Sunday, July 24, 2011

A brunch of mutual inspiration!

Its been a while since I have had a weekend like this to slow down, cook and be at home so I was looking forward to this weekend. I had planned to cook dinner for a few friends - a slow cooked lamb in my home made Vincotto, with one of Shekhar's breads and Tiramisu for dessert. But that did not work out. (Harry Potter was more appealing to that friend!) But then brunch worked out with some dear friends we'd been wanting to get together with for a while now. 

So instead of my usual Sunday activity of catching up with favourite TV programs, or a new book, (I like to  do my entertaining on Fridays and Saturdays, and just chill on Sundays)  I decided to cook up a storm!  And soon I was wondering why I had never done brunches before. They are so very convinient to do and offer so much opportunity for creativity. With the lines between breakfast and lunch getting blurred, I could serve eggs and potatoes, but also heavier stuff that would be inappropriate at breakfast. I  also wanted to stick to using things I had at home because I have been collecting a LOT of stuff off late to cook at a later day and it has been piling up!  Eggs were definitely on the menu and at first I thought of doing eggs to order with herbs or a layered Omlette casserole, but I did not have fresh herbs and other stuff I needed. So I homed in on  sn egg dish that was a cross between planned a menu keeping in mind what I already had lyiing around, which is why there is a colorful mix of kafir lime stuffed fish, Mexican Houvos Ransheros, German sausages, etc. Shekhar has been doing some fab breads and I finally got him his yeast as well so he went all out with baking two fabluous breads. It was a lovely morning and when we were done, and things had been cleared away he very neatly tied it up with one of his rare poetic lines, "if I was poetic I would say i hope we continue to inspire one another" Still have a goofy smile on my face!
While we were cooking Aman was setting up a game outside - His version of Age of Empires! (Bilkul baap pe gaya hai!)
Shekhar starts making bread with the dough he started last night.
The cheese is ready.
On it goes!

The Pepper
The Oregano
Then it gets all rolled up!
And sealed at the ends!
And dusted and left to rest!
The Chorizo Cheese Twist
And the Chorizo muscles its way out!
Oiled and glistening and ready to be baked!
The loaf cracks, the chorizo pops out and the oozy cheese follows!
Sliced up and beautiful!
up close and personal!
A thing of beauty should be appreciated from all sides!
Both the breads together!

My Hoevos Rancheros ready to go in the oven! A chunky oregano scented base of zuchini, onion and tomato went first in which I made little wells into which I cracked eggs, A little salt and pepper on sprinkled onto eggs. I then scattersd on cheese and baked the whole thing under foil till the eggs were set. Then I opened it to brown cheese.

Baked Hoevos Rancheros
Easy enough for weeknights and festive enough for weekend specials, make these in indivisual bowls for oomph.

1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp chilli flakes
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
6 sprigs fresh Oregano or 1 tbsp dry
5 onions finely chopped
1 Zuchini finely chopped
5 tomatoes finely chopped
1/3 c tomatoe puree
1/3 c cheese, grated (preferably parmiggiano reggiano)
5-6 eggs
2 tbsp coriander, finely chopped

Heat oil in a pan on a low flame and add the garlic, chilli flakes and oregano. Stir to distribute flavours into oil. Add onions and stir to coat. Add zucchini and and sweat (not fry, just gently sweat). When soft Add tomatoes and allow to cook till any water has dried out and everything is tender, add salt and mix well, Check salt and adjust seasoning.  Once it is bubbling again add meat balls. Add cheese, lower flame and leave to simmer for 10 minutes. When done the sauce should be a beautiful red flecked with green because of the Zucchini and have thickened to a luscious consistency. Transfer to a baking dish and spread out evenly into a thick layer. Using a spoon, gently make 6 wells in the base. Crack 1 egg into each well. Sprinkle a little salt onto each egg, followed by pepper and sprinkle over with cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 10-15 minutes untill eggs are set. Uncover and return to oven for another 5-7 minutes to melt and brown cheese. Serve hot with crusty bread.
The Kafir lime fish ready to be cooked. This is Halwa fish, stuffed with a mix of coriander, dill, kafir lime leaf and garlic. I microwaved it for a bit and then finished it in the pan.
Herb-stuffed Fish
1/3 c EVOO or lemon infused EVOO
2 whole fish slit through the middle for stuffing. (I used Halwa, but Surmai (Kingfish) of Pomfret would also be great)
2 cups fresh herbs of your choice (I used dill and corriander in equal measures, 4 sprigs of kafir leaves)
2 green chillies
1/3 cup garlic
Juice of 1 Lemon
Sea salt
Lemon wedges to serve

Rinse the fish well and remove innards & scale if necessary. Pat dry with paper towels and rub the interior with sea salt and lime juice. Pound or blend herbs with chillies and garlic to make an aromatic paste. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and half the lemon juice to the herb paste and mix well. Stuff the body cavity of each fish with half the paste. Brush both sides of each fish with a generous amount of the EVOO and set aside. After 10 mins place in a glass dish, cover and cook in the microwave on high for 8-10 mins. Remove and finish on the frying pan so you have a nice crisp skin. Serve topped with a little fresh corriancer and lemon wedges.
The fish after cooking, served with a drizzle of EVOO, sea salt and wedges of lime. Was a total hit!
The eggs cooked!
Bread sliced up!
Yoghurt and sesame gratinated Potatoes (Time taken: 30 mins. Serves: 1)

2 pkts baby potatoes, washed and boiled with salt and very little water
1 c Tahina sauce OR 2/3 c yoghurt +1/3 c toasted sesame paste
1-2 green chillies, minced
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tsp oil

Combine tahina OR yoghurt and toasted sesame paste, garlic and green chilies in a bowl and mix well until incorporated. (You should end up with a batter the consistency of dosa batter so add a little milk if it is too thick). Set aside. Place a non stick frying pan on a medium flame and brush with oil. Slice the boiled baby potatoes into halves arrange in a single layer in the frying pan as you slice. Spoon the Tahini mix over the potatoes so everything is evenly covered. Raise flame to high and allow cook until the moisture has completely evaporated (about 10 minutes. Alternatively bake it in the oven till the moisture has dried out and potatoes are golden and crusty.  Serve with toothpicks. 

Chicken sausages for the kids!
Though they preferred the Wrustel! (Aaj kal ke bachche!)


The knife said...

that looks like a gala feast

leo said...