I am back from my much needed trip to Australia and New Zealand. It was epic! Over three weeks, I took over 5000 photos. I am of course still going through them all. But I wanted to do a series of posts with accompanying recipes, so this is part 1.
Things that I learned in Australia –
1. Australians love to shorten their words. breakfast = brekkie, Avocado = avo
2. If you order iced coffee in Australia, you will get espresso coffee with ice cream
3. When reading a parking sign 1/4 p = 1/4 hour (um what??)
4. Frosted flakes = frosties, Rice crispy treats = rice bubbles
My friend, Jess, (we were there to attend her wedding) declared to me before the trip that Australian cafés make better poached eggs than New York restaurants. Specifically, dukkah and poached eggs were her favorite. I was incredulous. Poached eggs? Really? What could be so different? Well after having some of the best breakfasts ever, I now understand. The brekkies served in Australian cafés are healthy and veggie forward with a heavy focus on fresh, vibrant produce. Dishes were simple but creative, often pulling inspiration from the various international communities found in the country. With so many wonderful greens to start my day off, I often left breakfast feeling very good about myself.
Australians love their avo toast and dukkah with eggs. So I really wanted to make a recipe that paid respect to this deep love. Dukkah is a spice mix with Egyptian origins. And it is magical. In the past decade, this mix of nuts, seeds, and spices has become very ubiquitous in Australia. It is so widespread that you can usually find multiple options to buy in the grocery stores. The beauty of dukkah is that much like the garam masalas of India, the actual recipe will vary from family to family. The most commonly used ingredients are hazelnut, sesame seeds, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. But each Egyptian grandma usually will have their own recipe. Pumpkin seeds, nigella seeds, pine nuts, marjoram, and dried mint are sometimes added. The recipe below is a very basic recipe. I will definitely be playing with additional ingredients but this simple version is absolutely delicious. Dukkah is also wonderful in its versatility. In addition to eggs, I also used it on fish and most definitely will use it on other meats. It’s a delicious little afterthought that can be placed on the table for a haphazard sprinkling over simple dinner vegetables. Add some top notch olive oil and you have a delicious dip to accompany bread. The list of uses goes on. It is definitely a mix worth keeping on hand to add an extra something to whatever you are cooking.
I have never ordered avocado toast at a restaurant. Woah what? What is the matter with me you say? Don’t get me wrong, I love avocados and yes slathering an avocado mixture on bread and topping it with an egg is deliciously ingenious. But I just can’t seem to justify ordering something that is so easy to make at home. This homemade version barely takes any cooking and can be quickly slapped together. The farmers’ markets here in NYC are currently brimming with flowers of all sorts, so I picked up some flowering kale and chive flowers for my avocado toast. Arugula or pea shoots would also be another great option here. Since photographing this recipe, I have also made this with an additional layer of Spanish chorizo that I warmed in a pan. Definitely give that a try if you like meat. The recipe calls for 6 eggs to be made. Of course, that is more than what you will actually need for the 2 servings. But I have found that my small pot fits exactly 6 eggs and when I cook the exact amount of eggs that fits perfectly in my pot the eggs come out better.
I have so many more photos of Australia and New Zealand to share, so this is just a small taste. We started out in Sydney and then over 4 days made our way up the coast of New South Wales making stops along the way with a final stop in Byron Bay for the wedding. The weather was absolutely perfect and the beaches were truly stunning. Each time I see the ocean, I fall more and more in love.
beautiful Bondi beach in Sydney
Great hiking at Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
A V O C A D O T O A S T W I T H P I S T A C H I O D U K K A H + S P R I N G F L O W E R S + S O F T B O I L E D E G G S
for the pistachio dukkah
3/4 cup shelled pistachios
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon dried green peppercorns
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon fine sea salt/kosher salt
2 teaspoon hot pimenton/paprika
for the toast
2 large brown eggs, straight from the fridge
2 slices bread of your choice
1 1/2 avocados, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons chives, diced
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons dukkah, and additional for sprinkling
salt to taste
your favorite spring greens, I used flowering kale
3-4 chive flowers
make the dukkah
Over medium high heat, heat up a small pan. Toast the fennel seeds for 5 minutes and then add the cumin seeds. Toss and toast until both have darkened and smell fragrant, about 3-5 minutes more. Pour the spices into a bowl and set aside. In the same pan, toast the green peppercorn and coriander seeds until they have started to pop, about 5 mins. Place into a separate bowl, set aside. Finally toast the white sesame seeds and poppy seeds until the sesame seeds have darkened slightly in color, 5-8 mins. Remove from heat, set aside.
Using either a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, roughly grind the pistachios. Leave some larger chunks. Separately, roughly grind the toasted fennel, cumin, green peppercorns, and coriander seeds. Combine the pounded pistachio and spices with the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, salt, and pimenton. Mix and keep in a tightly lidded jar. This spice mix will retain it’s freshness best when it is kept in the refrigerator.
make the toast
To make the soft boiled eggs, add 2 eggs to the smallest pot you have. Cover fully with cold water. Bring to a boil with a lid on. Turn off the stove and allow the eggs to continue cooking in the residual heat for 6 minutes 30 seconds. Immediately shock in a bowl of ice water. Once the eggs are fully cooled, peel them and cut in half. Set aside.
Lightly toast 2 slices of bread. In a mixing bowl, combine the sliced avocados, chives, lime juice, and dukkah. Use a fork to gently mashup the avocado, making sure to leave some large chunks intact. Salt to taste. Divide the avocado mixture over the two slices of bread. Top with the greens and the eggs. Breakup the chive flowers and sprinkle over the avocado toast. Serve with additional dukkah.
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