Perfect Boiled Eggs – My Weekend Top Tip

Weekend Top Tip – Perfect boiled eggs. Spring is here. I can tell be the hail bashing against the kitchen window. As a family, we are all getting very excited about the arrival of the Easter Bunny and some delicious Easter Eggs. Our weekends, however, normally start with another type of egg. Honeysuckle calls them Dippy Dippy eggs or soft boiled eggs with lots of soldiers. In fact, next weekend the girls will be collecting fresh eggs every morning, at Lower Campscott Farm.

Some lovely freshly laid eggs ready to make perfect boiled eggs

Get the best Eggs

If you are not lucky enough to be collecting your own free-range organic egg down on the farm you can search out a supplier of fresh eggs on your doorstep. I promise you will not be disappointed and you will see the difference in your cooking and baking. Your cakes will be lighter and your poached eggs hold together better when you use fresh eggs. And most important is the delicious taste.

Here in Jersey, we use eggs from Happy Hens, based in Grouville, owned by
Allan McCaffrey. They keep around 8,000 hens that produce up to 6,000 eggs per day. The hens are kept in mobile houses. This allows them access to the surrounding fields, and they can come and go as they please. As Jersey has no predators such as foxes to threaten them the hens don’t have to be shut in at night like in the UK.

Happy Hens is situated next to the Jersey Oyster Company and has a ready supply of shells which are crushed and spread out for the birds to scratch in and forage. This is something hens do naturally, as grit is essential for their digestive systems. It also provides an additional source of calcium to help poultry to have strong bones and healthy feathers. Happy Hens sell all their eggs locally in the supermarkets, smaller shops and in farm shops. Restaurants and hotels can also purchase eggs by the tray. Usually, the eggs are delivered within 24 hours of laying.

How to cook perfect Boiled Eggs

Half fill a medium sized pan with water, enough to generously cover your eggs, and bring to a simmer. Carefully lower the eggs into the gently boiling water with a spoon and start your timer. For a soft-boiled egg, with the white just set cook for four minutes. Cook for a further minute if you like your eggs a little firmer and for the egg for this recipe cook for six minutes.

The Perfect Boiled Egg?

If you prefer your eggs hard-boiled, start them in cold water and bring up to the boil. Once the eggs are simmering set the timer for ten minutes. When your eggs are cooked to your personal preference, remove from the heat and quickly plunge into a sink full of cold water for one minute. This will arrest the cooking process. Crack the egg shells with the back of a spoon and carefully peel. They will still be very warm.

The Food Bloggers Breakfast and my home baked Granola

The Food Bloggers Breakfast ?

The Food Bloggers Breakfast

The food bloggers breakfast must be a thing of wonder. Cold soaked oats, Manuka honey, and exotic berries topped off with superfoods smoothie packed with vitamins. Alas as a working dad heading off on the school run it’s lucky to be a piece of toast with too much butter* and some homemade jam. Now there is nothing wrong at all with toast and at the weekend it is a great start to your day. Sourdough with some smoked salmon and creamy scrambled eggs or with crushed avocado, eggs poached or boiled and a little chilli kick.

The Food Bloggers Breakfast Aims

Now I will be honest my breakfast aims do tend to aim towards a sky-high pile of bacon, well a full fry up to be honest or a tower of pancakes. I do however like porridge made with milk ( sorry true Scots ) with a little brown sugar sprinkled on top and another favourite made from oats, home baked granola. Granola is a very popular breakfast cereal made from the aforementioned oats with oil and honey or sugar.

So, if you ’ve not already noticed a theme not particularly healthy but very tasty. Factory manufactured granola can be quite expensive and yet it is so very easy to make at home. It is delicious mixed with dried fruits and nuts such as flaked almonds, apricots, raisins, and sultanas or eaten with creamy, natural yoghurt, sliced banana and sprinkled with blueberries.

