Tag Archives: breakfast_brunch

Bowl Food | 2 Ways With Rice

Bowl Food - 2 Ways With Rice. Simply Nigella Rice Bowl Recipe via Miranda's Notebook. A superbly easy dish for a fast weeknight supper recipe.

It must be the cold weather, as I find myself cooking warming, comforting bowlfuls of food so much more: stews, curries, creamy soups, porridge and rice bowls. January 2017 has been the month of me discovering the joys of a good rice bowl, and this easy dish has fast become my go-to weeknight recipe.

Bowl Food - 2 Ways With Rice. Simply Nigella Rice Bowl Recipe via Miranda's Notebook. A superbly easy dish for a fast weeknight supper recipe.

I first discovered the basic recipe in Simply Nigella, and was instantly attracted by the bright colours of roasted pink radishes and fleshy green avocado. Nigella’s attitude towards this dish is reassuringly laid-back, stating ‘the only constant is the rice.’

You’re free to throw in pretty much whatever you have in your fridge and experiment with your own variations, which I’ve been doing. Having such a large degree of flexibility is a great way to stop a standard dish becoming boring. I’ve used different types of meat & fish, kept it vegetarian and roasted whatever vegetables I’ve had to hand (broccoli and baby aubergines are favourites). I’ve played with the flavours, sometimes swapping out the East Asian influences of soya and ginger and going for homemade Italian pesto instead.

Here, though, is the basic Simply Nigella rice bowl recipe (with my own tweaks given as well):

Easy Rice Bowl (serves 2)

3/4 cup short grain brown rice (I use a great cooking cheat here, by buying precooked brown rice from Sainsburys. All you do is pop the package in the microwave for 2 minutes, and you’re done)
1 cup cold water (not needed if you do my cheat above)
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled (Nigella clearly loves her ginger! This really depends on your taste – I only use a thin sliver per bowl, finely chopped, and find that adds enough gingery kick for me. Experiment to find your own preference!)
4-6 radishes (I usually roast more than this, as I love radishes)
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
2 tsp organic raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup mixed seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds
3-4 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 small ripe avocado

1/ If you’re cooking the rice yourself, put the rice and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once it’s bubbling, put on the lid, turn the heat down very low, and simmer for 25 minutes. Then turn off the heat, keeping the lid on, and let it stand for a further 5 minutes (honestly, though, just use my cheat!).

2/ While the rice is cooking (or before bunging it in the microwave), peel a small piece of ginger and cut it finely. Cut the radishes into quarters or eighths lengthways, depending on their size. Put them on a baking tray, sprinkle over some olive oil and roast in a hot (about 220 C) oven for 10 minutes or so – make sure you check on them so they don’t burn. If you’re short on time, you don’t have to roast the radishes – they’re nice raw too.

3/When the rice is cooked, spoon into a mixing bowl. Add the tamari or soy sauce and the apple cider vinegar to the bowl and toss with a fork to combine, and then do the same with the ginger, radishes, and seeds. Stir all but a little of the chopped cilantro into the rice.

4/Divide between 2 smallish bowls and top with avocado, either cut into strips or chunks. Sprinkle each with the remaining cilantro, and enjoy! I also like to top mine with some cooked ham, a fried egg, or even some white crab-meat or prawns. In the words of Gwyneth Paltrow, it’s all good!

Bowl Food - 2 Ways With Rice. Finnish Rice Porridge recipe via Miranda's Notebook. A delicious, comforting dish for a weekend brunch.

Another rice-centric dish I’ve discovered, which makes an excellent weekend breakfast, is Finnish rice porridge. Jamie Oliver has a recipe for it in his recent Christmas cookbook, but I was inspired by a Finnish instagrammer I follow, who posted a recipe for rice porridge on her account. I made a few changes myself, adding a little flavouring of rose water, which I thought was rather nice. Also, quite frankly I wasn’t so keen on the hours and hours of cooking and stirring, so I used the microwave to shortcut the process. Here’s my recipe:

Finnish Rice Porridge (serves 2)

50g pudding rice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ cups evaporated milk
1 cup water
¼ teaspoon rose water
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/Place all ingredients in a large glass bowl, cover with clingfilm (leaving a small gap for steam to escape) and place in microwave. Cook on full power for 8 minutes (or until boiling), then remove and stir well. Recover with clingfilm and cook on low power for 20 minutes.

2/Next, place the mixture in a cast iron saucepan over low heat and stir frequently until you get a creamy, rice-pudding consistency (approximately 20-30 minutes).

3/Spoon into two bowls and serve with whatever toppings you like: I suggest strawberry jam, fresh berries and toasted almonds and/or seeds.

