Tag Archives: eggs

Farmhouse Butter Biscuits

A lovely simple biscuit, quick and easy to work with and it gives a delightfully crisp buttery biscuit.  Nothing fancy at all, as simple and wholesome as a biscuit can get! These biscuits remind me of some I had as a child at a farmhouse on the way to the lake district. There were no such things as hygiene certificates then, this was literally the farmer’s wife selling tea and biscuits in her kitchen and they were some of the best I’ve ever had!

Makes 18 biscuits

125g butter, softened
70g golden caster sugar (Plus a few tsp extra for sprinkling)
1 egg yolk
160g plain flour
small pinch of salt

  • Heat the oven to gas mark 5 and prepare two baking trays with baking paper.
  • Cream together the butter and the sugar in a small mixing bowl.
  • Add the egg yolk and beat well to combine.
  • Add the flour and the salt (if your flour is at all lumpy do sift it in as it will mix easier).
  • Bring all the ingredients together into a soft dough.  It can help to use your hand to get it all together in the last bit.
  • Pinch off small walnut sized balls of dough and roll them in your palms to shape into rounds.
  • Place on the baking tray and use the heel of your palm to squish them flat.
  • Sprinkle the tops with the extra sugar.
  • Bake for 10 minutes until the edges are just starting to colour.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to sit on the tray for 5 minutes before trying to move them as they will break otherwise.
  • Allow to cook on a wire rack.
  • Put on a pot of tea and enjoy!
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Filed under Cookies and Biscuits, Easy, quick

Mini Breakfast Bites

These mini breakfast bites were one of the first things I invented for myself in 3rd year food tech!  They are now a staple tradition in our household and I couldn’t imagine Christmas without them!

Mini Breakfast Canapes

Makes 24

24 slices of white bread (2 meduim sliced loaves)
1/2 cup sunflower oil
24 quails eggs
12 rashers streaky bacon or pancetta
24 tiny button mushrooms (or 6 small mushrooms cut into quarters)

  • Heat the oven to gas mark 7.
  • Get out 2x 12 hole bun tins, I prefer the rounded ones but the straighter ones work just fine.
  • Use a large round cookie cutter, checking that it is slightly bigger than the bun tins you are using,   to cut out a large round from the centre of each slice of bread.  (leftover crusts can be used to make bread sauce, or breadcrumbs to freeze for later use)
  • Brush both sides of each round of bread and gently press into the bun tins.
  • Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until just turning crisp and golden.
  • Take out the tins (being careful coz it’s hot!) and crack a quails egg carefully into each one.  (I use a sharp knife to pierce the shells)
  • Return to the oven for ~5 minutes until the eggs are just setting.
  • Prepare your bacon/pancetta rolls by slicing each rasher in half then rolling up.
  • Take the tins out of the oven again and add your bacon rolls and mushrooms.
  • Cook for another 5-7 minutes until the bacon is cooked through.
  • Serve immediately while hot and make sure you get some too because these will disappear fast!
  • Mini Breakfast Canapes

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Filed under Canapés, Christmas, Moderately easy

Soft Boiled Quail’s Eggs

I was feeling fancy the other week so when I spied quails eggs I grabbed them without any idea how to work them into my meal plan!  It occurred to me that for many quails eggs might be a bit intimidating, they’re tiny little things and you don’t really see them in the supermarkets so they’re a bit of an unknown quantity.  I love using them though!  For lack of any suitable dish in my menu plan that week I simply soft boiled these and scoffed them like Malteasers with a pinch of salt!  They can be tricky to peel so if you were to fancy serving them as a canape I suggest you at least get them started by peeling off half the shell.  Wet hands are the trick here, makes things a lot easier!

Soft Boiled Quails Eggs

Simply prick each egg with a pin in the larger end and place in boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes.  Remove from the water and either eat warm immediately or plunge into a bowl of cold water to stop them cooking further.  If you leave them to air dry then your egg will continue to cook and will become hardboiled.  Rapidly cooking the egg means they stop cooking and stay soft.  Peel the egg as you would any hard boiled egg, as I said above, wet hands really help here, those little shells can be stubborn! A tiny pinch of salt makes any egg sing and these are no different.  Enjoy!

