King prawn and chilli frittata

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This is a great take on the recipe I gave you on the 15th February. For this version – which I made for lunch today – and omg it was fabulous – I added 125 gm king prawns as the fish and 1 chopped red chilli along with 6 finely sliced shallots instead of the red onion. My herb of choice was coriander leaf this time. If you use these substitutes the rest of the recipe was the same. Just remember to use good eggs!

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Carbonara…classico!

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This is the simplest supper supreme – yet it needs care and love and attention. Be patient – use the best ingredients and you cannot…well not really… go wrong…really.

Ingredients for 4

100 gm lardons

1 clove of garlic peeled and crushed

400 gram linguine or spaghetti

3 free range eggs

75 grams of grated parmesan

Salt and black pepper

A tiddly bit of cream- if you wish

Put the water on to boil for the pasta with a little oil and salt in. Pop the pasta in for 10 minutes or until al dente. Pan fry the crushed garlic and the lardons til just crispy then take off the heat. Warm a bowl – I use a stainless steel bowl and I pour in hot water to warm it. Crack into the bowl 3 eggs and then with a fork stir in the parmesan cheese. Add a decent grind or three of black pepper and a tiddly bit of salt. 

Drain the pasta. Add the hot pasta to the bowl with the eggs in and if you wish drizzle in a little single cream.

Add the lardons and crushed garlic mix with a little of the oil. Stir gently but quickly – around a minute then serve in bowls.

Oh this is so tasty and so wonderful and oh so often ruined by many restaurants – either they use far too much cream or over cook it and curdle it to oblivion.

With care this is the ultimate simple supper dish.

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My sous chef, Pip, imparting some last minute tips on the perfect carbonara….

Uova in purgatorio…

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Uova in purgatorio...

Eggs….the ultimate food packaging….universally loved from east to west. This painting by Bonnie Lalley is so redolent of spring..which, if the plethora of snowdrops gathering forces around our garden are anything to go by, is just around the corner. From earliest times eggs have been associated with rites and traditions…symbolic of new life, rebirth etc etc. Hundreds of years ago eggs were forbidden at this Lenten time because of their ‘richness’ and it was traditional in France to search for and collect eggs on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and have them blessed on Easter Sunday, ready for their prolific consumption over Eastertide.

And the egg dish inspired by Bonnie’s painting is rather appropriate, as perhaps I too should not be eating then at Lent, – but I am! And so, the recipe for this painting is as the title, Eggs in Purgatory! But I like to use duck eggs. Spring is the best time to get duck eggs and they are so good for you.

Duck eggs have twice the nutritional value of a chicken egg and stay fresher longer due to their thicker shell. Duck eggs are richer with more albumen making cakes and pastries fluffier and richer and they have more Omega 3 fatty acids.

And I did not know but duck eggs are an alkaline producing food, one of the few foods that leave your body more alkaline which is a great benefit to cancer patients as cancer cells do not thrive in an alkaline environment. Chicken eggs are an acid food leaving your body more acid….apparently! Anyway…before you nod off…here is the recipe!

Uova in Purgatorio

For 4

1 garlic clove
2 tbsps olive oil
400 gm passata
Fresh basil leaves
Salt and black pepper
4 duck eggs
About 50 gm of parmesan or pecorino grated

In a frying pan or skillet, cook the peeled garlic gently in the olive oil for about two minutes. Add the passata, several leaves of basil torn, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 15 minutes over a low heat until the sauce is thickened. Take out the garllc clove. Break an egg into a cup. Make a well with a spoon in the sauce and slide in the egg. Repeat with the other eggs. Sprinkle the parmesan over. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the eggs are to your liking – I like mine runny! You can spice up the sauce, which I do occasionally by adding a little chopped fresh red chilli.

If such dishes are served in purgatory…’twill be fine by me!

IMG_4924Duck eggs supplied by a nice lady called Jayne Latham from whom we get marvellous eggs every week!

