I know that at this time of the year I should post some wintery cookie recipes, but I think that my Apple Strudel recipe was enough Christmas from me. Every single food blog shares recipes for Christmas cookies. Sometimes it is good to break with tradition and try something new. I decided to make this post about late breakfasts during holidays (or the weekend).
And this is also a post about my culinary guru Yotam Ottolenghi.
I need to share my admiration for this sympathetic, talented, fascinating Chef. I discovered Yotam and his work while I was working in an Art Bookstore in a Berlin Museum. In one part of this bookstore, between books about Japanese Samurai and African beads jewelry you could find the shelf with cookbooks from all over the world. And once in a while, when no one was in the store I used to secretly read the newest recipes from India, Vietnam, Peru, Birma etc. This was the time when Yotam Ottolenghi published his first vegetarian cookbook: Plenty. My colleague ordered it for our bookstore and after reading only a few recipes I was in love with this masterwork.
Yotam had great success with his vegetarian cookbook, even though he is not a vegetarian Chef. His art of preparing vegetables is stunning. I don’t want, like many people do, compare Yotam with Jamie Oliver, or even call him “the new Jamie”. Yotam doesn’t present himself, he presents his work, his food and he is doing that in a very inconspicuous and intelligent way. His recipes are a pure firework of new combinations, new ingredients, new flavors. This chef, born in Israel and based in London unites the Orient and Occident in his dishes.
I don’t have to mention that since I have discovered Yotam for myself, I have bought every book he ever published, I have seen and read every Interview he ever gave and I have watched every movie he made. If you are a food lover like me and you still haven’t met Yotam’s work, now it is the perfect time to do it. Like many chefs (including me) Yotam finds his inspiration travelling around the world. On his youtube channel you can find three video reports from his travels to Crete, Tunisia and Majorca. Watching these movies is the perfect activity during the holidays. Just do it! And after you have seen how Yotam lovingly prepares his food with so much humor and passion, you will run to the next bookstore to buy all his cookbooks.
Not only for me, but for many chefs, food bloggers or food lovers, Yotam’s recipes are like food for the soul. His latest vegetarian cookbook Plenty more is a new Bible. Photography, recipes, stories – when you read it, you can instantly feel the taste of the food in your mouth, feel it’s smell in your nose, you can even hear the sizzling sound of the hot oil…
I want to give my answer to one of Yotam’s recipes from his newest cookbook called Aubergines, Potatoes, Tomatoes. This recipe reminds me of the rustic, traditional German breakfast: farmer breakfast, which is made from fried potatoes, bacon or sausages and eggs. Yotam’s recipe is more Oriental, while I tried to save some of the German authenticity. I kept the potatoes, but instead of aubergines I used sauerkraut and I skipped the tomatoes. And I completely changed the spices. I would say I took the form of Yotam’s recipe and I gave it a new content. Yotam, thank you!
Before I start with the recipe, I would like to give you some instructions how to make the poached eggs. I love to eat poached eggs, because this is a great way to make the perfect, warm and soft egg yolk, coated in a foamy egg white. You need: water, vinegar essence, and an egg.
1. (For one egg): Put some water (about 3 cm from the bottom) in a small-sized pot (or sauce can) and add 2 tsp of vinegar essence.
2. At a low temperature bring the water and vinegar to boil. It should not boil intensively, but almost simmer.
3. Crack an egg into a cup and put it very carefully into the water. You can help to bring the egg white over the yolk using a spoon, but it usually happens by itself. . After 3 min. remove the egg from the water and serve.
Nikolina’s Farmer breakfast
Ingredients (serves 3):
2 medium sized onions, finely sliced
4 medium sized potatoes, chopped in 2 cm sized cubes
500 gr sauerkraut, finely chopped
2 Tsp vinegar essence
5 bay leaves
1 ½ Tsp caraway
a bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
Freshly grounded pepper
Knob of coconut oil (or ghee, or butter)
1. Heat the knob of coconut oil (or ghee, or butter) in the frying pan. Add the onion slices and stew them at medium heat until almost caramelized.
2. Add the sauerkraut, caraway and bay leafs and stir to combine. Pour some water (1 dl) and let it stew for about 20 min. If the water has completely evaporated, add some more again. Stir it every five minutes.
3. When the sauerkraut is almost cooked add the potatoes. Add the salt and paprika and stir again and add some water, just until everything is covered. Stew it until the potatoes are done.
4. While it stews, poach the eggs. When the eggs are done place them on top of the stewed sauerkraut and potatoes. Put some salt to your taste, ground some fresh pepper over it and sprinkle everything with fresh parsley. Serve as late breakfast or for the dinner.