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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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Once we have got across the channel we buy a lovely fresh stick ‘pain’ for our first picnic and then spend time poring over the wonderful offerings on the delicatessen counter.  Which cheese?  Can’t choose: OK let’s get two types …and we mustn’t forget the pâté!  Mostly we buy this from a supermarket but sometimes, if we are in a town, we buy from a Charcuterie or Pork Butcher, where it is likely to be the butcher’s shop own recipe.  Pâté, of course, comes in many different local and regional guises.  My husband loves Pâté Provençale, often slightly spicy with pieces of red and green pepper and there are no prizes for guessing what my duck loving daughter chooses … I’m just happy to try as many different ones as I can!  We all have a bit of a weakness for a good meaty (and garlicky!) French pâté.  The French seem to have a penchant for adding pistachio nuts to cooked meats and pâtés so I was very pleased to come across this recipe which made a very pretty addition to our Christmas afternoon tea (and several subsequent meals) last year.  I have been intending to share it for some time and as there is a French theme this month, here it is at last … and as promised.  Be warned, though, this is not a particularly quick recipe to make as the pressing and cooling takes at least 2 hours in addition to the making and cooking time, but it is worth it.

The recipe comes from one of my Christmas presents (a request!) last year: The French Market by Joanne Harris & Fran Warde.  I already own a copy of the companion book by the same authors: The French Kitchen.  The pâté had favourable comments from our Christmas and New Year visitors but if I was being critical I think it needs a few little tweaks when I make it again, and I will.  Firstly, I felt that the recipe needed a little more seasoning (I was probably being careful so underseasoned) and the addition of garlic for a stronger flavour.  This is down to personal preference and is a comment rather than an instruction: you will have to make up your own mind and alter as you think fit.  I used the exact amount of pistachio nuts but felt it was rather a lot and could be reduced a little next time, perhaps by a quarter or even more.  You can see from the photo just how generous the quantity is.  Other recipes include peppercorns which give a lovely spicy hit in the mouth: the quantity to add would be trial and error of course and certainly not the same in quantity as the pistachios.  I have a tub of mixed coloured peppercorns bought in France – a mixture of black, white, green and pink which I will try sometime.  Another adaptation could be a version of Pâté Provençale, adding chopped mixed peppers and Herbes de Provence.  I chose to make the mixture in two smaller loaf tins, which meant that I needed almost double the number of bacon rashers and then froze one block to extend the use by date, defrosting it overnight before cooking, though I could easily have cooked both and simply frozen one afterwards, perhaps ready sliced.

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

French Style Country Terrine/Pâté (Terrine/Pâté de Campagne)
(Serves 6-8 as a lunch dish – more as part of a buffet)

450g streaky bacon, thinly sliced & rind free (extra for more than one block of pâté)
200g chicken livers, trimmed
500g lean pork, diced
4 shallots, finely diced
or
2 small white onions, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped/crushed (optional addition to original recipe)
2 eggs, beaten
bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
4 sprigs of thyme, just the leaves
or
1tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves, chopped
Sea salt & ground black pepper
100g pistachio nuts, or less (whole or chopped – reserved some whole to garnish) optional

1. The original recipe specified heating the oven to 160oC/Gas 3.  No Farenheit temperature was given but I think this is about 312oF.

2. Chop the chicken livers and 250g of the bacon and place together in a bowl.

3. Stir in both the chopped and the minced pork, chopped shallots or onion, chopped or crushed garlic, herbs and seasoning. Add most of the pistachio (or other nuts, peppercorns or similar) at this point, reserving a few as a garnish.  Mix well.

4. Line a 22cm x 11cm terrine dish or loaf tin with most of the remaining slices of bacon, reserving a few to go on top once it is filled. Alternatively use two (or more) smaller ovenproof containers, but as mentioned previously you will need extra bacon. The bacon can be gently stretched with a knife so it covers a larger area of the tin and should be laid side by side with no gaps. The pâté will have an attractive striped appearance.

5. Fill the dish(es) or tin(s) with the meat mixture.

6. Fold the ends of the lining bacon over the top of the meat mixture and lay the remaining slices on the top side by side.

7. Bake in the oven for 1½ hours – two separate containers should need slightly less time. Watch the surface and if the meat starts to brown too much, cover with a layer of tin foil, shiny side up to reflect away the heat.

8. Remove and leave to cool for 30 minutes before carefully draining off the collected juices. These can be kept as stock and added to another meat recipe.

9. Place sheet of tin foil and then a snug fitting weight on the top of the terrine or tin for at least 1½ hours in order to compress it. (I used some tins with some heavy bags of salt on top, but use whatever is to hand.)

10. For ease the finished terrine should be turned out while still slightly warm. It can then be eaten immediately or chilled in the refrigerator until ready to slice and serve. Scatter with the remaining pistachios or other nuts, if using, to preserve their crunchiness for as long as possible. (If adding peppercorns you do not need to reserve any.)

