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I was reminded of this recipe this morning when a friend at church brought in duck eggs for sale.  We had a ready supply throughout last year but the ducks have been taking a break from laying and the resumed supply is something we have eagerly anticipated!  I discovered this very simple recipe last year and although you can use hen’s eggs the larger and richer duck eggs (see picture) make it an extra special light supper.  I have made egg curries in the past and we always enjoy them, but this is one of the simplest recipes I have come across.

Once more this recipe is based on one from one of my favourite books: Hot & Spicy Cooking: Exciting Ideas for Delicious Meals with recipes by Judith Ferguson, Lalita Ahmed and Carolyn Garner, with just a few very small tweaks.  It’s simple sauce could be used as a base for any grilled meat or fish or diced meat or fish could also be incorporated.  It reminds me a little of other recipes on this site, in particular Pork Sausages Indian Style, a Madhur Jaffrey recipe and Prawn & Tomato Korma, both of which are favourites.  If using hen’s eggs then it is probably better to serve one and a half or even two per person for a light meal: with duck eggs one should be adequate.  If you are serving this at a larger main meal then you will definitely need more eggs and the sauce will serve only two or three people.  If serving as one option at an Indian style multi dish meal then the eggs should be quartered.  This could also be served as a starter with half an egg per portion (in two quarters) and a small piece of naan or poppodums.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Egg Curry
(Serves 4 as a light meal – 2-3 as a main meal – 6-8 as a starter)

4 duck eggs (1 per person – ½ for a starter)
or
4-8 hens eggs (depending on appetite of diners – 1 or less for a starter)
1tbsp sunflower oil
1 large or 2 small white onions (be generous)
2.5cm/1inch piece of cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
6 green cardamom pods
3 cloves
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1.5cm/½inch piece of root ginger, finely chopped
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground cumin
¼tsp ground turmeric
1tsp garam masala
1tsp chilli powder
1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes, chopped
Salt & black pepper to taste
180ml/6fl ozs vegetable stock or water (or 1tsp stock powder and water)
To garnish
Small handful fresh chopped coriander (parsley if unavailable)
1 small green chilli, a few fine slices (optional – I usually omit this)

1.  Hard boil the eggs in boiling water: 10-12 minutes for duck eggs or 8-10 minutes for hens eggs.  Once cooked plunge immediately into cold water, which will cool them and also help prevent the unsightly grey ring that can form around the yolk.  I usually steam hard boil eggs, having pierced the shells first, which takes about 5 minutes longer.

2.  Finely chop the onion and gently fry it in the oil for 2-3 minutes so it is soft but not browned.

3.  Stir in the finely chopped garlic and ginger along with the cinnamon, bay leaf, cardamoms and cloves.  Fry for 1 minute.

4.  Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, garam masala and chilli powder.  Stir well and fry for about 30 seconds more.

5.  Add the chopped tinned tomatoes.  Stir well, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.   Add the stock or water and bring to the boil.  Season to taste.

6.  Put the hard boiled eggs into the sauce and simmer for 10-12 minutes.

7.  Serve sauce on a bed of plain boiled rice with egg or eggs placed on top.  Garnish with coriander or parsley and, if you wish, a little finely sliced green chilli.

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Some time ago, in my search for alternative fruit curd recipes I found one for Banoffee Curd, posted by vintagehearth, which I have just got round to making.  I have to say it was delicious!

I made two slight changes, using soft light brown rather than dark brown sugar for a paler colour and adding lemon juice.  The sharpness of the lemon cuts through the sweetness of the curd and has the added bonus of helping keep the bananas pale in colour.  My only other advice would be to double the quantity of this recipe.  It takes only a little longer to cook a double batch and the single jar (and a bit over) yielded by 2 eggs is gone too quickly!  Apart from spreading on bread or toast, this would be wonderful as a cake filling or could be layered with crushed biscuits and cream or sweetened crème fraîche with some slices of fresh banana for an easy dessert.   When hunting for the original recipe again, I came across a second almost identical recipe, at the fruits of my labour which is for four rather than two eggs.  I would still add the lemon juice as well. 

