And this, my friends, is my all-time favourite way to eat eggs at home. I mean, I LOVE boiled eggs with soliders, I love scrambled eggs (especially with pesto and parmesan) but these are whole-new-level yummy. It’s got the gooey running yolk of the boiled egg, combined with the comforting creaminess that reminds me of a pile of scrambled eggs. Best of both worlds and I could quite literally eat them every day of the week.
It took me quite a while to get the timings down for these – I’d been sticking to the “safer” method of cooking the ramekins inside of a roasting tin of boiling water but actually I find it works better just popping the ramekins directly in the oven. Whatever method you choose, once you get your cooking times right (ovens can be funny creatures, the one in this flat DEFINITELY takes longer to cook things that our previous one) I am pretty sure you’ll fall in love with these eggs too. Creamy, peppery, a little bit cheesy. They can be jazzed up and cooked on top of things (mushrooms and leeks both work really well). But whatever you do, serve with a giant pile of buttered toast.
Recipe – to make 1 pot (I like to serve one egg per pot, you could probably add two but I find the cooking times even more difficult to master)
A small amount of butter, to grease
3 tablespoons creme fraiche seasoned with a little salt and plenty of black pepper
1 medium egg
A small handful of grated parmesan
Heat the oven to 160C, and lightly grease a ramekin with butter. Add in one tablespoon of the seasoned creme fraiche, and sprinkle over a third of the grated cheese. Crack in the egg, spoon over the remaining creme fraiche (try to cover the yolk, but be careful not to burst it!), then cover with the remaining cheese. If you’re adding any veggies, saute them in butter and add in between this layer of creme fraiche and cheese. Pop onto the middle shelf of the oven and bake until the eggs are cooked to you liking.
I like quite runny eggs, with the white not-quite-set and mine take 10 minutes in my oven. I reckon you’d need 12 minutes for fully-set white, 15 minutes for set but still soft yolks, and 20 for a fully set egg.
And now I’m craving these eggs. It’s currently coming up to half past five on a Sunday evening, we have a roast chicken in the oven – is it appropriate to have a dish of these a snack?!
Now, Betty’s is well known for it’s cakes, it’s pastries, the Afternoon tea. But what a lot of people don’t realise is that their heritage actually encompasses not only Yorkshire, but also one of my most favourite countries – Switzerland. The founder of Betty’s was indeed Swiss and their influence still shines through on the menu today. From luxurious chocolates to a hearty rösti to traditional Bircher muesli, there’s hidden Swiss delights throughout the menu.
And with it being a bitterly cold afteroon and our trip to Switzerland still a few months away (our visit was shamefully nearly a year ago!) it would have been rude not to indulge…
It was a tough decision, but in the end we were both happy with our plates of food.
I went for the Swiss Alpine Macaroni, with Penne pasta, dry-cured bacon, new potatoes and a rich cream
sauce, with copious amounts of melted Raclette cheese. Oh my. This was good. However first thought of putting potatoes into a cheesy pasta dish deserves a medal. The bacon was thick, so that it was both crisp and juicy. The pasta was perfectly cooked. The cheese sauce strong, but not too overpowering. I’d happily eat this again. And again. And again.
W ordered the Bacon & Raclette Rösti – A Swiss speciality of grated potato, Gruyère cheese and cream,
pan-fried with bacon and topped with melted Raclette cheese. This, with the addition of the cream, was richer than the ones we’ve tried in Switzerland, but delicious none-the-less. I’ve just checked their current ‘specials’ menu and there’s a glorious sounding Turkey & Cranberry Rösti (yes, I am writing this review on my Christmas break, Lord knows when I’ll actually get round to posting it).
We’d planned to order a small selection from the Cake Trolley for pudding, but these mains were rib-busting (in a good way!) and we were far too full. Another time that Engadine Torte will be mine!
Have you ever been to Betty’s? Did you stick to tea and cake, or try some of their Swiss dishes?
Despite my extensive collection of cookbooks, I’m all too guilty of Googling for a recipe or some dinner inspiration. It’s something I’m trying to change, and one of the ways I’m combating this is that when I do Google, I try to use a blogger’s recipe rather than from a standard recipe site.