11. The book recommends that this will keep for up to 7 days in the refrigerator. If making more than one container or loaf the second one can be wrapped well in tin foil and frozen. It should be thoroughly defrosted (overnight in the refrigerator) before eating.

12. This can also be cut into portions or individual slices to be taken in advance from the freezer and defrosted.

13.  Serve with crusty French style or Wholegrain bread and salad.  Good for buffets and summer picnics and excellent to serve as a starter, especially as it can be made in advance.

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This recipe is a regular at my table, especially in the Summer.  I think it deserves a place on this site even though it seems almost too easy to be worth posting, but the simplest recipes are often the best.  I don’t know how many types of tomato you are able to find locally.  Most weeks just the round red type are available on our market, with unusual varieties a rarety.  In the Summer there are often the small sweet ones, useful for skewering, plus vine tomatoes and sometimes the oval Italian plum type.  One week last Autumn, therefore, I was surprised and pleased to see a number of varieties I had not come across before.  I knew, though, that if I bought several types of tomatoes I would also need to have a plan for them.  No problem: our favourite warm tomato dish, flavoured with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and basil – perfect!  It would be extra pretty, multi-hued rather than the usual plain red.  I decided on some medium sized pale yellow tomatoes and some enormous crinkly orange/red ones, plus the ordinary red type I had already bought at an earlier stall.  Later on I saw dark tomatoes too, a combination of maroon and olive green: my heart said yes … but my head said that I had bought enough already!  A pity as the splash of extra colour would have made the dish particularly attractive.

Although I am sure that there are many similar versions of this Mediterranean style dish in recipe books this recipe is my own.  I have not specified amounts – use as many tomatoes as you would like to serve, but be generous as this is moreish. The other ingredients should be according to taste.  Since I made (and photographed) this recipe I have discovered the existence of white balsamic vinegar, though have not yet bought a bottle.   It would be useful as the tomatoes would not have the usual dark staining associated with ordinary balsamic vinegar.  I usually serve this as a warm side dish as part of a main meal or as a warm or cold salad.  It also makes a good light lunch spooned onto a slice of crusty toast or a delicious starter, either cold or a warm, served on its own, or on crusty bread drizzled with additional olive oil, or topped with a slice of flash grilled melted goats cheese.

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

Roasted Mixed Tomatoes

Tomatoes – one variety or mixed varieties and colours if available
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar, dark or white
Fresh basil leaves, torn – plus a few to garnish
Sugar (a small sprinkle for added sweetness)
Sea salt
Black pepper, freshly ground
Slices of French baguette loaf – optional
Slices of goat’s cheese roll – optional

1.  Cut the tomatoes into ¼inch/½cm slices and layer in an ovenproof dish.

2.  Sprinkle generously with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add sugar, torn basil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3.  Put the dish uncovered into a preheated oven at around 170oC/325oF/Gas 3 for about 15 minutes.  (The temperature and cooking time can be a little higher or lower as this recipe is often cooked at the same time and heat as another dish for the meal.)
OR
Cook uncovered on medium in the microwave so the tomatoes heat through relatively gently.

4.  Whichever method of cooking is used the tomatoes need to be warmed through, retaining their shape, rather than dried up (although they are still delicious if they have shrivelled a little!)

5.  Serve drizzled with a little extra olive oil and some more torn green basil, as the original leaves will have darkened and have lost their attractive colour.

6.  If adding goats cheese then, before finishing with extra olive oil and basil, lay slices of a goat’s cheese log on the top and gently flash grill to melt and colour. Alternatively toast a slice of French baguette loaf on one side, then turn over and lay a slice or two of goats cheese on the other side.  Flash cook cheesy side under the grill.   Serve laid on a bed of warm or cold cooked tomatoes.

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Back in the 1970’s I watched Ken Hom cooking Sesame Prawn Toast on TV in his classic TV show Chinese Cookery and although he said they were simple to make, it still took me years to get round to having a go.  Whatever else I order in a Chinese restaurant I always feel I have somehow missed out if I don’t have at least one piece of Sesame Prawn Toast – I have also eaten them in a Thai restaurant where they tasted much the same.  In one really good local restaurant they are just one element of a mixed starter dish so I don’t even have to choose!  It is some time since I have cooked a multi dish Chinese meal so earlier this year I took my opportunity.  It was mum’s birthday.  I know that I can take a bit more risk with something I have not made before – my family and parents are very forgiving guinea pigs – so our starter was, of course, sesame prawn toast.  As I had thought it was a straightforwad recipe and it and the meal a resounding success.

