Annabel Langbein: Cracking the myths (+ egg recipes)
Every now and then I come across someone who says they can't cook even an egg. It might seem surprising, but if you have never hung out in a kitchen or watched television cooking shows, even cooking something as simple as an egg can feel like attempting to interpret hieroglyphics. And actually there's more to cooking eggs than you might imagine, from finding yourself with a weepy meringue because the eggs you used were too fresh to having your poached eggs fall apart because your eggs aren't fresh enough!
The language of cooking is something I have spent my life exploring and learning. Having never learnt to cook in a formal way, it's been an ongoing process of experimentation to see what works and why. And there is always more to discover and learn.
Twenty years ago, when I wrote my book The Best of Annabel Langbein: Great Food for Busy Lives, I set out to demystify the cooking process with as many tips and hints as I then knew, to help make cooking easier and more interesting.
My Best Of book sold hundreds of thousands of copies here in New Zealand and I've lost count of the number of people who have told me it's their favourite and most useful cookbook ever.
My new book, Essential Annabel Langbein, in addition to containing more than 650 of my very favourite savoury recipes, is also a download of everything I have learnt and discovered in the kitchen - a lifetime of hints, tips and know-how that takes up from where The Best of Annabel Langbein left off, all those years ago.
To give you a taste of what's inside, this week I'm sharing four recipes for an eggy weekend breakfast or brunch. First I'll show you how to cook the perfect poached eggs and a simple omelette (a few little tricks make all the difference), then once you've mastered those springboard techniques I'll help you make them your own by using the poached eggs in a Breakfast Salad and adapting the omelette to suit Asian flavours.
Essential Annabel Langbein is out now and I'm looking forward to it becoming your go-to cooking companion and recipe compendium so that you can feel like a star in the kitchen every day.
Poached eggs are a brilliant base recipe to master so you can then use them to add some extra protein to other meals. They make a great topper for crispy, crunchy hash browns or as part of a breakfast salad (see right). Super-fresh eggs are best for poaching, but a splash of vinegar in the water helps to hold older eggs together. Get the recipe
Omelettes are so easy - you can get a yummy meal on the plate in just a couple of minutes. Once you've mastered this simple herb omelette, try other fillings, such as grated cheese, chopped ham, cooked bacon, baby spinach or tomato slices over half the omelette base before folding in half. Or see p.22 for an Asian twist. Get the recipe
I like to put together a brunch or lunch salad on days when I feel like a special breakfast without the weight of a fry-up. It's just as good without halloumi or eggs, or you can omit the bacon for a vegetarian version. Top with crumbled feta instead of halloumi if you prefer. Get the recipe
It's easy to adapt the basic omelette technique to a range of flavour families, including this delicious Asian version, which makes a great brunch, lunch or light dinner. If cooking this omelette for more than one, have the prawns cooked so it's really quick to cook each one, fill, fold and serve. Get the recipe
From Essential Annabel Langbein (Annabel Langbein Media, $65), a compendium of Annabel’s best-ever savoury recipes and cooking tips. For more, visit annabel-langbein.com