Thinking about food as usual… this one is an English breakfast with a twist, more specifically a ‘Franco-Cameroonian’ accent. Baked beans, roasted tomato cherries, roasted champignons de France (although it works equally beautifully with Portbello mushrooms and chestnut mushrooms, Cameroonian (slash Benin) banana and corn dumplings, honey-roasted ethical salmon, baked potato galette, perfect fried egg.
Maybe I should write a song about it… In the meantime, this is how the whole thing is put together.
The longest-to-produce is the Cameroonian (slash Benin) banana and corn dumplings. I followed the recipe at http://www.african-counter.com/food/corn-and-banana-dumplings-benin-cameroon/). This is a gluten-free comfortably-textured, deliciously savoury yet sweet little addition to the rest of the meal. The baked beans are the easiest part of it all but it is important for us that when we bother having such a traditional (or not completely so as in here) meal, every ingredient is carefully selected. For this recipe, we got ourselves one of the best baked beans in the world, Suma organic baked beans.
The mushrooms are quite simply roasted or grilled as simple as sprinkling salt and mixed herbs and drizzling olive oil on washed and dried mushrooms and leaving them for 15 minutes in a low pre-heated grill or bake them in a pre-heated 180 degrees celsius oven. The same is done with the cherry tomatoes but as I don’t like them overburst (I like them to burst in my mouth), I tend to leave them in the oven for less time. An alternative option that reduces the amount of oil required and the time under the grill (no oven baking this time) is to pre-steam them: there are various ways of doing this one but my favourite and shortest one remains to steam the seasoned vegetable for much less than 60 seconds in the microwave in an hermetically-closed microwave-safe container. Then grill for up to 5 minutes and in 6-7 minutes, it is all done and that required less fat, electricity and time!
I have quite a variety of recipes for the potatoes depending of what is left in the house and what it is that I feel like on the day. In this case, I had some jacket potatoes and I guess we did not really want any in the morning. I mashed the flesh, seasoned the mix with salt, paprika and mixed herbs and fried it on a low fire in a grill pan. Interestingly, I have done a similar version but first dipped the mix created in a whisked egg before frying it in a little oil. I still prefer the former version. You can also create balls or noisettes from the fix and quickly deep-fry them in hot oil, or create a more cylindrical shape with a small depth (no more than 5 millimetres) and shallow fry that and baste it slightly. The possibilities are limitless if you know what taste you want to end up with and try things out until you get it. The seasoning also plays its part evidently so this is up to personal choice.
A number of supermarkets now sell dill-roasted salmon or the equivalent, and that will very much do in the recipe. Other options are to cover a salmon’s flesh with a mix of salt (much less than you would normally put), honey or maple syrup, juice (now here is your choice: for Asian flavouring add soy sauce, ginger and garlic; for a change try orange juice; for basics, add fish or chicken stock; I have also put lemon as well as a curry and almond powder mixture for an Indian aroma), herbs (dill is really nice in this) and let it marinate for at least 15 minutes. I tend to think of these things at the last minute so I am generally quite hungry already and I find that 30 minutes is the most I can wait but the couple of times I have waited longer I was even more pleased with the delicious flaky results. Of course there is no such result unless you bake the sufficiently marinated salmon for around 15 minutes in a pre-heated 180 degrees oven, basting from time to time. The same can be done with pork (loin or gammon will do the job) for those who prefer meat. It is a simple but beautifully satisfying recipe.
You can probably see that my fried egg is indeed fried, that is because I fry it à la Française, a very shallow fry that colours the white. I also tend to cover it for a few seconds to start covering the yolk with a white film and start cooking it but not too long because I intend for it to bleed. Food is better eaten when it continues to surprise you both on the plate after you have been served and in the mouth when you have already started eating it.