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.

Happy New Year. On The Last Day Of The First Month Of The New Year!

I truly wish I could apply the seat of my pants to a chair everyday for a designated amount of time and just blog. Not just post; but read and comment and share. I’ve been saying enough of this through 2012, and the adult thing to do would be stop saying I’d like to, and just do. 

And I shall not use my toddler as an excuse, because now he goes to preschool and is out of the house for two whole hours.

I think other mothers with energetic toddlers will tell you how precious those two hours become.

Anyway. I digress.

On to kitchen-related stuff: his past month I had the amazing opportunity to be part of a baking workshop; taught by none other than The Purple Foodie. 

Shaheen was on a break from Paris and came home to sunny Bombay to teach us a thing or two about baking. And what a wonderful experience it was!

Not only did we get to hear stories about classes at Le Cordon Bleu (where she has been studying  patisserie and cuisine,) we also got to see her in action and sample the lovely goodies she baked for us. We also got to take home vanilla beans

And yes, they look just as gorgeous as they do on her blog and taste even better!

I learnt a great deal from the workshop- the science behind baking; techniques; proper use of ingredients and substitution; and plenty more. I was very excited to meet Shaheen since I have been following her blog for 3 years now. And what can I say? She’s a lovely person-friendly and patient; and so passionate and enthusiastic about her craft.

I walked away from the class with a wealth of knowledge, a very satisfied tummy, a few new friends and even more passionate about butter, sugar and flour.

And these pictures- all from my phone cam, unfortunately 😛

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Cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread

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Cooked figs for the fig and hazelnut bars

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Pate sablee dough

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Fig frangipane tart, almost ready for the oven.

These are just some of the things we baked. How can one not be gloriously happy after an afternoon with such delicious goodies?

I Have A Bakers’ Complex

I have been away. For a while. Doing stuff and travelling. I have an excuse. He is 6 months old and recently started crawling. I’ve been trying to baby proof my house and prevent my son from hitting his head on table legs & chairs. Did I also mention that crawling after my son has also made me L-A-Z-Y? And T-I-R-E-D?

When I quit my job, I was all ready to become this superblogger mom. I had these big ideas in my head about how I would use this time away from work to unleash my creative side, find out what I was really good at, discover what made me happy, then spend my life doing that. I thought I was going to have one of those life-changing Oprah stories and become Awsome Superblogger Mom.

But you know what? It doesn’t happen as easily as that. It’s not like going to the kitchen to make a cup of hot chocolate and feeling charged up and happy inside after drinking it. It takes a lot of time, energy and planning. And if you want to be serious about being a freelance writer or blogger, you have to treat it like any other job and give yourself deadlines and schedules. (And lots of spiral-bound notebooks and lists, if you are a stationery slut like me. Seriously. Put me in a Staples store and I will go at those stacks of notebooks like they’re boxes of macarons from Pierre Herme.) So there. I feel like I have given enough reason for not blogging in a long time.

Getting down to blogging now- I have something to say. I’m not much of a baker. I lied about that part in my about section. Sue me. So far, all my ‘baking’ has been me assisting someone.

I’m one of those cop-out bakers who doesn’t have a real oven at home and uses my microwave on convection. Baking is…well…tough. Baking isn’t rocket science, but it’s still beyond my comfort zone. (Which reminds me- why is everything likened to rocket science? Why not brain surgery or derivative analysis? Hmmm.)

Like I said, I find baking a little daunting. It’s so exact; it’s so precise, and it’s way more scientific than making a curry. I prefer cooking by instinct and tasting along the way- that’s why I love curries. You can keep fine-tuning it and re-hashing the same stuff to suit your palate and mood. But baking- if one step goes wrong, than  you’ll end up with something wildly different than what you set out to make. There’s more room for disaster in baking- at least when I’m in the kitchen.

I’ve always been envious of people who bake well. Let’s face it- we all place a premium on the way things look before tasting; and baked goodies will ALWAYS grab your attention quicker. I mean, how many schools have ‘curry sales’ as opposed to ‘bake sales’ to raise money for an event? Baked goodies are prettyyyy. Like really really pretty. And everyone likes bright fluffy creamy puffy pretty things on their plate.

I might as well come out and say it: I HAVE A BAKERS’ COMPLEX. I can’t bake much and I get jealous of all those wonderful bakers who manage to put together beautiful creations which make you want to throw your diet out the window. And if you’ve noticed, good bakers have the glam factor– everything they make is gorgeous and picture perfect and oozing oomph. I’m not saying they don’t desrve it. They do. All I’m saying is, if it’s prettier, it usually sells. The poor cook who spent a whole day cleaning and cutting cubes of meat and marinating it and slow cooking it and making a curry
is left with something that’s tasty but not gorgeous. It’s a coloured thickened
liquid in a pot at the end of the day- and it tastes great, but if you put a rogan josh up against a chocolate ganache tart- the tart will always look prettier. It’s like Sanjeev Kapoor vs Nigella. ( I hate Nigella, but I just had to use her here as a comparison.)

Serioulsy. Look at that!

Courtesy womensday.ninemsn.com.au

Courtesy chow.com

This is one of the most beautiful pictures of rogan josh I could find online, but I’d still vote for the chocolate ganache tart on the glam scale.

The purpose of this post is that I need to get over my bakers’ complex and try being
one. I will not belittle bakers (the way a development journalist may belittle a fashion writer) but I will roll up my sleeves, turn up the heat on my convection microwave and take my baby steps into baking, unaccompanied.

Before I move on to the cake, I want to see if I can serve something without burning it. So over the next few days, I’m going to try baked pasta dinners. You know,like Rachael Ray. I’m pretty sure you can’t screw up a simple casserole…or I could be wrong. Fingers crossed!!

PS I fiddled around with my theme and got something a little brighter.