Saturday, March 1, 2008
The Breakfast Olympics
There are no victory laps, hokey national anthems or teary
press conferences about drug allegations, but there sure is a
lot of good toast involved.
Recently Will and I kick-started the 'Breakfast Olympics', an overly-dramatic name for our "breakfast-off" where we take turns making breakfast (and secretly try to trump each other's efforts in the process). It all began when Will received a slightly eccentric present from his parents - it resembled something Madonna would wear in concert if she was born in the year 2970.
Its function isn't so sci-fi lingerie-esque though: it's basically a
pair of silicon moulds for poaching eggs.
Undergarment-resemblance aside, it's actually pretty cool and useful, given that neither of us have perfected that bizarre art of poaching eggs, which involves this head-scratching method of dripping vinegar into swirling hot water to stop the egg whites from spreading, and everytime I've done it, I've just ended up with waterlogged egg-wrecks. So this nifty mould manages to sideswipe all of that high-maintenance silliness and make poaching easy - even for lazybones like myself.
So Will started off the first week, with a wonderfully simple eggs on sourdough and a side scoop of strawberries and yogurt.
(I added a few shaves of cheese to my eggs - because who doesn't love a bit of savoury-melted bliss on bread?)
The next week, I followed up with avocado (with a squeeze of lime and a crackling of pepper) paired with garlic-roasted cherry tomatoes on sourdough and - as Will calls them - "poachies".
I picked up the bread from Crispy Inn, the great 24-hour bakery in Newtown. After working out their arcane "bread code" (you can figure out which flavoured sourdough is which on the shelf by reading the marks on the bread - it seems very Mason-like!), I bought some potato-and-herb bread which was a fantastically homey loaf. (Not only is it a breakfast treat, I bet it would be awesome, matched with a good winter soup - which brings me to another thought: if we can have fancy dinners with 'matching wines', surely someone can kick up a menu with 'matching breads'?
You could run the gamut of classic plain breads to the nutty, olive-studded ones and finish up on a dessert note with some fruit-plump loaves. I hope to see this in a good restaurant one day!)
Will has this very cute ritual where he has to scrape every last scrap on a plate into one perfect fork bite. (Whereas I'm a messy eater who is happy to keep re-spearing bits of food remains that fall off my fork.) In his amazingly-neat style, he managed to compact every last bit of his meal into a Zen-like cube of pure form. It was such an eerily-precise serve that I was actually compelled to make him take a photo of it.
For 'dessert', I served mango and kiwifruit in wine glasses, drizzled with yogurt, a sprig of mint and some pine nuts. It totally lived up to the truism that any sweet looks good in a wine glass. It was one of those ridiculously easy things to make that has a high yield of "yums" in return.
So we're thinking of ratcheting up this Breakfast Olympics game a notch. Will is going to make Dutch-style poffertjes and is thinking we could up the ante even further with a breakfast degustation, with tiny plates of muesli and fancy eggs and pretty fruit and the like. I'm up for it.
As for the food situation with the actual Olympics in Beijing, there's been a bit of scandal already: a United States Olympic Committee caterer bought supermarket chicken in China and found it "so full of steroids that we never could have given it to athletes. They all would have tested positive”, The New York Times reported recently.
Crispy Inn, 203 King Street, Newtown NSW (02) 9557 3910