Bowl Food - 2 Ways With Rice. Finnish Rice Porridge recipe via Miranda's Notebook. A delicious, comforting dish for a weekend brunch.

What types of comfort food to you like to make this time of year?

No Cook Meal: Prosciutto and Avocado Bruschetta


Being temporarily without a fridge and oven means that I’ve had to get a little creative in terms of preparing meals (and because I got tired of peanut butter on toast). This prosciutto and avocado bruschetta is inspired by a brunch I had at Angie’s Little Food Shop (my favourite place in Chiswick for whiling away a weekend morning). Essentially, it’s everything I love in one meal: avocado, cheese, meat and bread. Genius.

I like serving this dish with tea and a green juice for a leisurely brunch, but it’s also perfect for a quick, satisfying lunch when I’m working at home. I generally don’t like to have to spend a lot time making lunch, so when the most complicated step is smashing an avocado, I’m happy!

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Here’s the recipe:

No Cook Meal: Prosciutto and Avocado Bruschetta
A brilliant, no cook dish that's perfect for brunch or a working lunch.

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • juice of ½ a lime
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 slices of emmental for each pice of bread
  • 2 slices of prosciutto for each piece of bread
  • handful of lettuce leaves
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • Good, crusty loaf
  1. Pop a couple of pieces of bread into the toaster.
  2. Scoop out the avocado into a bowl and mash together with the lime juice and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon the avocado mash onto the toasted bread, then add the slices of cheese followed by the prosciutto.
  4. Top with a handful of salad leaves, a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy!


Frankly, even when I have all the modern kitchen commodities, I still like a no cook meal on days when I just can’t be bothered, so here are a few more suggestions:

++ Mozzarella, Basil and Tomato salad (served with a fresh baguette and a glass of crisp of white wine, this is my idea of a perfect meal).

++ Almond Butter and Banana milkshake for a great breakfast or post-workout snack.

++ Quinoa Tabbouleh (just buy pre-cooked quinoa).

++ A great cheeseboard.

Do you have any super easy, no cooking required suggestions for me? I’d love some more inspiration!

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Cranberry and Date Breakfast Loaf


This Cranberry and Date Breakfast Loaf really is a proper breakfast bread – a cross between a cake loaf and a fruit bread. It makes a fabulous weekend treat and is blissful served with orange whipped cream cheese spread generously on top. Munching on a slice of this whilst sipping juice, pouring out tea and flicking through a magazine makes for an ideal morning. If you’re hosting a brunch, I’d simply serve a fruit salad alongside and make sure there was a choice between plenty of hot coffee or tea.

I’ve adapted my recipe from one by the fabulous Barefoot Contessa – I love cranberries, and I think they make a really nice addition to this loaf, but if you wish you could leave them out.


Cranberry and Date Breakfast Loaf


200g coarsely chopped pitted dates
75g dried cranberries
1/3 cup orange liqueur
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 extra-large (in US, large in UK)egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (from 2 oranges)
1 cup plain flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (approx. 2 large oranges)
75g coarsely chopped pecans
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest

1/ Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom of an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pan.

2/ Combine the dates, dried cranberries and orange liqueur in a small bowl and set aside for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

3/ In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl.

4/ With the mixer on low, add the egg, vanilla, and orange zest. Whisk together the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt to combine. With the mixer still on low, add the flour mixture alternately with the orange juice to the creamed mixture, beating only until combined. By hand, stir in the dates and cranberries with their liquid, and the pecans.

5/ Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

6/ Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese, sugar, and orange zest on medium speed until just combined.

7/ Slice the bread and serve with the orange cream cheese on the side for spreading.

Bread and cream cheese store brilliantly in the fridge for several days if it lasts that long!

What are your favourite brunch treats? I do hope you enjoy this recipe if you give it a go!

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Potato Pancakes with Ham and Egg Nests


I love Shrove Tuesday. An excuse to enliven a Tuesday by tucking into pancakes? Yes please! As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much of a fan of sweet crepes, so this year I thought it would be fun to experiment with a different type of savoury pancake: potato pancakes!

I don’t know about you, but any form of potato fried sounds good to me, and these potato patties topped with ham and egg ‘nests’ are utterly delicious. They make the perfect brunch dish (or supper tonight!). I made them for lunch today (along with roasted cherry tomatoes and blood orange juice), and we polished off every last bit.