This has two benefits – one in that I’n boosting their views (always good to give something back to the community I guess, especially as I *try* to go for smaller bloggers), and two in that it’s giving me some (much needed) photography inspiration. And I’ve found some damn good dishes too…
These are just the ones I have personally tried and loved. Some of them I might have edited slightly, then posted the results on my own blog, some of them I love just how much they are.
Now this is super-yum. I generally leave out the feta unless we have it for other recipes (mainly because having it unaccounted for in the fridge leads to me baking it with honey and slathering it on bread), but the combo of spicier sausages and squash is a winner. So, so tasty!
Half Baked Harvest’s Chicken & Orzo One-Pan – link
This is one we made only the other week. Super simple and, although it can take a while, it doesn’t take a huge amount of chopping and hands-on time. The next time we made this we’ll probably leave out the lemon slices as they were a tad bitter for our tastes – and I’ll be trying other versions too. I’m thinking a combo of mushrooms and parmesan would work so nicely with the chicken and orzo! The best thing about this recipe? It uses a small amount of wine, so the rest of the bottle needs drinking…
Rhyme & Ribbons Lentil & Mushroom Bolognese – link
You know me, I loveeee a Bolognese. Amanda was the person who first inspired me to make a vegan mix out of mushrooms and lentils and I love her for it. This is the perfect dish to have in the freezer as it defrosts easily in the pan with a bit of water, and it’s also great to take to work and heat in the microwave.
Okay, so this recipe is super dangerous – because you’ll never be able to throw potato peelings away again. We don’t tend to make the dip, just adding plenty of spice to the potato and devouring whilst still hot enough to burn our fingers. It’s a Sunday afternoon staple for us as we prepare our roast.
Fesenjan was the favourite thing that I cooked in 2017, and having already made my first batch a few weeks ago it’s safe to say it’s still a dish I love. Amy Liz’s was the first recipe that I tried and, whilst I’ve edited it since (my version is here) it’s still a classic. It’s slightly safer in it’s spicing so would be the way to go if you hadn’t eaten any of the flavours before.
This is one of my go-to lunches – it makes a *tonne* of the stuff, it lasts really well in the fridge and it’s just so damn tasty. I have edited the recipe slightly (mine is here), but the original is still super tasty. The dressing is one you really have to make to your own tastes – I like a zingy kick from the lime personally.
Okay, so I don’t get the chance to do her level of toppings on the regular morning (read: ever, because I’m always far too hangry to go that far) but I’ve taken her method of cooking my oats to heart. A long soak (I do tend to do around 20 minutes in boiling water), a slow simmer. My porridge is 100x better!
A bonus of being a foodie blogger is that is gives you the perfect excuse to visit new places. And when a pancake parlour popped up in a charming little town not too far from my parent’s, welllll I just couldn’t say no! Olney is a favourite place of ours to go for a few hours – cute little shops and boutiques, an excellent monthly farmer’s market and a nice country park nearby to take the dog. Now this place has opened there’s yet another reason to visit.
Olney Pancake Parlour was the venue for a mum-daughter-sister date, and what a choice it was. Yes, it was insanely busy on a Saturday afternoon and, yes, service was a little slow. It was noisy with sugar-high children but that was all part of the charm. I do think perhaps table service would work slightly better, given the dishes were a little cold once the server eventually located the correct table, but that’s my biggest gripe.
With Olney being the birthplace of the pancake race, there’s already a fair bit of pressure on them to get their pancakes right, and thankfully they do. You can choose between a traditional Olney-style pancake (a little bit like a less sugary, less buttery version of a French crepe in my opinion) or a stack of fluffy American-style ones. There’s a whole host of savoury or sweet options, and vegan pancakes are available on request. Sounds good, right? The toppings were even better.
I went for the Terry’s Chocolate Orange (chocolate orange ganache, Terry’s chocolate orange, mandarin and chocolate sauce) on a traditional-style pancake and it was DELICIOUS. The orange flavour came through perfectly, cutting through the chocolate to ensure it wasn’t overly rich or sickly. The small scoop of ice-cream was just the right amount, and the addition of Terry’s Chocolate Orange segments on anything are fine by me.
