Al Brown’s Raisin Bread French Toast with Bacon, Caramelised Apples and Honey Cinnamon Butter

Posted on May 06, 2015 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

A serious Sunday morning brunch!  I grew up with raisin bread considered a real treat in my family. Eaten simply as bread or toasted (but always with lashings of butter!), it is a fond food memory for me. Raisin loaf, with a bit of ‘French Toast’ treatment, works wonderfully well with delicious bacon from Harrington’s Smallgoods and caramelised apples from Pernel Fruitworld.

Makes 6 portions

Step 1. Honey Cinnamon Butter


1t ground cinnamon
2t ground ginger
250 gms unsalted butter (softened)
4T honey


Place the butter, honey, cinnamon and ginger into a medium sized bowl and beat until butter is combined and smooth. Refrigerate until required.

Step 2: Caramelised apples


3 cored, peeled & halved Pernel apples
1 cup caster sugar


Cut the apple halves into thin evenly sliced pieces.

Place the sugar in a large skillet or similar. Cook sugar on high heat until bubbling caramel. Immediately add the sliced apples to the caramel and reduce to a medium heat. Continue to cook until soft through (2 or 3 minutes). Remove from heat and place the apples along with the caramel in a bowl. Refrigerate until required.

Step 3: Cooking & Serving


Harrington’s dry loin bacon (6 slices)
300ml Anchor cream
5 x Benniks free range eggs
12 slices of raisin loaf
Caramelised apple
Honey Cinnamon Butter
Honey (runny)


Preheat your oven to 100 degrees.

In a skillet or saute pan cook the bacon over medium high heat until golden and slightly crisp. Place on plate with absorbent paper and keep warm in the oven.

In a medium sized bowl add the cream and eggs. Beat to combine.

Place a skillet or nonslip pan on medium heat. Add a little butter. Once melted dip a piece of raisin loaf in the egg and cream mix then place in the pan. Cook until golden on each side. Place in the oven to keep warm as you continue cooking the rest of the slices until all completed.

Serve the apple at room temperature or gently heat through in a pan or in the microwave.

To serve, place a couple of pieces of the French toast in the centre of each plate, add a portion of bacon, some apple, then top with a dollop of the honey cinnamon butter to melt over all. Finish with a drizzle of the runny honey. Yum!

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Al Brown's Green Eggs & Ham

Posted on May 06, 2015 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

Inspired by one of my favourite bed time stories, this is a great spin on a classic brunch dish.

Serves 6

Step 1. Pesto Hollandaise


4 Benniks free range egg yolks
2T lemon juice
350g butter (melted warm)
5T of basil pesto
1 handful of baby spinach (washed & stems removed)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Blitz the egg yolks, lemon juice and sugar for a few seconds with a hand held wand blender or food processor and then in a slow steady stream add the warm melted butter until it is all incorporated creating a rich thick hollandaise. Now add the pesto and spinach continuing until hollandaise is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and keep in a warm spot until serving.

Step 2: Cooking & serving


Hot salted water
2T white wine vinegar
6 English muffins
Canola oil
12 slices of Harrington’s sliced leg ham
6 handfuls of baby spinach
12 Benniks free range eggs
Pesto Hollandaise


Preheat the oven to 100 degrees.

Place a saucepan of hot salted water with the white vinegar on the heat and bring up to the boil.

Toast the English muffins and keep warm in the oven.

Heat a skillet to medium to high heat on the stovetop. Add the oil and saute the ham until golden brown and crispy around the edges. Hold in the warm oven.

Using the same skillet you cooked the ham in wilt the spinach on a medium heat. Add tablespoon of water to aid the process. Cook until leaves just become soft. Hold in the pan and season with a little salt and pepper.

Turn the water down to a gentle simmer. Poach your eggs to desired doneness (3 mins is usually plenty for soft runny yolks).

For plating, place the English muffins on warm plates. Top with ham wilted spinach poached eggs and finally coat everything with a liberal helping of hollandaise. Add a coffee or a glass of The Daily Squeeze Orange Juice and you’re good to go.

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The Urban Harvest Burger by Al Brown

Posted on February 11, 2015 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

Like all great dishes, even a simple Cheese Burger rises out of the ordinary when you use great products in its preparation. These burgers will quickly become a classic family favourite.

Step 1. Beef Patties

1 kg Harrington's premium beef mince
4 T of Zoe's Garden Spiced Tomato Jam
1 Benniks free range egg
1 Benniks free range egg yolk
1 cup of bread crumbs
1 onion 
Sea salt & fresh black pepper


Place the beef mince, tomato jam, whole egg and yolk along with the bread crumbs and diced onion in a bowl. Add a liberal amount of sea salt and fresh black pepper. Using your clean hands mix the ingredients thoroughly until well combined. Portion out 8 even balls of the mix.  

To form the burger patties toss the portioned balls back and forth between your hands to help bind the pattie so it stays together when you cook it. Then slam it down on a clean bench or board and form into a circle burger pattie. Take a knife slide under the pattie to remove off the surface and place on oiled tray. Repeat until all are formed. Refrigerate until required.

