I’m really enjoying trying out south American flavours and recipes. I’ve ordered a selection of spices from Seasoned Pioneers, and I used their Central American spice mix, which includes cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, roasted garlic, roasted red chillies, cayenne, all-spice, thyme and oregano, and some onion salt. They suggested making huevos rancheros, so I made this tonight.
- Cooking oil; I used sunflower oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 can of red kidney beans
- 2 tsp central American spice mix
- 4 eggs
- 4 warm tortillas
- 1 chopped tomato
- Chopped jalapeno peppers (I bought pickled ones in buth Neillie)
- Avocado, lime, coriander leaf to serve
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, and gently fry the onion with a good pinch of salt, until it is soft.
- Add the garlic, cook for another minute.
- Stir in the beans, spice mix and 75ml water. Cook for 7 minutes or so. Don’t let this get dry.
- Roughly mash the beans and set aside to prepare the rest.
- Warm the tortillas and fry the eggs.
- On each tortilla, spread the bean mixture, and then add the chopped tomato, jalapenos, fried egg, and garnish with coriander.
- Serve with dishes of avocado, and lime wedges.
We didn’t have any avocados, I have not had good luck with these locally over the years, so I don’t buy them.
I made this last night, scrambled egg style, and for lunch today, omelette style. Both delicious. This was a regular dish in our student days, from Madhur Jaffrey’s classic book ‘Eastern Vegetarian Cooking’.
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes, or around 450g peeled chopped tomatoes
- 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 1/2 tsp whole black mustard seeds
- 4 chunky spring onions, very finely sliced
- 3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
- 1/2 tsp fresh ginger
- 1 pack fresh green coriander
- 1 hot green chilli, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- black pepper
- 7 large eggs
- Prepare all of the ingredients before you start, because once the oil is hot, everything needs to be ready. To speed things up, I put the fresh coriander, green chilli and ginger into a small spice grinder, and blended it.
- Heat the mustard oil in a heavy pan over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, put in the mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, put in the spring onions and garlic, and fry for about three minutes. Don’t let them brown.
- Add the tomato, ginger, coriander and chilli in, and fry for another six minutes; make sure the mixture is not watery. Add the salt and pepper and check that it tastes OK,
- Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. If you are making a scrambled version, make sure the tomato mixture is bubbling hot, and tip in the lightly beaten eggs. Turn the heat down and stir gently until the eggs are all cooked to your liking.
- For the omelette version, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of water. The egg mixture should be bubbly and well-mixed. Take a large clean frying pan, melt a blob of butter until it is beginning to foam.
- Pour in half the egg mixture, and when it is beginning to set, add half the tomato sauce. Fold in half, and slide onto a warmed plate. Do the same for the second omelette.
I served this with a carrot salad. The sauce can also be served as a relish for a larger meal, or even with pasta. Prepared ahead, it can be frozen ready for the next time.
Madhur Jaffrey’s book, Curry Easy, is the winner tonight. I am home alone, Mr B is in Inverness getting his van fixed. Rather worryingly, he just texted me to ask if our AutoAid car rescue thing is still valid.
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- a pinch of cumin seeds
- 1/8 tsp whole brown mustard seeds
- 1 slice off a red onion, chopped, about 1 tsp or so
- 3 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaf
- Beat the eggs in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper
- In a small omelette pan, around 15cm across, heat the oil. When it is hot, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Stir.
- When the seeds start to sizzle and pop, turn the heat down to medium, add the onion, give it a bit of a stir, and then add the tomatoes, cayenne and coriander leaf. Cook for another minute, until the tomatoes start to soften.
- Add the eggs, stir quickly to mix, and then put a lid over the pan and cook until the mixture is nearly set
- Fold the cooked omelette, and serve with a small salad and some toasted flatbread.
A delicious recipe from Maryam Sinaiee’s book Nightingales and Roses. If you have been living in Uist this last week, you’ll know that a combination of ferry break-downs and bad weather led to no food deliveries onto the islands for five days. I managed to get the last bag of spinach from the co-op, and I had duck eggs from Clair. This is just as good with hen’s eggs.
I’ve seen a few versions online, adding leeks and za’atar. I think I have an Ottolenghi recipe with that combination. Here is Maryam’s version:
- 500g fresh spinach
- 50g butter
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- juice of half a lemon
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 eggs
- Extra lemon wedges
- Rinse and roughly chop the spinach, and put them into a very large pan over a medium heat. Cook until the leaves have wilted.
- Meanwhile, in a frying pan, melt the butter and cook the sliced onions over a medium heat until they are turning golden. Add the garlic and continue to cook.
- When the garlic looks cooked, add the spinach and the lemon juice, along with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for a couple of minutes, then uncover and simmer until the mixture is nearly dry.
- Make four wells in the mixture, add an egg to each well, cover and cook for three or four minutes on a low heat, until the eggs are cooked to your taste.
Serve with flatbread, and a squeeze of lemon.
This is a recipe from Elizabeth David, making the perfect quick meal this evening. I had a lot of eggs to start with. I bought some from a neighbour, and then my daughter called in with more. Then there were the reduced mushrooms in the co-op. I have quite a few recipes for eggs and mushrooms, and normally I would go and cook an omelette without a recipe. Anyway, Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking was out on the table, and this is how I interpreted her instructions to make one omelette.
