Archive | Breakfast

Recipe | Poached eggs, avocado, tahini toast with ricotta and chilli flakes

The Brekky Prize

I spent 4 hours rolling, folding, cutting and meticulously filling the seafood pasta. The sauce alone used three different pans and the finished dish required me to make 4 different flourishes to decorate and add those precious final touches. It smelt amazing and tasted even better. My clients went wild for it. Instagram did not.

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Recipe |Baked eggs with spiced tomato, chickpeas, yogurt and coriander

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The Brunch club…

Anxious texting, emails, and phone calls preceded the start of the weekend.  The hosts and I were keen to make this season’s final pheasant shoot end with a bang (literally for the pheasants) and the Met Office red weather warnings littered with negative temperatures and snowstorms were not helping. I dressed in 5 layers from head to toe (I’m turning into such a softie southerner) and donned my boots to head north….

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Travel plan A was vetoed as my car (stationed in the Borders) was snowed in, so I thought I would try my luck with the train in order to travel from Edinburgh to Perth.  Whilst scooting across town from airport to train station I noticed a charming element to Edinburgh, well actually there are many. Even if it is howling a gale and the chilled rain is lashing down everyone always queues very politely at bus stops, preferring to brave the elements rather than form a disorderly queue huddled under the shelter.  I don’t know what the‘Edinburghers’ would make of the T.F.L. shenanigans.

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The train was quiet and much to my surprise out of the window was….. a perfect bright sunny Winters day which turned almost tropical when I arrived at my destination (well a barmy 1 °C and plenty more sunshine).  Ha! So much for red weather warnings.

My first task was to do the mammoth shop that every shooting weekend requires, although I had lugged up half a cow and some fish with me on the train. Zooming around the shops, I admit I can never quite believe my calculations…10 packs of butter, 90 eggs, 5 pots of double cream, the ½ a cow… but come the last meal of the weekend and seeing the nearly empty larders and fridges I am always relieved I stocked up.

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A shoot weekend will often consist food wise of Friday night dinner, Saturday breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner and Sunday breakfast and then Sunday lunch.  The host this time however opted for a Sunday brunch, which I have to say, was a wild success.  After a few impressive days of feasting, partying and the occasional glass or two of wine, having then to scoff  a Sunday lunch can seem a bit of a hurdle as far as eating stamina goes.  Brunch however is great; it allows the guests time for a lie in, the food is naturally designed as a great cure for any possible hangovers (I know a cooked breakfast can do this too but Brunch somehow seems more digestible) and there is still time for a Sunday morning walk before everyone has to toddle back to their homes.   I tell you it’s all about Sunday brunch!

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Brunch is said to have kicked off in the late 18th century and was delightfully described as the Sunday meal for “Saturday night carousers,”.  This postcard recipe is the spiced baked eggs I cooked as part of theirs.

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Job done, bags packed, the remaining pheasants are enjoying their end of season survival party and I’m heading to London to cook for some ‘ladies what lunch’…..

 

This week:

Is a better one to be a pheasant.

I’m travelling with my hot water bottle.

Every home should have: an Aynsley Gravy Boat

4.5 kilo of potatoes were scoffed.

Its ALL about brunch

 

 

Baked eggs with spiced tomato, chickpeas, coriander and yogurt

Serves 4

1 tbs olive oil

1 red onion finely chopped

1 clove garlic finely chopped

10g washed coriander, stalks finely chopped and leaves roughly chopped

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. finely chopped red chilli (more or less depending on your heat preferences).

800g tinned tomatoes

1 tin canned chickpeas drained and lightly rinsed.

4 free range/ organic eggs

2 tbs yogurt

2 spring onions roughly chopped

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In a wide deep pan (I used a wok) that you can put a lid on gently fry the onion and garlic in the oil.

Once softened (about 4 minutes) add the spices and chopped coriander stalk, fry for a further minute.

Add the tinned tomatoes and chickpeas, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10  – 15 minutes stirring occasionally. You want a tasty sauce that s not too dry or wet.

Check the seasoning and when perfect crack the eggs into the tomato mixture, place a lid on top and cook the eggs till for about 4 minutes (ideally you want a cooked white and runny yolk).

Slip out onto your serving plate and garnish with dollops of yogurt, a sprinkling of spring onions and the coriander leaves.

 

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Recipes | Bircher Muesli and Swiss Hot chocolate with cream

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Fur Coat, no twitters…

Never having been a seasonaire (usually someone in their early 20’s that spends their winter working in a chalet and off on the piste/p**s in some ski resort) I was not sure what to expect when asked to cook this week in Verbier.  With a ‘chalet girls /boys’ reputation of working and playing seriously hard, I hoped I could keep up with the pace…

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The journey there was stunning.  I flew into Switzerland, then hopped onto the train that whizzed by the elegant Lake Geneva, then onto a bus that snaked up the mountain until I finally arrived in the swish ski resort of Verbier.   I am very glad I packed my warmest coat ( though it wasn’t fur) and multiple layers because as was expected, it was rather cold.

