There was an intriguing piece of research published recently regarding the power of eggs for breakfast. Two groups of dieters were each assigned a breakfast equal in calories: the bagel breakfast, consisting of bagel, yogurt and cream cheese; and the egg breakfast, consisting of scrambled eggs, toast and jam. After eight weeks the group prescribed the egg breakfast had achieved a 61% greater weight loss that the bagel group. Eggs it seems are a particularly satisfying breakfast and helped the study subjects to stick to their low calorie diet over the rest of the day. Eggs for breakfast won’t spontaneously cause you to lose weight without also trying to cut down on the amount of food that you eat, however they may make dieting that little bit easier and more successful.
A recent eggy favourite in our household has been cottage cheese french toast with a courgette and corn salsa. Weekends in our household often involve dashing out early, then catching up later in the morning for brunch (I’m writing this at 8.30am on a Saturday and hubby is already long gone, off competing in a local triathlon). This kind of recipe, where much of the preparation can be done the night before, fits with our schedule perfectly. In addition to the satiating power of the eggs, this french toast recipe contains cottage cheese blended into the traditional egg mixture, adding calcium and extra protein and giving the bread that creamy but slightly sour cottage cheese taste. The salsa is delicious and provides a portion of vegetables for breakfast (especially important to factor in if you are skipping a meal and having this for brunch).
The first time I made this I followed the traditional approach of pan frying the toast but the bread soaks up olive oil like a sponge and you have to use a large amount to prevent it from sticking. Baking the bread in the oven turns out to be easier and healthier, and has the added advantage of letting you easily make several servings at once. That said, if you are stuck for an oven then you can always pan-fry.
The egg mixture will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for a few days ready for an impromptu rerun. The corn and zucchini salsa is tasty hot or cold and leftovers work great alongside many other dishes, especially vegetable dishes and grilled chicken and fish. The salsa also makes a quick basis for a packed lunch; bundle it into a tortilla wrap with low-fat cream cheese or houmous, or mix with cooked brown rice or canned beans for an easy salad.
Recipe for Baked cottage cheese french toast with a courgette and corn salsa
Serves six as a light breakfast, or three hungry people for lunch
Timings may need a bit of perfecting according to the ferocity of your oven (definitely reduce the temperature if you are using a fan oven). The finished toast should be golden and slightly crisp on the outside, and still moist in the middle. Serve with spicy tomato relish, or just good ‘ol ketchup.
For the eggy bread
6 slices of granary bread
4 medium eggs
1 cup of cottage cheese (a 230g tub)
Salt and pepper
For the salsa
Kernels from two cobs of fresh sweetcorn
3 courgette (zucchini), cut into small cubes
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp olive oil
Small bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
Use a blender to mix the cottage cheese and eggs together until you get a smooth, pale yellow liquid. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the bread into a shallow dish and pour over the egg mixture. Leave in the fridge while the bread soaks up the liquid.
Twenty minutes before you are ready to eat, spray a baking sheet with olive oil and place in the oven. Preheat the oven to 180 C, 350 F.
Place the slices of bread onto the preheated tray and put them into the oven. Set the timer for 5 minutes (you can get on with cooking the salsa while the toast is in the oven). After 5 minutes are up, turn the bread (a sharp fish slice is useful). Return the bread to the oven and set the timer for another 5 minutes.
Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a deep-sided frying pan or skillet. Add the sweetcorn, courgette, chilli and spring onion to the pan and cook for five minutes, stirring the veg continuously. Add the cumin, salt and pepper and stir well. Add the chopped coriander.
Serve the bread topped with the salsa.