The recipe is a fairly standard one, as far as I can see, and comes from the BBC book that accompanied the TV series: Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery.  The mixture and the finished uncooked toasts can be made in advance (always an advantage) chilled and then cooked just prior to serving.  Although the original recipe was deep fried I found that the toasts could also be shallow fried.  After draining on kitchen paper I popped them into the oven, which had been on to cook the duck breast for the Duck with Chinese Style Plum Sauce I was also serving.  This kept the toasts warm and crisped them even more.  A version of the recipe can also be found at This Morning Recipes but includes water chestnuts and pork, which are not in the original recipe.  It also specifies just the white of the egg which I have kept as I think it an improvement on my recipe.

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

Sesame Prawn Toast
(Makes about 30 pieces)
For the base
10 slices bread, very thinly sliced (a square loaf looks neater when cut up)
3 tablespoons white sesame seeds (or more as required)
450ml (15 fl oz) sunflower oil (original suggests groundnut/peanut
For the prawn paste mixture
450g/1lb uncooked prawns, peeled & finely chopped
1tsp salt
½tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 egg white
2tbsp finely chopped spring onions, white part only
2tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1tbsp of light soy sauce
1tsp of sesame oil

1.  Chop the prawns finely until they are a paste and place in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients.  Mix well until it is a smooth consistency that will be easy to spread. (If available, use a food processor.)

2.  Remove the crusts from the bread and cut each slice into about three ‘fingers’ – rectangles of around 7.5 x 2.5cm  (3 x 1 inch).  Alternatively cut into triangles: 2 large or 4 small.

3.  Spread the prawn paste over the pieces of bread.  Each should be about 3 mm (⅛inch) deep, although it can be spread more thinly if preferred.

4.  Sprinkle the toasts generously with sesame seeds and press well in.

5. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer, frying pan or a wok to medium heat.  Fry the toasts paste side downwards, several at the same time, for 2 to 3 minutes.  Turn them over and fry for a further 2 minutes or until golden brown.

6.  Remove with a slotted spoon, place on kitchen paper to drain and place in the oven or under a gentle grill to keep warm. (The toasts will have to be cooked in several batches.)

7.  It is recommended that the toasts are served at once.  However, they can be kept for a short while (say 5-10 minutes at most) and even finished in a warm oven, in which case it is helpful if they are slightly less browned in the fryer or wok.  Beware leaving them too long as they will harden and could quickly burn.

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This is such an easy recipe: simply combine all the ingredients in a plastic bag and leave the flavours to develop. It includes one of my favourite flavours, Star Anise, which is an unusually shaped spice with an easily recognisable floral shape.   Along with root ginger, it infuses this marinade with the distinctive flavour of Far Eastern food, plus giving off a wonderful aroma when cooking.  With a holiday looming I know I will need to call on my repertoire of quick and easy recipes, but it is always a useful quick meal to for a busy day. Bearing this in mind there are ready marinaded portions of this recipe in the freezer, each bagful enough for a meal for my family.  All I have to do is remember to get one out of freeze in the morning, add the onion pieces and defrost in the fridge or a cool place during the day.  Then in the evening simply tip the contents of the bag into a dish, cover and pop into the oven.  Although cooking takes around an hour it gives time to get on with the vegetables and other jobs.  Easy-peasy!

The source for this recipe is Finger Lickin’ Ribs from the book Feast: Food that Celebrates Life by Nigella Lawson, but with some slight variations.  The title has been tweaked, adding the word aromatic and removing the reference to ribs which I would never use.  (We find them a lot of effort for very little reward.)  In their place I usually use lean belly pork strips, but sometimes spare rib or loin chops.  Chicken could also be substituted and it could even used to marinade a larger piece of meat, which should definitely be left overnight before cooking.  We like much more onion too (this can be as much as a small/medium onion per person).  The original recipe used molasses but I substituted the much more readily available black treacle.  Finally, as an alternative to ring the changes, orange juice could replace pineapple.  I found that the dish needed to be covered with foil as it tends to spatter whilst cooking, but this should be removed for the final 10 minutes or so to allow the juices to evaporate and the meat to crisp a little.  I’m afraid that this is not the easiest dish to photograph attractively (especially as it was taken on a winter evening under electric strip lighting and looks much more greasy than it really is – I must photograph it again in the summer!).  It’s very unflatteringly ‘brown’, but delicious nonetheless.  Do give it a try.  I use other marinade recipes which are equally tasty and links for these will appear further down in due course once I have added the recipes.

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

Aromatic Finger Lickin’ Pork
(Serves 4)

4-8 lean belly pork strips (1-2 per person depending on size)
or
1 spare rib or loin chop per person
4 small/medium onions (less if you prefer)
1 star anise
1 small cinnamon stick broken into pieces
1 small green chilli, with seeds & inner membrane removed
A 1inch/2.5cm piece fresh ginger
Juice & zest of a lime
2tbsp soy sauce
1tbsp sunflower oil
1tbsp black treacle or molasses
50ml pineapple juice (¼ small carton – freeze the remainder in 50ml portions)

1.  Line a medium sized bowl with an open plastic bag big enough to hold all the ingredients but leaving enough room to tie together and seal.  If you are intending to freeze for a later date then leave out the onion until it is going to be cooked.

