Maybe the problem with success is that we don’t take enough time to define it for ourselves.
~ Eric Karjaluto, co-founder of smashLAB
I find this terribly simple and profound: soft-boiled eggs cracked into a bowl, topped with a mini mountain of toast fragments and too much black pepper.
Sometimes I think I could eat this every day.
One needs something to believe in, something for which one can have wholehearted enthusiasm.
~ Hannah Senesh
Once upon a time, I thought that making oeuf cocotte was fussy and “much work for little return”. Now, I make them occasionally and each time I am always surprised by how simple they are to prepare, how (deceptively) fancy they look and how comforting they are to eat.
Just chop up some of your favourite veges, herbs, bits of ham or anything you like to eat with eggs (and that will like being in the oven)… sometimes I like to first sear some tomatoes with a splash of balsamic vinegar and a bit of muscovado sugar.
Then dot the bottom of a few ramekins with butter, throw in your veges/ham/whatever, crack an egg on top and crown the lot with some cheese. Place the ramekins in a deep baking dish, and fill the baking dish with hot water till it comes halfway up the side of the ramekins.
Bake them for a few minutes, then serve as breakfast/lunch/a light start to dinner. Easy, huh? I think so too.
The recipe I include below documents the way I made it recently, but you can make delicious variations with ham, bacon, mushrooms… some recipes I have come across also use cream. This is a versatile dish that lends itself well to some experimentation!
1/4 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, smashed and finely chopped
3 tomatoes, cut into 4-8 small wedges
Handful of cooking spinach, roughly chopped
1 large pepper or capsicum
1 heaped tbsp feta cheese, diced
1 tbsp parmesan shreds
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 level tsp brown sugar
Preheat oven to 200°C. Boil some water.
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet set over a medium-high flame. Once the oil is warm, add in the onion – sauté till golden brown and fragrant, then throw in the garlic, capsicum and tomatoes, sugar, and balsamic vinegar. Stir for a minute or two, till you can see the skins on the tomatoes begin to collapse gently.
Place a pat of butter at the bottom of each ramekin, and add in the spinach, cooked vegetables and feta cubes. Roughly level the surface of the vegetables, then crack an egg into each ramekin. Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
Put the ramekins into a deep baking tray and fill the baking tray with hot water till the water level reaches halfway up the side of the ramekins.
Place the tray into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.
Other yummies of late: (1) a particularly delicious chocolate fondue involving, I found out later, mascarpone added to the warm chocolate mix. Mmm! (2) a generous and very tasty chicken sandwich at Willow Glen in Gordonton. (3) my sweet brother’s “brownie cake” (midway between brownie and cake). Cute imagining him in the kitchen, probably looking very serious the whole time. (4) farmers’ market salad leaves. Crunch crunch crunch.
P.S. Happy Waitangi Day!
The day of the sun is like the day of a king. It is a promenade in the morning, a sitting on the throne at noon, a pageant in the evening.
~ Wallace Stevens
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Tagged apricots, eggs, photo
If you’ve broken the eggs, you should make the omelette.
~ Anthony Eden
In “The Kitchen Diaries” (page 117), Nigel Slater wrote about his version of a Spanish omelette – “lighter and crisper than the traditional one that uses thick slices of potato”, and which incorporates parsley, mint and tarragon.
It sounded delicious, and through some unplanned, beautiful coincidence, I had exactly those herbs in my fridge right as I read this page and found myself hungry. The tarragon was a complimentary gift from the kind man at the farmers’ market, and I had some mint and parsley left over from a dinner last week. I also had potatoes and eggs – whee!
I skipped the flour and broiling my omelette, and replaced six chopped scallions with a clove of garlic, some diced onion and a sprinkle of paprika (to suit what was in my pantry), and had myself a lovely late lunch while it poured outside.
And on that wet note, the lovely summer sun has departed, leaving crazy rain in its place. But not all is dismal: I attended my first rainy barbeque last night, at my friend Cam’s place. The meat was excellent, as was the company, and there was dancing and crazy conversations… the rain shall not take away the joy of summer.
Inspired by Nigel Slater
2 eggs, beaten
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp diced red onion
parsley leaves, chopped
tarragon leaves, chopped
mint leaves, chopped
Grate or chop the potato into matchsticks. Heat a splash of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, then add in the diced onion and fry till fragrant and lightly golden.
Stir in the garlic, paprika and potato, and sauté for approximately two minutes. Then add in the eggs and scatter the herbs in a single layer over the omelette. Swirl the pan gently so you don’t trap puddles of uncooked egg in the omelette.
Leave to cook for a few minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary, and flip the omelette if you can manage it (I haven’t quite mastered this). When the eggs are cooked nicely on both sides and the potato pieces are tender, move the omelette carefully on to a plate, add salt and pepper to taste and tuck in.
It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de-lovely.
~ Cole Porter
Tonight, I came home rather hungry and with no grand visions of dinner. I found 1/3 of a capsicum in the fridge, and half a box of eggs in the cupboard – so dinner took the form of an experiment: spiced eggs with capsicum, dill & parmesan on toast. A seemingly odd combination of flavours perhaps, but it was yummy and just the thing I needed!
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 capsicum, diced
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground chilli
sprinkle of dill
sprinkle of parmesan
pepper to taste
2 slices of toast
Heat the olive oil, paprika, curry powder and ground chilli in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Swirl the pan such that the mixture spreads evenly across the base of the pan.
When the oil is hot, crack the eggs into the pan, and add in the capsicum. Leave it to cook while you prepare the slices of toast.
Using a spatula, scoop the eggs carefully and arrange them on the slices of toast, adding sprinkles of parmesan, dill and pepper. Eat immediately, preferably with knife and fork, while sitting/standing in your favourite corner of the house.
Winter is nature’s way of saying, “Up yours.”
~ Robert Byrne
Inspired by La Tartine Gourmande – recipe adapted and modified (without much success where the crêpes are concerned, unfortunately) to lessen the quantity of batter produced and to suit what was in my kitchen cupboards. Dried coriander and parsley does work. Using only all-purpose flour and skipping the buckwheat flour, and scaling the amount of ingredients directly: not too good.
For the filling, I used broccoli, cauliflower, red capsicum, normal cheese, parmesan, dried tarragon, egg, salt and pepper.
Again, ramekins came to the rescue.
The morning is long when you can’t sit up or lie down without coughing. It makes me want to throw plates! Only half a day of work though to get through today, and then I fly up to Auckland tonight for the long weekend… Have a super Thursday!
I’m youth, I’m joy, I’m a little bird that has broken out of the egg.
~ James M. Barrie
You are mighty,
a squeal of delight
a shout of triumph
a pillar of hope;
a whisper of a million possibilities.
When I look at a magic carton of you,
a sandpit of winks
a jar of treats
a ride on a merry-go-round
Mary Poppins’s bag of fun.
I like you when you sit simply, patiently,
on my windowsill.
I do like you,
I do, I do.
I like you in cakes,
pies and all sorts of dishes;
woven through sauces.
I adore you when I scramble you and
you morph into yellow ribbons of hope,
cheering me on.
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