Arabella’s Vegetarian Brunch

Arabella has bought herself a cookbook.  It’s Donna Hay’s Fresh and Light.  All inspired, she said she wanted to cook brunch for when we were down on the farm.

A plate of colour

A plate of colour

Arabella doesn’t cook very often.  Case in point, she recently found a recipe she’d like to cook.  She went out (with my wallet) and bought mountains of fresh baby spinach leaves, came home and put them in the freezer.  By the time I’d discovered the two enormous bags of baby spinach in my freezer, their death had occurred.  I did ask Arabella what fresh, uncooked spinach was doing amongst the ice trays.  She said, ‘The recipe asked for frozen spinach’.  I said, ‘You buy it frozen and it can be frozen because it’s already cooked’.  She said she had no idea frozen spinach was available and this is despite me taking her to the supermarket at least once a week for the first five years of her life.

Never mind.

It doesn't look like I've done a good job of setting the table

Pouring the ‘power’ smoothie

Anyway, back to the farm.  While Arabella attended to the business of brunch, I stayed in bed.  I knew she had about three recipes she was going to cook all at once and I thought I might enjoy my breakfast more if I hadn’t had to witness the stress and chaos of how it all came together.

With a coffee by her side, she's all 'hands-on'

With a coffee by her side, she’s all ‘hands-on’

I did get up to help set the table.  It was a lovely morning and warm enough to eat out in the sunshine so I carried a few things to the outdoor table.  Once we were all together around the table, I had to say that I thought Arabella had done an excellent job.  Mind you, she had been barking orders at her poor father all morning who’d had to come in and be her sous chef and pot scrubber and most importantly, photographer.  Because Arabella said to me, ‘You’d better put this on your blog, mum; I want a full blog post out of this.  And tell everyone I washed my hands four times’.

‘Yes, dear.’

Preparing the tomatoes

Preparing the tomatoes

We started with a mint, pineapple and yoghurt ‘power’ smoothie that was unusual but very refreshing.  Alfie didn’t like it but the rest of us thought it was a great way to kick off a brunch.  It’s made with milk, plain yoghurt, mint, pineapple, ice and a dash of honey.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Then we had ‘The Big Breakfast’.  Organic poached eggs on sourdough (didn’t have any so used ordinary bread, toasted) with slashed vine-ripened tomatoes roasted with sprigs of thyme stuffed in the cuts, roasted mushrooms filled with pesto ,and wilted baby spinach with ricotta sprinkled with lemon zest.  Arabella did a great job on this big breakfast.  Poached eggs are my favourite and I loved the roasted tomatoes and spinach.  But everyone’s favourite (including Alfie) was the roasted pesto mushrooms.

The big breakfast

The big breakfast

I could hardly fit anything else in but there was more.  We had a whipped yoghurt and ricotta breakfast parfait.  The yoghurt and ricotta are whipped with maple syrup and vanilla extract and then it’s served with fresh fruit.  Arabella chose frozen berries that were thawed over night.  The parfait was beautifully creamy and the maple syrup sweetener combined with the vanilla flavour was divine.

Yoghurt and ricotta parfait

Yoghurt and ricotta parfait

Apart from the carnage in the kitchen that Arabella thought would magically take care of itself, we had a wonderful and relaxing and leisurely start to our holiday at Oakvale.

The parfaits with raspberries and blueberries

The parfaits with raspberries and blueberries

Thanks Arabella for your lovely cooking and may there be a lot more to come.

A plate of colour

A plate of colour

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  1. Danielle says:

    Yum, I could wolf this down right now. Great job fixing a three-course brunch, Arabella!
    Your weekend mornings won’t be free now that you’ve set the bar so high 😉

  2. Didn’t she do well! It looks like a fabulous brunch. You must be proud of her.

  3. what a lovely brunch – glad it made it to the blog – I think I would love the pesto mushrooms but I am quite interested in the thyme roasted tomatoes – our thyme is one of the few herbs that flourish and I never know what to do with it

  4. OMGGGGGGGggosh,
    this plate of color is heavenly, delectable.

    Just like you girls!! xx

  5. I laughed so hard at the frozen spinach bit, that is exactly what my 19 yr old would do!! This brunch however excellent! Great job Arabella!! May there be many more so your mum can get a wee rest!

  6. Arabella! What a fantastic breakfast, and such a lovely thing to do for your family!

    Charlie, half of the photos you’ve posted recently are turned 90 degrees – is this just me/my iPad?

    • Hi Anna, I don’t know what’s causing the problem. It started happening a few weeks ago. It’s when I download images from my i-phone and if they’re sideways, even though I reformat them in wordpress, somehow they end up reverting back to their original position for those viewing the post on either an i-phone or an i-pad. It’s so frustrating. I’d love to know how to fix it!

  7. A whole new phase of life, right? You must be very proud! It all looks and sounds very yummy.

  8. I just love the roasted tomatoes with the sprigs of thyme, I bet it was spectacular. The poached eggs would be a wonderful sauce with the tomatoes too. I must take a look for that Donna Hay book!
    I used to take the kitchen into a level of mess even my dear Mom never had seen, cleaning up as you go is a learned skill and one that my husband now appreciates (most of the time ;-)). Washing your hands frequently while cooking is imperative, good job Arabella.

