When you start a family, as anyone who has done so knows, a multitude of previously fairly quiet people emerge from the woodwork, full of advice on every imaginable child-related topic. Conflicting information on everything ranging from diet to sleep to education to childcare to the treatment of ailments to discipline to baby-carriers to god knows what spews forth, nearly all of it not quite as useful or important as the person giving it thinks it is.
One thing, though, that nobody tells you (except the clearly prophetic Pete Paphides, who I once heard mention it on his Soho Radio show), yet is an indubitably true, invaluable nugget of information: you will work your way through more eggs than seems possible. Lots of eggs. So many that, however hard you try to prepare, there they will be, top of the list the next time you visit the supermarket. I once tried to get ahead of the game and bought a box of 30 but, lo and behold, when I glanced into the cupboard two days later, half were gone. 15 eggs in two days!
Anyway, a chap gets a little bored of boiling, scrambling and frying endless eggs, so I flicked through The Book and thought I’d give Oeufs en Cocotte a whirl. I also (and this is breaking the rules a little, but I don’t feel too bad about it) had some miso roasted mackerel (from the Lucky Peach book 101 Easy Asian Recipes, which I recommend) left over from dinner the previous night and wanted to use it up in an interesting way, so all the better.
I flaked a fillet of the mackerel into a buttered ramekin, then broke in two small eggs (Nigel recommends one large one, but I only had small eggs in, so it seemed an appropriate compromise), ground a little salt and pepper on top, followed by a knob of butter. I placed the ramekin gently in a bain marie (in this case, a gratin dish filled with just-boiled water) and popped it in a hot oven for 10 minutes until just set, but still wobbly.
I enjoyed it simply, with buttered toast soldiers, whilst feeding the baby. It felt like the perfect lunch, as the last of winter fades away and the sun starts to show its face a little more frequently.
Buy your own copy of Nigel Slater’s ‘Real Fast Food’ HERE.