Baby, I am a toast girl, through and through. Make me toast with marmalade, and I’ll be yours forever.
Something magical happens to a piece of bread that’s been browned by radiant heat – it becomes something that taps into basic feelings of comfort and contentment. For me, toast also represents a history of experiences, all from different times and places: Grandpa used to make us whole-wheat toast with his sugar-free blueberry jam (for diabetics)- always cut straight through the middle, with the jam spread right to the edges. Two years of my adult life was spent getting up early on Sunday mornings to watch Coronation Street in the company of black tea and buttered toast. In the wee hours of the morning after a night out, almond butter on toast was a common go-to snack in my early 20s. And today, toast and cheese is pretty much the first thing on my mind once I’m up and out of bed.
It’s nothing less than a love affair, dear readers. Which is why on mornings when there’s not a single piece of bread in the house, it’s not uncommon to hear a low rumble of swear words slip out of my mouth. Anyone trying to convince me of the merits of cereal will be wasting their breath; a piece of hot, buttered sour-dough far surpasses a bowl of cold, soggy muesli. Every. Single. Time.
So what’s happens when there’s no bread in the house? Once the grumbling is out of the way, I usually weigh the following options: 1) get dressed and presentable and go buy some; 2) get dressed and (more) presentable and go have breakfast somewhere. But this morning, neither of these options were the least bit enticing. You couldn’t PAY me to wrestle with winter boots, a scarf, mitts and a set of unshoveled steps at 8am on a weekend to go out for a bread-run or a trek to the breakfast place. Winter 1, Julia 0.
In cases like these, laziness can be beneficial as it forces you to be creative. It will test your ability to scrounge up the contents of your fridge and turn seemingly disparate food items into something edible: there are eggs, some leftover baby greens. And – oh well, hello there, Mr.Risotto. Care to join me for breakfast?
Risotto hash, scrambled egg and mesclun salad (Serves 1)
- 1 egg
- splash of milk
- leftover risotto
- baby greens
- vinaigrette: olive oil, juice of 1/2 an orange, splash of red wine vinegar, 1/4 tsp whole-grain mustard, touch of honey
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
Get 2 skillets ready: a small one for your egg and another for your risotto. In one skillet, heat about a tbsp of oil. Add your risotto and flatten it out all the way to the edges of the pan. Allow to crisp up on medium-high heat, turning once the bottom has turned toasty-brown. You don’t need to be gentle with it – you’re making a hash.
While the rest of the hash is browning, melt a small knob of butter in the other skillet. Beat the egg with a splash of milk and some salt and pepper. When the butter starts to get foamy, add your egg, removing it immediately off the burner – you should be able to cook the egg with the residual heat of the pan by gently pushing it to and fro.
Toss the salad with the vinaigrette and serve with the eggs and hash, remembering that you can always have toast tomorrow.