Mexican Eggs Benny

DSC_0010.JPG

I’ve always kind of shied away from ol’ Eggs Benedict.  I’ve gotta say, I’m not the biggest fan of mayonnaise (that’s putting it mildly; come within ten feet of me with the stuff and I’ll whip out a crucifix and holy water) – and hollandaise sauce is pretty much a relative of the white stuff. Also, I’ve always been a bit nervous about making it myself.  I mean, combining egg yolks and hot butter whilst simultaneously poaching another couple of eggs to perfection is not the kind of stress I’m after on a Sunday morning.

Who knows what the hell possessed me to give it a go a couple of weekends ago, but after a bit of trial and error I found a really easy way of whipping up the hollandaise sauce – and I even livened it up a bit with some lime juice and chipotle paste.  Tada!  Really easy, stress free and scrumptious Mexican Eggs Benny (…Benito?).  I’ve served them up on a simple slice of toasted sourdough bread here, but they’d be even better with a layer of smashed avocado, salsa and bacon.  Banging! 😉

DSC_0008

Mexican Eggs Benny (serves 2)

Ingredients

For the Smoky Hollandaise Sauce:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • Juice from half a lime
  • 1 tsp of chipotle paste
  • 115g butter
  • salt and pepper

To serve:

  • Four poached eggs (check out my egg poaching tips here)
  • Sourdough bread, toasted
  • Chopped chives
  • salt and pepper
  1. To make the hollandaise sauce, blitz your egg yolks, lime juice and chipotle paste in a blender until combined. Next, melt your butter in the microwave and then very slowly pour it into the blender while it’s blitzing on a low setting.  This is a cheeky way of making the sauce without having to worry about faffing around on the hob and having the eggs scramble because the butter is too hot.  It works a treat, and allows you to set the sauce aside while you poach your eggs and toast your bread.
  2. To serve, heat the sauce for a couple of minutes on low on the hob – always stirring – then pour over your poached eggs and toast.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with some chopped chives. 🙂

DSC_0017

If you fancy watching a video of me whipping up this recipe, then check out my IGTV here.  Have a great weekend! 🙂

Spaghetti with Fried Tomato and Mozzarella Balls

DSC_0149.JPG

I’m a pasta FIEND, but I hardly ever get to make it at home because Sunny’s not a fan (I know, what the hell did I marry???).  My absolute favourite pasta dish is Spaghetti Pomodoro, which most people would label the most boring thing on the menu – but you know what?  I love that it’s simple.  It’s pasta in its purest form and throws the focus on the quality and flavour of each ingredient.  Sweet tomato sauce, spaghetti, fresh basil and mozzarella (…the best bit!).  I love it!  It’s my go to whenever I’ve got a craving for some fresh pasta.

Last week, Sunny was away with work which meant I had a couple of days to get my pasta fix in.  I saw the idea for these fried tomato and mozzarella balls on Pinterest and just had to give them a go and see if they could level up my basic pomodoro.  I mean, deep fried mozzarella, amiright?  Yuuuuuuuuum.

DSC_0042.JPGDSC_0007.JPGDSC_0008.JPG

Spaghetti with Fried Tomato and Mozzarella Balls (serves 2)

Ingredients

For the balls:

  • 125g of Mozzarella Pearls
  • 220g of Cherry Tomatoes (I used about 20 piccalo tomatoes)
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • plain flour
  • 100g breadcrumbs seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Kebab Skewer

For the sauce:

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 200ml of Tomato Passata
  • 1 clove of Garlic, minced
  • Tomato Pits, salted
  • Fresh Chopped Basil
  • 1 tsp of Maple Syrup

To serve:

