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OMELET – THIN AND FULL OF GOODIES

This is a great idea to add a healthy (gluten free) option for lunch or a light fresh dinner. 

Serves 1-2

2 large (preferably organic) eggs

Pinch salt, and cracked pepper

a few tablespoons of chopped chives

a dollop of pesto, scattering of olives or a fresh chopped tomatoes (when in season)

feta cheese, parmesan or your favourite variety

a small handful of mixed salad greens, herbs etc

Method

Use a fork to beat the eggs and salt in a small bowl. Beat well, until the eggs are well combined but not frothy.

In your largest non-stick fry pan over medium heat and pour the egg mixture and give it a good swirl so that they spread out thinly across the entire pan. Sprinkle the eggs with some of the chives and let them set, this happens quickly depending on the heat of your pan – 15 seconds to one minute. Run a spatula underneath the omelet and slide it out of the pan (flat) onto a chopping board.

Spread the pesto across the surface of the omelet, and then sprinkle with the cheese and salad greens. Starting with one end, roll the omelet away from you (as if you are rolling a wrap) Cut in half on a deep diagonal. Season with a bit more salt if needed and a grind or two of pepper.

*Fillings are completely up to you, I have even put cook prawns, ham or grated carrot and sprouts.

BAKED EGGS

IMG_9281 (640x427)

Serves 4

2½ Tbsp butter

2 ½ tsp freshly chopped thyme leaves

8 eggs, preferably free-range or organic

4 Tbsp cream

sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C

Rub the inside of 4 ramekins with the butter and then season with the thyme, distributing both equally amongst the ramekins. Add 2 eggs to each, season with salt and pepper. Place the ramekins in a baking dish, spoon over 1 Tbsp cream per ramekin and pour water into the baking dish until it is halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully place the baking dish in the pre-heated oven. Bake eggs for 15 minutes, or until set and golden on top. Eat and enjoy!

FRESH CORN FRITTERS -SUPERB

Sweet, succulent, juicy corn is in season and we sure do have to make a fuss over it as the season is short and then it’s back to the frozen stuff which is okay but like anything in life fresher the better.  You should include fresh cobs of corn on your shopping list for the farmers market as the taste difference is astounding from freshly picked and eaten straight away to freshly picked a number of days ago and freighted down here difference! Anyway i do realise corn fritters are nothing new and teamed up with bacon and drizzled with maple syrup once again is nothing new  – but boy are they good, and even better when made with fresh corn.  This recipe is thanks to Stephanie Alexander. 

This is the perfect brunch dish……..

SUPERB CORN FRITTERS makes around 12 medium sized fritters

100g butter or ghee 3 cobs corn, husks and silk removed

 430ml milk
240g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
30 g butter, melted
1 free range egg
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped chives a pinch of salt
 Good quality bacon and maple syrup (optional)
Method
Firstly you need to clarify butter! This is not as daunting as you might think and of course you can certainly cook them in oil, but like most things a little butter can improve things quite dramatically. To clarify butter, melt the butter in a small pot over low heat and cook for 5 minutes or until a white crusty foam appears on the surface and the milk solids have dropped to the bottom.  Remove from the heat and allow to settle for a few minutes.  Then carefully pass through a muslin lined sieve or very fine sieve – i gradually pour the butter leaving behind any white milky residue which you will see on the bottom of the pot, discard this.  Set aside the clarified butter until required. Any left over will keep covered in the fridge for several weeks.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to the boil over high heat.  Drop in the corn cobs and cook for 8 minutes or until tender.  Remove the corn and drain and cool over a colander.  When you are able to handle the corn, run a sharp knife down sides of each one.  You should have about 250g corn.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt into large mixing bowl, then make a well.  Whisk egg with ilk and pour into dry ingredients.  Whisk well until you have a smooth batter, add the herbs, corn and melted butter.  Allow the batter to stand for 1 hour at room temperature, covered with tea towel.  If you don’t have the luxury of 1 hour then by all means you can still cook them straight away they just don’t have quite the same finish!
Heat enough clarified butter to cover the base of a non-stick or a heavy based fry pan over medium heat, then using a small ladle to ladle in a few portions of batter.  Leave to cook until the underside is golden.  Flip over and cook through.  Continue until all the batter is used, adding clarified butter as needed.  Serve corn fritters immediately with bacon, maple syrup if desired tart tomatoes!

