Photo: Azmi Athni / ST
For most of my life, breakfast has never been an important meal.
I used to skip it all through school to get extra sleep. And when I started working, it became even more difficult to make time for it.
That meant that at about 11am, I would be scrabbling for something, anything to stuff in my face.
Cake, potato chips, chocolate, biscuits - I sucked them all up like a vacuum cleaner.
After too long, I saw the light and started eating that most important first meal of the day.
Because mornings are still frantic, I make breakfast ahead of time and preferably to last a few days.
I alternate my breakfasts so I do not get bored and give up.
So there will be weeks where I will have steel-cut oats which I cook overnight in a slow cooker, overnight oats with chia seeds and fruit that I stick in the refrigerator, plain yogurt with no-sugar-added muesli and, sometimes, if I can get avocados to ripen on command, sourdough toast topped with mashed avocado, salt and pepper.
As varied as these breakfast options seem, I need a bigger selection, and since eggs are the best kind of breakfast food, I decide to work something around them.
Nothing is better than a leisurely weekend fry-up with the works: scrambled eggs, bacon, a couple of fat sausages, sauteed mushrooms and grilled tomatoes. But that is not possible on weekdays.
My compromise is to make a crustless quiche.
I know I should not use the M word - microwave - here, but it is easy to heat it up quickly in the morning and to scarf it down before work.
The quiche also presents another opportunity to add more vegetables to my diet. That and the protein from the eggs make a good breakfast.
There is a little bit of indulgence - in this case, cheese - and I make no apologies.
When you think about it, there is a whole range of wonderful things to add to the base of six eggs, 250ml of milk, salt and pepper.
I have so far tried peas, carrots and red bell peppers; mushrooms and broccoli; and smoked salmon and dill.
Along the way, I have worked out some kinks. I find it very useful to cook the filling ingredients to release a bit of moisture so the quiche does not end up watery.
Whatever you choose, keep the total amount of filling, minus the onions, to 300g or less. Otherwise, the quiche breaks apart easily because there is not enough egg to hold it all together.
In my first attempt, the 600g of filling I put in my quiche turned it into a veggie stirfry with eggs.
Any cheese that melts well will work, but I like Pepper Jack, which is studded with pickled jalapenos, because the chillies give a welcome bite. Cheddar works well, too, especially a strong, sharp one.
Other ones to try include feta (decrease the salt in the filling and eggs) and blue cheeses.
With very little effort, I can make breakfast for four days. Or I can serve it as a light lunch for four with a salad on the side or even use it as a sandwich filling.
There are endless possibilities, but I am just relieved to find another way to banish the furious 11am munchies.
CRUSTLESS BREAKFAST QUICHE
Serves 4 to 6
50g softened salted butter, plus extra for greasing
1 small onion, 100 to 120g
150g mushrooms (Swiss browns or fresh shiitakes)
100g Pepper Jack (above) or cheddar cheese
Six 60g eggs
250ml full fat milk
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Butter a round 23cm pie plate or baking dish generously.
2. Peel and chop the onion into 0.5cm pieces and set aside. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and slice thickly - four slices from each mushroom or three for smaller ones. Peel off the stem of the broccoli with a vegetable peeler. Chop the stems and florets roughly.
3. Melt 50g of butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute for two minutes. Add the broccoli and cook for two more minutes. Add salt to taste. If there is still liquid at the bottom of the pan, continue to cook until it has evaporated. Take the pan off the burner and let cool.
4. Grate the cheese. Beat the eggs, milk, 3/4 tsp sea salt and pepper.
5. Mix 3/4 of the cheese with the mushroom and broccoli filling and spread evenly in the buttered pie dish. Pour the egg mixture over and scatter the remaining cheese over the top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until well browned. Check after 35 minutes, in case your oven runs hotter.
6. Remove the pie plate from the oven, let sit on a cooling rack for 15 minutes, cut and serve with a salad on the side.
This article was first published on Straitstimes.com