Home Baked Granola

A bit about Home baked Granola

Granola was invented and trademarked in America by a contemporary of John Harvey Kellogg as a baked breakfast cereal at a similar time to muesli, which is also made from oats although neither sweetened or cooked. With the addition of nuts and dried fruits, granola is often marketed as a ‘healthy option’ however it does contain a lot of sugar. Granola or pressed granola bars ( similar to Flapjack ) are a good source of energy and is often carried by long-distance hikers. Granola can also be used in making and garnishing desserts such as my recipe for Cranachan or served with iced lemon parfait and lemon curd.

*I love butter that much we are almost having a relationship.

Oats are gluten free but can cause a similar reaction and may be processed in factories that process wheat and barley.
American pancakes

The Best Fluffy American-style Pancakes

American pancakes
Fluffy American style Pancakes

Fluffy American style pancakes or griddlecakes are often served for breakfast across the North American continent piled up in towers dripping with maple syrup. This is how I first encountered them sat at the counter in a diner on the West coast. They were served with a side of crispy grilled streaky bacon the size of a small hill and enough coffee to float a cruise liner. The waitress wore a red and white gingham apron and I felt as if I had walked on to a movie set.

Ok so it’s not the actual diner!

American pancakes are made from a light batter cooked on a flat top, griddle plate or in a heavy-bottomed frying pan. The batter is made with flour, eggs, a raising agent and milk, buttermilk or yoghurt and have a moist open texture. Scotch pancakes or drop scones are made with a similar but sweeter thicker batter so are similar in appearance but smaller with a heavier texture. Scotch pancakes are made to be slathered in salty butter.

Now at home, the girls all love crepes, so if I make griddlecakes or drop scones, I would have to eat the whole stack and it would have to be with bacon. If you prefer yours just sweet, as a dessert, you can serve them with nuts, fruits like bananas, blueberries and apples with cinnamon, honey, cream, ice cream, and chocolate sauce, just like pancakes. However you like your American pancakes, savoury or sweet, enjoy.

American style Pancakes
A stack of American Pancakes
Allow 3 pancakes per person unless I’m coming then make a double batch, please.

Smoked Haddock Kedgeree – A Great British Classic Recipe for British Food Fortnight

Love British Food logo

As a country we are lucky to have so many culinary influences, down I guess in no small part to having been a trading and seafaring nation with ships and merchants travelling across the globe and openly accepting many different peoples and cultures into our own. Today in any major town and city you can eat authentically cooked food from around the world in fine dining restaurants, family-owned corner cafes and from street vendors and pop-ups. Now one of the most influential of all these cuisines would be Indian and spices, curries, and chutneys now play a major part in our cooking and dining habits from the mildest Butter Chicken to the hottest Phall, an Anglo-India mix of tomatoes, ginger and Scotch Bonnet peppers. Supermarket shelves are full of pastes, sauces, pickles and poppadums and fridges full of every type of curry imaginable, and you are never far from an Indian* restaurant.

There is an Indian influence to kedgeree, but it is a particularly British interpretation. Kedgeree is thought to have originated with the British colonial servants returning to Britain after working in India. It was traditionally served at breakfast and is still popular in grand hotels and gentlemen’s clubs. The classic kedgeree is made from curried rice with flaked fish and perhaps some sultanas and quartered hard-boiled eggs. I like to serve my kedgeree with soft boiled eggs, a sprinkling of flaked almonds, maybe you could throw in a few prawns ( entirely my own corruption ) and a jug of fruity curry sauce and yes, I do eat it for breakfast and for lunch too as it makes for a wonderful brunch.

