Tag Archives: Eggs

Eggs poached with n’duja, peppers and tomatoes

N'duja

A lovely lump of N’duja. Yes, I know my infills need doing.

Spreadable sausage. Like chocolate cheese, jeggings or Texas ft. Method Man, it’s not really a concept that your brain initially warms to. There feels something faintly 1980s and unhygienic about it, redolent of unwashed lunchboxes and bouts of salmonella poisoning. Then, I discovered N’duja. N’duja is the Calabrian form of salami; a spicy, spreadable treat made from various parts of the pig, roast peppers and a lot of bright red spices. I bought a gigantic lump of the stuff recently during a trip to Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar in Manchester (along with beautifully bright mini bottles of campari and soda, and a lump of smoked mozzarella which I covered in rock salt and ate guiltily in my pyjamas as a midnight snack) and since then have been adding it to everything from pasta to toast. I’ve even been known to cut off hunks of the stuff and eat it with my fingers, because a) that’s the kind of thing I do, and b) I really can’t be left alone with pork products.

So, on a night where the worst storm of the year is slicing through the North West, I decided to use it to create a warm, spicy, porcine spin on an old favourite, Shakshuka. Hunks of n’duja are fried in sizzling oil; along with onions, garlic, and sweet red pepper (after all, woman cannot live on pork alone.) I added a spinkle of cumin and smoked paprika to the mixture for a touch of warmth and spice – this is a dish which can handle it after all. Add some eggs and a large handful of chopped coriander, and you’ve got the perfect Winter’s meal; one which is healthy, tasty, quick and – most importantly – full of pork. What more could a person want?

Eggs poached with n'duja peppers and tomatoes

EGGS POACHED WITH N’DUJA, PEPPERS AND TOMATOES (Serves two)

You will need:

  • 1 thumb sized lump of n’duja
  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 medium sized red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 medium sized eggs
  • Salt & Pepper
  • A fistful of fresh coriander to garnish
  • A medium sized frying pan (with lid) or saucepan

Make It!

  1. Remove the n’duja from its casing, and fry in a tablespoon of oil until it has broken up, and the oil has turned a rich red colour.
  2. Add the sliced onions and red pepper, and fry for 2 – 3 minutes until soft. Throw in the garlic, and fry for another minute.
  3. Sprinkle the ground  cumin and smoked paprika over the mixture, and mix to combine. Pour in the tinned tomatoes and simmer for five minutes until the mixture has thickened. Season with the salt and pepper.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, make small wells in the tomatoes, and crack in the eggs. Cover the pan, and cook for five minutes until the whites have set.
  5. Sprinkle with the fresh coriander, and serve immediately. This goes really well with wholemeal pitta breads, or freshly baked soda bread.
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Potato, Onion and Goat’s Cheese Frittata

Potato Onion and Goats Cheese fritatta

I asked Father Christmas for a skillet this Christmas. Not because I am the kind of woman who values pots and pans over things like books and records, but more because I was fed up with burning the living crap out of my cookware when I stuck it in the oven only to discover that it wasn’t actually ovenproof. Take it from me, there is no smell on earth quite like that of plastic which is melting onto the floor of your (already decrepit) oven due to your own incompetence. As it was, Santa did me a solid, and on Christmas Day I woke up to discover a pleasingly skillet-shaped object underneath my Christmas tree. “Oh, the things I’ll make with you!” I thought to myself, right after I spent a good five minutes pretending to whack Mr. McMc over the head with it in a Reeves and Mortimer-esque manner.

And, indeed, I’ve made quite a few things with my new favourite piece of kitchen equipment, from pilafs and fritters to pancakes and frittatas. I’ve also managed to give myself a few cracking kitchen injuries with it too, the best one involving me scalding my right boob with it while tipping out an omelette. You’d have thought that I’d have realised by now that skillets are both a) very heavy and b) get hot exceedingly quickly, but judging from the resplendent red stripe on my tit, obviously not.

However, minor cleavage injuries are totally worth it when you’re whipping out some of the best frittatas you’ve ever made in your life, such as this Potato, Onion and Goats Cheese Frittata. Ok, so it’s not exactly reinventing the wheel in terms of egg-based meals, but it’s simple, it’s quick and it combines crispy potatoes, tangy goats cheese  and caramelised onions, making it pretty damn tasty. Best of all, you can get it from idea to plate in the space of twenty minutes – fantastic for those evenings where you wish to do little more than eat, drink booze and watch marathons of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. And seeing as it’s January, you could probably get away with calling it healthy too. Although lets not get ahead of ourselves here.

POTATO, ONION AND GOAT’S CHEESE FRITTATA (Serves two, or one greedy person)

You will need:

  • 4-5 medium sized, waxy potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium sized eggs
  • 50g goats cheese
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • Salt and pepper to season

Make It!