 

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The days flew by as the chalets routine is rather busy, there wasn’t even time to tweet (Philippa Davis@phollowphilippa)

Up with the snow plough at 6:00am I was heading off to the bakery to get the first batch of croissants fresh from the oven.  A big breakfast of meats, cheeses, fruit, eggs, bircher muesli ( see recipe below) and yogurts fueled the skiers for their day ahead on the slopes.

 

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When breakfast has been cleared up and a tea time treat has been baked this would be when, if you were in the swing of things, you too would head off out to the piste. If you were sensible however you would have a quick afternoon nap, providing you didn’t have to do a shop.

 

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Shopping up the side of a mountain has its challenges.  On the positive side there was an amazing butchers, cheese shop, bakery and even the vegetables were impressive considering our location.  Getting them back to the chalet is not quite such a positive experience.  Over the week I unintentionally perfected my free style skating and am now worthy of a gold medal, although I don’t think path sliding is an Olympic sport, yet.

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When the guests arrive back to the chalet around tea time they all need there little sugar fix after an energetic day on the slopes.  Cakes, tea and hot chocolate (recipe below) are all served then the fire is lit and its time to start the five course supper.

 

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Canapé 

Deep fried mozzarella 

Starter 

Double baked cheese soufflé with radicchio, chervil and chicory salad dressed with pedro ximenez vinegar. 

Main 

Pan fried veal escalopes with rosemary and garlic roast potatoes and braised chard

Desert

Chocolate bread and butter pudding with salted caramel ice cream

Cheese Board

Goats Truffle log,  Aged Gruyere and Roquefort with home made oat cakes, honey and celery

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When the last plate is washed, the glasses all polished and the breakfast table is laid, then you’re off the hook. Then you too could go off out on the “piste’ to one of the many late night bars and clubs tucked into the mountain OR off to bed, but that’s only if you were sensible…

 

Having had an enjoyable busy week and experienced the life of those young fun loving seasonaires,  I’m now heading home for a cup of tea and to watch Miss Marple, then its off to Cheltenham to cook for the races.

 

 

 

This weeks statistics

Hot chocolates drunk 7 ( without cream 0)

Altitudes reached 1592 m

St Bernard’s patted 3

 

Bircher Muesli

Possibly my new favorite breakfast option, this takes “rabbit food” like muesli to a whole new wonderful hight.

The recipe below is a starting point, use what you like in terms of fruits, nuts and seeds, if you prefer not to use fruit juice you could soak the oats in milk or in contrast omit the dairy side altogether and use more juice.

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Serves 2

1 cup of oats soaked over night in 1  1/2 cups of either apple or pear juice or half milk half yogurt OR a dairy free alternative  ( upon first soaking the liquid should just top the oats)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 apple grated ( skin left on)

1 cup of ; mixed seeds/ nuts and dried fruit this could include hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, raisins, dried apricots, dried prunes, dried apple, linseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds

In a bowl mix the oats with the chosen juice   / milk  / yogurt , the grated apple and the spices. Mix well and leave overnight.

In the morning mix the soaked oats with the dried fruits, seeds and  nuts, .  You can top with some fresh fruit like a handful of raspberries, blueberries etc.

Hot chocolate with cream

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As comforting and warming as hugging a big hairy St Bernard a mug of good hot chocolate is the perfect sugar fix to a day out on the chilly energetic slopes. I used Swiss chocolate and then cream from the laitare in Verbier for my guests but the important point is just to get quality ingredients as its so simple and unadulterated. For me, making hot chocolate by this method is so much superior to any powdered coco/ hot chocolate you can get.

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Per person

for an 8 oz mug you would need

4 squares of 70 % chocolate

Milk (almost one mug full)

a generous spoon of thick cream

Heat the chocolate and the milk in a sauce pan, whisking a little to get a slight foam. Once the chocolate is melted pour into the mug and slide in the spoonful of cream.

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Recipe |Boxty

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In Dublin’s fair city, there is something delicious for breakfast….

 

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So the conversation went a little like this…..

Me: “Good morning, would you like a fresh juice?”

Guest 1: “What’s in it?”

Me: “Apple, carrot, cabbage, ginger and spinach.”

Guest 1; “CABBAGE?!”

 

Guest 1 went a bit green, it had been a big night…

 

Starter

Lobster Thermidor

Main

Beef Three rib roast  with mashed potato and braised cavolo nero

Dessert

Steamed treacle pudding with clotted cream

Not forgetting the cocktails, much good claret and to finish some round belly glasses filled with armagnac.  He reached for the coffee and sat down quietly.

