A few weeks ago I was hooked on Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes. Inspired, also read as easy-to-make, I made one of his Turkish breakfast dishes called Ciblir. It was a delight. Who would’ve thought eggs and yoghurt could be on the same plate? After that, I made another one of his dishes. Well, almost. He baked his eggs, I went with the stove. There are a few other tweaks too, but that’s not important. What’s important is that it turned out just as delicious as the cilbir.Wilted spinach atop of which nestled eggs that were cooked just enough so their yolks would run, dollops of cold Greek yoghurt with streaks of hot chilli butter and of course, crunchy bacon bits. What’s not to love?
My latest chef crush has to be Yotam Ottolenghi. He isn’t just a good chef who celebrates food but also comes across as someone who’s warm and friendly. I discovered him on Twitter, actually. His food pictures always make me happy. He gives a vibrant new life to vegetables and heroes them in most of his dishes. I happened to stalk his recipes on The Guardian, where he’s a regular contributor, and found that all his recipes are quite simple and easy. And I stumbled on one breakfast recipe that caught my attention.
Sunday pancakes are the best thing about weekends. But last weekend I made the savoury kind. With cheese. And topped with a poached egg. It looked damn cute and tasted damn good. What’s not to like? Cheese, runny egg and spicy sriracha. With my hot cuppa it was the perfect breakfast. If poaching eggs scare you, welcome to my world. I can’t get it to look like a perfect quenelle. But I do have my little trick that saves the day and gives me a poached egg, slightly disfigured nevertheless.
I’m *trying* to eat better at work. Let me get at least one meal right, you guys. To avoid the lifeless, flavourless and useless office cafeteria food, I try and pack my own lunch. Salads, to be precise. I’ve made a lot salads before and ended up spending more time and effort than I needed to. Most time went into cooking the veggies separately and then the chicken. To ensure I ate cleaner, I stopped cooking the veggies. Chicken I still cook. I don’t want to die eating raw chicken, sorry.
I wasn’t going to create a post for this but someone asked for it in my Instagram. It’s way too cold here – 4 degrees C this morning to be precise (brr!). Spending time in the kitchen is something I keep to a minimum during nights. When I do cook, I up the quantity so I have leftovers for the next dinner. There was leftover Thai veg curry for him and I made myself a quick omelette sandwich. Simply caramelize onion slices till they are nice and golden brown. Cook the mushrooms in it and then go in the eggs. Sandwiched between two buttered bread slices and lettuce (if you have any), and pan toasted to get that perfect tan on both sides. A dinner sandwich is ready.
It all sounds too familiar, no? Masala cheese bhurji meets savoury French toast, I suppose. There’s no background story for this one. It was simply the result of me being my laziest self on a Sunday morning. Since I’d made a sweet French toast for breakfast the previous day, I wanted something savoury for Sunday. But French toast is so easy and quick that I just didn’t want to make anything else. So the masala cheese version of it happened. Simply whisk eggs and milk, add chillies and garam masala and follow the usual steps required for French toast. Once it’s off the pan and on your plate, grate cheese on it and see how great it tastes!
French toast ✓
Cream cheese ✓
All of the above came together for a fantastic Sunday breakfast. Strawberries are in season and I got myself a box of these ruby beauties. I have baked with strawberries before, but prefer them ‘un-baked’. Why lose them in cake batter when you can eat them fresh? So I just whipped some cream cheese with fresh cream and folded some berries into it. Then cut open a bun half way and spread the cream cheese mixture into it. A dip in eggy milk and on to the pan to become French toast. Simple!
When you’re in no mood to cook but have enough material to whip up something for dinner in just a few minutes and about two steps, it’s time for makeovers for leftovers. Remember my kori sukka from a few days ago? In that post I mentioned I was saving the curry for something else. Here it is. One lazy night I turned it into an egg gassi. I could have made it easier by just cracking open the eggs into the curry but I hard boiled a few eggs and dunked them in the gassi.
Be it Koshy’s in Bangalore or Kyani & Co. in Bombay, the masala cheese omelette that these old school folks make is simply amazing. It’s just eggs, chillies and cheese. But the comfort it gives is what makes it so good. Add the nostalgia factor and you have a winner. The cheese slice sitting right in the centre of the omelette with little specks of green chilly scattered around..sigh. I wanted to replicate it, but instead turned it into masala cheese bhurji. Works brilliantly and made effortlessly.
I must admit, this plate of food looked so gorgeous it was hard to run a knife through it. When I’d think of waffles I always picture them with loads of fruits and syrup dripping down the edges. But this time around I wanted to make some savoury ones. I didn’t do much except for add grated cheese in the batter along with some paprika and thyme. It tasted great but I should have made smaller ones so it’d crisp up better. Anyway, I topped each of them with a fried and a side of cherry tomatoes.