Potato Pancakes with Ham and Egg ‘Nests’ (Serves 2)


For the potato pancakes:
1 large baking potato, scrubbed and dried (but not peeled)
1 egg, beaten
2 heaped tablespoons of plain flour
salt and pepper to taste
4 green onions, sliced finely
1/2 red chili pepper, sliced finely
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
4 rashers of streaky bacon, cooked until crisp and sliced finely
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

For the ham and egg nests:
1 Tablespoon softened butter
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 teaspoons single cream
4 teaspoons grated parmesan cheese
4 thin slices of ham
salt and pepper to taste
Small handful of chopped chives to garnish

1/ Whisk the egg and flour together in a large bowl.

2/ Grate the potato and place in centre of clean tea towel. Squeeze firmly over sink, using both your hands, to remove excess moisture.

3/ Add the squeezed grated potato, green onion, bacon, chili, salt and pepper and thyme to the egg and flour mix and stir until combined.

4/ Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan, set on medium heat. Take a firmly packed 1/3 cup of the potato mixture, drop onto griddle and flatten it slightly to form a circle. Do this with the rest of the mixture – it makes 4 small pancakes.

5/ Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

6/ Keep the pancakes warm on a covered plate whilst you make the egg nests.

7/ Use the softened butter to grease 4 holes of a muffin tin.

8/ Line each muffin hole with a slice of ham, and crack an egg into each ham ‘nest.’

9/ Cover each egg with 1 teaspoon of cream, 1 teaspoon of parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

10/ Place muffin tray into a 180° C oven for 10-12 minutes, until set as desired (if you like your eggs runnier, cook for less time, if you prefer them harder, cook for longer).

11/ Place the potato pancakes on a plate and top each pancake with a ‘nest.’ Sprinkle the top with chopped chives (and a little more crispy bacon bits, if desired) and enjoy!

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How many of you are having pancakes today? For more inspiration, check out my Ham, Cheese and Leek Crepes recipe and my Buttermilk Pancakes (which I’m contemplating eating tonight….I know two different types of pancakes in one day is a little excessive, but it IS Pancake Day after all, right?! I’ve got to live up to the name!).

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{Miranda Loves} Joules Kitchenware


I’m sure it’s obvious by now that I have a bit of an addiction when it comes to pretty crockery. I’ve always loved china (I like to think it’s in my veins as my Grandfather was a mouldmaker for Poole Pottery), and, at age 8, I was already building my china collection, spending all my birthday and Christmas money on the Royal Doulton Brambly Hedge tea set (which I still have and use regularly). My love of pretty cups and plates hasn’t lessened over the years, so I was thrilled when I was sent some items from the Joules Kitchenware range, in return for featuring them in a post (please see below for my full disclosure).

Joules Kitchenware is a mix of pretty floral patterns, bright colours and sweet animal prints. I was lucky enough to be able to pick out some of my favourite items, and I went for the lovely large mixing bowl, measuring jug and two plates (the hen and the hare). I was thrilled with the items when I received them, and couldn’t wait to use them in a recipe post. As it was a Saturday morning, I decided buttermilk pancakes (with a raspberry sauce and maple syrup) was the obvious choice (scroll down for the recipe!).

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I love pretty pinks and blues for my kitchenware, so Joules’ floral pattern went perfectly with many pieces I already owned. The mixing bowl is a good size and has a lip on one side that makes it easy to pour the batter out, which I think is such a clever idea. I loved the measuring jug too – so much more attractive than my boring glass ones. Using such pretty kitchenware definitely made making pancakes even more fun than usual! Here’s the recipe I used (adapted from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook and Baking Book):

Buttermilk Pancakes with Raspberry Sauce

For the pancakes (makes about 8 pancakes):
1 – 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
140g white flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1/ Beat the egg, butter and milk lightly in a mixing bowl. Mix the flour, baking soda, sugar and salt and add them all at once to the first mixture, stirring just enough to dampen the flour.

2/ Lightly butter a frying pan or griddle and set over a moderate heat, until a few drop of cold water sprinkled on form rapidly moving globules.

3/ Pour 1/4 cup of batter  at a time onto the griddle and fry until the cakes are full of bubbles on top and lightly browned underneath, then flip with a spatula and lightly brown the other side.

4/ Stack pancakes onto plates and enjoy with butter, maple syrup and (if desired) raspberry sauce.

For the raspberry sauce:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups raspberries (plus a handful extra to scatter over pancakes)
1 teaspoon Marie Brizard Creme de Framboise Liqueur (optional)

1/ Combine the sugar and water in a small pan and heat, stirring often until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside and allow to cool.

2/ Put the raspberries and raspberry liqueur in a blender or food processor, pour the sugar syrup on top and blend until the raspberries become a puree.

3/ Strain the sauce through a sieve and serve in a pretty jug (or store in the fridge until needed).


