Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Sunday brunch for two

I love the whole idea of a brunch. I've said that loads of times and here I am saying it again. There is something romantic about the whole brunch bit, even better when you are not making it and you just sit there with a cocktail and make idle conversation with friends. I keep thinking about making Sunday a brunch day, but I wake up at quite an ungodly hour and by that time Ro would have already had his breakfast and then brunch idea keeps getting pushed on to lunch. But I still like to refer to it as brunch, you know..because I can :)

Last Sunday wasn't any different. Had a late night out on Saturday and by the time I woke up it was close to 10 and of course Ro had made himself a nice lavish breakfast with eggs and the works and I was just getting into cooking mode when the husband decides he wants lunch NOW (this is probably at around 11.30- 12, and after a heavy breakfast). I was so damn pissed that I decided to ignore him and make my so-called brunch, whatsoever.
By the time I was done it was about 1.30 (perfect lunch time, if you'd ask me) and Ro obviously wanted to eat what I made and did so with a long face. And then we had to argue about random stuff (so not what I had in mind) and I stormed out of the room leaving everything in the kitchen as it is and vessels unwashed. If Ro hadn't even bothered to clean up, I would have probably stormed out of the house itself, but that drama didn't happen and by evening Ro pretended all was good with the world and I even bribed him into making me a hot cuppa ginger-lime tea (oh its awesome if you haven't tried it btw) and then caught a movie (The Lincoln lawyer which was interesting to say the least). Dinner out and cocktails were a great end to an otherwise normal Sunday and I decided 'all's well with the world, after-all' :)

Individual oven-coddled eggs with mashed potato and herbs (Baked eggs and potato)
I found this recipe while I was browsing and the bon appetit online version appeals a lot to me, the pictures at least and its very rarely I actually read through a recipe (typical me) unless I'm looking for something in particular. This recipe by Dorie Greenspan caught my eye since i WAS looking for a baked egg brunch idea and have no regrets. It tasted so darn good that I cant wait to throw a brunch party and flaunt it. Go ahead say it 'I'm so vain' ;)
Anyhoo, the herbs in this dish just added that awesome flavour and I cant imagine why I never really used Rosemary and Thyme in my cooking. But like I have mentioned before, its an acquired taste, and if you don't like it...then you just don't!
Also, I was wondering how incredibly cute these eggs would have looked in the amazing Le Creuset cookware. Cant wait to get my hands on some of those.
Milk- 1/4 cup
Bay leaf- 1
Potatoes- 7 oz (I used about 5 to 6 baby potatoes)
Shallots- 2 medium, thinly sliced
Butter- 1tbsp
Rosemary- 1/2 tsp, minced
Thyme- 1/2 tsp, minced
Eggs- 3
Whipping cream- 3 tbsp
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese- 3 tbsp or as per your taste
Salt & pepper- to taste
Chives or parsley- to sprinkle (optional)
Bring the milk to a boil, add the bay leaf and let it seep for about 15 minutes.
While that's taken care of, cook the potatoes in boiling water till mashable consistency..say about 15 to 20 minutes. 
Drain, remove skin and mash with a potato masher or fork.
Add the shallots, butter, rosemary, thyme and milk (discard the bay leaf), season with enough salt and pepper and mix well till you get a smooth consistency.
Butter 3 ramekins and divide the potato mix equally.
Crack one egg each carefully over the mashed potato in each ramekin.
Spoon 1 tbsp cream on top of each egg and also sprinkle enough (approx. 1 tbsp) Parmesan cheese.
Preheat the oven to 176C and place the ramekins in a baking tray. Fill the tray with enough hot water making sure they come half way up the ramekin.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until the egg whites are set but the yolk is still soft.
Take it out of the oven, sprinkle some parsley or chives and serve on its own or as a side to any main meal.
Notes: I halved the recipe. Double it if you need to please more guests :)
You can also make the whole thing in a baking dish rather than doing it individually in ramekins.
I baked it for a bit longer (30 minutes) cos I was a little scared of the uncooked yolk (salmonella and all that crazy stuff you know!). Also I hate runny yolk. But I think 30 was a tad too much and it became a bit too hard, so lesser time hence forth.
You also don't need to particularly bake it in a water bath. Tried both ways, not much difference.

