We came back from what was supposed to be a relaxing weekend escapade to Paris but rather turned into a stressful couple of days. It was snowy. Very snowy indeed, making Paris all white and magical for a few hours, and then a complete disaster. A layer of dirty slushy was covering all the sidewalks and roads, from Rue de Rivoli to Place d’Italie, melting into muddy, ice-cold puddles.
Long queues awaited us at every step, from the ticket machine at Gare du Nord to the Starbucks in Boulevard de Strasbourg. Also, we somehow managed to get treated rudely by everybody: from the manager of the Vietnamese restaurant, who stripped the bowl still containing some delicious Pho from my hands; to the waiter at the wine bar near Canal Saint Martin, who almost killed me when I asked whether we could have the cheese and bread while we were waiting for our main (‘It will be a while’, he said, and well, I was starving).
Anyway, thumbs up for the Edward Hopper Exhibit, which was the main purpose of our trip, and for the out-of-this-world bread and pastry experience at Du Pain et Des Idées, a bakery (the bakery, the best bakery in Paris, and arguably in the world), near République, which was luckily right in front of our Airbnb. Also, for the many natural wines drank, and for a romantic stroll under a cotton-soft snow.
Unfortunately, the trip was shortened by the adverse weather, which caused many Eurostars to be cancelled. Luckily, we managed to jump on an earlier train and escape the worse of the snow storm. Arriving at St Pancras was strangely emotional that day: for the first time, I surprised myself having a big smile on my face. London finally felt like home. It took us a little trip to Paris to realise that.
By the time we got to our apartment, happy to be home in a warm, dry place, we were genuinely starving. Of course, the fridge was empty. Desperate for a warming, comforting, nourishing lunch, we pulled together the few things we had – four eggs, a head of broccoli, and some amazing bread, and turned them into the simplest of meals. Since then, bread and frittata (or bread with eggs in some form) have become our food of choice for when we come home from a trip, or we are about to leave. I hope we’ll always remember to save some eggs for the occasion.
Roasted Broccoli Frittata
A good trick to make frittata a bit fluffier is to add baking powder and a bit of milk to the eggs. You can, of course, change the veggies with the seasons: I can see asparagus, zucchini and wilted greens working just as well in here.
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 head of broccoli, rinsed and cut into florets
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
1 red onion, thinly chopped
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp whole milk
1 small bunch of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 200°C. In a large bowl, toss the broccoli florets with a spoonful of olive oil, grated Parmesan and plenty of salt and pepper. Scatter on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring every now and then. Remove and set aside.
In a small bowl, beat eggs with salt, pepper, milk and baking powder until light yellow and fluffy.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a medium-size skillet over low heat. Add the chopped onion and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, until tender. Add the roasted broccoli and saute for 2-3 minutes. Finally, pour the egg mixture and move the skillet to spread it evenly on the surface. Cover with a lid and allow to cook for about 3 minutes, scraping the edges so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Remove the lid and using a spatula, lift the bottom of the frittata. Carefully slip it to a plate (or the lid you were using), then place the skillet on top of the plate and turn it upside down, so that the top of the frittata is now the bottom. Cook for two more minutes, uncovered. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.