hungry girl lunch

Today I got up fairly early. I have gotten up earlier, and on a regular basis, but today was slightly different. I’d stayed at my sister’s because I had an exam today. My last.

Yay! No more uni for five weeks!

So, today I had an exam. Then I had some errands to run – tickets to pick up, spare tyres to order, you know, everyday stuff like that. (not mentioning that it’s the second spare tyre I’ve had to get in the past couple of months. Me and my car, we’ve had some ups and downs.)

ANYway, by the time I got home it was past one, and I hadn’t eaten since seven. I’d had two coffees, but coffee does not a meal make. Well, maybe breakfast sometimes. Anyhow, I had this plan to fry some eggs and eat them on toast with butter and cheese. I was so hungry and so ready to eat but then I remembered that our stove blew (it’s electric. Luckily the oven’s still ok, otherwise I’d be going stir crazy).

Anyway, I wanted eggs. And carbohydrates. And cheese. And when I thought about it, some mustard, salt and pepper, tomato wouldn’t go astray.

So, taking inspiration from The Pioneer Woman and Smitten Kitchen, I made a miniature strata for lunch.

Take a ramekin and rub it with butter. Lots of butter, if possible.

Tear up some bread (turkish bread is really nice…I used bread from the bakery0

Add some cheese and tomato.

Some more bread and cheese

Now crack two eggs in a bowl (I did one, but then added another later)

Add some dijon mustard…

Salt

and pepper

and milk

Whisk and pour over the bread

Crumble some cheese over the top and bake for about twenty-five minutes in a 180 degree oven

Try not to burn your mouth!

hollandaise sauce and a book review

The Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon. I’ve been reading it for the past week (it should be read slow, to be savoured) and it’s really an amazing book. It was first released in the 1950s and it’s just the most eccentric journey into the mind of a cook/chef I’ve read. I love cookbooks, I love reading recipes and finding little personal touches and tips and tricks, things to watch out for, to mind, to not mind. Food blogs are great for that, I’ll be posting a blogroll soon, I think.

This isn’t just a cookbook. It’s a manifesto. It’s a celebration of life, food, the earth, God’s creation. To love things for what they are, not for what they mean, which, by the way, works for people too. Intrinsic value, not exchange value, is what is important. You have value for who you are, not for what you mean to me or to anyone else. And that apple you’re eating, has value for simply being an apple, not just because it’s good for you.

The first thing I made from this book was actually bread; beautiful crusty bread rolls, yeasty and delicious, but they’re not here because I made them at Surrender with some of the people from Credo Cafe over at Urban Seed (if you’re in Melbourne, in the city around noon, head over to Credo for food and good company. I guarantee you it will blast your expectations out of the water.) Their Strangers are Fiction campaign is has been launched, so if you want to jump in with that, by all means do so. We’re not strangers, we’re just family that hasn’t met yet.

The first thing I made from this book when I owned it (after I heard about it at Surrender I had to find it) was this hollandaise sauce and it is seriously one of the easiest things in the world to do. After I made those macarons for Easter, I had all these egg yolks left over so of course, I had to make hollandaise sauce.

For each egg yolk, add a tablespoon of cream to a saucepan (that your egg yolks are already in, I hope) some salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and lemon juice to taste. Whisk well and then place over medium heat, still whisking. When the custard thickens sufficiently, back away from the heat (carrying your saucepan and still whisking) over to a pot-stand where you have ready two tablespoons of butter for each egg yolk.  Whisk these in and when they are incorporated, you have homemade hollandaise sauce that will rock your socks off.

pie

It’s the first recipe for pie that I’m posting so it gets the awesome label of simply pie. It was pretty good, actually – well, that and the company. I come from a big family so I’m used to having people around the house. I was house sitting this past week and while it was lovely to have some alone time and just veg out, I like to be around people. So when the family got back, I made pie. And salad. And we had wine and cheeses and a beautiful evening.

It’s one of those things you can cut into hefty wedges and take to uni for lunch, or just as equally dress up with salad for dinner (as we did.) You could have it for breakfast; those eggs really do wonders. I can also envisage this pie being a hit at picnics, alongside a potato salad, punch, gingham patterned tablecloth serving as a picnic blanket and a beautiful sunny day.

To make this pie, you will need a fluted removable bottom tart pan, which is the most awesome name for a kitchen utensil I think I’ve ever heard – well, that and mandolin, because it sounds like something you should be making music with, and instead you’re making fuel for the making of the music…

And while you’re making this, listen to music. I had Washington on the CD player – I’ve already explained, I think, how much I love sunday best, but the whole album is awesome, and very danceable.

And so. To pie.

Egg and Spring Onion Pie

You could make this pie with leeks or onions or shallots instead of spring onions. You could add bacon, if you aren’t vegetarian, or several different herbs. I would suggest using a different dough; mine was very crumbly and stuck to the pan, although I imagine you could rectify the crumbliness at least by adding more butter or water. I’m imagining a sour cream based one and my taste buds are moaning at me because I didn’t think of it earlier. You probably also don’t really need a lid, so if you don’t want to use one, don’t stress too much. I’d just make sure the eggs are on top.

Take a bowl. Place 1 2/3 cups of sifted (if you like – I generally don’t bother:) plain flour and 250g chopped cool butter in. Rub the butter in with your fingers until it’s dough-like, then gather into a ball. If it’s too crumbly (as I mentioned, mine was) add some iced water until it gathers properly. Rest in the fridge for about 20min.

Roll out 2/3 of the dough in between two sheets of baking paper, and carefully put into that tart pan, gently pressing into the edges. Trim the edges, leaving about 1cm overhanging to account for shrinkage. Place into the freezer for 20mins to rest the dough. Roll the rest of the dough in between the sheets to about a 22cm (or however big your tart pan is) circle, and place in the fridge. This will be your lid.

Take off the outer leaves of a large bunch of spring onions and finely chop. Melt 60g of butter in a large frying pan and add the onion. Cook until wilted and translucent. Take off heat.

Finely chop a small bunch of parsley (I used curly leaf because that’s what we had in the garden. I’m sure it doesn’t matter which you use.) and scatter in the bottom of the tart shell. Add half the spring onions. Crack 9 eggs in. I pierced the yolks and swirled it around a bit because I like the marbled effect, but you could just as easily not, or even whisk them and pour them in. Scatter the remaining spring onions over the top of the eggs. Place the lid carefully on top and crimp the edges together with your fingers, breaking off the excess. Whisk one egg lightly and brush over the lid; make some slits in the lid with a sharp knife and place in a pre-heated 180ºC oven for about 35mins. Serve with salad and white wine, or something equally amazing.

Happy Tuesday.