We all know that breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, but how many of us skip breakfast because we’re simply not hungry or too busy to take time in the morning to eat? I remember the mantra from my childhood years “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”, and its fair to say that the only day of the week I heed its advice is Sundays.
Long, leisurely breakfasts. At home or at a cafe, it really doesn’t matter. A luxury. My favourite weekend treat. This weekend with my husband away with our daughters for the annual Father Daughter Camp at Bundeena, my son and I ventured to our favourite local trattoria Popolo in McLachlan Avenue, Rushcutters Bay. A 10 minute stroll from home, just past Sydney Boys Grammar Weigall Playing Fields on Neild Avenue.
Sitting in the courtyard and sipping a cappuccino as I contemplated the menu I had a lightbulb moment. Popolo is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekends. It even does take away. For those of you in Sydney with teenage sons on the Saturday sport treadmill, Popolo is the answer to the coffee, panini or pastry fix when that compulsory sports commitment brings you to Weigall. Just behind the grandstand, cross Neild Avenue and walk through the paved laneway of the Advanx building. Look to the left and you’ll find Popolo. Tucked away in a sunny courtyard facing McLachlan Avenue.
Sad but true, I have a comprehensive list of cafes that I visit all over Sydney on the weekend according to my children’s sport commitments. The overriding factor for inclusion in that list is great coffee. And if its a caffeine fix you’re after, Popolo hits the target every single time.
Getting back to our leisurely Sunday breakfast, we truly feasted like kings. Here is what we devoured with our obligatory cappuccinos. For me, Zucchini Frittata with Mint and Pecorino as pictured above. For my son, Tegamino; the Sicilian version of bacon and eggs or more eloquently fried eggs, pancetta, scamorza affumicata (smoked cheese) with buttered toast. Whichever way you describe it, delicious.
With a side serve of Strianesi. Baked cherry tomatoes with tomato salsa and basil thrown in for good measure.
What is most impressive about Popolo is that they make everything from scratch. Beautiful bread, pastries, pizza, calzone and panini courtesy of a wonderful wood fired pizza oven. It is well worth a visit at 50 McLachlan Avenue, Rushcutters Bay. For those of you who won’t be visiting Sydney any time soon here’s my version of Popolo’s breakfast frittata with zucchini, pecorino and mint.
I often make frittata at home. It’s a very simple dish to make and extremely versatile as you can use almost any flavour combination. Delia Smith describes frittata as “Italy’s version of an open-faced omelette”. This recipe uses six eggs and produces a frittata large enough to serve four people. I simply slice the frittata into wedges to serve. Its delicious with a side salad for a light lunch or dinner.
If you would like to make individual serves of frittata a la Popolo, use 2 eggs and about a third of the quantities of the other ingredients specified in the recipe. Cook until frittata is puffed and golden. Buon Appetito!
Zucchini Frittata with Mint and Pecorino
2 tablespoons olive oil
50 g butter
300 g zucchini (courgettes), thinly sliced into rounds
2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino
2 tablespoons shredded mint leaves
sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
HEAT the oil and half the butter in a pan, add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
SEASON with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
LIGHTLY beat the eggs with a pinch of salt and stir in the zucchini, pecorino and mint.
MELT the remaining butter in a heavy based frying pan.
POUR in the mixture and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes until underside is set and lightly browned.
FLIP over and cook briefly to set and brown the top layer. Or alternately set the top layer of the frittata by placing the pan under a hot grill for a few minutes. This eliminates the need to flip the frittata.
SERVE hot or cold.