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Banoffee Curd
(Makes 1 and a bit jars)

10oz/280g soft light brown sugar
2 medium/large bananas
2oz/50g butter
2 eggs, beaten
Juice of ½ lemon (my addition)

1.  Using a fork mash the bananas in a large heatproof bowl.  (I found that they did not need pushing through a sieve but you can do this if you wish.) 

2.  Mix in the sugar well, which will help break up the bananas.

3.  Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Cut the butter into small pieces and add, stirring until it’s melted.  

4.  Mix in the eggs. Simmer gently until cooked, stirring regularly so that the thicker layer on the bottom is mixed through.

5.   Meanwhile wash the jars well and sterilise.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.  Shake as much water from them as possible before filling.
Alternatively put the jars in an oven set to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4 for 10 minutes.  Be careful to put them on a dry surface when removing or they could crack.  Lids can be placed in a small pan of boiling water.  Shake as much water from the lids as possible before filling.

6.  Pot the curd into sterilised jars.  Once the jars are filled and the lids well screwed on, invert them to improve the heat seal.  Turn the jars the right way up once they are cool.

7.  All curds should be stored in the refrigerator and used within a month of production as they contain egg.

More curd recipes… (Comments to be left on the Curds page, please)
091005/101212

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Welsh Rarebit is a traditional British dish.  It was recorded in an eighteenth century recipe book having been served as a supper or of snack food in taverns and alehouses. It is not clear why it has the name Welsh, which was  first recorded in 1725.  However it has been suggested that cheese was cheaper than the meat which the impoverished Welsh people of that time could not afford to eat.  Some traditional versions add a splash of Worcester Sauce, ale or mustard to the mixture as it is mixed for extra flavour.  Also a pinch of cayenne can be sprinkled on top.  I have a Welsh Recipe Tea Towel, which includes one for Welsh Rarebit (called Caws-Wedi-Pobi in the Welsh language).  The ingredients are 8ozs/225g cheese, 1tsp butter, 1tsp dry mustard, 2tsp Worcester Sauce and 2tsp flour mixed with 4tbsp milk or beer which are melted together in a saucepan before being spread onto 4 slices of toast and finished under the grill – a parsley garnish is suggested: so a much more complicated and highly flavoured version than mine below.  Buck Rarebit has a poached egg served on top. 

This is the way Welsh Rarebit is cooked by my mother but I think the recipe is a fairly standard one.  It is one of the simplest cooked lunch dishes I know and very popular with my family. In some ways it reminds me of a very simple version of Nigella Lawson’s Triple Cheese & Onion Strata, especially if I put a little more effort in when making it and add some fried onions, which make it delicious.  I have tried to give an idea of the quantities of ingredients, but mostly I do not weight what I use.  It is a good way to finish up the remains of a block of cheese and different types of cheese can be combined although it is usual to use hard rather than soft cheese.  Mostly a fairly strong cheddar or similar is recommended, but a milder flavour is fine if it is preferred.  A delicious addition is to spread the bread with some home made Tomato Relish or another relish or chutney – or even a scrape of Marmite (love it or hate it?) before grilling.  My family have been known to add a dollop of tomato sauce onto the finished rarebit, though I prefer it without.  However, the recipe given below is for my usual everyday version with no frills, apart from those I am likely to include. The mixture can be made a little in advance and stored in the fridge. It is usually eaten hot, but there is no reason why it could not be eaten cold.  Cheese on Toast is an even simpler version of this recipe and too simple to be a stand alone post.  It is quite literally cheese-on-toast: sliced (or grated) cheese, arranged on the untoasted side of a slice of bread and then gently grilled until golden and bubbling.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

 Welsh Rarebit
(Serves 4)

4 thick slices of bread (for toasting so 1 or 2 days old is fine)
2 eggs
8ozs/225g Cheddar or similar hard cheese, or a mixture of cheeses (aprox)
Seasoning
1 onion, finely chopped & fried (optional) or
1 tbsp tomato or other relish (optional)
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

1.  Break the eggs into a bowl and stir with a fork.

2.  Stir in the grated cheese.  Add the pre-fried onions at this point if using.  Season and mix together well.

3.  Toast the slices of bread on one side only.  If using relish, spread this over the untoasted side of the bread.

4.  Share the egg and cheese mixture equally between the four slices of bread, piling onto the untoasted side (on top of any relish if it has been spread on).  Gently spread over the slice but not quite to the edges as the mixture will melt and spread out slightly.  It can be gently spread more with a  knife while cooking if necessary.