My mum also join me on the traditional pancake front, going with an Apple & Blackberry Cinnamon Crumble. I really liked this, although she felt it was perhaps a tad overpriced, a little too sweet and far too much cinnamon. Well, I guess you can’t please everyone! Personally I loved the texture-combo, with the silky pancake, soft fruit filling and buttery biscuity crumble.
And then there’s was my sister’s Triple Chocolate Brownie American Stack (brownie chunks, chocolate sauce, Maltesers and Smarties). This was absolutely huge, and well worth the premium for the stack. I, quite predictably, had to help her out in order to finish it and can vouch for the fact that these were some of the best American pancakes I’ve eaten. Light, fluffy and just the right tough of sweetness. I definitely enjoyed this, though perhaps not the right choice for the faint-hearted!
Oh, and if you’re not in a pancake mood then there’s a whole host of other options – salads, breakfasts, sandwiches, paninis, jacket potatoes. But quite frankly if you’re not in a pancake mood I’d perhaps suggest you go elsewhere and leave a table spare for me! Now all that’s left is for me to return and try their pancake-themed Afternoon Tea…
And the award for the longest recipe title goes to….
Yep. I could have just said “Asian Pork Salad” or something similar, but it really wouldn’t have sounded quite so delicious. In fact, despite me making a royal mess of cooking the rice noodles (I still can’t even fathom what I did to them), this was one of the most delicious date-night meals I’ve cooked in a while.
This is perfect for a light dinner, yet it still feels like a big treat. Of course the sugar quantity isn’t exactly small, so best not to have it too often, but it is delicious enough for me to overlook occasionally! To make it even easier and quicker you could use bought chilli-sauce, but the results are so much better with homemade.
And, okay, so this probably isn’t strictly authentic. But it is delicious. Sweet, but with deep savoury flavours. A real hit of spice. Freshness from the salad. Definitely one I’ll be making again and again.
Recipe – Homemade Sweet Chilli Sauce (makes enough for 2x quantities of the pork dish, freezes well)
4 red chillies, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 stick lemongrass
1 tbsp soy sauce
60g caster sugar
60ml cider vinegar
Making this sweet chilli sauce is surprisingly simple, and it tastes SO much better than bottled shop-bought stuff. Simply pop all the ingredients in a blender (I used a mini-chopper) and whizz until smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and reduce until the sauce is syrupy – stirring constantly. Mine took around 15 minutes, and the fumes are quite potent so pop your kitchen fan on! Set aside to cool, probably best to transfer to a bowl as it will stick to your saucepan.
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce
Juice and zest 1 lime
100g vermicelli rice noodles
1 tsp fish sauce
½ cucumber, peeled into ribbons (discard the really watery middle)
2 small carrots, cut into matchsticks (I use a julienne peeler as it’s SO much easier) 3 salad onions, cut into thin rings
1 small handful chopped, fresh coriander
Heat a small amount of oil in a large wok, and fry the pork mince for around 10 minutes, or until cooked through and golden. Meanwhile you can prep the veg, and toss it together with half of the lime juice, the lime zest, fish sauce and half of the coriander. Cook the rice noodles via the instructions on the packet.
When the pork is nearly ready, addd the ginger, garlic, soy sauce and half of the sweet chilli sauce. Stir to combine, then add the lime juice to taste. Season well with salt and pepper, then served sprinkled with coriander, along with the salad and rice noodles.
Are you a fan of Vietnamese Food? What other recipes would you recommend?
These monthly pizza reviews could become a bit of a ‘thing’ here – I certainly enjoy writing them at any rate. Any excuse to eat cheesy carbs…
Today’s review is perhaps a little overdue, given that it was another place I visited on my birthday (basically, the day it’s completely acceptable to eat alllll the food). Especially since the pizza was so damn good and, actually, I’d been thinking about it ever since.
Hai Cenato, Jason Atherton’s New York-Italian restaurant and cocktail bar in Victoria, has been on my radar for a while. We met the main man at Pollen Street Social back in April last year, and *really* enjoyed the food there, so I was intrigued to try his take on pizza. With a decent selection of white pizzas I’m only surprised it took me so long to visit!