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Filed under Basic, Canapés, Easy

Mushroom, Asparagus and Spinach Bruschetta / Frittata

 

 

 

As a busy single gal with a job, a home, a garden and puppy to tend to these days my cooking choices are dictated mostly by time.  I am a big fan of batch cooking, my freezer is worth its weight in gold, and if I can make a dish do double duty and provide me with not one but two meals I am all over that!  This is a perfect example of multipurpose cooking.  I had a light supper for 2 and breakfast for 4 days out of this one quick session in the kitchen.  If that’s not efficient I don’t know what is!

Crispy crunchy bruschetta!

 

I started with the bruschetta.  I had visited York’s Food Festival on Sunday and grabbed a Haxby Bakehouse baguette.  After having some with roast chicken and salad on Sunday night, and another hunk for Monday lunch’s sandwich I was still left with about half a baguette day old baguette.  Perfect for bruschetta!  Once you’re done these will also keep well for an extra few days so don’t worry if you don’t want to eat them all at once, they’ll keep!

For the Bruschetta:

– Heat your oven to Gas 6 / 200C.
– Slice a baguette about 1/2″ thick.
– Place on a baking tray and spray both sides lightly with olive oil.
(- Cut open a clove of garlic and rub over the surface of the bread. )
– Place in the oven and bake for ~15-20 minutes.  The longer they’re in the crunchier they get!  It’s up to you how dark and crispy you want them to be.  You can stop when they’re just lightly browning and more toast like or keep going until they’re totally crisp and a deep, even brown!
– Keep warm if desired or allow to cool and then they can be boxed up to keep for a few days.
– TURN DOWN THE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO GAS 4 /180C *

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Now for the Topping!  Basically, I grabbed what I had on hand, which was mushrooms, asparagus and spinach, but the possibilities are just about endless!

~6 largish closed cup or chestnut mushrooms
1 bunch asparagus
1 large handful spinach
75g cream cheese
1 tbsp creme fraiche

– Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan.
– Thinly slice the mushrooms.
– Sautee the mushrooms.
– Snap the woody stems off the asparagus and slice into bite-sized bits.
– Add the asparagus and stir while cooking for about 3 minutes.
– Add the spinach to the top of the pan and leave to wilt over a low heat giving a little poke to mix it if necessary.
– REMOVE HALF OF THE MIXTURE TO YOUR SKILLET.  *
– Add the cream cheese and creme  fraiche to the remaining mixture, stir until melted and well mixed.
– Add a sprinkle of salt and a good grind of pepper to taste.

*See below.

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Carefully spoon on top of your bruschetta and plate up.  A little shaving of parmesan is a delight too! (And spot the cheeky little cheese on toasts added to the plate, I had 2 spare bruschetta and some Monterey Jack in front of me, add a quick blow torch et voila! Cheesy Toasts!)  I suggest a nice chardonnay and a sunny evening to enjoy these but they would be just as good by the fire on a winter’s evening too I’m sure!

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Now, what were we doing with our mysterious other half of the veggie mixture? Well, this is where the Frittata comes in! Or you can call it an omelette or a crustless quiche or whatever you fancy, I kinda just like saying Frittata in a kinda Hakuna Matata fashion!

* For the Fritatta:

– While you are cooking your veggies in your first frying pan heat a little splash of oil in a cast iron skillet.  Make sure the oil has coated the pan nicely this will stop it sticking.  (Skillet seems like such an Americanism but it just feels right for this kind of pan, you know?)
– In a jug or bowl beat 4 eggs, a splash of milk (~50-75ml), a pinch of salt and a grind of fresh black pepper.
– Add the veggies to the pan and pour over the egg mix.
– Top with slices of cheese, I went with Monterey Jack but any cheddary cheese would work.
– Place in your preheated oven and cook for about 20 minutes until set through.  It will puff up beautifully!
– Remove from the oven and allow to cool (it will sadly deflate but no matter!).
– Slice into 4 and place in a box in the fridge ready to grab a slice for breakfast each day.  You can eat this hot or cold, if you would like a hot breakfast simply heat in the microwave for 1 minute.

