The mornings are now fabulously frosty, so we all need suitable sustenance to start the day. It’s been seven weeks since the new kitchen project began & we are still technically hob-less, which doesn’t help when we fancy a fry up. It’s the simple stuff you miss when you don’t have a working hob, like cooking a proper breakfast. Even a basic boiled egg has become a rarity, which isn’t good when it’s boiled egg & soldiers season! All the stress of this project has taken it’s toll (obviously made worse with the hob issues), so I’ve had to get even more creative in the kitchen (I’ve been baking plenty of bread & taking my stress out on the dough!).
Initially, I had thoughts about building a camp fire at the bottom of the garden (s’mores on toast anyone?), or borrowing a barbeque so I could at least use my skillet to whip up a bacon butty, however these weren’t really viable options. Having a microwave is essential in hob-free times, but I must admit I’m not very good at microwave cooking, apart from reheating & defrosting stuff. My Husband is somewhat of a microwave magician though, so I’m very lucky!
After a fed up phone call to my Mum, bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t even fry an egg, she suggested baking eggs on a tray in the oven, a bit like a hot plate & it works really well (obviously, because Mums are always right). So this Monday morning, I decided to start the day with a “bake up” instead of a “fry up”! I defrosted a few frozen rashers of smoked bacon, laid them out on a baking tray (no oil required) & put them in the oven to crisp up. Several sizzling minutes later, the bronzed bacon rashers had given up their oil onto the tray, ready to plop some eggs into. Now I didn’t want runaway random shaped eggs & I don’t have any fancy cooking rings like those you see on TV shows (or the budget!), so I used a couple of stainless steel pastry/cookie cutters instead with the flat side down. They work perfectly! As I like my eggs cooked through (yolk should be runny, but not the white thank you very much!), halfway through cooking just after they turned white, I spoon a little hot bacon fat over them. The rings keep it in place, making sure the tops get cooked nicely & you don’t have to flip your eggs half way through (risking a burst yolk in the tray). Obviously, you can use whatever shape you like – dinosaur, star or flower, as long as they’re ovenproof! Another bonus to cooking this way is that you don’t need to stand watching pans, you just chuck it all in the oven! When I put the eggs in, I also like to place a dinky dish of baked beans in the oven too, along with a couple of croissants (a bit like posh beans on toast). So in about fifteen minutes, we had an effortless breakfast bake up & minimal washing up afterwards – bonus!
There’s also another very easy way to do this using a patty or muffin tin to make bacon & egg cups, which is great if you’re cooking for a few people. Line each muffin tin with a layer of bacon (no need to grease them because the bacon does that), pressing down firmly all around, pop in a hot oven for about five minutes to start the cooking process & make the bacon nice & crispy. Then simply crack an egg into each one & bake for a few more minutes until the egg is completely set. You can always place a hot tin or some foil over the top for a few minutes extra, just to make sure the eggs are completely cooked through. Once they’re ready, gently ease each one out with a palette knife onto a couple of slices of warm, buttered toast & watch them disappear! If you use ham instead of bacon, just brush each tray with a little oil using a pastry brush.
Personally, I like brown sauce with my breakfast bake up & this is my very quick version. This little treat came from having a fry-up & discovering we only had half a bottle of tomato ketchup in the pantry. Obviously, this would never do & so I poured a glug of good Balsamic vinegar into the bottle (about a teaspoonful or two) & shook it vigorously (with the lid firmly on) for a few minutes until it was thoroughly mixed. Give it a quick taste test & add a little more Balsamic if you think it needs it. That’s all you need to make luscious, lovely sauce, ready to drizzle on a bacon butty! Squeeze some into a small cup or dish with a spoon, so everyone can help themselves to a splodge. I’ve not bought brown sauce since & just keep a good supply of tomato ketchup handy. There are other ways to enhance the flavour, just have a play with different ingredients using the ketchup as a base.
So if you find yourself in a similar situation, just hob to it & begin the day with a breakfast bake up! Stay hungry 😉 A x