Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Breakfast Bake

Normally when my mum visits we eat out quite often. In fact, there have been some visits where we haven't eaten a meal at home for her entire visit. When she visited for the Good Food and Wine Show, both she and I had been sick for a time beforehand and she was having to watch the food she was eating and I wasn't up to going out, so for the first time, we ate every breakfast and dinner at home.

Mum loves to cook and I am a little bit disappointed that I only discovered how much I enjoy it as well after I left home and she was too far away for us to enjoy it together. She's also much better at it than I am, I am far more likely to not cook something that didn't work the first time because I need to practice the skills than I am to actually practice the skills. I'm not very good at cooking steaks, although I have gotten much better after I started cheating by using the stove to get a nice crust on the outside and then throwing the frypan into the oven to cook the inside. Mum, on the other hand, can cook them perfectly in the frypan. She did use our electric frypan rather than our stove, so maybe it's the stove's fault that I can't cook steaks? Anyway, we had the best steak meal thanks to Mum's cooking.

Funnily enough, this post has nothing to do with Mum's steak dinner. It actually doesn't have anything to do with Mum's cooking at all, except that Mum's cooking inspired me to try this dish. How did she do that? Well, in a recent Super Food Ideas, they had an advertisement showing a recipe for a variation on ouefs en concotte, where you lined a ramekin with ham, dropped in a spoonful of ricotta mixed with some grated cheese and chives, topped it with an egg and then baked it in the oven. Mum made it for us for breakfast one day and it was awesome. She too had trouble with our oven, we had to finish cooking it in a water bath on the stove. It didn't matter though, because they were amazingly tasty. After she left, I had it for breakfast nearly every day until the ham ran out.

So, to finally get to the point of this post, the ham ran out. I couldn't have my ouefs en concotte for breakfast. I had been browsing through my cooking magazines and I had bookmarked a recipe for a breakfast bake in the October edition of recipes+. I had all the ingredients to make that, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I liked the idea, but the execution let the dish down a bit. My oven played its usual tricks and so by the time the egg white was fully cooked the yolk was hard and so the dish turned out to be very very dry. The flavours were good, but the dryness made it quite difficult to eat. The tomatoes couldn't quite save it, unfortunately. It has potential, but I can't work out how I can change the cooking to save the eggs. Maybe cook everything else in the oven and then add poached eggs or fried eggs over easy after? Hmm.

I like the idea of having a substantial breakfast like this. If only I had time in the mornings...

Breakfast Bake
from recipes+ October p18

(I thirded this recipe and made some adjustments to the cooking temperature and times to accommodate my sucky oven, below is the recipe as written in the magazine with no alterations)

6 thick slices sourdough bread, roughly torn
1 medium red capsicum, cut into 2cm pieces
1 medium yellow capsicum, thickly sliced
1 large red onion, halved, cut into wedges
250g cherry tomatoes
olive oil cooking spray
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
150g fresh low-fat ricotta
6 eggs, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Combine bread, capsicum, onion and tomatoes in a roasting pan. Spray with oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Bake for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender, turning bread and vegetables halfway through cooking. Remove from oven.

Make 6 indents in mixture. Sprinkle parsley over the bread and vegetables. Dot with ricotta. Carefully crack an egg into each indent. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until eggs are cooked. Serve at once.

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