Hi! Writing a blogpost would be so much easier if I didn’t have to spend 10 minutes trying to think of a catchy way to start the post. Hehe see what I did there? Anyway, I'm back home after being away for a month and I have a ton of new inspiration to work with. Santa Claus came a little early for me this year, and I’ve been generously gifted a ton of new ingredients that I’m really excited to play around with.
One of the things I miss, now that I'm living in the tropics, is that there are no seasons (besides hot and hotter). It makes me a little sad because I miss the freezing cold, the sort where you can’t feel your nose and your ears feel like they are about to fall off. The other day, I stepped out for a walk right after it rained and as usual I wound up on a swing in the park, and the radio station I'd been listening to suddenly switched to Christmas music. There was a song about how the only thing this boy wanted for Christmas was a hippopotamus (and no, a rhinosaurus wouldn't do) and I have to say, swinging+ smell of the soil right after the rain (petrichor!)+ funny/adorable Christmas carols= excellent way to put off work.
In an attempt to feel less guilty about my cookbook purchasing habits, I‘m trying to cook more from the books I own. Which, while looking through Rachel Khoo’s first book, My Little Paris Kitchen, led me to a recipe for Croque Madame muffins. These are basically dressed up little breakfast sandwiches that are baked with eggs and bechemel. The first time I made it was in my sister’s Little Singapore Kitchen, and we followed the recipe to a T and although it came out nice, it was a little bit boring. We made it again for breakfast this morning, adding onion, chili and tomato for that little somethin somethin. It hits a spot. Treat these as a blank canvas to express your creativity (or to get rid of leftovers). Mushrooms, shredded meat and tuna would amazing in these toasty, eggy, cheesy, parcels of joy.
Note: We used a regular-sized muffin tray and white sandwich bread. In order to prevent the bread from tearing, we microwaved each buttered slice (covered) for 10 seconds before lowering it into the muffin tray.
Jazzed up Croque Madame Muffins
Adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen
6 large slices of white bread
3 tbsp butter, softened
6 small eggs
For the sauce:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp plain flour
1 cup full fat milk
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 a small tomato, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
pepper+ salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
For the sauce:
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
Add the onions and saute until they soften. Add green chillies and saute for a minute.
Add the flour and whisk until it is well incorporated.
Add milk slowly, stirring constantly to make sure no lumps form. Add mustard and tomatoes and let it simmer gently until it thickens. Turn off the heat.
Add half the cheese (leaving the rest to sprinkle on top) and stir well. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Butter the slices on both sides. If the slices seems likely to tear, refer to the note above.
Gently line each muffin hole with a slice of the buttered bread. Don't worry if the corners overlap, just make sure that there are no tears on the bottom (or else the egg will leak out into the tin, and will make the bread stick to the tray). Cover the tears, if any, with a small piece of bread.
If you are adding chicken or tuna, you would add it to the muffin at this point.
Break an egg into each muffin (pour out some of the white first if the egg seems too big).
Top with a tablespoon of the sauce, sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.