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So there you go, supper for 2 and breakfast for the next few days in one quick dash around the kitchen.  The fritatta can bake while you are eating your bruschetta, just remember to go back and get it out of the oven or bad things will happen!

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Filed under Breakfasts, Easy, Mains, Starters

Breakfast Omelettes To Go

I have a complicated relationship with breakfast.  I am NOT a morning person.  I am about as far from the concept of a morning person as it is possible to get.  If given the option to choose more sleep over almost anything else I will do it.  I am the queen of “5 more minutes”.  Which leaves me with a problem: Breakfast.  Because I will always, always, choose to stay in bed for those fabulous “5 more minutes” over getting up and getting breakfast.

For years I just skipped breakfast.  I would grab something mid morning when I was more up to thinking and eating, usually something sweet and sticky!  Or I’d grab some pop tarts or a croissant and run out of the house.  And that’s where my second problem happened.  Sugary breakfasts do not agree with me.  I’ve been working through some health issues this year and one thing I’ve been paying much more attention to is the food I’m eating and the effect it has on me.  Sugary breakfasts are great, I mean, it’s sugar, yum! But I find that if I’ve had a sweet, carby breakfast I am slower to wake up, I feel sluggish all day and generally down in the dumps.   I also run out of energy by the time I get home after work and often succumb to a nap.  All in all not ideal.

But it’s not all doom and gloom! I found a solution;  Sugar wasn’t working for me but I needed to eat something to get me through the day.  Eggs.  Eggs are a classic for a very good reason: They’re awesome! But mornings were still an issue for me.  So I needed to find a way to have something egg based that I could prepare in advance and then just grab and go.  Breakfast Omelettes To Go were born!  Not only do they give me energy, I feel full until lunchtime, no need for a sugary morning snack, I feel bright and clean and energised throughout the day.  They are easy to eat on the go, or to wolf down while the kettle boils and they also help me get my veggie portions in.  They also come in at around 100cal each, so ditching the sugar and turning to these has also helped me lose weight I desperately needed to lose without feeling like I’m missing out on anything at all.  All in all these are a total winner for me!

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Makes 6 mini omelettes (I either eat 2 for a perfectly filling, under 200cal breakfast!*)

12 baby plum or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped
2 handfuls spinach
6 large, free range eggs
splash of semi-skimmed or skimmed milk
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp corriander
salt and pepper to taste

– Heat a very small splash of olive oil in a frying pan.
– Add the tomatoes and pepper.  Cook, stiring, until the tomato skins are starting to burst and colour.
– Add the spinach and stir occasionally until wilted and any excess water has evaporated.  Get a nice char on the veg if you can.  (Beware the smoke alarm!)
– Divide the vegetables equally between the holes of a 6 hole silicone muffin tray.  **
– In a jug mix the 6 eggs, splash of milk, chilli flakes, corriander and salt and pepper.  Beat with a form to combine.
– Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables equally between the 6 holes.  This should come up to just the top of the holes.
– I cook mine for 15 minutes in my toaster oven at 220C.  You could use a grill or cook them in a regular oven at 200C.  You could even microwave them for 2-3 minutes if your muffin tin will fit in and turn round cleanly.  You want to cook them until they are just set in the middle.
– Once they are cooked and cooled put them in easy to grab tupperware in the fridge.
– In the morning bung them in the microwave for 2 minutes and enjoy!

* Variations: Why not switch out one omlette for a turkey sausage (tasty and low fat!) or add some closed cup mushrooms to the box too (virtually calorie free and full of flavour!).  If you’re adding mushrooms cook everything for 2 1/2 minutes to ensure the mushroom is cooked.  You can also play around with the vegetables to your heart’s content!
** I generally don’t recommend using a silicone mould for muffins and cupcakes, you just don’t get as good a rise.  For this, however, a silicone mould is perfect.  The eggs just pop right out, no need to grease.

