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Breakfast at Pinetrees


Breakfast at Pinetrees Lord Howe Island

The problem with eating eight courses of food each day, no matter how light and healthy, is that your body expects more. At about 6am, guests get hungry. It’s hard to believe. Some guests get up to take sunrise photos, walk on the beach or swim in the Lagoon, while others sit up in bed with a cup of tea until 8am – it’s a holiday after all.

When people appear on the verandah, they’re greeted with a table of fresh fruit, cereal, yoghurt, fresh bread and juice. The sun is filtering through the Kentia palms and the air is cool and salty. On the menu are three breakfast options. The menu changes every day, so during a seven day stay, guests will see 21 different options. We always have one traditional egg dish (due to mutinous demand), one sweet dish, and one swanky dish. You’ll see our Bircher muesli with blood orange, lychee, pomegranate, pear and blueberry, and lower down on the menu, you’ll see our vanilla and blueberry pancakes with date and banana butter and island honey. Those wanting something substantial can choose our braised beans, chorizo and eggplant, served with a poached egg and Turkish toast. It helps after that second bottle of red the night before.

During breakfast, our front-of-house staff talk to guests about the day ahead. They know the weather forecast and have plenty of ideas about where to go and what to do. And their advice is good – they’re surfers, divers, photographers and serious Lord Howe advocates. You’ll probably bump into them somewhere during their afternoon break.

Green eggs and ham at Pinetrees Lord Howe Island


Poached eggs, herb hollandaise, glazed smoked ham, toasted brioche 

This is not a dedication to Dr Seuss, but an old standard with a tweak. Eggs Benedict still has a place on any good breakfast menu. No question. There’s something about buttery brioche, salty leg ham and runny poached eggs that makes a weekend brunch worth the wait – and if you skip lunch, the calories average out over the day. Our slight variation is the herb hollandaise, which adds fragrance and colour.

Serves 4
20 minutes preparation (not including prep for brioche and ham)
50 minutes cook

1 brioche (see breads and basics)
1 quantity Herb Hollandaise (see recipe below)
8 fresh free range eggs
Sprigs of parsley, to serve

Glazed smoked ham:
1 kg smoked leg ham
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 pinch ground clove
50 ml port

Preheat oven to 160 C (315 F). If the leg ham still has a layer of skin, remove using a sharp knife. Try to leave a little layer of fat on the ham as this will add to the flavour when it is roasted in the oven.

Combine all the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Put the ham in a roasting tin and spoon over the mustard mixture. Roast for 40 minutes, basting the ham every 10 minutes with the pan juices. Increase the oven to 200 C (400 F) and roast for a further 10 minutes or until the glaze starts to caramelise.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Resist the temptation to cut a couple of slices at this stage as the glaze is very hot.

To make the poached eggs, find the tallest pan you have. Fill with water and bring to the simmer. Add a splash of vinegar, not too much, or you eggs will taste of the vinegar, and a good pinch of salt. I don’t swirl the water in the pan, I find that by using the tall pan the egg forms a tear drop shape as it sinks to the bottom of the pan.

I like to use eggs that are straight from the fridge, and of course fresh, free range are always better. Break the eggs directly into the water and poach for 3 minutes then scoop out using a slotted spoon and drain on with some good quality kitchen paper. If you don’t let the eggs drain, when you come to plate the eggs the water will run on the plate and ruin your nicely presented dish.

To assemble the dish cut some nice thick slices of the buttery brioche and toast on both sides. Place in the centre of a warm plate. Thinly slice the glazed ham and lay evenly on top of the brioche, then add the drained poached eggs. Spoon over the herb hollandaise and garnish with some fresh sprigs of parsley.

1 kg is more than enough for breakfast so there will be plenty left for a lunch time sandwich.


Serves 4
25 minutes preparation
10 minutes cooking

½ bunch basil
½ bunch mint
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
2 egg yolks
Juice of ½ lemon
150 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Pick the leaves from all the herbs. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and have a bowl with cold iced water ready. Place all the picked herb leaves in the boiling water and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain and quickly place in the iced water. This will keep the herbs green.