ARNOLD BENNET – smoked fish omelette

omelette arnold bennett

This is one of those dishes which reminds me of Britain and one that we can easily do here with freshly smoked fish from The Boat Shed and fresh free-range eggs

Serves 4 – simply halve recipe to make omelette for 2 or 1 greedy person!

200g natural, smoked white fleshed fish, skinned and boned

1 large shallot, or ½ small onion peeled and finely chopped

150ml cream

Good knob of butter

8 large free range or organic eggs, beaten, plus 1 extra egg yolk

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Put the fish in a pan with the shallots/onion and just cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered with a lid, for 2 minutes. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen paper.
Continue to simmer the cooking liquid until it has almost completely reduced, then add the cream, bring back to the boil and continue to simmer until it has reduced by two-thirds and has thickened. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.
Flake the flesh into the sauce, add the egg yolk and parsley, stir well and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Preheat the grill to its maximum temperature.
Heat a little butter over a low heat in a large 25cm non-stick fry pan or a favourite frying pan that doesn’t stick. Season the beaten eggs and pour over the egg mix into the pan, or enough to fill two-thirds of the pan. Over a low heat, stir the eggs with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula, until the mixture begins to set but the eggs are still soft. Stop stirring.

Spoon the haddock mixture over the omelette, spreading it evenly with the back of the spoon until covered. Put it under the grill for a minute or two until evenly browned.

Serve immediately with a simple fresh green salad.

EGGS…

EGGS are a rich source of nutrients, including vitamins, iron and sulphur.  They do need to be eaten very fresh and it is wise to take the eggs out of the fridge 1-2 hours before using.

Plain Omelette

2-3 eggs per person


Salt and pepper


1 Tbsp butter

Method

Beat the eggs with the salt and pepper in a bowl.  Heat a non-stick fry or omelette pan and melt the butter.  When the butter is very hot and nut-coloured, pour the eggs into the pan.  When the eggs are setting and small bubbles are forming, bring the edges of the omelette towards the centre with a fork while shaking the frying pan.  Fold the edge of the omelette nearest to the handle of the pan towards the outside edge and quickly slide on to a hot dish.

A good omelette should be slightly runny!

All egg omelette
Variations for omelettes
Herb omelette – chop handful fresh herbs such as flat-leaf parsley, chervil, chives and tarragon

Cheese omelette – a few seconds before folding the omelette, add 50g grated cheese

Bacon, ham or onion omelette- dice the meat or onion and fry in hot butter, then add the beaten egg mixture and cook as usual.

POTATO TORTILLA – SPANISH OMELET

Spanish Potato Tortilla (Tortilla Española) Recipe
Serves 6 as a main


6-7 medium potatoes, peeled


1 whole yellow onion


5-6 large eggs


1-2 cups of olive oil for pan frying


Salt to taste

Method – Cut the peeled potatoes in half lengthwise. Then, with the flat side on the cutting surface, slice the potato in pieces approximately 4mm thick. If you slice them a bit


thick, don’t worry – it will simply take a bit longer for them to cook.

Peel and chop the onion into thin slices. Put potatoes and onions into a bowl and mix them together. Salt the mixture.

In a large, heavy, non-stick frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Carefully place the potato and onion mixture into the frying pan, spreading them evenly over the surface. The oil should almost cover the potatoes. You may need to turn down the heat slightly, so the potatoes do not burn.


Leave in the pan until the potatoes are cooked. If you can poke a piece of potato with a knife and it easily breaks in two, your potatoes are done. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and allow oil to drain.

Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat by hand with a whisk or fork. Pour in the potato onion mixture. Mix together with a large spoon.

Pour 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil into a medium 20cm, non-stick frying pan and heat on medium heat. Be careful not to get the pan too hot because the oil will burn – or the tortilla will! When hot, stir the potato onion mixture once more and “pour” into the pan and spread out evenly. Allow the egg to cook around the edges. Then you can carefully lift up one side of the omelet to check if the egg has slightly “browned.” The inside of the mixture should not be completely cooked and the egg will still be runny.


