Tag Archives: eggs

Fake baked beans

1 Feb

It’s not that often – or cool – that people portending to keep food blogs describe the attempt to recreate the flavours of a canned product a lofty goal. But, if this blog is anything, it is not ‘often’.

So it is that this recipe is an endeavour to recreate the amazingly delicious Turkish/Cypriot giant beans you get in cans. While it does take a few more hours than it would to tug at the ring pull and deposit the gloopy blob of beans from a can into a saucepan, it’s infinitely more rewarding (if you’re the kind of person who finds work a reward). Also, it does happily lack the excess salt, oil and probably E numbers lurking in the packaged versions.

Also, we may not always live in such close proximity to Cypriot grocers, so we need to start developing self sufficiency. These giant beans are such a great, heart warming breakfast dish – all pillowy and comforting in their fillingness.Not sure if our liberal use of smoked paprika stops this from being Cypriot, but it tastes pretty fab.

(I swear we do cook things other than breakfast, it’s just that the light is so much nicer in the daytime.)

Giant Turkish/Greek beans (serves 4 – 6)

  • 1 C butter beans (or 2 tins of pre-cooked)
  • 6 C water
  • 2 tins of tomatoes
  • 3 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 3 – 4 TBSP chopped dill

You can’t really make this on the morning of your breakfast, unless you use canned beans. If you do, use two cans to make this recipe. If you do, skip the next sentence.

Soak beans in water overnight, then boil in water for about an hour. It’s not a glamorous task, but occasionally skimming the scummy froth (mmm!) off the top of the water will ensure the beans are ‘better for your tummy’.

When beans are nearly cooked (basically edible), drain and return to the pot with chopped tomato, paprika and onion. cook for a further 20 minutes on low heat. Add dill, cook for another two minutes, then remove from heat and add lemon as well as seasoning.

This is perfectly good to have on it’s own with some nice crusty bread, but we quite enjoy it with a side of grilled haloumi (don’t know what happened to this one) and a poached egg. Ripe avocado and rocket would also do very well.

Estimated cost (without egg and haloumi):  £1.50

Musical accompaniment: NPR ‘All Songs Considered’ stream

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Mediterranean baked breakfast eggs

15 Jan

This is a breakfast for when you really want breakfast. For when you really need a big old feed in the morning and may or may not intend to eat anything else for the rest of the day. I mean for when you wake up pained and startled by your own hunger, wondering whether perhaps somewhere in the depths of sleep, some strange person has entered your house wielding a contraption of their own invention, the sole purpose of which is to suck out the entire contents of your stomach and use the half-digested contents as some sort of magical fuel source.

It’s also the breakfast Man Woman has after Woman has had the fortitude to wake up on a Saturday morning and do a double class at the gym, and Man has exhibited a similar level of strength in remaining in bed while one’s partner is kitting up for (and boasting about) some serious cardio-vascular exercise.

Baked eggs for brekkie is a great idea. Often the Frenchie version involves double cream and a bain marie, but this is far easier and pretty much contains your daily recommended intake of veg in one hit.

Adjust the spices for your own taste, but the below mix is a pretty darn good one.

Mediterranean baked breakfast eggs

  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 C spinach, chopped (about 1/3 bunch)
  • 1 tin tomatoes (chopped or whole)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4 eggs
  • Parsley
  • Feta (optional)
  • Bread (optional)

In a fry pan, heat some oil. Then add onions and garlic, sautee until softened. Add spices, spinach and tomatoes and cook until the mix has stopped being watery, but the spinach is reduced down (probably about 5-10 minutes).

Either divide the mix into a couple of heat-proof dishes, or just leave as is. Crack two eggs into each heat-proof dish (or four into the fry pan). The eggs should cover most of the mix.

Put the pans/dishes under the grill for a few minutes until eggs are cooked to your liking. Throw a couple of pieces of pita bread under the grill too while you’re at it.

Top with crumbled feta and chopped parsley.

(I realise that by grilling this, it’s not technically ‘baked eggs’, but really it’s so satisfying that semantics lose their power)

Estimated cost: £4 (if you go for cheese and bread)

Musical accompaniment: Peaches

Eggplant cutlets, beans & spinach with a red wine roux

10 Oct

Man has often rued his lack of roux-making (ho! ho!). This should set the record straight. It should also address that other record, of French insistence on every meal having meat in it. Man Woman get stuck on a cheese and bread diet whenever we visit Paris. We suggest they consider something along these lines.