When they are cold, remove from the water and squeeze out as much excess liquid as you can. In a pestle and mortar pound until you have a smooth green paste. You can use an electric blender in you want.

Put the eggs yolks and lemon juice into a metal bowl and sit the bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water, ensuring the base of the bowl isn’t touching the water. Whisk together the egg yolks and lemon juice, continuing to whisk until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from the heat.

The melted butter will have separated into 2 layers. You need to use the top, oily layer first. Slowly drizzle into the egg mixture, whisking all the time. The mix will begin to thicken as you add the melted butter. If you feel it is a bit thick, you can add some of the milky layer too.

Add the green herb puree and a pinch of salt. Mix together. Set aside somewhere warm, but not hot, until ready to use.


Puffed wild rice, toasted coconut, fruit and nuts

We first made this as a bit of a joke for the unfamiliar requirements of our inaugural Wellness Week. The chefs were scoffing about “super foods” such as goji berries and chia seeds, as they threw ingredients (with just a bit of disdain) into a mix that looked like something from the Byron Bay markets. An hour later, the muesli was sold out and the chefs were flooded with requests for the recipe. Do you think they could remember? We got rid of the goji berries (too expensive) and chia seeds (they have a tabouli effect on your smile), and now we eat it every day.

Makes 1 kg
20 minutes preparation
30 minutes cooking

1 litre vegetable oil
100 g wild rice
200 g long shred coconut
50 g pepitas
50 g sunflower seeds
100 g pistachios
100 g pecans
100 g macadamias
100 g raisins
100 g sultanas
100 g dried cranberries
100 g dried apricots
Honey or maple syrup, to drizzle

When puffing the wild rice be very careful. Make sure that all you equipment is dry and that you have everything you need ready before you start, so you aren’t rushing around to try and find things.

Take a large saucepan and heat about a litre of vegetable oil (or another oil with a high flash point, don’t use olive oil) to 190 C (375 F). You will also need another large saucepan, metal sieve and a large flat tray lined with kitchen paper.

When the oil has reached temperature add the wild rice. The oil will bubble and foam up, this is why we are using a large pan. Place the metal sieve over the other empty pan and quickly strain the rice and the oil. You must work quickly as the rice will only take about 10 seconds to puff. If it sits in the hot oil any longer it will burn. Quickly place the rice in the large lined tray and spread it out so it cools quickly and the excess oil is absorbed in the paper.

The oil can be strained through a coffee filter and re-used for your next batch. You will be able to get 3 batches before the oil becomes smoky.

Preheat oven to 160 C (315 F). For the rest of the muesli you will need 3 flat trays. Spread the coconut on 1 tray, the nuts and seeds on another and the fruit on the final tray. Drizzle with a little honey or maple syrup. Do not use too much as the dried fruit is sweet, the honey or syrup is just an added flavour.

Place the trays in the oven and toast until golden. Stir the trays every 5 minutes so they are evenly toasted. The coconut will be ready first after 6 or 7 minutes, then the fruit, then the nuts.

Allow to cool then mix all together, along with the puffed wild rice. The muesli will stay fresh for a week in a sealed container.


Lemon yoghurt and pomegranate

Mix watermelon with something sour, and you’re on a winner – every time. This light Tom Kime inspired breakfast is refined and beautiful. The aromatic rose syrup and mint are just for showing off. Sweet watermelon is balanced by the slightly sour lemon yoghurt and pomegranate, and the smooth, crisp and crunchy textures work perfectly. Like a three chord Bob Dylan song, it’s amazing what three ingredients can do.

Serves 4
15 minutes preparation
0 minutes cooking

500 g watermelon
1/2 pomegranate
1/2 bunch mint leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra for serving

Rose syrup:
200 g caster sugar
10 ml rose water

Lemon yoghurt:
1 lemon
500 g thick plain yoghurt
Seeds scrapped from ½ vanilla bean

To make the rose syrup, put 200 ml of water into a saucepan and add the sugar. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add the rose water. Store in the fridge for up to a month in a sealed container.

Next make the lemon yoghurt. Using a micro plane or very fine grater, zest the lemon. Juice the lemon. Mix the yoghurt, zest, juice and seeds from the vanilla bean together.