The best ever beef chops with gravy
My mom-in-law, who is such an awesome cook, introduced me to these beef chops on my visit home last December. I stood by her side trying to grasp all that she was showing me but you know me, how spaced out I am, that I start thinking about what to wear for the dinner party that evening. So after the first few steps, it all went over my head. I told mamma that I will call her up for the recipe and method since I was pretty sure I wouldn't remember half of what she showed me. I went back to my place and bragged about this dish to my mom and one day while we were sitting around chatting, my mom asked me for this recipe and I had no clue. No problemo, I called up my mother-in-law and she gave me the details. Made it and it was such a big hit. Came back to England and obviously I had forgotten the recipe AGAIN! Lucky for me, my sister-in-law and family had just relocated to UK and time differences were not an issue. Called her up and got the details on how to make it. Made it and it was brilliant (although Ro would beg to differ). Made it again last weekend and it was even better. So before I forget here's the recipe for my mom in laws kick ass beef chops with gravy.
Thin cut beef steak or frying steak- 500 gms
Onion- 2 small, finely chopped
Ginger- 1 inch piece, thinly sliced
Garlic- 3 pods, thinly sliced (optional)
Soy sauce- 2 tbsp (or less if you don't want a strong taste)
Tomato ketchup- 1 tbsp
Freshly ground pepper powder- to taste
Salt- to taste (check if required at all)
Oil- 2 tsp

Potatoes- 3 large, cut into wedges or circles (you can also use baby potatoes)
Boil the potatoes till about 3/4th done. It shouldn't be over cooked. Keep aside.
Cut the beef steak into smaller slices and thin it out using a mallet or if you don't have that, just use a knife as a mallet and lightly chop it on either side..through the entire length of the steak (I know I'm not making much sense here, but I promise I'll post a pic the next time I do it)
In a bowl mix together the rest of the ingredients checking for enough salt and adding as required.
Place a pressure cooker on medium high heat and layer the beef steak slices at the bottom. Don't over crowd it and make sure they don't overlap.
Place a generous layer of the onion mix on top of the beef followed by the remaining beef and onion mix, till you are done, making sure you end with the onion mix.
Add a 1/4 cup water (if you want more gravy), close the lid, wait for the steam, place the weight and cook for about 4 to 5 whistles or about 10 to 12 minutes. You would know how long the beef you get cooks, so do accordingly.
Once the steam releases, open the lid and separate the beef chops from the gravy and the onion. Leave the gravy on medium heat to simmer for a while to get a thicker consistency. If there is not much gravy, you can add a wee bit water here.
Heat a frying pan and pour the oil. Swirl it around to coat the pan and once hot, char/fry the beef chops in batches. Just to get the beef a bit brown, you can skip this step if you are lazy. Remove and place in a serving dish.
Do the same with the pre-cooked potato wedges as well. Fry till the colour changes to a light brown. Place them on top of the beef chops and pour the gravy over it. Try and cover most of the chops and potatoes.
Serve hot with chapathi or garlic bread or like I did with the baked eggs.
Notes: My mom in law places the potatoes as well inside the pressure cooker so that also gets cooked simultaneously. I don't trust myself with that method because I always end up over cooking it.
Since I already had my carb in take with mashed potatoes, I avoided the potato wedges with the beef chops and hence its not in the picture.


Raksha said...

a professional blog with awesome pics.

1st time visitor n a follower too.

Ananda Rajashekar said...

Two in one! yes rosemary and thyme are acquired taste, love them usually in pasta (rosemary) and thyme in baked stuffs... brunch idea is fantastic, so pretty pic, have wanted to try aswell, i get up around lunch time it gets kicked away! Oh ya i usually like when get to see my reflection in the cutleries, i see you in ur spoons :)

Umm Mymoonah said...

