Here is another fabulous recipe from Rachel Khoo with her take on the French classic, a Croque Madame. Most people would be familiar with a Croque Monsieur which is a toasted cheese and ham sandwich, commonly served in most French bistros for lunch or as a light snack. For a more decadent treat, the Croque Monsieur is also sometimes coated with a béchamel sauce and baked in the oven until the sauce is golden and bubbling.
A Croque Madame, on the other hand, has the addition of an egg.
Rachel Khoo’s version is to make them in a muffin tin, producing gorgeous little snack-sized savoury treats which would be perfect at breakfast, brunch or lunch.
Due to hubby’s request to eat more vegetarian meals this year, I saw no reason to not buy the latest book from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of the River Cottage fame, Veg Everyday. The book is dedicated to eating vegetarian meals, though it is not written by a vegetarian – an important distinction in my mind because it means there are no spooky and holistic ingredients which would otherwise make vegetarian cooking too much of an effort for a carnivore like me.
One recipe which instantly called out to me was the Chilli, Cheese and Rosemary Polenta with Tomato Sauce. There was something very nursery about this recipe. Plus I had some polenta in the pantry which had just passed its expiry date …
My first introduction to polenta was at the canteen at work. And before you recoil in shock, I should mention that Swiss canteens happen to be quite highly regarded in the culinary world. In fact, the canteens at several companies here even compete with one another in the same way that high-end restaurants do. One of my colleagues regularly uses the quality of the canteen meals as the bar for comparisons when he is dining out at restaurants. The canteen at our rival company has even published a cookbook – on fine dining. Pretty top notch.
Cheesy Hearts, the perfect savoury biscuits for Valentine’s Day.
I often approach Valentine’s Day with mixed emotions. Once upon a time, when I was a singleton, I would stay sofa-bound at home in front of the telly, à la Bridget Jones. But instead of wailing to Céline Dion on the karaoke machine, I would watch back-to-back murder mysteries, stuffing my face with all of my favourite junk foods, thinking all the while how blissful it was to be a slob without having to worry if this would be a turn-off to any potential suitor. My way of dealing with a potential future as a spinster was to eat my way through it. With a heart-shaped box of chocolate truffles.
Fast forward to today and the realisation that there is some truth to the saying that a leopard does not change its spots. That leopard is me. I still love to veg out in front of the telly with a (family-sized) bag of salt and vinegar chips, watching back-to-back DVD episodes, leaving the laundry and cleaning up to accumulate for another day (or two). What has been a blessing is that my husband doesn’t mind joining me on the sofa to watch whatever soppy TV show I happen to be engrossed in. He may feign rolled eyes at having to watch another episode of the Gilmore Girls but, secretly, I think he enjoys it. A match made in heaven, thankfully 🙂