  • Chopped Basil
  • Enough Spaghetti for 2
  • (More cheese, if you’re a total glutton like me 😉 )
  1. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the pits (set them aside, they’re going to go into the sauce later!).  Fill each tomato with a mozzarella pearl and then set them aside.
  2. Heat up the vegetable oil in a deep saucepan (you’ll know it’s ready for frying when you can drop a small bit of bread into it and see it fizzle).  Batter up!  Create a bit of an assembly line with the whisked egg, flour and breadcrumbs in separate bowls.  Take one of your filled tomatoes and skewer it with one of the kebab skewers (it’ll keep everything together for the next step).  First, coat it with a little flour, then dunk it into the whisked egg, and finally coat it with breadcrumbs.  Deep fry each ball until golden brown, removing each one from the skewer as you go along.
  3. To make the sauce, heat up your olive oil in a saucepan on a medium heat.  Fry the garlic for a minute (careful not to burn it!) and then pour in both the tomato passata, pits and fresh basil. Pour in 1 tsp of Maple Syrup – sounds ridiculous, right?  But trust me, it’ll take away the acidic taste from the tomatoes. 
  4. Simmer for twenty minutes, then season and serve with the fried tomato, fresh basil, mozzarella balls and spaghetti.

DSC_0046.JPG

Have a magnifique week! 😉

How to Make Smoothie Bowls

DSC_0004.JPG

So, here’s the thing.  I’ve been absolutely, bladdy awful at getting in my five a day recently.  Truly terrible at it.  I mean, I’d say I get about half that; I’ve never had trouble sneaking a healthy portion of vegetables into my dinner, but for the rest of the day, anything goes.  Fruit just isn’t what I go for when I want a snack.  Five doughnuts, no problem.  Five (squared) custard creams, easy mate.  Five pieces of fruit?  PASS.  I’m not sure what happened, because the truth is I’ve always really loved fruit – and when I do actually make the effort, I really enjoy eating it.  But over the past couple of years – either out of laziness or bad habit – I’ve just stopped reaching for it, and I’ve really noticed a change in my skin and my energy levels because of that.

I’ve been making it my mission recently to find easy ways of sneaking in those missed portions of fruit, and I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that breakfast and the mid-afternoon munchies are when I’m more receptive to scoffing a bit of fruit instead of dipping into the old biscuit tin.  So I started making the odd smoothie bowl for breakfast as a way of rekindling my love of fruit and – d’you know what? – I’ve enjoyed making them so much that I’ve even occasionally swapped out my lunchtime egg on toast for one!  They’re easy to make, can be prepped ahead of time and there are so many different flavour combinations that it’ll be a long, long time before you get bored of scoffing them.  Oh, and did I mention that they’re pretty? 😉

DSC_0062

The Idea

You’ll probably have seen smoothie bowls all over either Pinterest and Instagram and shrugged them off as essentially pretty but pointless – a lot of faffing around for something designed to be inhaled first thing on a Monday morning before you fly out the door.  They’re basically a bowl of blitzed fruit (and sometimes added flax seed or protein powder), mixed with fresh yoghurt (or a dairy-free alternative) and topped with more fresh fruit, nuts and granola. But they’re not as time-consuming as they look; the blended base recipe can be prepped and whipped up the night before, or even frozen for the week ahead.  That way, all you need to do is mix it into your chosen yoghurt and then add whatever toppings you fancy.

DSC_0046.JPG

The Basic Base Recipe

The base recipe is simple – provided you’ve got a blender handy – and uses only a handful of ingredients.  It’s adaptable; so if you’re not a banana fan then substitute it with 80g of another fruit, and the yoghurt can be swapped out for any dairy-free alternative (personally, I love coconut yoghurt).  You can also add in protein powder and/or flax, hemp or chia seeds if that’s your jam.  Once you’ve got the base figured out, you can mix it up and get creative!  As mentioned above, it can be blitzed up the night before or on a Sunday when you’re prepping your meals for the week ahead – letting you hit snooze on your Monday morning alarm! 😉

Ingredients (serves one)

  • 1 large banana, sliced and frozen
  • 120g of your chosen fruit, chopped and frozen
  • 1 tsp runny honey, agave or maple syrup
  • 100 ml chosen yoghurt
  1. In a blender, blitz the banana, fruit and honey together on a low setting until the mixture resembles ice cream.  If you’re prepping ahead of time and plan on freezing the mixture now’s the time – just pour it into a portion size ziplock and freeze.  Just remember to pop it in the fridge to defrost slowly the night before you intend to eat it.
  2. Once you’re ready to serve up the smoothie bowl, mix in the yoghurt until smooth and combined – then add toppings.  Easy!