Oooh! that's a nice meal, looks very rich.

divya said...

Fantastic n drool worthy tempting meal...lovely!

Cool Lassi(e) said...

I love brunch too..a relaxed meal that includes this luxurious portion-sized potato and eggs sounds heavenly!

Torviewtoronto said...

beautiful delicious dishes looks wonderful

Priya said...

Can have this brunch every sunday,but who will make it for me:(...simply droolworthy..

Asha said...

Hmm... that looks delicious...n I was laughing while reading your post as I am very familiar with the situation!!!

Swathi said...

Both dishes are looks delicious, love your potato dish with thyme and rosemary. while reading i was thinking of the same episode here in slightly with different situations and actors. said...

Looks delicious love the brunch concept.Lve the clicks too awesome.

Ria Mathew said...

We have brunch on Saturday and Sunday...and I love that idea :D No need to cook brekky :D

Btw,both the dishes look too good to pass, especially the chops! I am going to try it :)

Preety said...

looks too tempting

Soumya said...

delicious dishes and excellent presentation....

Yummy Team said...

Awesome clicks as usual, Nisha..Both the dishes look awesome!

aipi said...

I love brunches n everything looks amazing here :)

US Masala

Kankana said...

thanks so much for your compliment and it means a lot coming from you. I was drooling at all the pics!! awsm blog and beautiful pics .. your blog is in my bookmark :)

Deepti said...

Lovely Clicks....Simple n Easy Brunch Idea......Yaa U need them for those lazy sundays...The eggs look Great...

Tanvi@Sinfully Spicy said...

Awesome pictures Nisha..I love the whole styling and color coordination.Those egg yolks peeking out of the cheese look gorgeous.Yum brunch ideas !

Sharmilee! :) said...

Beautiful clicks and awesome brunch...looks very inviting. I luv the egg yolk being served...I always end up messing with it :)

notyet100 said...

luved ur clicks,nd the recipes

Jun said...

I'll wake up late (intentionally) and have this for brunch.

Prathima Rao said...

Makes a fantastic meal!!! Im drooling as i stare at the pics!! Splendid photography too :)
Prathima Rao
Prats Corner

Sweet Artichoke said...

Well, it looks like the sequence described in your post will repeat itself soon: your beautiful pics have caught my eye. As I love brunches on Sundays and there is not brunch without eggs, I am sure that Mr Artichoke and I will be delighted to have these coddled eggs next Sunday!

Rekha shoban said...

tempting pic!! yummy yummy!!!

Soma said...

Such an unique recipe and by the looks of it, I was thinking souffle. And perfect individual servings for a party to!!

LOL to your storming in and out.. :-)

schmetterlingwords said...

I love Rosemary and Thyme too... I'll try this recipe without the eggs... Loved your pics... they are awesome.. :-)

Satrupa said...

I would call it a lavish brunch !!! Poor Ro had to bribe you ... he he.


Suja Sugathan said...

Oh wow! delicious meal..looks very inviting,lovely clicks.

Sarah Naveen said...

Gal we love this!!!!
N makes it all the time...
and chops look simply delicious..!!

Vimitha Anand said...

Both the dishes look as if got from a restaurant... Cooked to perfection and lovely clicks...

Neenu Praveen said...

wndrful clicks...tempting...

Kairali sisters said...

Brilliant clicks as usual, Nisha..Both the dishes look awesome!

Foodie Ann said...

Lovely brunch idea...!!!...latter one, my hubby will love it...:). I am in love with your square plates... they looks very unique... Loved the picture set that uses the green leaf napkins...:) those colors brings out the dish...

JishasKItchen said...

wow...looks delicious...I loved the clicks and the presentation!!:)

Nostalgia said...

Looks like I missed a couple of your posts. The beef looks great. Those plates you have used are pretty, pretty pretty.