Step 2. Burger Set up

8 x Brumby's Scotch Rolls
2 x red onions
3 x large tomatoes
1 x iceberg lettuce
300g halloumi or other cheese. I like Kingmeade Emmental personally.
Zoe's Garden Red pepper relish or a tomato relish
Good quality mayonnaise or aioli

Slice the burger buns through the centre. For the red onions, slice into rings. For the tomatoes slice into thickish circles and for the lettuce break down into individual leaves. Cut the halloumi in thin slices if using.

Step 3. Cooking and serving

Cooking oil
Burger Patties
Burger Buns & ingredients.

Preheat the oven if cooking the burgers on the stove top. Heat up the flat top of the bbq or a skillet on medium high heat. Season the patties with salt & pepper. Cook 4 at a time. Once golden brown on the first side turn and place a couple of slices of Halloumi (or other cheese) on top of each pattie. Close the bbq lid or place the burgers in the oven to finish cooking and to help melt the cheese. Keep warm while you repeat with the remaining patties.

Heat up the burger buns. To put together, slice the buns, spread some mayo or aioli on the underside of all the burger bun halves. Place the bases down on a clean surface and add a couple of lettuce leaves then place the cooked patties on top. Add a dollop of the relish then finish by adding the red onion rings and tomato rounds. Lastly add the top half of the buns, pass them about & get stuck in!

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Al Brown's Asparagus with Romesco sauce and Runny Egg

Posted on September 17, 2014 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

I have made this dish twice in the last week. It came about solely because I had some romesco sauce left in the fridge from another dish I made recently. With fresh asparagus and the warm runny egg, it’s seriously good and would make a great Xmas or Boxing Day brunch!

Step 1. Romesco Sauce


1/3cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup stale crusty baguette (diced)
3 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
2 red peppers (roasted, peeled and rough chopped)
4 ripe tomatoes (blanched, deseeded and rough chopped)
1/2 cup almonds (toasted and skins removed)
3Tbsp sherry vinegar
¼ cup Italian parsley (finely chopped)
1tsp smoked paprika (Dulce/Sweet)
1 pinch hot chilli powder
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper


Heat a large non-stick pan, cook bread in olive oil till lightly golden. Add garlic, capsicum, tomato, and cook over medium heat till soft. Add almonds, sherry vinegar and heat through. Finally add the parsley and remove from the heat.

Place ingredients a food processor or similar, and pulse until almost smooth. Transfer to a bowl and season with spices, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until required.

Step 2. Cooking and Serving


6 Benniks free range eggs
36 spears of asparagus (woody ends snapped off)
Romesco Sauce (room temperature)
Parmesan cheese (shaved)
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper


Bring two medium to large saucepans up to the boil with salted water.

First, place the asparagus into one of the saucepans and cook for about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain and keep warm.

Now add the eggs to the other saucepan and poach until just soft.

To serve, divvy out the asparagus onto warm plates. Top with a dollop of romesco sauce. Carefully add an egg to each then finish with shaved fresh parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil and pinch of sea salt and fresh black pepper. Serve now.

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Al's Windsor Blue and Grilled Pear Salad with Mizuna and Crispy Walnuts

Posted on September 10, 2014 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

This salad is the perfect contrast of salty blue cheese, sweet pear, fresh mizuna and the crunchy texture and deep nutty flavour of the walnuts.  Serve this as a side dish or a terrific first course. 


Step 1.  Crispy Walnuts


Canola Oil
150 gm walnuts


Pour the oil into a small saucepan and heat to a medium temperature.

Add the walnuts and fry until they have a light golden brown colour. Stir often. Remove the walnuts from the oil before they reach your desired colour, as they will continue to cook slightly once removed. Place on a paper towel lined dish to cool. Store in airtight container until required.

Step 2.  Pear and Fennel Seed Vinaigrette


1/2 tsp fennel seeds (toasted and ground)
3 Tbs shallots (finely diced)
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 ½ tsp sugar
3 Tbs pear vinegar 
1/2 cup walnut oil (or other nut oil) 
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper


Place the ground fennel seeds, diced shallots, mustard, sugar and vinegar in a medium sized mixing bowl. Bring ingredients together with a whisk. Drizzle in the walnut oil whisking continuously. Once combined, season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Refrigerate until required.

Step 3.  Preparing and Serving


3 large packham pears (peeled, quartered, then cut into 4 slices)
1 bag Zoe's Garden Mizuna
1 bag Zoe's Garden Rocket 
1 pot of watercress (leaves picked)
1 bag of Zoe's Garden Miner's Lettuce
Crispy Walnuts
Pear and Fennel Seed Vinaigrette
150 gm Whitestone Windsor Blue Cheese
Fresh Ground Black Pepper


Heat a large non-stick pan to a high temperature. Cook the pears quickly on both sides until they obtain a caramel colour.  Remove and cool. Repeat process until all the pears are cooked. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

Take a large mixing bowl and combine the salad leaves, walnuts and pear.  Coat with a generous quantity of vinaigrette and mix through gently.

Serve salad onto plates or bowls and finish with some freshly shaved windsor blue cheese and a crack of black pepper.

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