*Often of Bangladeshi origin

Smoked Haddock Kedgeree with soft boiled egg

Smoked Haddock Kedgeree

For the kedgeree

400 gr naturally Smoked Haddock Fillet

300 gr easy-cook long grain Rice, rinsed under running water

600 ml quality Fish Stock

Approximately 300 ml full-fat Milk

4 large free-range Eggs, at room temperature

3 medium Onions, peeled

A small handful of frozen Garden Peas, defrosted

A small handful of flaked Almonds

A small handful of Parsley, washed and finely chopped

A small handful of Coriander, washed and finely chopped

4 tablespoons of Butter

2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

1 tablespoon Medium Curry Powder

1 teaspoon ground Coriander

1 teaspoon ground Turmeric

1 Clove of Garlic, peeled and very finely crushed

2 Bay Leaves

2 Cloves

Sea Salt and freshly ground White Pepper

For the Fruity curry sauce

1 small Onion, peeled and very finely chopped

1 small tin of Pineapple Rings, drained and roughly chopped

1 large Cooking Apple, peeled and diced

1 small handful of Sultanas

100 ml quality Chicken stock ( or vegetable stock )

100 ml Coconut Milk

2 tablespoons Mango Chutney

2 tablespoon medium Curry Powder

Zest and freshly squeezed juice of a Lime

A pinch of Chilli flakes

Sea Salt and freshly ground White Pepper

First to prepare the curried rice finely chop two of the onions and heat half of the oil and two tablespoons of the butter in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pan, add the onions then over a moderate heat cook for twenty to thirty minutes until soft. Add the garlic and spices and half a teaspoon of salt and continue to cook, stirring continuously for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and stock and bring up to a gentle boil. Cover the pan and simmer for ten minutes. Remove from the heat and without removing the lid leave to finish cooking for a further fifteen minutes.

While the rice is steaming in the pan, place the smoked haddock into a small heavy-bottomed pan and cover with milk. Halve the remaining onion and stick the bay leaves to the onions halves with the cloves to make a cloute. Add these to the pan containing the smoked haddock. Place on a low heat and bring up to the lowest possible simmer and poach for ten minutes. Remove the fish from the milk and allow to cool. The milk can be reserved to make chowder. When the fish is cool flake into thumbnail sized pieces and put to one side.

Place a pan of water on to boil and once simmering add the eggs placing them in with a spoon. Start your timer and simmer for six minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately plunge the eggs into iced cold water. When cool you can peel the eggs and set to one side. To serve the kedgeree add the remaining oil and butter to a sauté pan and over a medium heat cook the peas for two minutes then add the fish, rice and flaked almonds. Stirring constantly fry the mix until it is thoroughly warmed through, then season and stir in the chopped parsley and coriander. Cut the boiled eggs in half and serve them on top of the plated rice with some crispy fried shallots and a jug of sweet curry sauce.

For the sweet curry sauce, melt half the butter in a medium-sized heavy-bottom saucepan and add the onion, pineapple, and apple. Sauté carefully for ten minutes to start to soften the onion. Add the curry powder, chilli flakes, sultanas, coconut milk, and stock and bring to the boil and gently simmer for twenty minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the mango chutney and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then puree in a food processor and pass through a sieve to form a smooth glossy sauce. Return to a pan and add the lime zest and juice, season and gently reheat stirring frequently. Because of the high sugar content, the sauce will easily catch and burn so heat very gently.

Allergens in this recipe are;

  Flour  Raw Fish Milk  Crab

Please see the Allergens Page

 

Pancakes ready to eat

A Really Good Pancake Recipe

Shrove Tuesday is the feast day before Ash Wednesday and the start of the Christian festival of Lent. To many it is celebrated as Pancake Day or in New Orleans and across Latin America, Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. It is the last blow out in the modern vernacular or celebration before the forty-six days fasting ahead in Lent*. Modern medicine has shown that limited fasting can indeed “cleanse” and detoxify the body. Some traditional non- religious reasons for the Lenten Fast are economic and relate to animal husbandry. For example, Lent fasting allows for the making of cheese, the hatching of chicks and the growth of baby animals.

Across the world as families used up excessive food, local traditions developed such as a feast of salted meat and peas in Iceland, Marzipan filled pastries in Scandinavia and doughnuts in eastern Europe. Many American cities including Chicago celebrate their Polish heritage as Pączki Day. A festival of music, polish specialities and, in particular, Pączki, a type of deep-fried brioche bun filled with plum or rose-hip jam.

