This breakfast recipe dubbed a "Wifesaver" is a real crowd pleaser. Not only does it feed many, it also smells wonderful while baking in the oven and uncontrollable mouth watering and the urge to peek and sample often occurs. It has a light texture not unlike a cheese souffle and a melting centre of cheese, bacon, capsicum and green onions. Tabasco adds a little spice at the end. Even better, most of it can be done the day before while it rests in the fridge overnight and the next morning it just needs to be placed in the oven.
Every 2-3 weeks I have a regular beauty appointment in which I have to lie down on a bed with my eyes shut and not move. For someone that gets bored very easily, this sensory deprivation is a challenge and by the end of the hour I cannot wait to get up from the bed and look at the world again. A few months ago I decided to address the issue by listening to podcasts and I plowed through "Serial". If you love interesting true crime stories, I cannot recommend it highly enough (although there is no resolution at the end which is quite maddening).
After that I started looking for more podcasts for these appointments and I came across "Stuff You Should Know". They cover varied topics from "How street gangs work" and "How anesthesia works" and one of them was how blood types work. They talked about the history of how we got to learn about blood types and the gruesome experiments that were performed on patients in mental homes. Apparently they started using cow's blood for transfusions and after that another doctor used milk to replace blood. As you can imagine, that didn't end well. People fell into comas and died terrible deaths all in the name of science. Now we know better but back then things were brutal in as far as medicine went.
Fast forward some time to a couple of generations ago and that was when this recipe was developed. Thankfully it has nothing to do with blood but rather milk. It was called Christmas Morning "Wifesaver" back when gender roles were clearly defined. I first tried it at a Eurovision breakfast where everyone brought something from a different country. Anna brought this savoury egg souffle and baked it at Louise's house. It smelled wonderful while it was baking and we were all curious to see it emerge from the oven. It was golden and fragrant and Anna explained the story of this family recipe.
"The recipe was designed by a Canadian housewife - her husband (and many others) would leave very early in the morning & work long days in the cold/snow and this lady wanted to make a hot homely dish to bring to the worksite or have for them in the morning to keep them going. So she created this recipe. My aunt married a Canadian many years ago and this recipe was passed on to her when she moved over there. It got renamed the wife saver recipe as you can prepare it the night before & place in oven & it's ready in an hour and satisfies everyone!"
Anna shared the recipe with me as we all loved this recipe. It feeds a lot of people-there's plenty there and can be easily upsized. It's incredibly good out of the oven when it is warm, the crunchy layer on top giving way to a soft centre of melted cheese, bacon, capsicum and eggs. It's light as a souffle. Indeed it is like a cheat's cheese souffle. If you want to make something that feeds plenty you don't have to wait until Christmas to try this beauty!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you like podcasts? Do you make use of recipes that can be cooked ahead of time? And do you know your blood type?
The Wife Saver Breakfast
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott/Not Quite Nigella adapted from Anna's recipe
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves 6-8 people
- 1/2 loaf of sourdough bread, sliced (about 300-400g or 10.6ozs-14.14ozs.)
- 4 rashers of middle bacon, chopped
- 2 cups grated cheese
- 1 chopped red capsicum/pepper
- 1/2 cup green onion, sliced
- 6 eggs
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups milk
- Dash Tabasco sauce
- 1 cup crushed Special K or cornflake cereal
Step 1 - Butter a large 9x13inch or 23x33cms glass or ovenproof dish with high sides. Lay down half of the bread and then place the bacon on top and then 1 cup of cheese, red capsicum and green onion. Cover with the remaining half of the bread.
Step 2 - In a bowl beat the eggs, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, milk and Tabasco sauce. Pour over the bread and add the remaining cup of cheese. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
Step 3 - The next morning preheat oven to 180C/350F. Melt the butter and drizzle over the top of the pudding and then add the roughly crushed cereal (you can just do this with your hands). Bake for 1 hour. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before eating.