Living Below the Line: The Frittata and the Lost Egg

I have to admit to feeling just a little bit smug on Monday morning.  I’d been reading the blog posts of other people doing the Below the Line challenge, looking at their breakfasts (damper – made from flour and water with nothing on top.  A single apple.  Plain boiled rice.) and thinking, well, OK, we’re doing quite well.  And I don’t drink tea or coffee, so I also get to avoid that particular deprivation.  And so long as I’m not thinking about food, I feel pretty OK, hunger-wise.

(Do you see the problem inherent in that last sentence?  Consider this blog.  Then consider how much of my life I *don’t* spend thinking about food.  Seriously, I’m probably thinking about food 80% of the time.  Food is interesting!  And worth thinking about!  But I definitely need a different hobby this week…)

And then I started cooking lunch.  Frittata with roast capsicum and pumpkin and more of the ubiquitous frozen vegetables, and my precious, possible free-range eggs.  I have to say, the mixture looked pretty fabulous, if I say so myself.  So fabulous that, once I’d put it in a quiche tin, I decided to go and get my phone so that I could photograph it.

This turned out to be a very fortunate thing, because as I came back into the kitchen, I heard a dripping noise.  The egg was dripping right out of the bottom of the quiche tin, all over the bench and floor.  Thank goodness it wasn’t in the oven, or I’d probably have lost the lot.  As it was, I was able to grab for a bowl and salvage most of the egg.  A good two thirds of it, anyway.

Well, at least I know the eggs were free-range, ha ha ha…

I do, as it happens, have other eggs in the fridge – but using one of those would be cheating.  After all, part of the ‘joy’ of a $2 budget is that you can’t afford a wasted ingredient.  Especially if it’s your precious, precious egg…

So today’s (and, of course, Monday’s) lunch was a little bit less filling than it might otherwise have been.

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Your Shopping List

1 capsicum, reddish if you can manage it
about 1/4 – 1/3 of a butternut pumpkin
1 1/2 cups frozen vegetables
6 eggs, if you’re lucky


Now what will you do with it?

First, acknowledge that this is in no way a frittata.  Come on, admit it to yourself.  Frittata means ‘fried’, and there is no frying in this recipe, because we have no cooking fat, remember?

Now that you have done this, chop your pumpkin into 1.5 cm cubes (or thereabouts, you don’t need a ruler), and put on a non-stick baking tray.  Sprinkle with a little salt and a little water and toss to coat.  Bake at 230 for about 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through and a little golden.

While you are doing this, roast your capsicum.  This is fun.  I like to just sit my capsicum on a gas burner, turning it occasionally, until it is well-blackened and feels soft and collapsey.  Or, you can cut it into its three or four flattish ‘sides’, and put them skin side up on a tray in the oven, and bake or grill until the skins are black.

Once you have a nicely black capsicum, put it into a bowl covered with gladwrap for a few minutes to sweat.  This should loosen the skin so that you can pull it off fairly easily (running water will help, especially with the part where you don’t burn your hands).

Slice the roasted capsicum into small squares.

Microwave the frozen veg for 2-3 minutes in a little water, until soft.

Beat the eggs well in a large bowl, and then stir in all the other ingredients.  Transfer to a 20cm round cake tin with a bit of paper on the bottom, and bake at 200 for about half an hour.

Serves four.



Frozen vegetables are *unbelievably* bland, especially the cheap ones.  Use something fresh if you possibly can.  Oil for roasting your pumpkin would be good, and cheese would improve this frittata dramatically.  Also, buttering the base of the tin would probably be helpful.

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