Breakfast sardines, spinach, and a mug-baked-egg, 71p (MICROWAVE)
Baking eggs in the microwave is an egg-splosive roulette, where every second and wattage seems to count! I’ve done it for a few days running now, to try to test the waters before sharing my accrued wisdom on the subject, only to find I’m three days in and still none the wiser! I thought I’d cracked it (no pun intended, but giggle if you want), when this morning I heard a BANG! Thirty seconds in, and my egg had completely flown out of the mug and was sitting on the microwave plate, smugly going round and round, having decided to break free from its white china prison and make a run for it. I congratulated it…….by spearing a fork into it and eating the bugger.
So, eggs. From what I can work out, crack it into a fat-bottomed mug (the kind that make the rockin’ world go round…) My mistake this morning was using a mug with a skinny bottom, and the microwave pressure built up in the smaller space, and the egg made a run for it. Theoretically. Gosh, it’s actually like learning to cook all over again. Then pierce the yolk with a knife, fork, or your wit if it’s sharp enough – THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT. The yolk cooks faster than the white, so leaving the membrane intact will cause your yolk to make a bid for freedom under the pressure – and hey, we all know how that feels…
And when cracked and pierced, cook it on a medium heat if cooking it alone, for 3 30 second bursts. If you’re cooking it with Other Things, you can leave it on a high heat, as the more things there are in a microwave the less ‘microwaves’ they absorb and the more gently they cook. Confused? I’m just about hanging in myself…
This has become one of my favourite breakfast/lunch dishes not least because I’m a huge fan of sardines and the Local version of the big orange supermarket has tins of sardines for 45p at the moment. And all in, it’s about 2 minutes in the microwave, low carb, high protein, no effort. If the thought of sardines for breakfast makes you feel a bit queasy, replace them with very thinly sliced mushrooms, and proceed…
Serves 1 (easily doubled, tripled, etc), at 71p – greedy guts here ate the whole tin of sardines… You don’t have to…!
1 tin of sardines, 45p
1 free range egg, 14p
20g fresh spinach (frozen defrosted would be cheaper but Le Freezer has died!), 12p
First crack your egg into your fat-bottomed mug – please make sure it is microwave safe and absolutely does not have any metal on it, metal can’t go in the microwave, it will start a fire. Even the teeny little edges of metal rim on some plates and cups that look so pretty, will not look so pretty when they’re burning your house down. Pierce the yolk with a sharp thing, and cover the mug with cling film (again, not foil, do not flout the no-metal rule. I cannot say this enough, as a former emergency call handler for the Fire Service, how many effing 999 calls I’ve taken in my short lifetime for house fires caused by kitchen fires caused by something metal in the sodding microwave.)
Pierce the cling film to allow steam to escape, and pop the mug on your plate.
Undo the sardine can, and drain off any excess oil (mine lives in a jar in the fridge, and will be used for cooking other things in the week like fishcakes, or to make a slightly ‘essence of sardine’ salad dressing, or something like that. Waste not, want not!) Pop the sardines on your plate next to the egg-mug.
Add a fistful of spinach, and pop it in the microwave on full power for 30 seconds. Peek inside, check your egg, give it all a few seconds to breathe (important), then give it another 30 seconds. Your egg should be cooked and spinach wilted by now, but not all microwaves are created equal, so give it a brief rest, then another 30 seconds if not.
Peel back the clingfilm carefully carefully, staring with the end furthest from you – you don’t want a steam burn! Tip or spoon the egg onto your plate, season the lot to taste, and enjoy!
I’ve given up my oven for Lent and am exploring the possibilities of cooking with a microwave – I’ve made a separate brand new shiny section for it on my blog – and have been meaning to do this for ages! Any hints, tips, tricks, pointers welcome, it’s like I’m teaching myself to cook all over again, and wow, something as simple as cooking an egg has taken me three days to master. Taking nothing for granted in this, but hoping I can use this time to come up with some quick and simple meals for work lunches, NHS workers, and a growing number of people who actually only have a microwave to cook with or can’t afford to turn the oven on. It’s a challenge, but I’m going to try to do a new recipe every day – and I’m actually living this, not just blogging about it! Watch this space and follow the progress at www.agirlcalledjack.com/microwave-cooking/
I’m on Instagram and Twitter @MsJackMonroe, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack
**Prices based on my most recent Sainsburys shop and correct at time of blogging: Tin of Portuguese sardines, 45p. 260g fresh spinach, £1.50. 6 free range mixed weight eggs, 85p.