“So, what can I get you for breakfast today?”
“Could I have the poached eggs on rye bread, please.”
– “But could I please have it with extra bacon, extra avocado and 4 extra eggs.”
‘… It already comes with two eggs.”
“I know, but I want 4 extra eggs please.”
“Ok… so you want 4 eggs?”
“No I want 6 in total, please.”
At this point the waiter or waitress invariably looks at me in complete and utter disbelief that one human being could possibly eat SIX eggs and bacon and avocado and toast for breakfast. Then comes the standard ‘haha-what-can-I-say-he-eats-a-lot’ shrug followed by a reassurance that this large, male individual sitting with me at breakfast is in fact being serious about the whole 6 eggs part of his order and is not playing games.
This is standard procedure for breakfast, and it is a procedure that is not limited to going out for breakfast. Whereas I can function like a normal person before breakfast in the mornings, albeit possibly not the nicest or friendliest, he is one of those people who positively cannot function until he has eaten. The speed with which his personality appears is directly proportional to the quality of his breakfast (I really did do the whole Maths and Science thing at school, so I just had to make it seem useful at some point). Fruit and muesli doesn’t really even put a dent in it for him and it is not unlike seeing a little kid at the beach who is trying to dig his way to China, however enthusiastically it might be, using a spoon.
So this is the first post in a series to come called “breakfast for the boys”. Please note that “boys” here refers to the ‘ghey’ pronounciation of the word and can be interchanged with “chanas”, “boytjies” or “big dogs” at your own discretion.
Bacon and Egg Baskets, Boet:
Nutritionally speaking, this meal is quite well rounded. Obviously, the recipe can be adapted if you are not cooking for someone with the appetite of Wolverine by cooking two eggs per person instead. With this meal you have a good source of protein, healthy fat (the avocado) and carbohydrates (the 100% rye bread). If you are going the Banting route, then simply leave out the bread and it is completely carb-free. Bacon is the only contentious ingredient and while Tim Noakes would approve, just remember that according to the South African nutritional guidelines, bacon is not counted as a protein and it is actually counted as a fat serving. Personally, I don’t think a piece of bacon every now and then is going to make anyone fat, but, when it is really fatty and oily it is not so great. The reason that this way of cooking the bacon is healthier is because you aren’t frying it in any extra fat, you’re simply putting it under the grill so a lot of this will get taken out during the process, which, for me, makes it taste a lot less oily and fatty which some people struggle with.
1 packet of bacon
Preferably shoulder bacon or lean bacon, but if you absolutely cannot part with your streaky bacon then that’s ok. Wow, that sentence has a lot of bacon in it, not a bad sentence as sentences go.
4-6 eggs (basically one egg, one basket)
100% rye bread for toast (this is optional)
Some grated cheese to serve (again, this is optional, but it is delicious)
*You will also need a cupcake tin for this recipe but, if it makes you feel more manly, you can call it a muffin tin.
This recipe serves 2 people. You will need 6 eggs if you are feeding one hulk and one normal person.
How to make bacon baskets happen
Turn the grill on in the oven (again, no judging, but this is the setting that looks like sharp teeth coming from the sky). While the oven is heating up, take the bacon and line the cupcake (or muffin) mould as seen in the picture. Its best to try and line the base of the cupcake mould completely, so you might need to double up on the bacon, but I feel like that shouldn’t be a bad thing. As you can see from the picture, I use a silicone mould. This is pretty much one of the greatest inventions of all time in my opinion because it means you don’t have to inhale half a can of spray-and-cook just to make sure that you can get your food out of the tin once its done. If you don’t have a silicone based cupcake mould at home, then good luck with the spray-and-cook and make sure you aren’t downwind of the spray.
Place the cupcake (or muffin) tin into the oven about two rungs down from the grill. You should be able to leave it in here for about 5-10 minutes, depending on how strong your grill is. Make sure you keep an eye on your bacon, the goal here is crispy, not black and inedible, unless you like it that way in which case this part of the recipe can’t really help you.
While that is going, you can slice up your avocado and get the toast ready to go in the toaster.
Take the bacon out of the oven once it is sufficiently crispy or when the smell of bacon cooking just becomes too overwhelming. There might be a bit of liquid that has collected in each of the bacon baskets (yes, you just made bacon baskets) and I find that using a piece of paper towel is the best way to soak this up. Turning the cupcake (or muffin) tin upside down to drain it by pouring the liquid out, on the other hand, does not.
Crack an egg into each of the baskets and season with salt and pepper, and then place back into the oven. At this point you will need to change the oven setting to 200° C and pick the setting that looks like an equal sign- so that it will cook from the top and the bottom. Leave it in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. This should give you a medium egg. If you prefer your egg hard, leave it in for longer. Again, the timing on this one depends on your oven so you will have to keep an eye on it, but don’t take it out until the white is completely cooked through.
If you feel like this is not enough protein, boet, grate some cheese and sprinkle (or throw) some on top as soon as it comes out of the oven so that it melts and adds to the deliciousness of your bacon and egg basket.
One thing to remember when it comes to taking the baskets out of the moulds: the silicone part will be cool-ish enough to the touch, don’t let that lull you in a false sense of security. As much as you will want to grab the tin without oven gloves, don’t, it’s a trick.
Lazy Egg Baskets for the Boys
This version is for those lazy days where you couldn’t be too bothered with cooking. I would say that it is also for people who don’t like bacon, but that is just silly.
With this version you can substitute the bacon for ham, or that roast chicken sliced ham type thing that they sell at woolies. Use this to make the basket, and then there is no need to cook it before you put the egg in. So you would line the cupcake (or muffin) mould with the ham, crack your egg in, season it and put it in the oven at 200° C on the equal sign setting.