 

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Then in limped Guest 2

Me: “Fresh Juice?”

Guest 2: “ Sure” takes a big gulp “Jesus! Whats in it? That’s delicious”!

Me, “erm…apple and ginger mostly”

 

Eventually all 12 of the guests, including no. 1 tried the juice and agreed it was surprisingly tasty ( for cabbage juice) and not at all a bad way to recuperate.

 

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Juicing is a great way to get a vitamin fix. It should not replace eating whole fruits and vegetables, as it does not give you much fibre. It is also best drunk soon after making and on an empty stomach. Another advantage of having a juicer is that it’s a great way to use up odd bits of fruit and veg or clear out the fridge before going away.

 

Here are a few juices I whizzed up that weekend for the guests.

 

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Spinach, watercress, cucumber and apple, White cabbage, pear, celery and lemon, Carrot, apple and ginger.

There was another job a few years ago in Ibiza when I was doing heaps of juicing for a group of health conscious and beautifully toned women.  The sun was shining and they were down by the pool, I took a tray of watermelon, lime and strawberry juices out to them with ice and mint sprigs.

One of them took a sip and said

“mmm…you know what would be delicious in this”?

“?”

“Vodka”

 

Back to Ireland, and this postcard’s real recipe, Boxty.

 

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A light and fluffy Irish potato pancake that is SO good smothered in butter for breakfast and was just made for accompanying poached eggs and bacon.  It is also a most welcome sight after a heavy night if green juice is really not your thing.

 

Boxty 

Makes 4 

100g mashed potato (use a floury type like Desiree, Rooster, King Edward or Maris Piper, )

100g raw potato finely grated then squeezed to get rid of as much juice as possible.

50g plain flour 

1 egg

1/2 tsp bicarb

1/2 tsp baking powder

100g buttermilk ( or milk mixed half and half with yogurt) 

salt / pepper/ drizzle  veg oil

50g – 75 g of  butter 

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1)In a mixing bowl whisk the mashed potato, egg and buttermilk till combined.

2)Mix the flour with the bicarb and baking powder then whisk into the egg mix.

3)Stir in the grated potato and season with salt and pepper

4)On a medium to high heat fry blobs of the potato batter ( you only need a drizzle of vegetable oil).  It should take about two minutes on each side.

5)Once cooked take out the pan and smear on some butter

Really delicious when served with poached eggs and crispy bacon. 

 

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Next I am off to cook in the Caribbean…

 

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RECIPE | WILD GARLIC WITH FREE RANGE SCRAMBLED EGGS

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A Wild Garlic Hunt

Well I have finished my job on the Emerald Isle and am off to Dorset to check in with the folks and see if I can catch the final days of one of my favourite foraged treats; wild garlic.

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Truffle and I ( Truffle being my sister’s dog) both had our noses stuck out the car window as we beetled along the narrow country lanes.  You can smell it before you see it and although we have not yet taught her to alert us to its presence, I am ever the optimist. The month of June is a little late in the year to be picking wild garlic, usually the little white  flowers are out and the leaves are not quite so tender as they once were.   Determined at least to try and find some I yelled excitedly to “stop the car”! as I caught a waft of that sweet smelling delicacy.   There, beneath the ancient woodlands, Henry  VIII ‘s old hunting grounds no less, there lay a patch of edible green shoots and white flowers.  I leapt out the car and began my picking.  Truffle took one sniff at what I was paying my attentions to and darted off into the woods – she clearly did not share my enthusiasm.

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A basketful later I called the dog so we could take this bounty back home and make a breakfast feast of wild garlic and scrambled eggs.  Before reluctantly jumping back into the car she reminded me of one of the rules of harvesting wild food by peeing on the patch I had just taken from – always wash thoroughly before use.

Dorset Wild Garlic with Scrambled Eggs

 

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Ingredients (serves 4 hungry people)

A very well washed and drained bunch of wild garlic 

8 free range chicken eggs

Bread for toast

A good knob of butter.

A splash of olive oil

Method

Roughly chop the wild garlic into 2 inch pieces and wilt in a frying pan with a splash of olive oil- it will only take about one minute, season with salt and pepper.    Scoop the leaves out onto a warm plate, pouring away any excess liquid (or better still reserve the liquid and add it to an appropriate soup or risotto )  while you scramble the eggs. To do this I always melt a little butter in the pan  then pour in the lightly beaten eggs and stir gently with a flat wooden spoon over a low to medium heat. Before the eggs look fully cooked take off the heat and fold in the wilted wild garlic. Serve on buttered toast.     

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It is hard to leave the comforts of home but with my adieus said I am now heading north ( having packed my rain coat) to take a trip to the bonnie hills of Scotland..

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