food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘eggs

mexican brunch

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We love our lazy late breakfast or brunch. And Mexican food is the perfect way to wake up your tastebuds.

Finely chop 1 onion, 1 red pepper, 1 chorizo and 1 fresh chilli and fry them in a little oil until the onions are translucent and soft. Add a drained can of kidney beans, some frozen corn kernels and 1 or 2 chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are at least a little melted, add plenty of coriander (cilantro) and season to taste. In a separate pan fry some eggs. To assemble, place some of the bean mixture onto the plate, top with a fried egg or two and garnish with crumbled tortilla chips. Serve with hot sauce.

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Written by michelle picker

November 21, 2018 at 12:15 am

huevos rancheros

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Here’s a great wake-up breakfast – fried eggs served the Mexican way.

If you want to make your own fresh tortillas (and there’s nothing better!) see how to do it here. These ones were made with blue corn masa which is a little coarser than white corn masa and therefore results in thicker tortillas.

To make refried beans, a classic accompaniment for all Mexican meals, 1 cup of beans and 4 cups of water will produce 2½ cups of cooked beans. If you remember, you can soak them overnight but a quicker method is to boil them for 4 minutes and then soak them for 1 hour. Next they need to be cooked for 45-60 minutes (or 10 minutes in a pressure cooker) until tender. Drain, retaining the liquid, and set aside. In a saucepan, heat a generous amount of vegetable oil and sauté 1 finely diced onion and 1-2 cloves of garlic until translucent. Add any or all of the following dry herbs and spices to your taste: cumin, oregano, chilli, smoky paprika, cayenne pepper. Add the beans and fry over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Now add some of the liquid and salt to taste.

For the ranchero sauce  place 4 large tomatoes and 5 fresh serrano chillies over an open flame, on a barbecue or under a hot grill until you see some charring. Place them in a blender with 2 cloves of garlic and process to a textured sauce consistency. Heat some vegetable oil in a saucepan and add a small finely diced onion. Cook gently until translucent then add the blended ingredients and ½ a teaspoon of sea salt (or to taste). Cook over high heat until slightly reduced and thickened, stirring from time to time.

Now all you need is fried eggs. When they’re cooked to your liking, place them on the tortillas, top with some sauce and garnish with coriander (cilantro). On the side, refried beans and avocado lightly salted and drizzled with lemon juice.

Written by michelle picker

August 15, 2018 at 12:10 am

chèvre omelette

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A simple dish of eggs and cheese might only take 10-15 minutes to prepare but it can still impress. This omelette highlights light and fluffy just-melted goats cheese.

Break up 1 cup of fresh chèvre, mix through 1 tablespoon of finely chopped chives and set aside. In a small frypan heat some butter with a little oil and fry 10 -12 sage leaves until crispy. Drain them on a paper towel and set aside as the garnish. Whisk 4 eggs with a little milk or cream, making sure to season them well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Over medium heat, melt a generous amount of butter and oil in a large frypan. When it’s sizzling, pour the eggs into the pan. Break any bubbles that form in the omelette and allow the egg to run through. When the egg is nearly cooked, place the chèvre onto one half and carefully fold the other half over the top. Continue to cook just long enough for the cheese to melt before sliding the omelette onto a serving plate. Garnish with the crispy sage leaves.

Written by michelle picker

July 4, 2018 at 12:29 am

Posted in cheese, eggs

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mini breakfast frittatas

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Here’s a great breakfast for a crowd that’s easy to prepare ahead. These were simple ham and cheese but there are endless ingredient choices for mini frittatas and they’re excellent party food too. Try mushrooms, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, chillies, olives and truffle to name just a few. Let your imagination run wild.

Generously butter some muffin trays (silicone works really well) and place some chunks of good quality free-range ham and some shredded tasty cheese into each opening. Whisk all your eggs (1 per frittata) adding some cream, sour cream or just milk and seasoning to taste with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Divide the eggs evenly into the muffin trays then top each frittata with chopped fresh chives and some more grated cheese. Bake in a moderate oven for 15-20 minutes or until set.