While there may appear to be 1,001 ingredients in the below dish, you probably do have most of it in the house and can chop and change a bit (this is our vesion of a roux recipe which called for herbs we do not possess – ie. marjoram, and we actually used spinach stalks instead of celery). Also all the other elements can be made while the sauce is being stirred. This’ll suit a dinner party as the elements can be made ahead of time, but it’s quick enough for a mid-week meal too – no more than 45 minutes from start to plate.

Red wine roux

  • 1.25C boiling water
  • 2 tsp vegetable boulion (or stock)
  • 25g butter (or vegan magarine)
  • 3-4 TBSP flour
  • 1 white onion, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4C finely chopped celery or spinach stalks
  • 3/4C red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary – or 1tsp fresh leaves, crushed

Eggplant cutlets

  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 egg
  • 1C (or so) bread crumbs (Panko best)

Beans and greens

  • 1 tin (or cup) buttery beans – such as flagolet, canneli, butter beans, etc
  • 1.5C chopped fresh spinach
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Ground black pepper

Making the sauce

In a saucepan on medium heat mix boiling water and boullion (or stock) until dissolved.

In a small frypan melt the butter and stir in the flour, stirring for five minutes over a low heat until it starts to smell toasty. Add the onions and garlic to the butter-flour mix (I think there is a proper word for this) and continue stirring for three minutes.

Put the celery/spinach stalks in and stir for another couple of minutes. The add the boiling water mix to the fry pan and whisk until it creates a smooth even mixture. Add a bayleaf and other herbs and bring to the boil.

After a few minutes, slowly add the wine and continue to stir bringing to biul again. Then lower to a simmer for 5 – 10 minutes. Adjust herbs, garlic and maybe a dash of red wine vinegar to taste. If it’s become too gravy-like, just add a bit more water.

Other elements: Eggplant cutlets

While the sauce is being brought to the boil, etcetera. Cut a small eggplant into 4-5 thick slices – about 1.5cm thick heat. Sprinkle with salt and chuck into a hot oven, about 15 minutes, until cooked through.

Create a crumbing station: one plate of mixed egg, one plate of bread crumbs. Dip each cooked eggplant slice into the egg, then into the crumbs and set aside. Do this twice for each slice.

To cook, pour a little vegetable oil into a fry pan. We used only a little – it was less than 1cm deep. Fry eggplant for about 2-3 minutes each side, then set aside on paper towels to drain.

Other elements: Spinach and beans

Simply chuck a can of beans into a saucepan and warm over low heat. Just as the sauce and eggplant is about ready, throw in the chopped spinach, drizzle over lemon juice and sprinkle in black pepper.

This isn’t as hard as this long list suggests!

Estimated cost: £4.50

Musical accompaniment: Robert Stillman, Machine Song

Parsley & sumac egg white omlette

18 Jul

This recipe was born out of the detrius of a crema catalana (to be published soon). When faced with half a dozen egg whites and not particularly keen on making anything sweet, one might easily fall into despair. But this little lunch or brekkie item is quite a good’un. I know the mention of an egg white omlette might initially seem like worthy diet food, but packed full of fresh herbs this is rather tasty and totally filling as a lunch.

Parsley and sumac egg white omlette

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 C finely chopped parsley
  • 2 TBSP sumac
  • 1/2 tsp nigella seeds (black onion seeds)
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 3 TBSP finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 C milk

Whisk eggs until white, but not necessarily too foamy and definitely not stiff. Add parsley, herbs, spices, onion and milk.

Heat a small fry pan (about 20cm diameter) and coat in olive oil. Pour egg mix into the pan and cook for a few minutes, until the base appears to be cooked through.

Remove pan from stove top and put under grill, until cooked through. Let cool before removing from pan.

Estimated cost: Given that this was leftovers, I want to say zero. But in more true terms, £1.40

Musical accompaniment: Lyla Ices

Fluffy gnocchi with home-made pesto and spinach

11 Apr

There seems to be this universal level of panic when one separates eggs. The discarded yolks, the abandoned whites – what to do? What to do?

For no reason other than we had this dilemma, we decided to chuck in a couple of extra egg whites into our latest attempt at gnocchi. This made for a lovely soft, pillowy gnocchi. A word of warning, leaving the excess gnocchi in the fridge does appear to involve that gnocchi turning blue – but after a significant amount of sniffing, we ate it and remain upright and healthy to this day.

