Outsmarted by a frittata

Smoked cod & goat's cheese frittata

Ahh frittatas, when will I learn? If I had a dollar for every time I've been stirred up by a frittata recipe, only to make it, eat it, and find that it tastes just as eggy as every other frittata I've ever had, I could buy myself pancakes every Sunday for the rest of the year. I'm the same way with omelettes — they're easy and sound great in theory, and this manages to overcome the years of experience that have taught me I just can't handle all that egg.

This frittata was one such siren, and although I didn't appreciate it it's possible that you might. The recipe was from an old copy of Delicious Magazine. The magazine itself is back home (I'm out of town for work), so let me apologise in advance for what will be a very vague set of instructions.

Smoked cod & goat's cheese frittata


  • Smoked cod
  • Goat's cheese
  • Eggs
  • Cream
  • Bread, crusts removed and torn into small pieces
  • Chives, finely chopped
  • Butter
  • Salt & cracked pepper, to taste

1. Place the whole piece of cod in a pan and add just enough water to cover. Turn on the heat and bring to a low simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes, then remove the cod, drain it, and flake into chunks.
2. Beat together the eggs, cream (roughly 1/3 cup of cream for every 3 eggs), chives, salt & pepper. Stir in the bread and cod pieces (couldn't help myself).
3. Heat a small, oven-safe frying pan (I used a well-seasoned cast iron pan) to medium, then add a tablespoon of butter and tilt the pan to coat the bottom and sides with butter as it melts.
4. Preheat the broiler. Add the egg mixture and cook gently until it is just set all the way up the sides and still a wobbly in the centre (about 10 minutes). Dot the top of the frittata with 1 cm pieces of goat's cheese, pushing these so they are just submerged. Put the whole thing under the broiler and cook for a further 5 minutes, until browned on top.

Eggs on the weekend

Scrambled eggs

There are a lot of great things about the weekend, but eating eggs would have to be in the top five. Make no mistake, eating eggs is thoroughly mundane — you won't be recalling your egg eating to your friends on Monday at work ("Dude, I was out last night and picked up this totally sweet carton of eggs, took them back to my place and just ate the shit out of them!") — but what it lacks in excitement it more than makes up in purity and simplicity.

A creamy yolk, a firm but yielding white. Full of fat and protein yet not the slightest bit overwhelming. If you're eating eggs on a Sunday morning, you know that life's pretty good. It's hard to stay mad, tired, or hungover when you're eating eggs. And that's why I eat eggs on the weekend.

Scrambled eggs

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black or white pepper
  • 1.5 tbsp crème fraîche
  • Salt, to taste1

1. Whisk together the eggs and pepper in a small saucepan, then add the butter and place over a medium heat.
2. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon, scraping egg off the bottom and sides and bottom of the saucepan as it sets. As the pan gets hotter you'll have to stir more frequently. Keep going until the eggs are creamy and done to your preference2.
3. As soon as the eggs are done, remove from the heat and add the creme fraiche. Beat this in well, then season with salt and serve immediately over thick buttered toast. Be aware that although the crème fraîche will drop the temperature, the eggs will continue to cook in the pan.

(1) Add the salt after the eggs are cooked — adding it at the beginning will produce a watery rather than creamy consistency.
(2) My preference is eggs that are only just set, with the consistency of a thick porridge. If your breakfast can support a fork skewered upright into it, you've gone too far. Way too far.

The eponymous post


The other day I came across an 'instant pancake mix' at the supermarket. The instructions said to add eggs, milk, and melted butter. Come on, that's like 75% of the way to homemade! I can't in fairness criticize anyone too strongly for choosing the 'instant' option since many people don't have the time to take photos of their food let alone cook it, but who is so busy that the hassle of mixing together flour, baking powder, and sugar is worth trading for an overpriced box of self-raising flour with, inexplicably, added preservatives?

The fact is, if you have time to measure milk and eggs, heat a pan, and cook the things then you have time to make them from scratch. You could conceivably make these on a weekday morning, but why bother? Leave cereal and toast to the 7 am starts and save making pancakes for the weekend, when you can enjoy the luxury of being able to jump back into bed to eat your cooked breakfast. You don't need to get fancy with whisked egg whites or ricotta cheese to make great pancakes (by all means try them for a change), and I've settled on a recipe that is easy, consistent, and delicious.


Ingredients (makes 14 pancakes):

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups of milk
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 60g melted butter

1. Whisk together the eggs and the milk. Add the caster sugar.
2. Sift in the plain flour and baking powder, then stir with a whisk to combine. Stir in the melted butter and let the mixture sit for at least 15 minutes before cooking the pancakes.
3. To cook, heat a non-stick pan1 to medium-hot and add about 1 tsp of butter. Pour 1/4 of a cup of batter into the pan2 per pancake and cook until bubbles appear on the upper surface (about 2-3 minutes). Flip and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.3

(1) You don't have to use non-stick but it makes things so much easier. Plus if you care about these sorts of things, you'll use less cooking oil/butter
(2) For round pancakes, pour the batter quickly and into the center of the pan, letting it pool into a circle naturally.
(3) It's important to wait until the pan is hot enough before you start cooking to avoid 'the second pancake' (hey, that's the name of this site!) syndrome. The heavier the pan, the longer it will need to be preheated (but the better it'll retain heat). Medium hot works on my stove with by pan, but yours may differ. If they're getting too dark on the bottom before the top bubbles, turn it down. If they're pale and slow to cook, turn it up.

DIY degustation, part 2: Brunch, and an easy (real) hollandaise sauce

Scrambled eggs

Gentle reader, you thought that was all? You thought that an an afternoon of wine tasting followed by a 5-hour, 8-course, wine-paired degustation was enough? Fools!

The next morning those of us that stayed the night woke up in dribs and drabs and came out to the kitchen. It was after 10am before we were all up, perfect timing for Sunday morning brunch. There was scrambled eggs, mushrooms, tomato, hash browns, bacon, and my favourite: eggs benedict. Of course this hedonistic festival of food wouldn't be complete without brunch dessert, either, but we'll get to that.

Eggs benedict

Most people reserve eggs benedict for eating out, with the two major barriers to cooking it at home being the poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. No more. Poaching eggs is simple; read Matt's tutorial for the last word. If you're serving a lot and want them to all be ready at once, poach your eggs ahead for slightly less time than normal, then remove to a deep dish of cold water. When you're read to serve, heat the dish with the eggs and water for 2 minutes in the microwave to bring them back up to temperature (if you abhor microwaves, you can rewarm the eggs in simmering water for 30 seconds). Undercooking them first will ensure a perfect yolk when reheated.

But what about the most important part, the hollandaise sauce?