“Breakfast like a King, lunch like a Queen, supper like a pauper”. Apparently that’s what you’re supposed to do. Have a massive breakfast, a medium-sized lunch and a modest dinner. Seems a bit three-bears-style sexist though, unless I’m misinterpreting it and actually it’s suggesting that both breakfast and lunch should consist of copious piles of chicken drumsticks, game pies and glazed pig’s heads with apples in their mouths. And then soup before bed. Or broth.
Anyway, that’s not how I eat, I’m a self-confessed late-night snacker. Subsequently I often wake without much appetite and can sometimes survive until mid afternoon without having anything more than a few cups of tea. Don’t worry, I make up for it calorie-wise in the latter part of the day and far too frequently I’ll over-do it. It’s the consumption of half a bottle of wine (who am I kidding, a bottle of wine, or actually more often nearly a bottle of wine since providing I leave half a glass in the bottom of the bottle it means I haven’t finished it, which isn’t so bad is it?) that lets the barriers of sensibility down and which nurtures the ‘sod it’ attitude. On too many occasions I’ll find myself going to bed having consumed a lot more calories in the form of cheese, butter, deli-meats and of course tasty dinner left-overs than I should have, and even more shamefully, crisps from multi-packs that are supposed to be for the kids’ packed lunches.
I need to reign it in though. A recent frank conversation with my doctor about blood pressure has resulted in an attempt at changing my life-style. Not radically, because I know that a radical change won’t last in the same way that diets don’t work. But an increase in exercise, less pulled-pork and brisket, a conscious attempt to reach for healthier ingredients (I’ve been sprouting beans and seeds like a real hippy), fewer in-between meal snacks and a reduction in alcohol consumption should hopefully bring the eye-brow-raisingly-high diastolic number down. Oh, and less salt. What fun eh? But limitations breed creativity. I know that when we lived in our much smaller flat before the house that we’ve got now, (with Mrs Egg and me, three children and two cats), we had to come up with interesting and original ideas to fit in the furniture, freezer, washing machine, big cooker and so on. I’m sure if I had a boat or a caravan I could find some really innovative solutions. It’s the same with food. Say ‘you can eat anything’ and there’s no incentive to experiment, but limit your ingredients and you have to get imaginative. I suppose this is the idea the person who pitched ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ presented.
At the end of the day I like to eat more. (literally, not metaphorically). And here’s a calorifically modest snack that will certainly satisfy those late-night pangs that I’m prone to. The crunch of the sprouted beans works really beautifully with the small amount of soft hot cheese and when it’s all bathed in the rich creamy egg yolk the result is mouthful after mouthful of heavenliness without too much guilt. The bread is homemade wholemeal, the beans are home-sprouted. Shame I couldn’t have made the red leicester and laid the eggs myself too.
1 thick slice good toasted wholemeal bread
25g cheese (strong cheddar, red leicester, or whatever you fancy)
a generous handful of sprouted beans, lentils or seeds (I used mung bean sprouts)
extra virgin rapeseed oil
salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
Toast the bread, don’t butter it, just sprinkle it with a mixture of sprouts and grated cheese. Add a dash of seasoning and a flick of oil and put it under the grill.
Here’s how I poach eggs. A pan of water with a dash of vinegar. A really fresh egg. Don’t swirl the water, just wait until it’s simmering and add the egg, breaking the shell and carefully dropping the contents into the water as close to the surface of the water as you can. If you slightly scold your fingers it means you’re close enough and if there are any big splashes it means you’re not. Then time a minute with the water still simmering. Next turn off the heat, put a lid on and time another two minutes. Lift the egg out with a slotted spoon and carefully turn it onto a clean tea towel to dry it. You’ll need to vary your timings depending on egg size.
Finally place the poached egg onto the bubbling cheese and bean sprouts, dress with more pepper a little salt on the egg, a pinch of cayenne and a dash more oil.