My beautiful friend ordered the Margherita – with San Marzano tomato, London mozzarella, basil & parmesan. Obviously I didn’t try any, but it both looked and smelt delicious, and it all got eaten so it must’ve been tasty!
And if my pizza was anything to go by, it was certainly tasty. I ordered a pizza with the description “mozzarella, guanciale, egg yolk, black pepper, confit potato.” I mean, egg yolk on a pizza?! How could I resist?! Guanciale turned out to be Italian cured pig cheek, so vegetarians perhaps should be a little wary when ordering, but I have to say it was delicious. A world away from the last potato pizza I tried at Mother LDN, both lighter and more indulgent at the same time. There was just enough potato to be substantial without making me need a nap, the egg yolk was rich and added creaminess and the base was cooked to perfection. I’d put this in my top five pizzas of all time – though the order of which I’m not sure I could commit to paper/a screen.
As for the atmosphere, this seems to have been plagued with criticism in online reviews. I have to say I really enjoyed it. Service was friendly (plus they bought me a complimentary ice-cream with a candle in as I’d mentioned it was my birthday!), the music buzzy without being overly loud. The toilets were also insanely pretty, to the point I regretted not taking my phone so I could Instagram them…
Would I head into Victoria ‘just’ for a pizza again? Yes I would. It’s not going to replace our go-to treat on payday (cheers Dynamo), it’s the perfect date-night spot, and the perfect place to get a ‘special’ pizza. I know I’ll definitely be dragging W there asap!
Have you ever visited Hai Cenato? Where’s your favourite pizza spot?
One of my favourite past-times is scrolling through Instagram. Sure, it drives me mad as I’m finding it impossible to grow my own platform, but I love looking at people’s food styling, people’s pretty plates, yummy bakes and creative dinners. I quite often do round-ups of my favourite accounts on my Stories, but thought I’d do a proper, more permanent one on here too…
What I’ve done is included an embedded picture on their account – choosing on of my favourites from recent weeks. I hope you find new accounts you can follow! (above photo is the un-squared version of my most liked ‘gram of 2017)
Rebecca is one of the people that has really inspired my own photography style – I’ve followed her for a while, but her dark photography really stood out for me. It’s the styling that does it as it always looks both perfect, effortless and totally in keeping with whatever plate of yumminess she’s snapping. And her recipes sound delicious too. I mean, Buttermilk Roast Chicken with Sourdough, Leek and Pancetta Stuffing…
Hazel’s grid is the perfect mis-match of food and lifestyle photos – very much a heavy focus on food, but like me she seems a sucker for a pretty building! One of my favourite things about this feed is the captions – it’s like a mini-blog and I love the personality it gives! Oh, and she has a recipe for Gin & Tonic Cheesecake. Nuff said.
I genuinely don’t know how this profile doesn’t have more followers! Every single picture is perfectly thought out and styled, everything looks yummy. I love the usual backgrounds used too – not the usual tea towel or chopping board (I’m guilty of both!).
This one is quite different from a lot of the styles I love – I’m really into dark and moody photography, this is lighter, brighter and more cheerful. But how damn good do Annette’s Turkish Eggs look?! Her pics almost always make me click straight through to her blog and I plan to make a lot of her recipes.
I mean, just go and look at this feed! It’s absolutely stunning, I could spend hours scrolling down it – and yep, it was a real struggle to only choose one recent photo to embed. In the end I couldn’t resist this photo of a sexxed up hot chocolate. They’ve made a bog standard hot chocolate completely seasonal with chesnut puree and orange. If someone could whip me a great big mug up right now that would be very much appreciated, please and thank you!
Just before Christmas I wanted a quick and easy cookie recipe. Something that looked special, tasted amazing and was reasonably “wintery” or festive looking. Something that meant mince pie haters (ahem, me) wouldn’t feel left out at a mulled wine and mince pie gathering. I found a recipe for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, tweaked it a bit and came up with these beauties.