Poached egg on a bed of black gold…

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Poached egg on a bed of black gold...

Breakfast this morning was one or the other – but instead I decided to bring them both together…the result was a luxurious feast for my early bird taste buds.

A slice of granary bread spread with a layer of crema di olive nere…black olive and caper paste from Carluccio’s…topped with an organic poached egg.

Decadent? Undoubtedly.

But simple and sophisticated at the same time. The photo is a tad blurred…possibly reflecting a glass of red too many the night before!

Anyway…I was unsure how the flavours would meld but they were perfect together.

I might even gild the lily next time and wedge in a sliver of black pudding.

Anytime is tortilla time….

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Anytime is tortilla time....

Tonight I stared into the abyss that is the end of the week cupboard…staring back at me were 6 free range eggs and a jar of cornichons. Ok….let’s flip the fridge open…..8 slices of prosciutto. Hmmm….in the veg rack were several potatoes minding their own business and 4 shallots snoozing softly.

Nothing to be done other than a dish redolent of Spanish nights, aimed solely at dispelling the rusting rainy weather engulfing my corner of the globe presently.

Tortilla. Paradise on a plate.

So, I poured a glass of finest Spanish Cava to set me on the right path and began peeling and slicing. I even popped Mana on the sound system.

This simple piece of bliss was around 6 spuds peeled, halved and sliced. 4 shallots peeled and chopped. A frying pan coated with plenty of olive oil, heated then add the pots and shallots. Coax around the pan until starting to brown a little – about 15 to 20 minutes on a lowish to medium heat. I was a bit cheeky tonight because I also added a finely sliced green birdseye chilli.

Warmth.

I then beat 6 free range eggs with plenty of black pepper and some ground sea salt – added this to the pan and let it drift into every nook and cranny.

Another five minutes then place the frying pan under a hot grill until the egg is setting and browning. Remove. Place a platter over, pray and flip!

Voila!

I served it with the prosciutto, cornichon and some fennel salami. I also has some warm crusty ciabatta and mixed green salad on the side.

Perfecto!

Gracias!

Lazy tasty Serrano brunch…

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Lazy tasty Serrano brunch...

Just took several generous slices off my serrano ham piece and pan fried til just crispy – served it with an egg on lightly toasted and olive oiled ciabatta. A gorgeous brunch – made me dream of Spanish nights to dispel the current grey gloopy gloom that has descended on late december Hampshire.

What ever you get up to this New Year’s Eve – have a wonderful time! I’ll toast you all this evening with a glass of champagne!

Happy 2014!

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The symphony that is kedgeree…..

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The symphony that is kedgeree.....

Friday night last week I indulged in a dish I do not often make but probably should as it is favourite of mine. It is one of those dishes that is great fun to construct – it is a coming together of several key elements – eggs, rice and fish – in a most blissful harmony that makes supper rather rapturous in a way one would not think plausible. Kedgeree is hundreds of years old as a dish – originally called khichri and there was no fish – it was chiefly a dish of rice and mung beans with butter eaten at breakfast. As the British Empire builders descended on India, they rather took to the dish and threw in some of their breakfast staples, boiled eggs and fish, creating more of what we now know as kedgeree – a British corruption of khichri.

And it has all sorts of possibilities, like any curry dish or rice dish there are so many versions. This is my current favourite version.

FOR 4 FOLK

3 or 4 free-range eggs
600g undyed smoked haddock fillets
2 bay leaves
180 gm long-grain or basmati rice
Sea salt
50 gm unsalted butter
Thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp garam masala
1 tsp mustard seeds (optional)
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 fresh red chill deseeded and chopped finely
1 level tsp of turmeric
6 black peppercorns
Juice of 2 lemons
2 handfuls fresh chopped coriander
Sea salt and black pepper
Natural yoghurt to serve with

Hard boil the eggs for about 6 minutes – pop into a bowl of cold water to let them cool. Cook your rice and drain and rinse lightly in cold water. Then pop the butter into a large frying pan or sauté pan and once melted add the onion and garlic and fry over a medium heat until onions are soft. Add the garam massala, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, ginger, salt and pepper to the pan with the onions. Add the chill and the stalks of the coriander and stir fry for 10 minutes.