5.  Sprinkle over the cayenne, if using.  Cook under a gentle grill until the mixture has melted and browned.  Do not cook too high or the crust will burn before the centre is cooked.

6.  Cut into half, or slices and serve with a small side salad while still hot.

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This fluffy oven baked lunch or supper dish is somewhat reminiscent of Welsh Rarebit but oven baked and more substantial.  It is, in fact, a savoury bread and butter pudding, but with no butter apart from a very little to grease the dish.  It can be quickly assembled in advance and stored in the fridge for some time before baking: very convenient when you are in a hurry.  Although it was originally suggested for the very busy Christmas season, it can be eaten at any time of the year including as a light Summer supper dish served with a simple salad.  At a recent church lunch, I made this as the vegetarian alternative using a leek in place of the spring onion and it was very well received.

The recipe comes from the book Nigella Christmas (which I was given for Christmas in 2010) but was part of Nigella Lawson’s Christmas Kitchen television series in 2009 where it was served as a simple supper dish.  She calls the recipe Triple Cheese & Onion Strata, which I think is a lovely title.  As an alternative to a side salad it can be served with roast mixed vegetables which can be baked in a separate oven dish alongside.  As the recipe contains bread it certainly does not need potato, rice or pasta.  I found the recipe gave four generous portions.  The original used French bread, which is also good, but it is definitely not a recipe for pre-sliced processed bread.  I used large cubes of a good quality two-day old bread from the bakery (a Bloomer type loaf) as this was in my cupboard. 

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Triple Cheese & Onion Strata
(Serves 4)
150g/5 ozs bread from bloomer type loaf (weight without crusts)
or
1 small baguette, ends removed, cut into 1cm/½in slices and left to go stale
Butter, to grease dish
6 spring onions, white and green parts, roughly chopped
or
1 medium sized leek, rinsed to remove sand and finely chopped
150g/5oz mozzarella, roughly cut into pieces
50g/2oz parmesan, grated
100g/3½ cheddar, grated
100ml/3½fl oz soured cream
6 free-range eggs
small bunch fresh chives or 2/3 green spring onion tops, chopped, to garnish

1.  Butter a large 25cm/10in square gratin dish.  Thickly slice the bread and cut into large chunks or cut the baguette into rings.  Arrange the bread in a layer in the bottom of the dish.  It is better if the bread is a day or two old and it does not matter if the cubes dry out a little.

2.  Put the spring onions, mozzarella, parmesan and cheddar into a food processor with the soured cream and eggs.  Blend until the mixture is smooth with green flecks of spring onion.

3.  Pour the mixture over the bread in the dish.  Cover with cling film, and leave in the fridge for several hours, preferably overnight so the bread absorbs the liquid.

4.  When ready to cook preheat the oven to 180oC/360oF/Gas 4.  While the oven is heating up remove the dish from the fridge and bring it to room temperature before cooking.  This will prevent the dish from cracking. (If you have used a metal dish then it does not need to be brought to room temperature.) 

5.  Uncover the dish when it has reached room temperature. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until it is completely cooked through and golden on top.

6. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with chives or onion tops. 

7.  Serve with a mixture of roast vegetables: red onion, sweet potato, peppers and tomato is a good combination.  The dish does not need potato as it contains bread so including another root vegetable in the mixture is a good idea.  Alternatively, especially in the Summer months, serve with a mixed salad.