  1. Switch your oven on to Gas Mark 5/200 degrees c. Locate a ovenproof frying pan (after all, we’re making a frittata here, not trying to set our oven on fire.)
  2. Slice your potatoes with a mandolin, or the slicing side of a box grater (watch your fingers!). Season, and set to one side.
  3. Fry the onions in a tablespoon of olive oil until they begin to turn soft, and slightly brown. Remove from the pan and set to one side.
  4. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Layer the potatoes thinly on the bottom and cook for 2 – 3 minutes.
  5. Beat the eggs with the goats cheese, rosemary and thyme (the goats cheese should easily crumble into the eggs.) Season with salt and pepper, and pour over the potatoes. Cook over a medium heat for 1 – 2 minutes, until the mixture has set. Put the pan into the oven and cook for five minutes until the top has turned bronze, and the eggs have set.
  6. Leave to cool slightly before serving. This goes well with a leafy green salad or – if you’ve spent your day grappling with spreadsheets like I had when I made this – a large glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc.
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Avocado, Bacon and Tomato Scramble

Eggs

Like many people, I have a bit of a Sunday ritual. Wake up, immediately curse myself for drinking too much wine the night before (and for passing out on the sofa in front of Match of the Day), and then spend a good hour or so working myself to have the ‘energy’ (by which I mean ‘compulsion’) to go for a run. I’m training for my first half marathon at the moment, and I see every creaky Sunday morning five miler as yet another milestone on my way to becoming Bootle’s answer to Paula Radcliffe.

However, as anyone who has ever visited Bootle knows, it’s not the most scenic of places. I run down a stretch of tarmac known as the Dock Road, a rather grim looking dual carriageway lined with petrol stations, crumbling warehouses and perilous potholes. It also stinks. On good days, the air will be redolent with the smell of rotting grain (which smells curiously like dog food) with underlying notes of tyre fires. On bad days, it’s just tyre fires. When faced with such unfragrant conditions, a girl needs the thought of a good breakfast at the end of her exertions to keep her going.

Avocados and Tomatoes

This Avocado, Bacon and Tomato Scramble is the kind of  meal I would happily run marathons for. Made out a bunch of ingredients shoved away at the back of my fridge that were just on the verge of transforming from delicious ripeness to fetid mush, it’s full of brightness, salt and spice. Avocados and eggs work wonderfully together – the buttery soft sweetness of the avocado working wonderfully with the silken custardy wobble of barely set scrambled eggs. Add a handful of chopped tomatoes, a few crumbles of crispy bacon and a gigantic dash of hot sauce, and you’re done.

I’d advise you to make much more of this than you think you’ll need, or – at the very least – to stock up on the ingredients, as this is the kind of thing you’ll want to make again and again once you see how good (and how easy to make) it is. When served up with some granary toast and a mug of tea in front of the football, this is a weekend breakfast delight to savour.

Avocado Bacon and Tomato Scramble

AVOCADO, BACON AND TOMATO SCRAMBLE (Serves Two)

You will need:

  • 4 medium sized eggs
  • 4 rashers of good quality bacon
  • The innards of a ripe, medium sized avocado, diced
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, diced
  • A dash of hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
  • Salt and Pepper to season

Make It!

  1. First, grill your bacon. If you don’t know how to grill bacon, then I’m afraid we’re through. I can’t really help you there. (Although one of these helps.) Once it’s crispy, chop it into fine pieces. Set to one side.
  2. While your bacon is cooking, scramble some eggs. Crack them into a bowl, and add a dash of milk and plenty of salt and pepper. Heat a teaspoon of butter in a saucepan, and pour in the egg mixture. Once it has started to set at the sides of the saucepan, scramble the mixture with a fork. Keep scrambling until it has barely set, and has a custardy texture.
  3. Add the avocado chunks, diced tomatoes and bits of bacon. Smother with Frank’s hot sauce and eat immediately (preferably accompanied by a buttered roll and a giant mug of tea.)
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Duck Hash

So, how were your weekends readers? I spent mine doing the usual activities; such as eating, drinking, baking and writing. Oh, and I also ran the Race for Life (you can still sponsor me here if you’re feeling generous). After all of that strenuous activity I decided I needed some quality ‘me’ time. So, I decided to relax in the best way I knew how.  By shoving a beer can up a duck’s arse.

OK. So I know what you’re thinking; “what kind of sick woman gets her kicks by ramming pieces of tin up unsuspecting bird’s rear ends?” Well, I can confirm that no (live) poultry was harmed in this experiment (although I was tempted to wave my beer-can-compromised-duck at our next door neighbour’s chickens as a warning that this is what would happen to them if they didn’t shut up). Instead, I was conducting my usual Sunday afternoon trick of using every cooking implement in our house by making this Peking Duck recipe that I found over at Serious EatsI’ve long been a fan of their ‘Food Lab’ column (even if it can be totally and utterly bonkers at times) which shows you how to make brilliant restaurant style classics via the use of a few kitchen hacks, and I’ve yet to make a recipe from there which hasn’t resulted in the creation of something ridiculously delicious.