Chocolatey without being too rich, soft and chewy, and so pretty to look at. They were perfect, easy to make (if not overly quick due to needing a spell in the fridge), and went down so, so well. They also kept for a good few days in an airtight container – I originally made around 80 and not unsurprisingly we couldn’t quite eat them all straight away! As an added bonus the rolled dough, without the icing sugar dusting, froze well too. I’d recommend defrosting slightly before coating and baking.
Recipe – for around 25 cookies, easy to divide and multiply
2 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
1⁄4 cup cocoa, unsweetened
1 large egg
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup icing sugar, for rolling
In a bowl, stir together sugar and oil before blending in the cocoa powder – I find it best to do this gradually as it can go a little lumpy. Beat in egg (again, I do this gradually) followed by the vanilla and salt. Sift over the flour and baking powder, then folder the mix together. Note that the mix will be a lot more fudge-like that normal cookie dough! Pop the dough into the fridge for at least two hours.
Use teaspoons to scoop out portions of the mix, then roll into balls (they should be around 1 inch in diameter). Roll each ball in the icing sugar until fully coated, then place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. As these cookies spread, I’d avoid putting them too close together! Bake the cookies in batches at 175 for around 11-13 minutes – they will look gooey in between the cracks, but should firm up when cooled. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the trays, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Enjoy at any time of the day – we made have had these as a cheeky breakfast on my sister’s birthday!
One of the big buzz words this year is sustainability. Whether it’s cutting down on your plastic consumption (I always, always travel with a bottle of water in my bag for this very reason) or making more ethical food choices, it’s quite clear that sustainability is going to be a BIG thing in 2018. And that’s something I can get on board with.
One of the easiest ways to eat more sustainable is to purchase local, seasonal produce. Veggies and fruit grown in the UK will have a smaller carbon footprint than imported produce (and let’s face it, imported strawberries eaten in the depths of winter just don’t taste that good). You can say the same for meat too. Sure, you can argue that it’s not really possible to eat meat ethically, but going vegetarian just isn’t for me (more on that another time). This is a compromise. My butcher can tell me the exact breed of cow, the exact farm my steak hails from. And of course, cutting meat-eating down to just a few times a week goes a long way to eating more sustainably, plus it cuts your food budget too. Winner, winner, no-chicken dinner if you ask me!
With all this in mind, I was asked to create a dish made from locally-sourced ingredients, and worth of a dinner party. Living in London makes this a tad more difficult that it perhaps would do elsewhere, but I’d like to think we managed okay-ish. I will say the cucumber was not local – I have an in-built fear of UK-grown cucumbers (my Granddad had an allotment for years and years, and the one thing that was pretty much inedible was the cucumbers, always so bitter!) so this was imported direct from Sainsbury’s shelves. For a completely local dish it could be left off, or you could try your luck with a UK-grown one! The duck came from our local butcher, and we were assured it hadn’t travelled far. The kale was from a local market, but you could easily use another leafy green vegetable that’s more seasonal/local. The malt crumble was the star of the show. We picked up the malt from a brewery in Bermondsey – and I’m so looking forward to introducing it into other recipes. For more tips on eating ethically, have a look here.
The resulting dish is absolutely delicious. Inspired by a recipe from The New Nordic (one of the most beautiful cookbooks on our shelves), the combination of ingredients sound like they shouldn’t work – but they totally too. The cucumber mellows the sharp apple, so the tartness blends with the dish. At the same time the cucumber adds a welcome freshness, cutting through the rich duck. The malt crumble adds the most wonderful texture, and it even has the combination of crunchy and soggy that the best fruit crumbles have. Here we’ve simplified the original recipe a tad – whilst it looks and sounds impressive it’s decidedly easy to put together!
Ingredients (Serves 3-4 as a Starter, or 2 as a Main with some good bread)
1 granny smith apple, half cored and thinly sliced into water with a squeeze of lemon (to prevent it from browning), the other half left whole
1 large duck leg
1 carrot, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
200ml chicken stock (if you’ve used homemade, you can leave out the carrot and celery above)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
50g salted butter
1 tablespoon malt
2 tablespoons wholewheat flour
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
150g kale – we prefer to buy whole leaves and leave them chunkier, rather than the bags of shredded stuff you can buy
1 tablespoon olive oil
In a hot frying pan (don’t add any oil), brown the duck legs, skin side down, until they have rendered all their fat and the skin is golden brown. Turn them over and cook for 1 minute before placing with the whole half apple in a casserole dish. Sauté the carrot and celery in the duck fat and then add the stock and vinegar. Deglaze the pan by scraping up any bits stuck to the base, then pour over the duck. Cover the casserole with a layer of foil and then top with the lid, then cook at 170°C for 1½ hours.