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Last year on holiday in the French Basque country the Spanish influence was clearly visible on the menus and in the supermarkets.  One of these was the Tortilla, sometimes called a Spanish Omelette – a Spanish word being used just over the border.  In Italy the word used for this type of dish is Frittata.  The French word is, of course, Omelette, which is the English word too: usually a very plain dish, but not an easy one to perfect and made with a few added herbs – very different from the rather substantial Tortilla.  In its simplest form, the Tortilla is a potato and onion filled omelette, sometimes including bacon or ham.  In a French supermarkets we found a pre-cooked Tortilla which just needed reheating in a frying pan.  We tried one out of interest and it wasn’t too bad, but not a patch on the home cooked version.  Tortilla is so simple to make and the basic ingredients (eggs, onion, potato plus, if you wish, meat, tomato, or a green vegetable) are usually readily available in the kitchen. It is a good way to use up leftover meat, especially ham, bacon, poultry or sausages – I have made Spanish style omelette on many occasions without a recipe.  Tortilla is an inexpensive and substantial quick and easy meal, whether for a family supper or eaten with friends at lunchtime and can be served hot or cold, although I have to say I much prefer the hot version. 

Nevertheless, this time I decided to look for a basic recipe with correct quantities as I wanted to post the Tortilla here.  I found a good recipe in one of my favourite cookery compendiums, Leith’s Cookery Bible: Completely Revised & Updated Edition – Prue Leith & Caroline Waldegrave.  My adaptation of the basic recipe is given below with the added ingredients separately shown, but next time I might choose different ones.  One good addition would be chorizo, a spicy Spanish sausage, which would help add a little Spanish authenticity to the dish.  I found that having a very low heat under the tortilla from when the eggs are added helps to keep the underneath from burning before everything is properly set, plus the finished Tortilla is much easier to remove from the pan. 

Variation – see further down: 
Minted Smoked Salmon & Fennel 
100_4194 Tortilla with bacon, mushroom & spinach

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Tortilla Omelette – with Bacon, Mushroom & Spinach
(Serves 4) 

Basic recipe
Knob of butter and 1tbsp olive oil for frying
45og/1lb potatoes, peeled, sliced and par-boiled until just cooked
1 small onion thinly sliced
Salt & Pepper
4 eggs, beaten
5fl ozs/¼pint/140ml single cream (Elmlea low fat is ideal) – optional 

Additional ingredients for this version
100g/4ozs bacon pieces, chopped
50g/2ozs button mushrooms, quartered or sliced if large
50g/2ozs chopped spinach, well washed and drained
50g/2ozs grated cheese, Spanish Manchego or Mozzarella if available, or Cheddar 

1.  Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and very gently fry the  onion until soft.  

2.  After about 5minutes stir in the cooked potato and season with salt and pepper.  If you are adding extra ingredients you can add them now, apart from spinach and others which need very little cooking. 

3.  Leaving just a thin film in the pan, pour any excess oil into the beaten egg.   

4.  Quickly stir the spinach, if using, into the pan at this point and then pour in the egg mixture.  Beat the egg well, mix with the cream if using and then pour back into the pan over the potatoes and onions.  

5.  Cook over a very gentle heat, stirring a little to work the egg through the mixture so it can set evenly.    

6.  Be careful that the underside does not burn and when it is golden gently ease the Tortilla away from the pan.  

7.  You can either turn the Tortilla by inverting the pan onto a plate, inverting onto a second plate and then gently returning to the pan or instead of inverting you can finish cooking the top under a medium grill.  If you want a cheesy top then scatter over the grated cheese before grilling until it bubbles 

8.  Serve in wedges with a salad, either hot or cold.  This could also be cut into small pieces and served as part of a buffet. 

Vegetarian Variation: 
It goes without saying that Tortilla in its simplest form with just egg, onion and potato is vegetarian, but the addition of other non-meat ingredients is popular.  Mushrooms and/or chopped fresh tomato is delicious as is a cheesy topping. 

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Minted Smoked Salmon & Fennel Tortilla Omelette

Basic recipe as above,  including potato
   plus
Red onion in place of white (optional)
1 small packet of smoked salmon offcuts
1 small fennel bulb, finely diced
2-3 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

Fry fennel with onion in butter/oil mixture.  Par boil potatoes, preferably new ones, with sprigs of mint.  Cook gently for about 10 minutes with partly cooked onion and fennel to allow flavours to be absorbed.  Combine with the salmon, cut into large pieces, pour in the egg mixture and cook, as above.  Serve with salad or peas.

