I think of myself as quite a devoted person. At least I always try to please my reasonable bosses, Liz, Victoria, and now Elise (I don't believe in working for men). I could almost say "yes" if they asked me to throw the selected virgin into the mouth of a hungry God volcano (as Esther says) like a sun-worshipping islander. Well, almost. I would probably offer to give up some of my weekend's time for the good cause of the office.
However, when time for brunch comes, I do not make concessions. Brunch is one of those indisputable and irreplaceable moments of a late Saturday morning. And with one meal, you cook only once, replacing breakfast and lunch (how clever!). That is why one couldn't possibly have brunch any time before 10.30 or after 12.30. It wouldn't be right. You just would have to call it something else entirely.
As I still haven't reverted back to meat, my treat involves only fish. I took inspiration from an Italian recipe which requires entirely vegetables (peppers and broccoli) and turned it into something a bit more luscious.
Fisherman en cocotte
For 2 people
2 ramequines; 2 eggs; 50g mild cheddar; 50g smoked salmon (trimmings which is a lot cheaper); 1 small/medium potato; 1 small piece of leek; 2 handful of fresh spinach (more expensive but so much tastier than frozen), 1 tsp butter; 1 tbsp double (or single, not that important) cream.
1. Pre-heat the oven at C180.
2. Peel and dice the potato in salted water. Cut in small rings the leek and cook it with the potato. Once the potato and the leek are well cooked, drain the potato and mash it adding the leek, a dash of cream and a pinch of salt if necessary. Mash well to make a smooth paste. If it's a bit lumpy, don't worry, it doesn't matter!
3. In each ramequin, arrange the mash potatoes as a basket. Arrange the salmon in the mash and just around it.
4. Crack the egg in the potato hole.
5. Place the ramequines in a tray with warm water and then place the tray in the oven for about 5 minutes.
6. Wilt the spinach in a pan with a touch of water. Add a drop of cream and a pinch of salt.
7. The egg will be almost cooked. Take the tray out of the oven and sprinkle the cheese on top. Return it to the oven for another couple of minutes until the cheese has melted and made that wonderful crispy crust.
8. Serve the ramequines on a plate with small toasted bread batons (or soldiers as they are called in England) and the wilted spinach.