Fluffy gnocchi (serves 4)

  • 500g potato (desiree)
  • 250g white flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 – 3 TBSP home-made pesto
  • handful of baby spinach

Boil then mash potatoes. Add flour.

Whisk egg whites until thickened and airy, fold in the whole egg and then add to the potato-flour mixture.

Roll teaspoon sized balls of the ensuing dough and then dust in semolina or fine corn flour.

Throw into boiling water for a few minutes. Test if cooked and then drain. Toss through pesto and spinach. Voila!

Estimated cost (including home-made pesto): £3.50

Musical accompaniment: Kings of Convenience

Gozleme with spinach & parlsey or cheesy sumac egg stuffing

17 Mar

To Woman’s insatiable upset, the caff near Finsbury Park which used to make fresh gozleme in the mornings alongside gelatinous Full Englishes, abruptly stopped selling the far more amazing gozleme some two years ago.

I remember the day clearly: a house guest and dear old friend of Man’s from Sydney (I’m looking at you, Peter Carey) had a list of London things to do, among them was a full English. ‘I know just the place’, said I smugly, imagining tucking into a  gozleme, drizzled in lemon juice and accompanied with some briny black olives as Man and Friend waded through gluggy tinned baked beans and anemic fried tomato. Oh, the hubris. Oh fate, tempted.

The caff, in the face of zero demand (excepting Man Woman’s occasional popping in for the £1.50 delights) had capitulated to a far more Anglo cuisine. A sad day it was, dear readers. Sad and bitter, as Woman refused to order any alternate dish and sat, seething, drinking instant coffee and seeing her angry face infinitely reflected on the two walls of facing mirrors.

And so, we started to make our own. It’s easy.

Gozleme dough (makes 4)

  • 1/2 C white flour
  • 1/2 C wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C water

Mix all ingredients. Give it a good knead. Like a ten minute knead. Knead it good.

Then let it rest for an hour, ideally. Divide into four balls and then roll the dough out into a rectangular shape. Roll as thin as possible – 2mm would be great.

Spread your filling in the centre of the dough. Not very thick – just enough to cover a section of about half the dough evenly. Then pull the edges over (see  above and below) in an envelope-style fold.

Brush the gozleme in olive oil or melted butter and fry on a hot pan for about 4 minutes a side, or until cooked through with nice black dots on it.

  •  

    The folded gozleme, ready for fryin’

Spinach and parsley stuffing (makes 2)

  • 1/2 C cooked or thawed frozen spinach
  • 1/2 C chopped parsley
  • 1 spring onion (or less red onion)
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint

Mix together and do as above.

Sumac cheesy eggs stuffing (makes 2)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C grated cheese (we used cheddar, but a white cheese would be great)
  • 2 tsp chopped red onion
  • 2 TBSP chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Mix together. You’ll want your dough a little thicker for this one.

Estimated cost: £1.90

Musical accompaniment: Mulatu Astatke

Ricotta buckwheat pancakes with orange blossom rhubarb compote

6 Mar

ManWoman love pancakes. In fact Man’s first attempt to impress Woman was with pancakes, having made the mixture in Man’s Marrickville kitchen and cycled over to Woman’s Erskineville abode. Now in London, Man suggests pancakes with wild abandon, to Woman’s chagrin. You see, Man sees pancakes as not just a dessert or breakfast but a very reasonable response to the question “what should we have for dinner?”.

This take on the breakfast pancake, a hotcake, came about from the need to use the left-over ricotta in ManWoman’s fridge. Adding yogurt to the mixture (instead of milk) gives the hotcake a nice tangy flavour, perfect with Woman’s rhubarb and orange compote and a dash of dark agave nectar, as in the photo below.

Ricotta buckwheat hotcakes (makes 12 small pancakes)

  • 1C ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 C yoghurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2TBSP sugar
  • 1/8 tsp quick yeast
  • 1/2 C buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 C (soy) milk
  • 1tsp baking powder

Rhubarb & orange blossom compote

  • 4 sticks of rhubarb
  • 1 TBSP orange blossom water
  • 4 tsp brown sugar

Cut rhubarb into 5 cm chunks and place in a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat. After about 10 minutes, when the first pieces of rhubarb are softening, add the orange blossom water – maybe start with 2 teaspoons to see if you can handle all that blossom. After a few more minutes, when the rhubarb has stewed and is fibrously liquid, add sugar.

This is not a sweet compote at all – really, more like just straight up stewed fruit.

Estimated cost: £7

Musical accompaniment: The Bees

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