Mexican Eggs Benny

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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! 😉

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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. 🙂

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

How to Make Smoothie Bowls

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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? 😉

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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Have a smoooooth(ie) week! 🙂

5 Eggcellent Egg Recipes

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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. 🙂

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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.

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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! 🙂

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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. 🙂

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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).

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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! 😉

Banana and Custard Filled Pancakes

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Last week I had one of those nights where you ping-pong back and forth between the sofa and the kitchen cupboard.  You know, when you’re craving a lil’ something-something to scoff but have absolutely no idea what it is you fancy.  Sunny and I were in the middle of a Ray Donovan marathon, and as well as rattling through a whole season in the space of a week, we’d also rattled through all the chocolate and sweet stuff in the kitchen cupboard too.  And then I found the solution.  We had a long-life carton of custard and a couple of bananas in the fruit bowl.  Winner.  “D’you fancy bananas and custard?” I called out from the kitchen.  “What!  YESSSSSSSS,” he roared back.

And so we scoffed a bowl each of bananas and custard whilst Ray Donovan buried another body.  It was heaven, I tell you.  HEAVEN.

It’s one of those stupidly simple yet completely satisfying desserts, innit?  Easy.  Awesome.  And then I had the crazy idea of adding pancakes into the mix.  Pancakes filled with custard, and topped with bananas.  If you’ve never filled pancakes before it’s really easy, and once you’ve nailed it, there’s any number of ways you could go.  Just make sure you go for fluffy, American style pancakes because it won’t work with crepes. 🙂

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Bananas and Custard Filled Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 150ml buttermilk
  • 50ml milk
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 100ml fresh custard
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • sliced fresh bananas
  • a little butter for greasing the frying pan
  1. To make the filling, mix the vanilla essence into the custard.  Tear off a sheet of baking paper and place on a tray or plate.  Spoon small rounds of the custard onto the sheet, then pop the whole thing into the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. Whisk together your pancake batter, then leave it to sit for five minutes.  Next, heat up your frying pan on a medium high heat, then grease with a little butter.
  3. Bring the slightly frozen custard out of the freezer and keep it nearby.  Carefully ladle some batter onto your frying pan, then place one of the custard rounds in the middle as it begins to cook.  Cover it with a little bit of fresh batter, then flip the pancake over.  Each side of the pancake will cook, leaving the custard nice and gooey in the middle. 🙂
  4. Serve up with fresh bananas, walnuts and maple syrup.  Yum!

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I had to work so quickly taking these pictures; Bungle loves bananas and wouldn’t leave me alone.  Just check out that drool!  Happy Pancake Day (for tomorrow) everyone! 🙂

“Extra” French Toast

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What do you eat for breakfast on Christmas Day?  Well, for starters, is there even time?  I mean, do you shove down a couple of slices of toast and a cuppa before the kids come stampeding into the bedroom with their stockings?  Do you just skip it and starve yourself knowing that you’ll be cradling a turkey-sized food baby in a few hours time?  Or, do you put away the Terry’s Chocolate Orange from the bottom of your stocking whilst parked in front of The Life of Brian(Knowing that I have no children, which one of these scenarios is moi, d’you think?  I’m a very naughty boy girl!)

Well, I’ve got the answer; how about whipping up a batch of “Extra” French Toast the night before?  Pop it in the fridge on Christmas Eve and then bake it on Christmas morning while you’re busy unwrapping those presents.  Is it “Extra” because it’s made of croissants – and so, extra-French?  Is it “Extra” because it’s got a shot of cream liqueur in it?  Or, is it “Extra” because it’s definitely a breakfast for this side of Christmas (my husband might or might not have called it a heart attack on a plate when I put it in front of him over the weekend…)?  Whatever the reason, it makes a perfect (and easy) treat for Christmas Day. 🙂

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Extra French Toast (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 2 croissants
  • 1 slice of bread cut into stars (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml milk
  • 50 ml of cream liqueur (I love Penderyn Distillery’s Merlyn ♡)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 50g fresh raspberries
  • 50g chocolate chips
  • a dusting of icing sugar
  • 25g gold crunch (optional)
  1. Roughly chop up your croissants (and bread) and arrange them in an oven proof dish with the raspberries and chocolate chips.
  2. In a jug, whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon and cream liqueur and then pour over the croissants.  Cover with foil. (If you’re making it the night before, you can whack it in the fridge overnight at this stage).
  3. Set the oven to 180 and bake for 20 minutes with the foil, and 10 minutes without.
  4. Dust with icing sugar and sprinkle over the gold crunch.

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What do you like to eat for breakfast on Christmas Day? 🙂