Every Saturday morning I intend to get up and go for a run with Cakes and what I end up doing instead is lying around in bed until at least 10, dozing on and off while Cakes strokes my hair (he can do this for hours on end! It both baffles and delights me. He really is one of a kind.)
I eventually get up, fiddle about in the kitchen for a while and then take what ever is is that I've made for breakfast back to bed. Breakfasts had in this way are generally egg based, given my love of a good fry up, although there was one breakfast not that long ago that consisted of reheated chocolate fondue and cubes of divine Madeira and raspberry cake leftover from party the night before...but i digress.
This morning was no exception to the egg rule. I'd been rolling around a special little idea in my head all week but I couldn't quite bring myself to it as it involved a lot of hot oil (It really is special and I promise I will do it soon!) and I was feeling a little sleepy and thought the better of it.
This breakfast progressed the way so many of my breakfasts (and indeed so many of my meals, full stop) do, which is to say that I start off with an idea, sometimes vague, sometimes quite clear, of what I want to do and end up somewhere else entirely, through no fault of my own. Cooking is very much an intuitive and fluid thing for me. I just muck around until something emerges. It makes for good fun, interesting food, and a hell of a lot of dishes.
While I rummaged around in the fridge for the eggs (free range, flax fed) and mushrooms (perky little white bobbles bought yesterday, while thinking about breakfast today), I spied a half bottle of white wine (ubiquitous California Chardonnay) left over from a few nights ago. Shocking, I know, that there'd be leftover wine, but it was just as well because, although I usually I do fried mushrooms with lashings of butter and a squeeze of lemon, I thought the white wine might be a nice change from the lemon.
I lined all my ingredients up on the counter like little soldiers and started in on the mushrooms, sliced thickly, fried at high until all brown and gorgeous and deglazed with a large, steamy splash and set aside to await the poaching of the eggs.
Because I used no more than a half cup of wine on the on the mushrooms, I barely made a dent in the bottle, so I decided I'd better poach the eggs in the rest! I swirled and dropped three fresh eggies into the simmering, salted wine (cut 1/2 with water) and let them poach away furiously.
Meanwhile, I hijacked 3 thick slices of the 20-grain bread perched on top of the fridge and used my biscuit cutter to punch out six little grainy circles for toasting. I pondered the wisdom of dropping them in the toaster and decided that the wee little circles would get lost in there, so settled on the use of the broiler instead.
While the toasties were toasting and I was hovering over the pan inhaling the divine white wine burbling away my mind, naturally turned to cheese fondue. I decided what the toasties needed was a bubbly, golden sliver of cheese on each. Fortuitously, I had a small chunk of Emmenthal in the fridge, which got hijacked by the expanding breakfast, and so this is how I ended up with...
Wine poached eggs on emmenthal toasties
- 1/2 bottle white wine
- favourite bread, sliced
- Emmenthal (or other Swiss) cheese, sliced
- salt, pepper
- butter (cut with a little olive oil to prevent burning)
Slice mushrooms thickly and saute in a non stick pan over very high heat until well browned. Once the Mushrooms are uniformly quite dark golden, splash about a half cup of the wine over them and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Stir rapidly until wine completely evaporates and transfer mushrooms to a bowl.
Place pan back on stove and pour in remaining wine. Top up with water to appropriate level for poaching. Add 1.5 teaspoons of salt to the water to help the egg whites stay together. bring the wine to the boil. Break eggs each into their own little bowl. Stir boiling wine rapidly in a little circle to create a whirlpool. Slide one egg into the whirlpool. Gently encourage the egg to the side of the pan and repeat the whirlpool exercise for the remaining eggs, until they are all in the pan (judge the number of eggs your pan will hold comfortably without jeopardizing the poaching process. I am comfortable doing 4 eggs at a time in my 14" pan.) Allow eggs to cook a couple of minutes then remove from heat to continue cooking while you assemble the rest of the breakfast.
Cut little circles out of the bread slices and arrange on the broiling rack in your oven. Toast one side and turn over to toast the second side. When the second side is toasted, place a slice of cheese on top and return to broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
Arrange toasties on the plate with mushrooms and place egg(s) on top of toasties. Feed to husband in bed and earn points towards more hair stroking or foot rubbing.