DSC_0008.JPGDSC_0003 (2)

Toppings

When it comes to toppings, there are so many different ways you can go – but a combination of fresh fruit, seeds and/or nuts and some kind of cereal or granola works really well – especially if you flavour-match your fresh fruit with whatever fruit you’ve put in your base recipe.  If you’re feeling particularly extra, you can even pop a couple of edible flowers on top or some grated chocolate.

DSC_0067.JPGDSC_0072.JPGDSC_0019.JPG

Recipe Ideas

By swapping out the base fruit and yoghurt flavour and then adding different combinations of toppings there are literally thousands of different recipes you could come up with.  But here are three I’ve been enjoying lately to get you started… 🙂

Pina Colada

  • 1 large banana, sliced and frozen
  • 120g of fresh pineapple
  • 1 tsp runny honey
  • 100 ml coconut yoghurt 
  • Topped with: sliced, fresh pineapple, dessicated coconut, poppy seeds and marachino cherries.

Peanut Butter and Jelly

  • 2 large bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 100 ml toffee yoghurt
  • Topped with: sliced bananas, raspberries, pecans and raisins

Strawberry Bakewell

  • 1 large banana, sliced and frozen
  • 120g of fresh strawberries and raspberries
  • 1 tsp runny honey
  • 100 ml almond yoghurt
  • Topped with: fresh strawberries, almond granola, dried cherries, white chocolate dots, poppy seeds

DSC_0005 (2).JPGDSC_0022.JPG

Have a smoooooth(ie) week! 🙂

Strawberry Picnic Cake

DSC_0011.JPG

I feel like baking’s been on the back seat for a lot of this year; I’ve been so busy the past few weeks that just getting dinner on the table (/my lap… TV’s just been too good) has been a struggle.  I just haven’t had time to batter up and whip up something sweet.  Last weekend though, I had a little window and instead of just scrolling or snoozing through it, I decided that I wanted to bake something fuss-free that would perk up my mid-morning cuppa come Monday – and this is what I came up with.

This Strawberry Picnic Cake is one of those bakes that looks super fancy but actually involves barely any effort – if you’re a dab hand with a wooden spoon and can slice a strawb, then you’ve got this.  Texture-wise, it’s a cross between a brownie and an angel slice – with a gooey layer of fresh strawberries (and some raspberries thrown in for a sour edge) sandwiched between a soft, pink sponge.  Once it’s sliced up and dusted with a little icing sugar, it makes for a cute little lunchbox pick-me-up, or would be the perfect treat to pack in your picnic basket (…along with a little tub of fresh cream, obviously!) – if the weather ever perks up…  🙂

DSC_0052.JPG

Strawberry Picnic Cake

Ingredients

  • 150g Ground Almonds
  • 150g Salted Butter
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 150g Self Raising Flour
  • 2 eggs (whisked)
  • 300g Strawberries (sliced)
  • 50g Raspberries
  • A few drops of pink food colouring
  • Icing Sugar to dust
  1. Grease and line a deep, rectangular baking tray and set your oven to 180°C.
  2. Grab a mixing bowl and pour in all the cake ingredients except the strawberries and raspberries – hold those back!  Stir everything together to make a thick, lumpy, pink batter.
  3. Pour half of the batter into your baking dish and spread it out into all the corners.  Create a sandwich layer by topping the batter with the strawberries and raspberries, then smooth over the remaining batter.  
  4. Before you pop the cake in the oven, add a neat layer of evenly spaced sliced strawberries on top – one for each slice (I cut nine slices).
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, then leave to cool before slicing.
  6. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar and serve with cream. 🙂

DSC_0037.JPG

Have a lovely week everyone! 💕

 