I would recommend that anyone and everyone makes their Peking Duck recipe. While the skin of the bird didn’t turn out quite as crispy as I would have liked, and I somehow managed to get honey everywhere (don’t drink and marinade kids!) it wasn’t a bad first attempt for someone who had never cooked duck before. Mr. Cay and I spent a very happy Sunday evening feasting like kings on poultry and pancakes while watching England limp out of the football on penalties.

On Monday night, grumpy and full of a cold/hayfever hybrid that just will not quit, I decided to use the leftovers to create some quality comfort food – a Duck Hash. I’m a huge fan of hashes, mainly because they’re simple, tasty and a great way to use up all of those Sunday dinner remnants. First, I cooked some waxy potatoes in a few pints of chicken stock, which imbued them with a nice savoury flavour. Then I fried those, a sliced onion and a handful of shrivelled cherry tomatoes which I found at the back of my fridge in some leftover duck fat until they turned brown and crispy. Topped with some shredded leftover duck and a fried egg and it was a Monday night tea fit for a Queen – as well as a fitting end for a fowl which had been roasted in a most ungracious manner.

DUCK HASH (Serves Two)

You will need:

  • 400g waxy potatoes
  • Two pints of chicken stock
  • One onion, sliced thinly
  • A large handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 250g shredded cooked duck breast, or the meat from two cooked duck legs
  • 3 tbsp duck fat (or olive oil if you don’t have any duck fat handy)
  • 2 duck eggs
  • A good dash of Tabasco sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to season

Make It!

  1. First, slice your potatoes in two, and boil them in the stock for around five minutes (they should still feel quite firm when you stick your knife in them to see if they’re cooked).
  2. Drain the potatoes and leave them to cool (you can do this the night before if you wish). When you’re ready to use them, chop them into even-sized chunks.
  3. Heat your duck fat in a large frying pan. Sauté the onions until they become translucent, then add the potatoes. Cooked for five-ten minutes until they begin to turn brown and crispy. Add the chopped tomatoes, shredded duck and salt and pepper and cook for another two minutes. Flatten the mixture down with your spatula while it’s cooking so it becomes one huge greasy, crispy mass.
  4. Once the hash has cooked, and turned brown and crispy around the edges, take it off the heat. Fry the duck eggs in another frying pan until they’re just the way you like them (I prefer them sunny side up with a nice runny yolk).
  5. Divide the hash evenly between two plates and top with the fried eggs. Sprinkle liberally with the Tabasco sauce and eat immediately (this goes well with a big mug of tea and lots of bread to mop up the excess grease and egg yolk).
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Shakshuka

Some people have normal phobias, like spiders and the dark. Me? I have them of that pre-grated cheese which comes in giant plastic sacks and blood pressure monitors. The blood pressure monitor one meant that I had to spend my Wednesday strapped up to an automatic blood pressure doohickey which took a reading every fifteen minutes. Ever been stood next to someone in the supermarket when your arm suddenly decides to expand & vibrate? I DON’T RECOMMEND IT.

There’s not a lot you can do when you’re spending your day dressed in wires. Even cleaning the cooker becomes fraught with danger, as one especially hard scrub when you’re scouring your hobs could lead to your reading going off the scale. And if that wasn’t enough, it also had the indecency to go off when I was on the toilet. By lunchtime, I was feeling decidedly pissed off. There was only one thing for it. It was time for Shakshuka.

Shakshuka may sound like the name of a burly Israeli superhero, but in reality it’s an absolutely delicious dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. It’s incredibly easy to make, uses ingredients which you’ll usually find festering away at the back of your fridge and (best of all) it’s ridiculously healthy. It’s the perfect comfort food to tackle those January blues, and makes an amazing lunch.  Due to my insatiable greed for all things egg-and-cheese based, I ate an entire pan of this stuff. However, if you’re more inclined to share your lunch (and believe in portion control), this will easily feed two.

OK, so there are better ways to spend a day off work than strapped up to a blood pressure monitor. But after a huge plate of this, and an America’s Next Top Model marathon on Living, it was just about bearable. Well, until it went off again when I was trying to put my coat on…

SHAKSHUKA (Feeds one greedy person, or two people with normal appetites)

Recipe adapted (very slightly) from Smitten Kitchen 

You will need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green chilli, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed then sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp  paprika (I used smoked paprika to give it a bit more oomph)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 50g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and Pepper to season
  • Warm pita breads, for serving

Make It!

  1. Cook the chilli and the diced onion, stirring occasionally, until the mixture turns soft and golden brown. Add garlic, cumin, and paprika, and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan along with 60ml water.  Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Crack eggs over sauce so that eggs are evenly distributed across sauce’s surface. Cover the pan and cook for around 5 minutes until the yolks are just set. Baste the whites of the eggs with tomato mixture, being careful not to disturb the yolk. Sprinkle shakshuka with feta and parsley and serve with pitas, for dipping.
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