Doesn’t the hen plate look sweet?! As a lovely instagram follower of mine pointed out, it would also be adorable with eggs and soldiers! I’m saving the hare plate for a post in March – I just can’t resist playing with the idea of a March hare….

I think anything from the Joules Kitchenware range would make great gifts for your domestic goddess friends, as a wedding present, or for your mum (remember it for Mother’s Day!). All the pieces are reasonably priced, but attractive. Have you got anything from the Joules Kichenware range? What item would you like the most?

Disclosure: I was sent these items in exchange for featuring them on my blog. I, however, would never recommend something I wouldn’t buy – or haven’t bought – myself, and I only agree to feature items that reflect my personal taste and aesthetic. I also always disclose whenever I have been sent items in exchange for publicising them on Miranda’s Notebook.

Cranberry Muffin Recipe


This cranberry muffin recipe is the perfect way to brighten dark, wintery mornings. I have a real soft spot for muffins and a batch of these are a real treat. My Mum used to make these as a snack for Christmas morning whilst we opened presents, so in our household these are known as Christmas Morning Muffins. I’ve taken to baking them all through December though! These muffins are wonderfully moist, and the raisins cut the sharpness of the cranberries perfectly, although they aren’t too sugary-sweet like so many shop bought ones are these days.

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This recipe makes enough for 6 large muffins, so feel free to double it (they freeze well).

Cranberry Muffins

1 cup cranberries (I use frozen and just let them unthaw beforehand)
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground all spice
1 beaten egg
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
3/4 orange juice
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup raisins

Line a muffin tin with muffin cups and turn oven to 375°F / 190° C.

Coarsely chop cranberries. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and all spice. Make a well in the centre.

Combine the egg, orange zest, orange juice and melted butter. Add all at once to the flour mixture, stirring to moisten.

Fold in cranberry mixture and raisins.

Fill muffin cups evening with mixture (I use an ice-cream scoop to do this) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Enjoy with a nice cup of of coffee, tea, or even (if it is Christmas morning) a glass of bubbly!

Pick Me Up Quick Breakfast Bars Recipe


This breakfast bars recipe is a real life saver for me! I’m someone who needs to eat very regularly, otherwise I feel terrible and get very bad tempered! When I’m teaching, the day can be so rushed that I barely get a mouthful to eat at lunch, let alone a bite in between. In order to stop myself from feeling like I’m going to pass out on the bus on the way home, I’ve taken to always having a stash of these breakfast bars on me. One of these satisfies any hunger pangs and leaves me feeling human again!

I adapted the recipe from Nigella’s breakfast bars here.

Pick Me Up Quick Breakfast Bars

1 x 397 grams can condensed milk
250 grams rolled oats (not instant)
75 grams shredded coconut
100 grams dried cranberries
25 grams pumpkin seeds
75 grams raisins
50 grams chocolate chips
100 grams natural unsalted cashew nuts

Preheat the oven to 130°C/gas mark ½/250ºF, and oil a 23 x 33 x 4cm / 9 x 13 inch baking tin, or use a throwaway foil one.Warm the condensed milk in a large pan.

Meanwhile, mix together all the other ingredients and then add the warmed condensed milk, using a rubber or wooden spatula to fold and distribute.

Spread the mixture into the tin and press down with the spatula or the back of a spoon, to even the surface.

Bake for 1 hour, then remove from the oven and, after about 15 minutes, cut into four across, and four down to make 16 chunky bars. Let cool completely. I wrap some up individually in clingfilm to store in the freezer, and the rest I keep in a tin in the fridge to last a few days. 

These bars really are great for when you want a snack on the go, or they’re lovely with a cup of tea and a sit down as a mid-morning break. Enjoy!

Baked French Toast


The best way to do brunch is when it feels indulgent and leisurely, both to the cook and to the guests. I’m always a fan of make ahead recipes; it makes me feel much more relaxed to know all I have to do is set the table and shove something in the oven before a guest arrives.

My dad came to visit me this weekend, and as he was arriving on Saturday morning, I thought brunch would be the perfect option. As he lives in New York, I don’t get to see my dad very often so I decided the occasion warranted the decadence of a Pioneer Woman recipe, and I thought her baked french toast sounded perfect (although I did feel a little faint over the 8 – yes 8! – eggs, and cupfuls of cream and whole milk). The recipe was extremely easy to make and absolutely delicious. I threw it together on Friday night, which was perfect as it’s best when it sits overnight.

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The baked french toast is delicious served with maple syrup and fresh blueberries. If you’re going all out, add some slices of bacon and freshly squeezed orange juice for a truly fabulous feast. I really can’t recommend this recipe enough for brunch with friends or family. It provides a delicious meal, but still allows you time for that coveted weekend lie-in. Perfect!