5 Eggcellent Egg Recipes

jdvnA40.jpg

Happy Easter Monday!  Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend enjoying the beautiful weather and scoffing plenty of eggs – whether they be the chocolate kind, or the regular kind!  Speaking of which, I bloody love a good egg.  We go through boxes and boxes of them in my house; I use them for baking, for brunches and lunches… and even Bungle’s a big fan – he gets a boiled egg with his dinner every night.  So, with that in mind, I’ve scrambled together (…see what I did there?) five of my favourite egg recipes, from pink poached eggs to pavlova. 🙂

Bc5c9oh

1. Hair of the Dog Shakshuka

Eggs in Purgatory, Shakshuka… whatever you want to call it, this is breakfast comfort food done right.  This recipe kind of reminds me of the “Wake Up Juice” that Marty McFly feeds to Doc Brown in Back to the Future Part III when he’s passed out in 1885 (one of my favourite movies of all time!).  It’s got a punch that’ll put you back on your feet after a heavy night out!  The egg and crumbly feta are just the kind of comfort food you need when you’re hungover, while the vodka, lime and chilli flakes give it a bit of a zing.

DSC_0049

2. Perfectly Creamy Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs was the first “meal” I learned to cook for myself; it was pretty much my go-to lunch whenever I came home early from school.  I was using exactly the same method (two eggs, splash of milk, knob of butter, stir) until recently, when I decided I could probably do better.  I’m talking super creamy scrambled eggs – so rich that you can forego the obligatory slice of toast.  And, after doing a little research and experimentation I think I’ve got it down.  All you need are two eggs, a tablespoon of butter, and a tablespoon of sour cream (…and a pinch of black pepper if you’re into that).  The trick is to whisk together your eggs and sour cream first, then melt the butter in a deep, nonstick saucepan on a low heat.  Pour the egg mix in and then use a silicone spatula to gently shove the eggs around rather than scramble them.  Serve them up BEFORE they set.  Yum! 🙂

CI5atOw

3. Halloumi Hash

You just can’t go wrong with a heavy helping of Halloumi Hash!  It’s one of those meals that’d work for breakfast, brunch or dinner since it’s got a little bit of everything.  Aside from the necessary potatoes and chunks of halloumi, fill it out with whatever veg you fancy – or whatever you’ve got in the fridge!  And of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a fried egg on top. 🙂

VEHKSgs.jpg

4. Pink Poached Eggs

I’m going to be absolutely clear on this one; this recipe is purely for the ‘gram.  There’s nothing out of the ordinary here – bog standard eggs, bog standard toast and a little bit of spinach and seasoning – the only thing that’s different is that the egg is pink!  There’s absolutely no culinary reason to make your poached egg pink – it won’t taste any different to a normal poached egg – but, it’ll definitely bring a smile to your face. I mean, isn’t everything better when it’s pink?  The trick is to use beetroot juice instead of the water you’d usually use to poach your eggs and – voila! – pink whites!

If Poached Eggs are your nemesis, here are some tips:

  1. Crack the egg into a small bowl or dish rather than straight into the water.
  2. Use a deep frying pan – it’ll give you more maneuverability.
  3. If you really want to cheat, crack your egg into a very lightly greased square of clingfilm and then twist to seal – it’ll keep all the whites together (but obviously won’t work for for the above recipe!)
  4. Crack your egg into a sieve to get rid of all the wispy white bits before you put it into the water – that way you’ll get a nice neat egg!
  5. Use a dash of white vinegar in the water to keep your whites together, or – if you’re only poaching one egg – try the whirpool method (swirl the water, then plop your cracked egg in the middle).

4VPCBVu.jpg

5. Pina Colada Pavlova

You weren’t expecting that, now were you?  But hey, it’s a recipe that makes utilizes the whole egg (no more wasted yolks!); the whites are used for the meringue and the yolks make a lovely pineapple curd.  If there’s one thing I remember about dinners in my house as a kid, it was the prepacked meringue nests my Mum used to buy from Sainsbury’s to make impromptu pavlova for afters (sorry, Mum, I know… I meant “pudding”).  So I thought I’d give it a go from scratch and make a pina colada flavoured one complete with pineapple curd, coconut cream and a healthy splash of rum.

Have an eggcellent week everyone! 😉