for a bit until it’s a paste.  Add the basil and whiz again.
  5. Tasting time! Add lemon to taste. I used a whole lime, which is probably about the same as the juice of half a lemon, or slightly less than that.
  6. Add salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste, then blend until it’s mixed in. As a guide, I used about a quarter of a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper (ha ha I wish, mine’s from a bottle), and about a teaspoon of chilli flakes. As you can see, I like it spicy but not salty. Adjust to your liking.
  7. Mix the sauce into the (hopefully still warm) pasta, and add the pine nuts that you casually toasted earlier.
  8. Add as many tomatoes as you like, but do share with your co-eater.

You can also add a little hard cheese if you like, just before eating, but it really isn’t necessary.

There’s a joke in here somewhere about, ogres, onions, and how this pasta doesn’t have onions in it. That’s probably in bad taste though so I’ll just leave you to enjoy your pasta salad 🙂