Hollandaise sauce

This is an important sauce at this time of year, when asparagus is in the shops, the sun is shining, and a light supper is called for. Hollandaise sauce is the perfect method to help butter and lemon juice to stick to food, just thickened with egg yolk. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 150 g unsalted butter 
  • 2 large egg yolks 
  • 2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper 

METHOD:

  • Put the butter in a small pan over low heat, and as soon as it has melted, take it off the heat. 
  • In another pan, half fill with boiling water, and put a small trivet in the bottom. Put over a low flame so the water stays hot. 
  • In a heat-proof bowl, beat the egg yolks with the vinegar, and sit them over the boiling water. 
  • Straight away, start pouring in the molten butter in a slow stream, beating the eggs all the time. A small balloon whisk is ideal. 
  • The sauce will be quite thick; add the lemon juice and keep beating, and season with salt and pepper. 

You can vary the lemon juice, salt and pepper to your taste. 

 

Potato, cauliflower and coconut curry

For when your husband comes home with a random cauliflower. It is a longish list of ingredients, but it is very very good. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small to medium cauliflower
  • 100g creamed coconut
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 100g tomatoes
  • 2.5cm cube of fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2.5cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 hot green chillies
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 4 eggs (optional – leave these out for a vegan version)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala 

METHOD:

Prepare all the ingredients.

  • Boil the potatoes, then cool, peel and chop them into 2cm dice.
  • Separate the cauliflower into small florets, about 2cm across at the top. Cook the florets for a minute in boiling water, then drain and rinse in cold water. 
  • Pour 500ml boiling water onto the creamed coconut, and stir so it is all melted in. 
  • Peel and chop the tomatoes. 
  • chop the ginger and garlic, and put them into a small blender with a spoonful of water, and blend until smooth.
  • Finely chop the onion
  • Finely chop the chilli peppers
  • Boil, cool and peel the eggs and cut in half. 

Next, start assembling the dish. 

  • In a wok or large deep frying pan, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add the fenugreek seeds and then the cinnamon stick. 
  • After a couple of seconds, add the chopped onion, and turn the heat to medium, stirring and cooking for a couple of minutes. 
  • Add the ginger and garlic mixture, and the chopped chilli peppers. Cook for another minute. 
  • Add the tomatoes, turmeric and curry leaves. Cook for another couple of minutes. 
  • Add about a third of the coconut milk, turn the heat to low, and simmer. As the sauce reduces, keep an eye and stir from time to time so it doesn’t stick. 
  • Add the potatoes, cauliflower, 1.5 tsp salt, another third of the coconut milk, stir and bring to a simmer. 
  • Add the rest of the coconut milk and the lemon juice, stir and then put the eggs in carefully, spooning the sauce over the eggs. Cover and simmer for a few more minutes. 
  • Sprinkle with garam masala before serving. 

This is good with flat breads such as chapati or roti. 

Braised eggs with leeks, lemon and zahtar

We are about to head off to a family gathering, and so tonight’s supper was composed of items that needed to be eaten. This included a very chunky home-grown leek and some fresh local eggs. This served 3

INGREDIENTS:

  • 20g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chunky leek, sliced into 1/2 cm slices
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, or 1 preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 150ml marigold stock or other simple stock
  • 125g baby spinach
  • 3 large eggs
  • 45g feta cheese
  • 1 dessert spoon zahtar spice mix
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter into the olive oil in a small braising pan which has a lid that fits well. 
  • When the butter starts to foam, add the chopped leeks and cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes or so, until the leeks soften. Season with a little pepper while the leeks are cooking.
  • Add the cumin, lemon and stock, and boil rapidly for 5 minutes or so to reduce the liquid.
  • Add the spinach, and cover, cook for a minute until the spinach has wilted right down.
  • Use a spoon to make nests for the eggs in the mixture. Break the eggs into these depressions. Sprinkle crumbled feta over the top. Cover with the lid, and braise for 4 minutes, until the whites are set and the yolks are runny. (I wonder if crowdie would work). 
  • Sprinkle with Zahtar spice mix, and then serve immediately, with fresh bread. 

 

Scrambled egg with mushrooms, Spanish style.

I got some free range eggs from Linda, and then Kenny bought me some too – all wonderful, but that was a lot of eggs. So I made this. It is from the Moro cookbook, by Sam and Sam Clark .

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g mushrooms (a mixture, could include chanterelles, other wild mushrooms)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 25 butter
  • 6 eggs, broken into a bowl. Do not beat the eggs. 
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 40g serrano ham, cut into small strips
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Clean the mushrooms and slice them roughly. 
  • In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the chopped garlic, and fry for only a minute, then add the mushrooms. It will look like you have too many mushrooms, but don’t worry, all will be fine. Fry for around 5 minutes or so, stirring, so that the mushrooms are soft. 
  • Add the ham, salt and pepper, cook for another minute, and then transfer the mixture to a bowl. 
  • In the same pan, melt the butter and then add the eggs and mil. Stir the eggs with a fork or wooden spoon so that the eggs break up a bit. 
  • When they begin to set, return the mushrooms to the pan, along with the chopped parsley, and continue to cook until any eggwhite has set. 

Serve with fresh bread. 

Menemen – Turkish dish of peppers, eggs and tomatoes.