 

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Filed under Breakfasts, Easy, Gluten Free, Low Fat

Cheesecake Bars

When I lived in Tokyo I would usually pick up breakfast on my way to uni.  If there is one thing I miss the most about Japan it is the convenience stores, or conbini, they were just brilliant!  You want a kitkat, a bottle of mikan juice and a bowl of hot macaroni cheese at 3am?  Done!  Japanese food was just amazing in all ways, even the rubbish, but I digress.  Every morning for a good few months I would stop off at a particular store on my trip to uni and I would buy myself a carton of cafe latte and a cheesecake bar.  It was just a simple stick of baked cheesecake.  No biscuit, no flavouring, just cheesecake plain and simple. 

For Christmas I got a silicone baking mould that forms 12 bars.  I had asked for a 9 hole mini loaf tray but such a creature does not exist it would seem and the closest “Mother Christmas” could come was a 12 hole bar tray from France.  The first thing I thought of when I saw this tray was, “Well that’d make funny shaped loaves.”, the second thing I thought was, “But I could make cheesecake bars!”  And so last night, when I was in serious need of some baking therapy having just watched Doctor Who, I did. 

This cheesecake recipe is the simplest thing in the world only 5 ingredients!  I think I first saw this recipe in a supermarket magazine as a project for kids but it is now one of my emergency recipes as it takes so few ingredients.  I like to make it after dinner because then you can just leave it and forget about it while it cools in the oven overnight and it’s not taking any time away from other things.  Also you get to breakfast on cheesecake and what’s better than that?

Makes 12 bars.  If you don’t have a fancy mould like mine then you could probably just use a brownie or square cake tin and cut it up. 

2 large eggs
400g soft cheese
125g caster sugar
4 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tsp vanilla extract
the seeds from half a vanilla pod

Step 1: Assemble your ingredients.

[I changed my mind about the orange half way through and decided to keep it pure with the vanilla but you can easily substitute the vanillas for the zest and 3tbsp of juice from an orange, lemon or lime.  We keep our vanilla pods in the sugar jar, as you can just see, it gives a light hint of flavour to the sugar and stores the vanilla well.]

– Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease your mould, tin or tray with melted butter. 
– In a medium sized mixing bowl beat the eggs. 
– Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth. 

It will look like this but keep beating...

...and it will look like this!

– Add the sugar, vanillas and creme fraiche and beat until well combined. 
– Pour into your chosen mould and  bake for 30 minutes. 
– Turn off the oven and leave overnight or until completely cool. 
– Turn out, and slice if necessary, and serve!

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Filed under Easy, Teatime Treats

Christmas Pudding

As with the Last Minute Christmas Cake I don’t get to participate with this more than the traditional stir and wish.  However it’s another recipe that doesn’t need to mature or need constant feeding.  You can make it up on Christmas Eve if you want to or in September, it’ll still be great.  In fact I think we’ve been known to make up the 3 puddings and then eat one the next year! I can’t even claim the words for the recipe as my own here so think of it as a guest post from my mum.

Makes 3 average pudding basins

225 g dark brown sugar
400g white breadcrumbs
225g suet
half tsp salt
1 tsp mixed spice
1 kg mixed dried fruit
50g chopped blanched almonds
2 large cooking apples peeled, cored and grated
zest and juice of half a lemon
2 beaten eggs
300ml Guiness/milk stout/dark beer
150ml approx milk

 – Mix all dry ingredients together.  
– Mix in apple and lemon, eggs, beer and anything else in the list and enough milk to make soft dropping consistency.
– Put into pudding bowls with a circle of baking parchment in the bottom of each.
– Cover with greaseproof with a pleat in the centre. 
– Steam for 4-5 hours.
– Leave to go cold and store in a cool place. (I make up the full quantity and freeze the spares.)
– To reheat thaw, if frozen, and microwave for 6 minutes, with a pyrex lid to keep in moisture, or if you are a traditionalist steam again for 2 hours.

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Filed under Christmas, Desserts, Easy