Peel the eggs and quarter them.

Prepare a saucepan with enough water to cover the haddock fillet. Add the bay leaves and peppercorns to the pan of water and poach the haddock for five minutes. Remove fish with a slotted spoon gently and set to one side to cool, then skin and flake the fish making sure there are no bones.

Add the rice into the frying pan with the onions and spices, season and mix well. Add the juice of one and a half lemons and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Roughly chop the coriander. Sprinkle the turmeric and half of the coriander into the pan and add half the eggs and half of the flaked haddock too. Stir gently. Let it all warm through. Taste and adjust seasoning as you wish.

Then add the rest of the egg quarters and the rest of the coriander and the lemon wedges.

Pop the lid on and leave it to steam together and create the symphony that is kedgeree! Serve with natural yoghurt.

You could use other fish if you like, smoked mackerel works, but I love undyed smoke haddock the best.

You could also use curry powder instead of garam masala.

Fiddling with this dish is what it is all about – but I love it as it is.

Scrambling is a gentle art…

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Scrambling is a gentle art...

Forgot to share this with you at the weekend. I adore scrambled eggs…only slightly less than poached. But you need to take your time with them – caress them in the pan, tease them around over a high heat, then take them off! I add a knob of cold butter to a cold pan, then crack in 3 eggs for two of us. A little salt and pepper. Then onto a high heat for a minute then off for a minute, stirring all the time, until eventually the mixture becomes wonderfully creamy – then add it straight on to hot toast – no need for butter on the toast either! it’s in the egg! Never, ever serve rubbery over cooked scrambled egg. Next to it are two slices of delightful bacon – real bacon – it even had rind on it – from a local pig farmer. It is what Sundays are all about!

Saturday Supper Part Deux – Med Eggs…

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Saturday Supper Part Deux - Med Eggs...

I used to love egg and chips for supper as a child – in fact I still do…who doesn’t…but these eggs, with a mediterranean twist, are just a wee bit posher, yet still simple. I will give you the ingredients for one person and then you can multiply it to your heart’s content…this is a very social dish.

Olive oil & vegetable oil
2/3 potatoes, par boiled for 15 minutes – I used Maris Pipers
2 spring onions, chopped quite finely
A good handful of cherry or baby plum tomatoes, sliced
1 good free range or organic egg
Fresh rosemary – a good tbsp chopped roughly
1 clove of garlic chopped finely.
Black pepper and sea salt

Once the potatoes have cooled – I leave them for about 15 minutes or so in a sieve over a pan – slice them into rounds-some may split but that does not matter. In a really serious splash of olive oil, pan fry the potato slices until starting to brown – be patient and turn gently with a spatula – great word that – spatula…love it! Add a few grinds of black pepper and sea salt.

Then add the spring onions, garlic, tomatoes and rosemary. Continue to fry gently for about another five minutes – at this stage you could also add some slices of serrano or parma ham if you felt so inclined and in a more meaty mood.

In another frying pan, heat a splash of vegetable oil and fry the eggs until the white sets but the yolk is still unctiously runny. I used eggs from  Old Cotswold Legbars last night – a favourite of mine – so tasty and deep golden. And their shells are a rather funky pastel blue colour!

Serve the spuds in a dish and slide the egg on top…I split some of the white doing this…as you can see above…blast…so take care…but, hey , it still tasted wonderfully wonderful! I love a little zing with this dish- so I also threw a few slices of red jalapenos on mine.

The eggs, olive oil and rosemary just meld so well flavour wise. A great Saturday supper….or indeed anytime!

The picture below is of the ingredients making friends in the pan…..Happy Sunday to you all!

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