And while the oven is on, why not roast a tray of tomatoes? Cut the tomatoes into wedges, sprinkle with chopped fresh basil, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Written by michelle picker

May 23, 2018 at 12:20 am

Posted in breakfast, cheese, eggs

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shiitake mushrooms

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Shiitake mushrooms are used widely in Asian cuisines and considered to have many health benefits. They are widely available in their dried form but are a little harder to find fresh, although Asian stores are a good place to try. We decided to attempt to grow them. This a lengthy procedure with some inherent difficulties for those of us living in urban areas. The first problem was finding living branches from a suitable tree. This took some time but we finally found some fairly large oak branches without any signs of fungus or mould. Shiitake are grown by drilling holes into the branches and hammering in dowels impregnated with the mushroom spores – we ordered these online. The holes are covered with beeswax and the logs then need to be kept damp and in a nice semi-dark place, similar to a forest floor. We waited approximately 18 months before we induced the first crop by soaking the logs for a day and then dropping them to shock them into fruiting. This can be done in Spring, Summer or Autumn. Hopefully they will now fruit twice a year. Although our first crop wasn’t very large it was exciting to finally see the mushrooms growing and they tasted amazing!

This recipe for a Chinese-style omelette is perfect for featuring shiitake mushrooms. Begin by slicing some medium to firm tofu and fry it in a little vegetable oil. Season with soy sauce and honey and set aside. Remove the stems from the mushrooms (Shiitake stems don’t soften when you cook them) and slice the mushrooms. Heat a pan and add some finely shredded ginger into the dry pan until it is fragrant. Add some sesame oil and the mushrooms, season with a minimal amount of salt and cook them until they are just softening. Add the tofu to reheat it along with some spring onions. Keep this mixture warm while you make the omelette. Whisk 3-4 eggs with a little water and a drop of sesame oil, and season them with soy sauce and white pepper. Heat a generous amount of vegetable oil in a wide frypan, add  the eggs and allow them to cook, without turning, until almost firm. Place the mushroom and tofu mix onto one half of the omelette and, using a wide turner, flip the other half over the top. When the omelette is cooked carefully slide it onto a serving plate and garnish with spring onions and toasted sesame seeds.

Written by michelle picker

April 11, 2018 at 12:33 am

Posted in eggs, tofu, vegetables

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black truffle

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When in France I spent some time in the Dordogne, the home of the Périgord Black Truffle. I felt compelled to bring one home and here’s what I did with it.

60º eggs on potatoes fried in duck fat with shavings of black truffle.

Actually, these were really 62.8ºC (145ºF) eggs as I prefer my whites a little opaque. They need to be cooked in a water bath at this temperature for at least an equal number of minutes to their metric weight. That means an 58g (2oz) egg will take 58 minutes to cook. While the eggs are cooking, dice some potatoes and cook them very slowly in some duck fat until they are golden brown then season with salt. When the eggs are ready, place the potatoes down first then very carefully peel the eggs and place onto the potatoes. Season to taste and top with shavings of black truffle. A truly delicious combination!

How about a truffled cauliflower gratin?

Preheat your oven to 190ºC (375ºF). Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a sauce pan, then stir in 3 tablespoons of flour. Stir and cook for a few minutes making sure there are no lumps. Whisking constantly, slowly add 2 cups of heated milk. Bring to boil and cook until it thickens. Remove from the heat and add 1 teaspoon of salt, plenty of freshly ground black pepper, ½ a cup of grated Gruyère, ½ a cup of grated parmesan, some shaved black truffle to taste and a little freshly grated nutmeg. Mix thoroughly and set aside. Cut the cauliflower into florets and cook them in some boiling salted water until just al dente. Butter your oven dish, spread the cauliflower evenly on the bottom and cover with the sauce. Finally, top with a mixture of grated Gruyère, grated parmesan and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden brown.

Written by michelle picker

October 4, 2017 at 12:16 am

salade niçoise

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I’m enjoying a sojourn in Provence, in the south of France, where the local produce and hot weather make this salad a perfect choice for a meal. Of course, fresh tuna would be fantastic but this version is the kind you can make with ingredients you have to hand.

salade-Nicoise

First prepare some potatoes and place them in a saucepan of cold water. Bring to boil and simmer until the potatoes are just cooked. Remove them and allow them to cool. If you want to save on saucepans, you can carefully add some eggs to the same saucepan once the water has boiled. Cook them for 10 minutes, remove and shock them in an ice bath and set aside. Trim some green beans and steam them until just tender. Run them under some cold water to stop them cooking further. Slice some tomato into wedges and chop any soft fresh herbs you might have. Now you’re ready to assemble. Start with a bed of lettuce, roquette or any salad leaves you prefer. Place pieces of potato, green beans, sliced tomato and hard-boiled eggs around the plate and scatter with the fresh herbs. Drizzle with a vinaigrette dressing. Drain a tin of good quality tuna and place some in the middle of each salad, topped with a spoonful of good mayonnaise and some capers. A few anchovy fillets and some black olives are a good traditional addition if you have them.

Written by michelle picker

June 27, 2016 at 5:59 am