2.  Into the large plastic bag put the meat, the peeled onions, each cut into about eight segments, the star anise and the crumbled cinnamon stick.  Add the chilli, finely chopped (for more heat do not remove the seeds and membrane and the peeled and finely sliced ginger.

2.  Zest the lime and squeeze the juice into the bag and add the the soy sauce, oil, treacle and pineapple juice and seal the bag by tying a knot.   Carefully squeeze the bag to combine the flavourings with the meat as much as possible.  Ideally the bag should be left overnight (or throughout the day) in the fridge, but it needs to marinade for at least two hours.

3.  Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas 6. Once it has reached room temperature pour the contents of the bag containing the marinaded meat into a roasting tin. Cover with foil and put into the oven for 1 hour, turning the pieces of meat over and removing the cover for the last 10 minutes to allow them to brown and any liquids to reduce.

4.  Serve with rice or flatbreads and salad.  If using belly strips the pieces can be cut into bit sized pieces and served as part of a hot buffet or on a starter selection plate at a chinese style meal.

—–

More pork marinades – or maybe chicken (perhaps other meats and fish too):
(Please leave comments about the following recipes with the recipe at the link given rather than here – thanks!)

Australian Spiced Roast Pork

100_2332-Australian spiced roast pork

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

Sticky Tomato Pork
based on Roasted Pork Ribs (Fig Jam & Lime Cordial)

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

Moroccan Style Marinaded Lamb Steaks

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

Other marinade recipes I have found, as yet untried (various meats):

Four Pork Barbecue Sauces via The Evening Herault
(Standard Barbecue Sauce, Cha shao – Cantonese BBQ pork, Barbecued Irish pork chops, Jamie Oliver’s best BBQ meat sauce)
Slow Cooker Chinese Ribs via Greedy Rosie
Barbeque Flavoured Pork via Farmersgirl Kitchen
Best Five-Spice Pork Spare Ribs via Best Recipes
F
rench Style Spareribs via Lemons & Anchovies
Char Siu Pork via The Spanish Wok

Red Garlic Chicken via The Complete Cookbook
Spicy & Sticky Orange marinade via Souperior
Marmalade & Wine Chicken Kebabs via The Complete Cookbook
Sticky Chicken Wings via Lavender & Lime
Poricha Kozhi (Fried Spiced Chicken) – Indian Street Food via Rhis Foodie World
Middle Eastern Marinated Chicken via Searching for Spice

Korean Style Bulgogi Barbecue Beef via Rhis Foodie World
Balsamic Roasted Beef via Noble Nourishment

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This extremely quick and simple chilled fruit cocktail makes an ideal starter for a summer supper, but can be served at any time of the year, particularly before rich main and dessert courses.  It also makes a refreshing start to the day served as part of  breakfast or brunch. If serving at a dinner party, I always make plenty as any leftovers are used up the next day at breakfast.  I use tinned fruit in light syrup, but you could substitute fresh grapefruit and mandarin segments or tinned fruit in natural juices, although this could taste very tart to a guest with a sweet tooth.  The liquid in tinned mandarins in their own juice is usually orange rather than clear.  I have used various varieties of Melon for this recipe: Honeydew and Piel de Sapo are both pale and sweet but if you can get Charentais with its beautiful peach coloured flesh it makes the cocktail very attractive.  A mixture of melon colours is also good.  Red fleshed Watermelon would also be pretty, but I have yet to try it and I think it would probably be better used in combination with another melon, for example Honeydew.

This recipe is one of my own. 

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

Chilled Citrus & Melon Cocktail
(Serves 6-8)

2 x 540g cans tinned grapefruit segments in light syrup – or unsweetened
2 x 312g cans tinned mandarin segments in light syrup – or unsweetened
½ – 1 Melon (or use selection of colours) deseed & scoop out with melon balling tool
         (small chunks would be fine if you do not have one of these)
2 or 3 sprigs of mint, washed & chopped plus some for decoration

1.  Combine all the ingredients in an attractive bowl, glass if you have one.  Use either all sweetened or all unsweetened tinned fruit, or a mixture, depending on the level of sweetness required.  Fresh grapefruit and/or mandarins (without the connecting tissue) can be substituted but a little sugar may be required.

2.  Chill for several hours in the refrigerator, mixing in the chopped mint no more than an hour before serving, as it starts to deteriorate if left too long.  

3.  Remove some of the juice if you feel there is too much.

4.  Serve in bowls, again glass if available, decorated with the extra mint sprigs.

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