Cut the watermelon flesh into 2 cm cubes and place in the fridge.. Remove the seeds from the pomegranate by cutting in half around the equator. Hold the pomegranate in your left hand with the cut side facing your fingers. Take a rolling pin and hit the back side of the pomegranate to loosen the seeds. Do this over a large bowl as the seeds and juice will go everywhere. Pick out any white pith that has come out along with the seeds.

Place the diced watermelon, chopped mint and about 50 ml of the rose syrup in a large bowl. Combine gently to coat the melon. Divide between 4 bowls. Top with a large spoonful of the lemon yoghurt and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and a couple of extra mint leaves. Serve cold.

Bircher museli at Pinetrees Lord Howe Island


Bircher muesli is like a blank canvas. If you get the base right, then any combination of flavours and textures will work. We use blood oranges (when we can find them), lychees, apples, blueberries and almonds, with lemon yoghurt. You could also add marinated figs, diced plums, or like some El Bulli inspired hotels, spheres (or pearls) of kiwi fruit and lime. The possibilities are endless.

Serves 4
10 minutes preparation, plus overnight soaking
0 minutes cooking

200 g rolled oats
100 ml fresh orange juice
1/2 pomegranate
2 blood orange, segmented
8 lychee, stoned and skinned, roughly chopped
1 apple, shredded on a mandolin
125 g blueberries
100 g slivered almonds, toasted
Lemon yoghurt, to serve 

Soak the rolled oats in the orange juice overnight.

In the morning, remove the seeds from the pomegranate by cutting in half around the equator. Hold the pomegranate in your left hand with the cut side facing your fingers. Take a rolling pin and hit the back side of the pomegranate to loosen the seeds. Do this over a large bowl as the seeds and juice will go everywhere. Pick out any white pith that has come out along with the seeds.

Combine the soaked oats with the pomegranate seeds and remaining fruit and divide between 4 bowls.

Top with a spoon of lemon yoghurt and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

Vanilla pancakes at Pinetrees Lord Howe Island


Date and banana butter, island honey

Pancakes with lemon and sugar or maple syrup and bacon are long established winners at breakfast. At Pinetrees, we like to offer something just a bit different to what you can do at home, such as pancakes with date and banana butter and Lord Howe honey. Our ‘World Heritage’ honey is similar to New Zealand honey with a slightly bitter flavour and it’s unique to Lord Howe since most of the local flowering plants are endemic. These are pancakes for adults.

Serves: 4
15 minutes preparation
10 minutes cooking

Date and banana butter:
8 fresh dates, roughly chopped
250 g softened unsalted butter
1 very ripe banana

Buttermilk Pancakes:
150 g self raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of sodium
50 g caster sugar
1 egg
250 ml buttermilk.
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 punnet blueberries
Spray cooking oil, or vegetable oil for frying
Honey, to serve

First make the date and banana butter. Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat using an electric mixer until the butter is light and fluffy. This will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Allow to come to room temperature before using.

To make the buttermilk pancakes, sift the flour and bicarbonate into a bowl. Add and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and butter milk. Mix the flour mix and milk mixes together and add the vanilla and half the punnet of blueberries.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and spray with a little oil (or add a very small amount of vegetable oil. Adding about 3 tablespoons (60 ml) of batter for each pancake, add the batter to pan, making 1-2 at a time, to form pancakes about 10 cm in diameter. Cook pancakes for about 2 minutes on the first side or until bubbles begin to form on the surface. Turn and cook for another 2 minutes until golden.

To serve place 2 warm pancakes on a plate, spoon on some date and banana butter, drizzle with honey and scatter over the remaining blueberries.


Pea tendrils, sweet sherry dressing

Serves 4
20 minutes preparation
20 minutes cooking

1 red onion, finely chopped
10 g butter
4 rashers bacon, roughly chopped
2 large cooked potatoes, diced
200 g fresh peas
50 g toasted pine nuts
½ bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
4 eggs, lightly beaten
100 g fresh mozzarella
50 g pea tendrils

Sweet sherry dressing:
200 ml sweet sherry
200 ml sherry vinegar
2 sprigs thyme
1 garlic clove
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon sea salt
300 ml olive oil

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Melt the butter in a wide sauté pan that is suitable for putting in the oven (if not wrap the handle in foil). Add the onion and sweat without colouring. Add the bacon and cook until crispy.