When the mixture has browned on the bottom, you are ready to turn it over to cook the other side. Take the frying pan to a sink. Place a large dinner plate upside down over the frying pan. With one hand on the frying pan handle and the other on top of the plate to hold it steady, quickly turn the frying pan over and the omelet will “fall” onto the plate. Place the frying pan back on the range and put just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Let the pan warm for 30 seconds or so. Now slide the omelet into the frying pan. Use the spatula to shape the sides of the omelet. Let the omelet cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the tortilla sit in the pan for 2 minutes.

You can eat it immediately or allow it to cool to room temperature just as you would in Spain.

BAKED EGGS EN COCOTTE…….

Slow cooked eggs in ramekins, with soft whites and just-set yolks…..Wow do you remember having eggs like this many moons ago? Yeah i do and they were memorable, but it is a technique i had almost forgotten about until my husband mentioned ‘just how much he loved them’ (hint, hint).  His family had the posh version of cooking eggs en cocotte – it was a round dish with snugly fitting molds to fit ones egg and it even had a silver lid.  Obviously you don’t need vessels like that to cook them you can even manage with a cup if need be.
This is such a great method to cook eggs, especially if cooking brunch or a dinner party for large numbers as you can get them ready in their molds ready to bake and they only take about 10-15 minutes.

BAKED EGGS EN COCOTTE – lets bring it back
1-2 eggs per person (each egg requires individual dish)

115g (4oz) ramekins or similar baking dish for each egg
4 eggs
4 Tbsp cream and/or 2 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tbsp chives, finely chopped (optional)

Method
Preheat oven to 180C

Lightly butter 4 ramekins and sprinkle the bottoms with salt and pepper.
Carefully drop an egg into each ramekin, without breaking the yolk.  Drizzle 1 Tbsp cream and/or 1/2 Tbsp melted butter over the top.
Set the ramekins in a roasting tin and pour enough hot water into the tine to come halfway up their sides.
Bake any where from 10-15 minutes or until the egg whites are just firm.  They will continue to cook when removed from the oven and unless you like dunking your soldiers (toast) into hard egg, i would suggest to keep a very close eye on the cooking time.
Serve immediately with a little sprinkling of salt, pepper and pinch of chives. Great with hot buttered toast.

ASPARAGUS – almost but not quite….

For us down here in the deep south due to cold easterly winds, heavy rain and not enough sunshine the asparagus at Adross Farm in Palmeston is not popping through the ground as it should.  As you are well aware i work pretty closely with the growers as this is how i create the recipes for the market and i have to admit no two days are the same let alone season to season! After speaking with Rodd (grower) i feel the frustration and concern as he is so apologetic that he cannot supply us with his super-fresh, super-crunchy asparagus.  I will give him another ring on Thursday to see the out come for this week but as i have mentioned at the end of the day it is all down to “mother nature”.

ASPARAGUS AND THYME FRITTATA
Frittata is quiet simply an Italian omelette. Quick to prepare and great for lunch or as a light dinner. The secret of a good frittata is to make them thinner rather than thicker and to keep it slightly runny in the center!

Serves 2

10 spears asparagus, ends snapped off
4 large free-range eggs
1 tsp fresh thyme or marjoram leaves roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp butter
50g grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp crème fraiche
Olive oil

Method
Preheat oven to 200C

Break the eggs in a bowl and lightly beat, season with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in a large oven-proof frypan 18- 20cm. Add the asparagus and cook over a moderate heat until the asparagus starts to lightly colour, sprinkle over half the thyme or marjoram and a light sprinkle of salt and pepper. Remove the asparagus and set aside.

Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and bring back to a moderate-high heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter, tilting the pan to cover the surface. When the butter starts to froth add the egg mixture and almost immediately add the crème fraiche. Push the mixture carefully from the outside of the pan into the centre using a wooden spoon. When you see the frittata beginning to set, leave it alone so it forms a base. Arrange the asparagus, remaining marjoram, parmesan and a sprinkle of seasoning. Drizzle over a little olive oil and place in the preheated oven for a minute or two.

Remove from the oven. A good frittata must have a crisp edge and slightly runny in the centre.
Loosen the frittata from the pan with a spatula and serve warm with a little more parmesan if desired.

