A Store-Cupboard Supper: Caprese-Inspired Baked Eggs

basil tomato chevre baked eggs

So there are some days when my fridge and crisper are scraping the bottom. I put off buying anything till my weekly farm delivery list pops into my email, and I’m making do with very, very bare meals. This was one of those days. I had eggs, and some basil. Cherry tomatoes. Bread. And of course, all kinds of pulses and grains, but I really didn’t want to go the dal-chawal route again.

Inspiration struck when I saw this post on Popsugar Food about caprese salad variations. Now the holy trinity is tomatoes, basil and mozarella. But since I was working with a skeletal fridge and pantry, I made do with what I had: goat’s cheese. I cracked the eggs into ramekins, seasoned with salt and pepper, added the rest of the ingredients and into the oven they went for 12-odd minutes. And dinner was done, just like that. I added some cream to the eggs, it gave the dish a nice silky texture.

Sure, it’s not perfect: but store cupboard meals are never meant to be. But they sure do satisfy!

CAPRESE-INSPIRED BAKED EGGS

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • A few leaves of basil, roughly torn
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • A few teaspoons of olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons cream
  • Goat’s cheese to crumble over the top

METHOD

  • Preheat the oven to 200 C
  • Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of each ramekin and crack an egg into each one.
  • Divide equally and scatter the torn basil leaves and tomatoes between each ramekin.
  • Season with salt and pepper and add a tablespoon of cream to each ramekin.
  • Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the white is set and the yolks runny. If you like firmer yolks, bake for 18-20 minutes.
  • Once out of the overn, crumble some goat’s cheese over the top.
  • Serve with bread.
Advertisements

Lentil, Kale & Egg Bake

20150209_163632

 

 

So this dish is a twist on shakshuka, that beautifully spiced North African dish of eggs baked in a spicy, sticky tomato-pepper sauce.

It came about because I had bits of vegetables and odds & ends lying around in my fridge- and I am unapologetic about combining the most random elements to create a dish, if it suits me.

♥ “But can you put lentils in shakshuka?”

   “It’s shakshuka-inspired. It’s a lentil bake.”

 

♥ “Can you actually bake kale?”

   “Sure…just wilt it in and pop it in the oven.”

 

♥ “But isn’t this supposed to be for breakfast?”

   “Naaah…eggs & kale work anytime, anytime.”

 

So I had one carrot. One small bunch of kale. A wrinkly red red pepper. Some tomatoes. Half a dozen eggs. And an almost-empty jar of green mung dal. I decided to toss everything together, crack some eggs on top and put it all in the oven. Minimal effort, fewer dishes to wash, and an all-in-one meal.

I think hotchpotch-meal creation is genetic. It comes from my maternal grandmother. Just nonchalantly tossing things together (which you normally wouldn’t,) and making a meal of it. My grandmom would put things in front of us, combinations which we weren’t used to, and if we questioned the meal, she’d just say “of course you can add ___ to sambhar!” without batting an eyelid. The ___ in question could be something like cauliflower, which really isn’t added to sambhar, but if there was an odd end of it lying around, it would go in.

And for this bake, whatever little I had in my fridge was thrown in. (Ok, gently sautéed and wilted in.) I cooked the green mung dal beforehand of course, (in a pressure cooker,) because they can take a while to get tender.

LENTIL, KALE AND EGG BAKE (With inspiration from NYT Cooking and Serious Eats.)

INGREDIENTS

  • Cooked lentils, 1 cup (I used green mung, but red lentils, puy lentils or beluga lentils would work just as well. Just remember cooking times for each vary.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 3 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne/chilli flakes
  • ¼ cup grated carrot
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup kale, shredded
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • Feta or goat’s cheese (optional)

METHOD

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  • In a largish skillet or pot, heat the olive oil on medium-to low. Add the garlic, lightly sautee, then add the tomatoes and allow them to soften. Add the spices and sautee till the raw smell of the spices disappears- the oil will start to separate a little at this point. Add the carrots and bell pepper, season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover and cook for 10 minutes until the mixture begins to break down and soften. Add the lentils and wilt in the kale, cover and simmer till the mixture thickens.
  • Next, take the mixture off the heat and transfer to an oven-proof baking dish, or you could use the same skillet if it’s oven proof. Make gentle wells in the mixture with the back of a spoon and crack the eggs in. Season with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Crumble some goat’s cheese or feta over the top, and bake at 180 C for 15 minutes or until eggs are cooked and the yolks are set to your liking. I don’t like runny yolks, so I kept my dish in the oven for a while longer.

12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 12: Baked Figs

20141223_165052I’ve baked with figs before, but that was in a galette, and there was a heady dose of frangipane, and that outshone the figs.

Baked fruit makes for a simple and nourishing dessert, especially if you’ve had one chocolate cake too many. This recipe is inspired by Purple Foodie’s baked figs with goat cheese, except that I kept it unadorned- just plain figs with some rosemary, honey and a squeeze of lime.

Ever since I baked Nigella Lawson’s rosemary loaf cake, I’ve been a fan of using the woody herb in desserts. The figs pair well with the rosemary honey, and the lime adds a little sharpness. The cuts I made on the figs ran a little too deep, which is why they are pictured here, arms outstretched. Just remember to slit them about halfway through, especially since there is no stuffing!

There is no recipe as such: just slit the figs halfway through, drizzle liberally with honey (or use a scant amount, if you prefer,) sprinkle some fresh or dried rosemary over the top and add a squeeze of lime. Bake in an oven preheated to 180 C for 10-12 minutes. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or as is.