Meanwhile, make the crumble by rubbing together the butter, oats, malt and flour. Spread out the mix on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 10 minutes, or until golden. Set aside.
To make the charred cucumber, preheat a grill (we used a George Foreman). Halve the cucumber lengthways and remove and discard the seeds – I find it easiest to scoop them out using a teaspoon. Cut each length in half to give you 4 batons. Place them skin side towards the heat and cook for 5 minutes on each side, until soft and lightly charred. Transfer to a food processor, add the yoghurt and plenty of seasoning, and blend briefly. You want the mix relativity smooth, but still retaining some texture. Set aside. Best not to make this part too far in advance as I find it can go a little watery.
When the duck is ready, use two forks to pull the meat apart. Return the meat to the cooking juices to keep it warm. You can discard the carrot and celery, as these were just used to add a base note of flavour to the duck – however if you’d prefer not to waste them you could leave them out. A bit of a tip – if you make your own chicken stock, we keep a bag of offcuts (celery/leek ends, carrot peelings) in the freezer to simmer with the chicken carcass to reduce food waste.
Wash and pat dry the kale, chopping it into smaller pieces if necessary. Heat the oil in a frying pan until very hot, almost smoking, then add the kale and sauté for less than a minute. Drain on paper towel.
Arrange the drained raw apple slices, shredded duck and kale in serving bowls. Dollop around some cucumber purée and drizzle over some of the juices from the pan. Serve immediately.
This is exactly the kind of thing we like to cook on our date-night evenings in. We love to spend an evening in the kitchen together, cooking up a plate of fancy food. This resulted in something that was both cosy and warming (and perfectly hygge) whilst still being light and clean-tasting thanks to the cucumber. We’ll definitely be making it again!
*This is a sponsored posts, however all opinions are my own as always!
Are you keen on eating local and seasonal food? How do you eat more ethically?
This is an absolute staple in our household. We make a big batch at least once a month, usually doing me for a week of lunches, one evening meal for the two of us and possible W’s lunch group (for 5) too. It’s tasty, filling and healthy – a portion or so of veg, plenty of protein and just general yums.
What’s even better is that it works hot and cold. W in particular loves it warm, with sausages and steamed green veg. I love it cold of a lunch time, with plenty of spinach. It’s also great with a spot of extra stock, turned into a bit of a soup with leftover roast chicken. Mushrooms work well too, as does a spot of roasted kale. It’s so, so versatile. If we don’t quite have the ‘right’ ingredients we can switch things up – leave out the celery, use a different kind of stock, different herbs, add mustard, add white wine vinegar. Be luxurious with a splash of cream. Leave out the feta. Leave out the bacon. Ad different cheeses, extra bacon. The possibilities are pretty much endless, and that’s why we love this recipe so much.
Recipe – makes around 5 big portions
200g dried brown lentils
4 rashers thick streaky bacon, or equivalent rate of lardons
2 sticks celery
2 cloves garlic
Herbs – I like a combination of thyme and tarragon, but rosemary also works well
Handful of Greek feta, crumbled
Optional – dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, mushrooms etc…
Fry the bacon in a little oil until starting to crisp. Meanwhile, chop the veg finely, before adding to the bacon and frying over a low heat until soft. If you’re using dried herbs, add with the veg. Add the lentils to the pan, then add chicken stock until they are just covered. Stir in any fresh herbs, if using, then simmer for around 30-45 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked to your liking. If adding them, stir though a teaspoon of dijon mustard and a scant teaspoon of white wine vinegar, tasting to adjust to your liking. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper, before serving warm or cold, scattered with feta. I also find it goes really well with baby spinach leaves.
Do you have any similar recipes that are good for batch-prepping lunchboxes?