Pancakes ready to eat
Pancakes ready for Pancake Day

Historically Shrove Tuesday was a ‘half-holiday’ in England. It started at 11:00 am with the signalling of a church bell. In England street or mob football matches were played, often involving whole communities. Dating back to the 12th century, towns such as Ashbourne, Sedgefield and Alnwick still maintain the tradition. The pancake race is held in many towns and villages, participants with frying pans race through the streets tossing pancakes into the air, catching them in the pan whilst running. The most famous pancake race, at Olney in Buckinghamshire, has been held since 1445. In Scarborough, the town beach front is roped off for racing.

*How to work out the start date for Lent

Really Good Pancakes

I am a purist. Ice cream is for sundaes. Maple syrup for drop scones or griddle cakes ( an American style pancake ) with perhaps a side of very crisp bacon or blueberries. Cream a travesty. Fruit you can leave alone, a pancake requires simply sugar and freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice.

for 8 pancakes

1 Egg and one Egg Yolk
About 250 ml Milk
100 gr Plain Flour
2 tablespoons melted Butter
a small pinch of Salt
clarified Butter for cooking

Place a large mixing bowl on a damp cloth to stop it slipping and moving. Sift in the flour and salt into the bowl. Whisk in the egg and egg yolk and mix in the milk, pouring it in a slow, constant stream.

 

Eggs, Flour and Milk

When it has achieved the consistency of thin cream, stop adding any more milk and whisk in the butter.

 

Batter Mix

Brush a hot non-stick frying pan with clarified butter. Using a ladle add a little batter to the pan whilst gently twisting the pan to swirl the batter in a thin coating across the pan surface. Cook for about two minutes then flip over. Cook for a further minute until crisp and golden brown, transfer to a warm plate and serve.

Pancake

Allergens in this recipe are;

Flour  Eggs Milk

Please see the allergens page

How do you like your Eggs in the Morning?

So how do you like your eggs in the morning? Coddled, buttered, scrambled ( with smoked salmon oh yes please! ), poached, as the classic Eggs Benedict, an omelet or fried? Well here is something a little different. The classic Mexican breakfast egg dish is Huevos rancheros or fried corn chips topped with eggs and salsa. For the breakfast menu at Hugo’s Bar, Eatry & Store, Jersey, I wanted to do something as tasty but not with the corn chips, a nice gluten free option. So I adapted the classic recipe and developed my Baked Eggs and Bean Chilli.

Mexican Baked EggsSo crank up the brilliant tune, squeeze some fresh orange juice and dig in to this wonderful breakfast treat. To save time make the chilli in advance and just heat up before baking with the eggs. Left over bean chilli makes a great vegetarian nachos.

Mexican Style Eggs                          serves 4

For the Easy Chilli Bean Stew

50 ml quality Olive Oil

1 large Onion, peeled and finely sliced

3 Garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 x 400 gr tin Chopped Tomatoes

2- 4 medium-hot smoky Red Chillies

400 gr Mixed Beans – Pinto, Red Kidney, Haricot, rinsed and drained

1 x 400 gr tin of Chickpeas, rinsed and drained

100 ml Vegetable Stock

2 tablespoons Tomato Purée

1 tablespoon Dried Oregano

1 teaspoon Caster Sugar

Juice of 1 Lime

1 teaspoon Ground Cumin

1 Bay Leaf

A small handful of fresh Coriander, roughly chopped

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

8 large free range Eggs

A handful of freshly chopped Coriander to garnish

For the Chilli

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium-low heat, add the onions and sauté for about ten minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cumin and cook for a further couple of minutes stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add the stock, tomatoes, chickpeas, beans, oregano and sugar. Season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and simmer gently for twenty to twenty-five minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice and coriander. Correct the seasoning as required.

Preheat your oven to 350 F / 180 C / Gas mark 4 . Spoon some of the chilli into four shallow heat proof dishes and make two small wells in each. Crack in an egg into each hollow and place in the oven. Bake until eggs are cooked and the yolks are still just liquid. Top with chopped coriander and serve.