We are about to go on holiday to Istanbul, so I was looking at Turkish recipes. This caught my eye, as I had a couple of green peppers from Tagsa Uist Grow your Community at East Camp. Very tasty, very easy. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 small green peppers, halved, seeded and sliced. 
  • 2 dried chilli peppers, crushed
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • Could include herbs such as thyme, oregano, spices such as cumin
  • chopped parsley
  • Sour cream or greek yoghurt

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan, and add the onions, then the garlic, and then the pepper and chillies. Fry slowly until the onions are soft. 
  • Add the tomatoes and any additional herbs and spices, and simmer slowly to reduce the mixture. Season with salt and pepper
  • Make 4 holes in the mixture, and into each hole, crack an egg. Cover the pan and cook slowly for around 5 minutes to cook the eggs. (You can scramble the eggs into the mixture as an alternative.) 
  • Beat the yogurt or sour cream with salt and pepper. 
  • Sprinkle the menemen with parsley, and serve from the pan with the yoghurt or sour cream. 
 

Beans, garlic, dill and eggs

I can hardly wait to tell you about this recipe, or to eat it again. It is delicious, and dangerously garlicky, so I think I will be in trouble at work tomorrow. I made it with tinned beans, but the original recipe starts from scratch. I got the recipe from the remarkable book, Nightingales and Roses. These are recipes from all over Iran, organised by seasonal availability of ingredients. Where she wins over my other current favourite book, Jerusalem, is her serving suggestions. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can of cannellini or borlotti beans
  • 50g butter
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small bulb of garlic, with the cloves peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tsp of dill seed, or 5 tsp dried dill weed, or 30g fresh dill, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • 4 eggs

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter in a medium lidded frying pan, add the oil and then the chopped garlic, and fry until the garlic is turning golden. 
  • Add the turmeric, pepper, dill, and salt, and then add the can of beans including the water they are in. 
  • Bring to a simmer, and cook, until the mixture is getting drier and thicker. 
  • Make 4 wells in the bean mixture, and into each well, break an egg. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat until the eggs are cooked to your liking. 

The book suggests serving this with a little rice, with side dishes of olives, chopped radishes, smoked fish. We were not so dainty, and served this with a side salad with herbs and some bread, olives and labneh

Frittata

I think I got this recipe from Nadine Abensur’s new Cranks’ recipe book, which I gave to someone. We are in peak egg season at the moment, I have been given so many boxes of eggs. Combine that with summer potatoes, and the sweet burn of fresh garlic from the garden. Who knew that the Hebrides could be so lush. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • New potatoes, around 4 medium sized, or more if they are smaller
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • Lots of olive oil
  • tomatoes, peppers or other vegetable, optional
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 eggs

METHOD:

  • Slice the potatoes thickly, and slice the onions finely. Chop the garlic. 
  • Heat some olive oil in a large deep frying pan. Turn the heat to low and then add the potatoes, onions and garlic. Cook on a low low heat until the potatoes are cooked. Stir so that nothing burns. 
  • Meanwhile, beat the eggs with salt and pepper. 
  • Add the fried potatoes to the eggs
  • Put the onions or other vegetables with a little oil in the pan, and then, over a medium heat, add the eggs and potatoes. 
  • Once the edges and bottom of the frittata appear to be cooked, put the pan under a hot grill for 4-5 minutes

Serve in slices with salad and wine. 

Chard Fritata

This is another classic from my old recipe book. 

INGREDIENTS;

  • 500g chard
  • 6 eggs
  • ground black pepper
  • 75g parmesan or similar hard cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

METHOD:

  • Wash the chard and chop roughly
  • Beat the eggs and season, and beat in the cheese
  • Heat the oil and add the chard, cook until it has wilted
  • Add the eggs, reduce the heat and cook. When the bottom of the fritata is done, put the whole pan under a grill until the top is done.

An annotation in the book: ‘This is supposed to serve two or three people, but I can finish it in one go if I am very hungry.’

Lemon Curd

I was looking through my old recipe book, which I have had since around 1990, for keeping notes. This is my recipe for lemon curd. It is a very basic recipe. You can add the juice of other citrous fruit but actually, lemon is still the best.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 50g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 250g caster sugar

METHOD:

  • Beat the eggs
  • Put all the ingredients in a double pan (one pan sits on top of the other, boiling water in the bottom pan)
  • Heat very gently, stirring all the time, until the mixture is fully blended and becoming thick.
  • Pour into clean jam-jars.

Persian herb omelette

A Kookoo is a large omelette dish from Iran. It has a little flour and raising agent added, and it is baked in the oven, a bit like a Spanish frittata. It tastes wonderful, spiced and flavoured with herbs. It often has vegetables in it as well. This version is full of herbs from the garden, with spices and barberries, which I sourced from Seasoned Pioneers.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 50g butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp advieh (Persian spice mix)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup of chopped herbs, to include chives, parsley, fennel
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp dried barberries

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 170C
  • Melt the butter in an 8 inch frying pan or skillet that will go into the oven
  • Break the eggs into a bowl, and lightly beat in all the other ingredients
  • Pour the egg mixture into the pan and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes

Serve with salad and bread, possibly a little Greek yoghurt. A herb Kookoo is a traditional New Year dish, a taste of the start of spring.