Ever since that first time my mum let me clumsily fork down a set of peanut butter cookies, I have loved cooking. This doesn’t mean I was always good at cooking, of course. Unless you are some kind of preternatural prodigy, becoming good at something still takes work. You can have a natural born talent for something, no doubt, but only with work will that natural proclivity truly bloom.
(It’s a good reminder if you find yourself, like me, at the bottom of a learning curve again. Just because you are not immediately good at something is no reason to give up.)
When I was younger, experimenting in the kitchen was a game I would play with my best friend. We would ransack the kitchen and mix a bunch of things together- bake them, boil them, cook them- and see what came out. I’ll be honest, a lot of it was pretty gross.
One time we tossed pasta with barbecue sauce because we figured: barbecue sauce is delicious, pasta is delicious, they must be delicious together! Not so. When we discovered that it was, indeed, rather disgusting, we attempted to then rinse the sauce off the noodles.
Ah, yeah. Don’t do that either.
Another day we made what we called ‘life cookies’ and ‘death cookies.’ The former was a batch of vaguely palatable dense, spongy cookies flavoured with vanilla, chocolate and coconut, the latter, a tough-as-a-rock cookie-brick spiced primarily with cayenne pepper.
Not all our experiments turned out terrible, however. You wouldn’t think it but Schwepps Raspberry Ginger Ale actually tastes preeeetty amazing in homemade vinaigrette.
There was a lot of ‘fails’ but, little by little, through our afternoons of fearless culinary experimentation we found ourselves getting pretty comfortable in the kitchen. Sure, the raspberry ginger ale might not have actually been amazing, but we made it, and we ate it, and thus- we enjoyed it. And we learned a lot, so how can you be mad about that?
That’s the beauty of mistakes- if you make enough of them, you’ve actually learned quite a lot. It’s an accomplishment, a mastery. Mushy, semi-rinsed, barbecue sauce coated noodles eventually graduated into delectable pantry-emptying pastas. Rock hard death cookies evolved into soft, spicy chocolate treats.
The lessons I learned during my youthful kitchen experiments are not only handy as I remind myself as an adult to be fearless, make mistakes, learn and keep going, but also hit a chord with Mother’s Day coming up this weekend. How many of you attempted the ol’ Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed for your mums when you were little? I feel like it’s a right of passage most mums and children have to weather at some point.
I remember one Mother’s Day in particular. I tried so hard. I must have been like… I don’t even know, 7? I really, really wanted to make that morning special for mum, so I did my research. I took my kids cookbook and flagged some recipes I could feasibly make on my own (minimal danger- limited knife use or hot elements that would drag mum out of bed on her special day to take me to the hospital).
Eggs-in-a-hole and toast with jelly.
I set my alarm for 6am that Sunday, to give myself lots of time to make things perfect.
I put on my fanciest dress. I tied my hair up. I got to work.
10 minutes later, at approximately 6:10 in the morning, breakfast was ready.
Huh. Guess I didn’t really need to get up that early. What now? I don’t want to wake mum up on a day she should be pampered and sleep in. I put the egg and toast in the microwave to ‘keep warm’ and proceeded to read a book.
By 6:30, 20 minutes later, I was pretty antsy for mum to see all the things I had made for her so I went and woke my parents up- breakfast is ready! (but just for Mum, Dad you have to make your own)
It was, objectively, a terrible breakfast. I’m sure she would have appreciated an extra half hour of sleep. I’m sure she would have appreciated a cup of hot coffee or tea. But she smiled and thanked me and told me it was very lovely because that’s what mums do. I guess it really is the thought that counts (and in her mind possibly even somewhat cute?) but still- cold eggs… what a champ.
(Does anyone else watch Bob’s Burgers? This exact thing happened on the last episode. It hit close to home, I lol’d.)
Which brings us to today’s recipe… don’t bring your mothers cold eggs and mushy toast this Mother’s Day. Make this instead.
Buttery, flaky, heavenly puff pastry (pre-made at that, which makes this recipe quick and easy– heyooooo!)… creamy, tangy goat cheese… salty, smoky bacon… top with some threads of sweet caramelized onions… a little bit of freshness from some fresh basil… are we salivating yet?
We’ve come a long way from cold eggs and soggy toast.
|Bacon, Egg & Goat Cheese Breakfast Pastries|| |
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 package puff pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
- 6 medium eggs* + 1 egg, lightly beaten with a few drops of water (egg wash)
- 6 rashers thick cut smoky bacon
- 50 g goat cheese, crumbled
- 6-8 large leaves fresh basil, chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat a glug of olive oil in a medium pan. Add onions and cook on medium-low until sweet and browned. Usually, recipes will say this takes 10 minutes or so- they're lying. It's just true. Cook as long as you can over low heat to really achieve that sweet caramelization if you can (although no one will fault you for getting impatient, do your best). Set caramelized onions aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 6 rectangles of roughly equal size and lay them on the lined baking sheet. Fold in ¼-1/2 inch the edges of the rectangles and pinch the corners together. This doesn't have to be perfect, but it will help your eggs stick in the centre. Using the tines of a fork, prick a series of holes into the centre of each rectangle. Brush all the pastries with egg wash and bake for 7-8 minutes.
- Remove pastries from the oven. The centres of each will have risen. Let them cool slightly then pat down and deflate the centre of each. Lay a rasher of bacon and a bit of caramelized onion in each pastry square then gently crack an egg overtop. Sprinkle the tops of the pastries with goat cheese and return to the oven. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until the edges of the puff pastry are golden and the eggs have just set.
- Remove pastries from the oven, top with freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkle of fresh basil.