Add the potatoes, peas, pine nuts and parsley and toss together. Pour over the eggs and stir to distribute the ingredients. Pull the mozzarella apart with your fingers and spread on the top of the mix. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until set.

Meanwhile, make the sherry dressing. Put the sherry, vinegar, thyme and garlic in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and reduce by half. Strain, keeping the liquid and allow to cool. Mix together the mustard and the sherry reduction and salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking continuously.

To serve turn out the frittata onto a chopping board and cut into wedges, toss the pea tendrils with the sherry dressing.

Braised beans at Pinetrees Lord Howe Island


Smoked paprika, spinach and poached eggs

Serves 4
25 minutes preparation
2 hours cooking

300 g dried white beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 spicy chorizo sausages, roughly chopped
2 sprigs thyme
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
400 ml good quality chicken stock 
1 x 400 g tin Italian peeled tomatoes
2 fresh tomatoes
½ bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
½ bunch fresh oregano, roughly chopped
1 small eggplant, thinly sliced
100 g spinach, wilted
8 poached eggs
Toasted Turkish bread fingers (optional)

Simmer the white beans in a large saucepan of salted water, this will take about 1 hour. The beans need to be cooked al dente as they will finish cooking in the tomato sauce.

For the sauce heat the oil in a large flat bottomed pan add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add the chorizo and cook until browned. There will be lots of nice chorizo flavoured juices in the pan now. Add the thyme, paprika, stock and tinned tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add the partially cooked white beans and cook slowly until tender and the liquid has reduced, this will take about 45 minutes.

Remove the seeds from the tomatoes and cut the flesh into 5 mm squares. Add the fresh tomato, parsley and oregano to the sauce just before it is served. Adjust the seasoning depending on the salt content of the chorizo.

Brush the eggplant with olive oil and season with plenty sea salt. Cook on a chargrill or barbecue until tender.

Spoon the braised beans into four deep bowls. Top with a slice of grilled eggplant some wilted spinach and 2 soft poached eggs. Make some toasted Turkish bread fingers to mop up the last of the sauce.


Green olive focaccia, mint, goats curd

Serves 4
10 minutes preparation
15 minutes cooking (not including making focaccia)

1 loaf of focaccia (see breads and basics)

50 g sunflower seeds
50 g pepitas
2 large ripe avocadoes
Juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch mint, chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
100 g goats’ curd

Preheat oven to 140 C (275 F). Spread the sunflower seeds and pepitas on a flat tray and roast for 10-12 minutes. By roasting seeds and nuts this way you toast the seeds all the way through rather than just burning the outside which can happen if you roast in a pan or in the oven at a higher temperature.

Remove the stone and skin from the avocado and crush with a fork in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, mint, toasted seeds, cumin and salt. Mix together loosely.

To serve, tear a piece of warm focaccia and spread with some goats’ curd. Spoon on a heap of the avocado mix and add some freshly black pepper.

Kingfish omelette at Pinetrees Lord Howe Island


Serves: 1
5 minutes preparation
5 minutes cooking

3 eggs
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
1 teaspoon sour cream
120 g kingfish
2 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 small radish, finely sliced
Sea spinach and sea parsley
1 spring onion, sliced
Olive oil, to serve
1 slice chargrilled sourdough, to serve
Lemon wedges, to serve

Lightly beat the eggs with fish sauce, soy sauce, mirin and sour cream.

Heat a barbecue hot plate or chargill pan to medium high heat. Sear the kingfish for about 1 minute on each aide. Then set aside.

In a non-stick pan, heat the butter and vegetable oil over medium heat. Once the butter is foaming, add the egg mixture and swirl around to create waves. After 30 seconds, the egg mixture should be set on the bottom and gooey and soft on the top.

Transfer the omelette onto a plate. Thinly slice the kingfish then arrange up the middle of the omelette and roll up.

Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, finely sliced red radish, sea herbs, spring onion and a good splash of olive oil.

Serve with chargrilled sourdough and a wedge of lemon.

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