  9. How wonderful! What a great way to kick off a restful vacation. Arabella did a beautiful job. And kicking off her cooking adventures with poached eggs no less. That’s not an easy task. I had to laugh with the barking orders to her dad – Miss A does the same thing. I can just hear it. 🙂

  10. Hasn’t she done a great job! Good on you, Arabella!

  11. I am impressed. More to come… Let’s hope. Moms always appreciate a break from cooking. Or at least this mom does.

  12. Wow well done Arabella!!

  13. Excellent! What a healthy and beautiful way to start the day. We always love to grab a bit of morning sunshine when we can. It definitely makes the day kick off on the right foot. Nice work Arabella. I look forward to seeing your next creation!

  14. What a beautiful meal, Arabella! Well done! 🙂

  15. I laughed out loud at the frozen spinach 🙂 Too funny. I can’t poach an egg to save my life!

  16. Shashi @ RunninSrilankan says:

    Wow -Arabella did an awesome job! She more than redeemed herself from that “frozen spinach” story (which made me chuckle uncontrollably-sorry Arabella).
    I am sending my daughter to take lessons from your Arabella – I would love to wake up to a breakfast like this!!

  17. Do you know what? You’re wonderful. As is Arabella.

  18. My goodness she was ambitious! It all looked really nice love the sound of the roasted tomatoes slashed with sprigs of thyme. Wise to stay in bed until the last minute I think that ensures a relaxing breakfast.

  19. She’s her mother’s daughter in the culinary stakes. I love the idea of the thyme tomatoes. I’ll have to try those.

  20. She did very well! I think cooking is to be encouraged and who knows, this could be the start of something fantastic! 😀

  21. Well, good on Arabella! As you say, let’s hope it is the start of many more cooking ventures (and perhaps, in time, clean up efforts too!). It looks like she did a great job, and I love the sound of that power smoothie.

  22. Arabella did a marvelous job!!! I’d be lucky if my kids would make me toast :/

    PS…I bet you don’t have sweetened coconut in Australia. It’s quite soft and pliable (you could squeeze it in your hands and form a ball). I’m going to ask one of my Aussie friends here in the states to see what she’d use/if there is a way to make it.

  23. Gorgeous breakfast … wouldn’t it be lovely to start every day like this!

  24. Wow! What a spread!! 🙂 Om nom nom…

  25. Well done, Arabella, and lovely presentation, Congrats. Now you need to post the recipes.

  26. I think she’s becoming a pro like her mother 🙂 The brunch looks delicious especially the perfectly poached eggs!

  27. Good job, Arabella! That’s a fine brunch she served but I’m most impressed that she served poached eggs to you all. I’ve been to restaurants that couldn’t do that correctly for everyone at our table. I’m very impressed.

  28. I just shared the story of the frozen spinach with a friend. That’s actually adorably unaware, and proof positive that Mum has raised her with most fresh produce! The big breakfast looks absolutely divine! I’d have devoured it with gusto. And major kudos, as well, for the beautiful presentation (with a nod to the photographer). The pesto mushrooms and ricotta/whipped yogurt parfaits have me in quite a state of ready to find a recipe. Great job, Arabella!

  29. Awesome job, Annabella! Too funny on the frozen spinach, but she really pulled everything together! Your husband is a great sport too 🙂

  30. How fancy! Would have loved to try everything, yum 🙂

  31. Great job indeed Arabella! Only problem is that now they know you can cook…. It’s all downhill from here… 🙁 xox

  32. Love the idea of putting herbs in the tomatoes that way. I will definitely do that technique this Summer!! I am sorry, but can’t stop giggling about the frozen spinach incident:-) Lovely brunch, Hugs, Terra

  33. that is my ideal breakfast too! i sometimes wish my kitchen would automatically clean itself up!

  34. What a magnificent breakfast Arabella! Well done!
    Looking forward to what you cook the family next.
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  35. Hahahahaha… Frozen spinach. Too funny! Looks super tasty Arabella, feel free to pop round to my place any ol time. 🙂

  36. The frozen spinach part is so fun! Sounds like a pretty good feast, though. Kudos to Arabella!

  37. She is going to turn out to be a marvelous cook just like her mother and grandmother. What a lovely brunch!

  38. That looks great! Am I bad for craving a side of bacon on that plate though? I think I’m going a bit bacon-crazy… didn’t have it in ages. Still, bet it was wonderful to have a lovely brunch all served up to you though!

    • Some bacon would have been lovely, Charles, but Miss Arabella didn’t think we had any! And there it was at the bottom of the fridge – a huge packet of it!

  39. That is hilarious about the frozen spinach!!


  1. […] much as I was impressed, when I thought about Archie not knowing how to load the dishwasher and Arabella storing fresh spinach in the freezer, it was hard not to cry out, ‘Where did I go […]

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