An incidental omelette

Note to self: remember to open a window in the bedroom before going to sleep. Even when the weather gets colder.

We didn’t last Wednesday night, so when I awoke on Thursday, I felt somewhat less energetic than get-up-and-go.

Standing in our postage-stamp sized garden – if you live in a modestly priced secure complex you’ll understand what I mean – with a cup of coffee, hoping the combination of caffeine and fresh-washed morning air (it rained in the night) would dispel the cobwebs, my eye spied the beginnings of an omelette, an incidental omelette.

A handful of young and tender Swiss chard leaves, some deep green chives, a sprig or two of flat leaf parsley, and a tender sprig of thyme.

A rinse and a rough chop, and added to a finely chopped small shallot and a half dozen quartered cherry tomatoes, all fried up in a couple of teaspoons of coconut oil, and the filling for my incidental omelette was almost complete.

The only thing missing was the cheese – a handful of grated white cheddar, 12 month matured, wrapped up in an egg envelope, et voila, c’est * ’omelette magnifique.

If you’ve seen the movie The Hundred Foot Journey, with the inimitable Helen Mirren as the owner of a Michelin star restaurant in a tiny French village, who assesses the potential of an aspirant chef by the excellence of his or her omelette, you’ll get the picture. (If you haven’t yet seen the movie, and you love food, you really ought to.)

After crafting and enjoying the omelette, I felt immeasurably better, but the real point of the exercise, was the simple pleasure of allowing what my eye beheld in the garden and the refrigerator to determine what ended up in the omelette and on the plate, rather than the other way around.

Try it some time.

Ingredients, selection and preparation

4-6 young Swiss chard leaves: rinsed and chopped

a sprig of flat leaf parsley: rinsed and chopped

a sprig of fresh thyme: rinsed and leaves picked

a bunch of chives: rinsed and snipped with scissors

1 small shallot: peeled and finely sliced

6 cherry tomatoes: rinsed and quartered

3-4 tbsp mature cheddar: grated

salt and pepper: for seasoning

4 tsp coconut oil

3 eggs: beaten


Heat a small saucepan and fry the shallot, tomatoes, parsley and thyme for about 5 to 8 minutes in two tsp of coconut oil.

Add the Swiss chard and cook for a further minute or so until it has just wilted. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, heat an omelette pan (yes, there is such a thing. It’s the one you own in which nothing ever sticks) and melt two tsp of coconut oil.

Pour the beaten eggs into the pan, and using an egg lifter, pull the edges towards the centre until the egg mixture is all but cooked through, over a medium heat.

Arrange the filling on one half of the omelette, and add the cheese. Gently flip the other side of omelette over onto the filling.

Turn off the heat, and let the omelette stand for a minute or two in the pan to finish cooking.

Serve garnished with fresh chives.