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The family felt that this had an ‘All day breakfast’ feel to it and it certainly would not be out of place as a ‘brunch’ meal as well as being a tasty and not to heavy main meal.  It was listed in the book as a substantial snack, but I served it as a light supper dish on a hot day.  I did not want to add chips, perhaps the natural choice,  so we had boiled minted new potatoes which I would recommend or you could add crusty bread if you wish.   The original recipe used cayenne pepper but I used smoked paprika – it seemed the right choice to go with a Spanish themed recipe – and dusted a little over the finished dish with some additional parsley.  I also used a larger amount of sweetcorn, by mistake –  I had added a whole tin before I realised the quantity was wrong.  I have given the larger quantity as we liked it!  If you want less corn then add half a tin.  The remainder will freeze well for another occasion. I also feel that the combination of ingredients would be the basis for a good Spanish Omelette. You could make most of this in advance adding the eggs when needed as the whole dish will reheat in the oven.  As an alternative the bacon could be replaced with sausages, either ‘frankfurter’ type or pre-cooked traditional chipolatas, cut into small pieces and spicy Spanish Chorizo sausage would be a good addition, especially with the smoked paprika.  Vegetarian sausages are readily available.

The original recipe for Eggs Flamenco comes from Salads & Snacks by Carol Bowen, first published in 1981 by Sundial publications as part of a extensive series of paperbacks available from Marks & Spencer.  A second and similar version of the recipe , called Pan-fried Ham & Vegetables with Eggs, is found in  The Spanish Kitchen by Pepita Aris.  The main difference is the addition of 115g/4ozs grated cheese (Cheddar is suggested but Spanish Manchego would be much better).   This is sprinkled over the top of the dish after the eggs, melting whilst they cook, or alternatively added and flash grilled once the dish has been removed from the oven.

100_4646 Flamenco Eggs

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Eggs Flamenco
Huevas ala Flamenca
(Serves 4)

1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
250g/8ozs lean bacon or ham, diced
60g/1oz chorizo, chopped or in small slices (optional – can be increased)
2 red peppers, cored, de-seeded & sliced (or 1 red & 1 other colour)
375g/12ozs halved cherry tomatoes or 6-8 medium, cut into 8 or sliced
4ozs/125g button mushrooms, sliced
Salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
Pinch of Cayenne pepper or Smoked paprika
1tbsp freshly chopped parsley (plus a little more to garnish)
1 x 325g/12oz tin sweetcorn, drained – use less if you prefer
A little more smoked paprika & parsley to garnish
4 large eggs (ie, 1 per portion) – use ducks eggs if available
4ozs/115g grated Manchego or Cheddar cheese (optional)

1.  Pre-heat oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4

2.  Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion and garlic gently until soft, about 5 minutes.

3.  Add the bacon, chorizo and red peppers.  Fry for 10-12 minutes, or until the peppers are soft.

4.  Add the tomatoes, mushrooms, salt, pepper, cayenne or smoked paprika and parsley.  Continue cooking for about 5 more minutes until the tomatoes go very soft.

5.  Stir  in the drained sweetcorn and remove from the heat.

6.  Pour the mixture into a heavy based ovenproof  dish.  Make evenly spaced depressions in the mixture with the back of a spoon and into each break one egg per person.  If using, add the cheese now so it can bubble and brown while the eggs cook, or it can be added at stage 8.

7.  Place in the centre of the pre-heated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the eggs have set and the yolks are as you like them – do not cook for too long if you prefer your yolk to be soft and runny.

8.  If using cheese and it has not been used already, add it now and place under a preheated grill for no more than 5 minutes until bubbling.  Just before serving sprinkle with the remaining chopped fresh parsley and a dusting of smoked paprika.

9.  Serve hot with crusty French bread or boiled new potatoes or chips plus a simple green salad.

Vegetarian Variation:

This is easily adapted as it would be no problem to cook a meat free version, possibly using vegetarian sausages though it would be good without any meat substitute.

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