Whilst I do not profess to be an accomplished chef worthy of television fame or notoriety, I am fairly comfortable within the confines of the kitchen, having a knack of being able to create quick, simple meals. Being able to knock up a hearty snack with a limited number of ingredients is mandatory when you have hungry mouths snapping at your heels.
I have a number of these life savers in my culinary arsenal that I use from time to time when holding the fort at home with three young and seemingly always hungry children. One such dish is the humble omelette.
This was the first thing that I ever learned to cook. I remember being taught the basic version of this recipe by my aunt way back before CDs or Wikipedia had been invented.
Over the years, I have set about adding my own flavor to this staple snack by making many versions of it. At one time I would throw in anything I had to hand, such as peppers, tomatoes and sweetcorn, in an attempt to create my signature dish.
While it is good to experiment, this approach was often too far removed from the basic elements of what an omelette should be; a quick and nourishing meal that can be literally whipped up in a matter of minutes.
What youâ€™ll need
For an entry level guide to this simple, yet highly nutritional culinary masterpiece you will need to equip yourself with the following utensils and ingredients:
Small non-stick frying pan
3 eggs. For best results use ones that have been stored in the pantry and not straight from the fridge
2 tbl spoons of milk
Knob of butter or a drop of olive oil
A pinch of salt and pepper to taste
A handful of grated cheese
For a little added flavor, you may want to include the following items:
Chopped onions and or mushrooms
Diced bacon or ham
Prepare the ingredients
To get things underway, crack the eggs against the rim of the bowl and drop the contents into it. Discard the shells, but don't worry if there a small number of tiny egg shell fragments left in the bowl. Those extra pieces of protein will do you the world of good.
Add the milk, salt and pepper then whisk the mixture until it is light and frothy. At this point I sometimes add a little curry powder or dried herbs and spices for additional flavor.
If you plan to include any extras, such as the onions and mushrooms, then these need to be chopped up and set to one side.
Before you start cooking you will need to warm up the frying pan. Care should be taken to prevent the pan from getting too hot as you do not want to burn the oil.
Place the palm of your hand about 5 inches ABOVE the pan and when you feel a warm heat rising up, you are ready to go.
Add the oil or butter and let it heat for 30 seconds.
These next couple of steps can be skipped if you are not planning on adding any extras
Add the bacon and cook it until it starts to turn crispy
Just before the bacon is cooked, add the vegetables (onions/garlic/mushrooms) and continue to cook until the onions start to turn brown and soft.
Add the main ingredients
Pour the milk and egg mixture into the pan and gently roll the pan around so that the liquid completely covers the surface and the condiments.
Return the pan to the cooker on a medium heat and cook the mixture slowly. Burst any large bubbles with a fork, this will help the batter to thicken as it cooks from the bottom.
Continue cooking until you are able to get the flipper underneath the omelet.
Next, turn on the grill and place the frying pan under it and cook on a medium to high heat for a minute or two or until the surface starts to thicken.
Pull out the pan and add the grated cheese then replace the pan under the grill and continue to cook until the cheese melts to a glorious golden brown.
The grilling action should make the omelette nice and fluffy.
Remove from the grill and serve up straight away with a little relish. Yum.
I can still picture my aunt standing over her stove, guiding me through my first cooking lesson. As I looked up in wonder and slight apprehension I wondered how was she going to transform this gooey slimy liquid made from raw eggs and a drop of milk into something tasty to eat? My answer came within about 15 minutes. That was all it took her to create a warm and tasty snack and more importantly introduce me to the joys of home cooking.