GOOD MORNING…….My sort of eggs on corn-tortillas

I love a spicy breakfast it wakes up the senses, fills your kitchen with wonderful aromas and sets the scene for a good day!
This is the sort of breakfast you have on your travels and the cool thing about it is you can easily recreate it at home.  I am partial to a little chilli so i like to add that along with a little coriander but mint will work with it also.  As i always mention the flavours i use may not be of your taste or you may not have them in your pantry.  This is where you can add your own influence – just remember to keep it simple!

FRIED, SPICED EGGS ON TORTILLAS
serves 1

simple corn-tortillas (makes 6 tortillas)
1 cup corn (instant) masa flour
pinch salt
2/3 -3/4 cup cold water

1/4 tsp cumin seeds, roasted and ground in mortar and pestle
20g butter
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 free range eggs
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 coriander leaves or mint leaves
pinch chilli flakes or small amount red chilli, finely sliced

Method

To make corn-tortillas
combine corn flour with salt in a bowl.  Add the 2/3 water and mix well with your hands if looking to dry simple add some more water and knead to combine.  Continue kneading for a couple of minutes until your dough feels soft. Cover with damp cloth.
If you have a skillet or heavy based pan heat it gently over a moderate-high heat.
Divide your dough into 6 even balls.  Roll each ball between greaseproof paper as it helps to hold the dough together and it will make it easier. Roll into thin disc. Cook of the tortilla one at a time for 50 seconds then turn and cook for another 50 seconds.  Remove and keep warm and continue with the remaining dough.

To cook the eggs
Melt butter over medium heat in a small fry pan.  When the butter starts to foam, drop in garlic and cook for 30 seconds until it just starts to change colour.  Add lemon juice and eggs and fry gently until set.  Sprinkle over cumin and chilli.  Serve on the warm corn-tortilla seasoned with salt and pepper and sprinkle generously with coriander.

BACK AT LONG LAST!!!

So much has happened lately.  For us here in New Zealand we are coming to terms with such extreme devastation to lives and life in Christchurch.  It has hit all New Zealanders in ways which i can’t describe.  Perhaps because our country is so small, we all seem to know someone who has been affected by the Earthquake, and we all seem very connected to Christchurch as a city.  I am aware that there is not a lot one can do except offer unconditional support and lots of love. 

I am still awaiting a replacement for my stolen computer, and i am sure i will be waiting for quite a bit longer now as there are more urgent matters on hand.  I have had mixed emotions about not having a computer on hand.  For one i have loads more time which was happily spent with the family, although i have found life exhausting as i do a lot of writing these days and i have had to even revert to paper and pen a few times….crazy!

Anyway i having been dying to get a few posts up as the summer produce is disappearing fast.  I have too start afresh with all my recipes and photos as they all were with the computer.  But hey sometimes a new beginning isn’t all that bad.

TOMATOES – soil grown, sun ripened and juicy sweet.  So many ways to eat them, where to start…….

This tomato was picked from my parents crop.  It weighed in at 600gm! I had never seen a tomato that big before, it was however picked from the Big Beef variety.  One slice fitted perfectly in my daughters sandwich for lunch.

STEWED TOMATOES, FRIED EGG ON TOAST
serves 2

500g sun ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped
25 g butter
1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
1 onion, sliced thinly
fresh coriander or basil
few drops fish sauce (optional)
salt and freshly cracked pepper

2 slices good quality bread toasted and rubbed lightly with garlic

2 free range eggs
olive oil for frying

In a medium pot melt the butter and cook the onion, and garlic until soft (3-5 minutes), add the chopped tomatoes and chilli.  Cook gently until the tomatoes burst and the sauce starts to thicken.  Add a few drops fish sauce, season lightly with salt, be a little more generous with the pepper.  Add the coriander and cook for a further two minutes.  Turn down the heat and set aside.

If you haven’t already, toast the bread on both sides, rub lightly with garlic and drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil.  Place on a warm plate.

In a fry pan heat enough oil to fry the eggs.  Add the eggs carefully and fry until crispy around the edges of the white.  Place a generous amount of tomatoes on the toast and place the fried egg on top.  Scatter a few more coriander leaves and a little chilli over the dish.  Great for breakfast/brunch!

STEWED TOMATOES & FRIED EGG ON TOAST