- Approx 60g mushrooms finely sliced
- approx 30g butter
- A grate of salt, black pepper and nutmeg
- half a teaspoon of flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbs cream
- In a small pan, fry the mushrooms very gently in the butter and season with salt, black pepper and nutmeg. As the mushrooms cook down, add the flour and cream and stir together.
- In a small bowl, beat together the three eggs. You really just need to mix the eggs, the mixture doesn’t need to be too homogenous.
- In a small frying pan, melt around 10g of butter. Turn the heat up high and before the butter really begins to brown, pour in the eggs.
- Add the mushroom mixture dotted around in the cooking eggs. Tip the pan and lift the edge of the omelette, so raw egg reaches the underneath. Keep repeating this move until the top of the omelette is about to set. Fold it in three and serve on a warm plate.
This is one of the classic Italian sauces. I like to add tarragon but it is not essential. Here is a recipe to serve two, based on ingredients available locally.
- 1 egg
- Approx. 60g streaky bacon, not smoked
- Approx. 120g pasta (spaghetti, macaroni, rigatoni)
- 30g butter
- 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
- salt and pepper
- 30g grated parmesan or pecorino
- Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. When it boils, add the pasta and set the timer for 8 minutes (or cooking time on the manufacturer’s packaging), and set the dishes to warm.
- Melt the butter in a small pan. Cut the bacon into small match-stick strips and fry on a low heat in the butter.
- Beat the egg with the tarragon, pepper and salt.
- When the timer goes, drain the pasta and return to the pan. Add the egg to the bacon pan and stir until they begin to thicken.
- While the eggs and bacon are still semi-solid, add to the pasta and stir to mix, along with half the cheese
- Serve in warmed dishes with the rest of the cheese.
I am so glad I got round to making this at last, one of the recipes from ‘Dear Francesca‘ – although I did need a couple of tweaks to suit my kitchen. It is a delicious highlight for a summer supper, or a packed picnic lunch. The ingredients are mostly available in the co-op, and also available from Valvona and Crolla in Edinburgh.
- 500g flaky pastry or puff pastry
- 4 eggs
- 250g ricotta
- 50g pecorino, grated
- salt and pepper
- 75g smoked pancetta, diced, or smoked streaky bacon if you can’t get pancetta
- 75g fonteluna sausage, diced
- 2 fresh bayleaves
- Heat the oven to 220C
- Beat the eggs lightly together with the ricotta, and cream until well combined. Season with salt and pepper and mix in the grated pecorino
- Grease an oblong dish, around 30 by 20 by 3 cm, or a round tin around 23cm across.
- Roll out around half of the pastry to line the dish, and fill with half of the egg mixture.
- Add the chopped pancetta and diced sausage, and add torn-up bayleaves.
- Cover with the rest of the egg mixture. The recipe calls for a couple of egg yolks to be added at this stage, but I prefer without.
- Roll out the rest of the pastry to fit over the top. Use milk or beaten egg to dampen the edge of the pastry and crimp to seal. Glaze the top of the pasty with milk or beaten egg, and score a pattern on top. Make a few holes to let out steam.
- Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until browned. Take it out, and when it is cool enough, remove from the tin, flip it over and return to the oven for another 15 minutes to cook the pastry at the bottom.
Susannah and Alexander have hens, so I have eggs. This is another dish in which the eggs are poached in a sauce. This is delicious served with warm flatbreads, such as pitta bread. Susannah is good at home-made flatbreads, and I shall have to get instruction.
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 long red peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 hot green chilli, seeded and chopped
- 1 tin of chopped tomato
- 250ml vegetable stock
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- eggs – 2 per person
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley to garnish
- feta cheese, crumbled, to garnish
- Heat the oil in a large deep frying pan to a medium heat, and cook the chopped onions and peppers until soft, and beginning to brown at the edges.
- Add the oregano and spices, stir once and then add the tomatoes and stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until reduced to a thick stew.
- Use a spoon to make a small dent in the sauce, and crack the eggs into it, cover and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
- Garnish with the parsley and feta cheese and serve with bread.
We have a lot of potatoes at the moment, so I’m digging around in the recipe books for new things to do. This is a recipe from ‘Nightingales and Roses’ by Maryam Sinaiee. This is quite filling, and is good cold the next day as well.
- 6 tbsp oil
- 2 potatoes, peeled and diced (around 1 cm cubes)
- 3 packs of green beans (around 600g)
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- a large pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 6 large eggs, lightly beaten.
- Heat about 3-4 tbsp oil in a deep frying pan and cook the potato cubes for around 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oil and put in a bowl lined with kitchen paper.
- Fry the beans and carrots in the same oil for around 10 minutes, and then add them to the potatoes.
- Set the oven to 200C. Mix the salt, flour, baking powder and spices.
- Beat the eggs, add the vegetables and flour/spice mix and stir to combine.
- My frying pan has an oven-safe handle so it is perfect. Otherwise use a shallow casserole dish. Put 2 tbsp oil in the pan and heat it in the oven for four minutes so it is hot. Pour in the mixture, and bake for 30 minutes, so the top is golden.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool a little, and cut into wedges.
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.
- 150 g unsalted butter
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- 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.