Oops & Oeufs

I have a lot of thanks for Nora Ephron. Not only was Sleepless in Seattle a major catalyst for the spontaneous start of my pre-marriage bliss, but her 2009 film Julie & Julia still continues to inspire.

Julie & Julia = food, Paris, food, blogging, food, New York City & more food! What else could I possibly ask for in a film?  Both Julie Powell and Julia Child (well, the actresses who brought these fabulous women to life) certainty are influential in my cooking journey. Alors, today, I cooked my first proper poached egg.

Poached eggs are all I order when I go for my ritualistic Sunday brunch with future Hubby. Soft, poached eggs. Sometimes I branch out with museli, fruit salad or avocado on toast (that always seems to disappoint) but, I always come back to my poached eggs. I just loved them!

The question remains why I have I never really attempted to cook  these little specimens before. I don’t have an answer.

However, today with help of Julia Child I attempted to poach an egg. Although I didn’t have the vinegar like the recipe calls for, the eggs eventually seemed to poach. With my darling friend standing next to me, I cracked the egg into simmering & swirling water. Together we watched, much like a familiar scene from Julie & Julia as the egg white splattered into the pan and cooked into tiny little pieces which, was far from appetizing. But beneath this strange simmering liquid appeared a tiny poached egg. Success!  The next egg decided to rebel it’s destiny to be poached and ended up spilling on the bench, the oven, the floor and me. Oops! Four out of five ain’t that bad at all. We ended up having four delicious soft poached eggs, which we shared with simple olive bread and sautéed mushrooms.

Despite learning a new ‘skill’ today, Sunday brunch will always involve someone else cooking my oeufs pochés.

*A note on the mushrooms; they had to be cooked in two lots, as ‘mushroom must not be crowded in the pan’ or else they will not brown. Merci beaucoup Julie and Julia. In no specific order. 

The 4pm Dinner

This afternoon I attempted to make a late lunch/early dinner. To my knowledge there is no brunch equivalent of combining these two meals. Dunch or Linner is not appealing. Even linguistically challenged people like myself can recognise that these are not words that will take off.

So, to the outside world it would appear that my fiancé and I were eating a 4pm dinner. Traditionally, ‘the 4pm dinner’ is the time dinner is served in nursing homes and hospitals. Although neither old or sick there is something pleasing about a long graze over a late lunch which spills into the evening.

In an effort to eat more fish, as prescribed by my naturopath I decided to pick a Red Emperor fillet. This is a gorgeous looking fish; white flesh and an almost coral/crimson skin.  What attracted me to the fish was not only its appearance but also the fact I thought it was locally caught. Healthy and good for the environment!  From my thorough research, ahem googling, it would seem Red Emperor is a reef fish from North Queensland; which makes me question the phrase ‘locally caught’. Environmental conversations aside, the meal was a standout success.

To the home cook; tonight we ate fish, chips and green vegetables. I could also write; tonight we ate Red Emperor with roast  potato chips and a side of greens. Or I could trump all the above descriptions a la carte style. Tonight we ate…

Red Emperor en papillote; crusted in olive bread, on a bed of Spinacia oleracea…(an edible flowing plant aka Baby Spinach), with twice cooked potatoes and a side of truffle oil infused greens.

I adore cooking my fish en papillote. Although I am unsure as to the exact cooking times, it seems you can not over cook fish when you place it in a paper parcel. The fish is steamed in these tiny paper parcels which doubles as being healthy but also deliciously moist. Having no bread crumbs in the house, I processed yesterdays sourdough olive bread and then grilled this in the oven to imitate the texture of store bought breadcrumbs. Mixed into the breadcrumbs; fennel, curly and flat leafed parsley, courtesy of our herb garden.  Our fish fillets were dusted in the breadcrumbs, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and the final touch; lemon and garlic bien sur! All of this was wrapped into a paper parcel and baked, for about 20 minutes. At 20 mintues I opened the parcels slightly, spilled some verjuice (a recent discovery) over the fish and continued cooking for a few minutes. The green vegetables were steamed and truffle oil added before serving. And those twice cooked potatoes; a little secret from my future mother-in-law, were the perfect combination of crispy and creamy. A insanely succulent potato chip.

I would love to have  a Nigella moment and sneak into the kitchen tonight in my dressing gown for a midnight snack.  Unfortunately there are no leftovers, which in my books means our late lunch/early dinner equals a success.

Note to my new blogger self, must explore the use of comma verse semi-colon.