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Posts Tagged ‘eggs’

Devilled eggs

Is it too early to start with the Christmas recipes? I know plenty of other places have got a head start on me but it didn’t seem right to even contemplate these sorts of thing until December. But then realising that Christmas eve is just three little weeks away made me think it was time to post this retro recipe, perfect for any parties you might be planning. Now a lot of folks will say that devilled eggs belong firmly in the 1970s; I remember the cover photo on one of the ancient Fanny Craddock cookbooks that I think my Mum inherited that showed a plate of washed-out eggs presented on a bed of lettuce that looked far from appetizing.  For a long time I felt ever so slightly ashamed for liking devilled eggs as much as I do. If and when they ever grace a buffet table I swoop in and grab a couple before finding a quiet corner to guiltily devour them. (more…)

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Last week my mum and I went on a last-minute city break to Avignon where we indulged in sunshine, shopping and lots and lots of beautiful food. Since coming back I’ve been on a Provençal cooking kick having been overloaded with inspiration on our mini holiday. Just wandering around the wonderful indoor market is enough to make you want to sell up and move to France: the stalls were overflowing with all manner of heirloom tomatoes; tiny, round green and yellow courgettes; plump purple- and white-flecked aubergines; strings of garlic; fat bundles of fresh herbs and about 20 types of onion. The delis had big bowls of ratatouille to take home and reheat alongside stuffed tomatoes, rabbit stew, individual egg and vegetable flans and roasted meats. Hams and whole salamis hung above mountains of olives and the boulanger oppostie sold crunchy, fresh sourdough bread, fougasse studded with nuts and apple tart by the slice. Other displays contained jewel-like candied fruits, macarons and iced, almond-shaped Calissons from nearby Aix. (more…)

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More Italian-inspired food today, this time in the form of a cool, fruity frozen dessert that’s lighter than ice cream but far more rich and creamy than sorbet. It’s also much easier to make than those other two treats – no fancy-schmancy churns needed here but I was glad to be in possession of an electric whisk, I tell you. That’s the secret of a good semifreddo – whisking in air, and lots of it. By trapping as much air as possible in whipped yolks, whites and cream you create a fluffy mousse-like confection (and a lot of washing up!) that stays smooth once frozen. Being a ‘semi’ freddo, or half cold, you need to take your dessert out of the freezer a good half hour before serving to let it start to melt (or in my case, having what we affectionately call the ‘absolute-zero freezer’, a full hour). (more…)

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Horray! It looks as though we’re through the ‘hungry gap’ where the last of the winter vegetables are running low and the first of the spring veggies are not quite ready. If you subscribe to a veggie box or community agriculture scheme the hungry gap can play havoc with your menu plan: unexpected frosts can spoil crops, supplies can run out early and you end up with the occasional unexpected substitution. Last week was one such occasion when I had made planned to make pumpkin falafels and ended up with a cauliflower. Granted, it was a lovely cauli but I struggled to come up with an interesting idea for dinner that went beyond the standard cheese pairing. (more…)

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On a recent trip to Rome we rented an apartment just outside of the historic centre and a stone’s throw away from the famed Bar Pompi, renowned for its tiramisù. The classic Italian dessert comes in a variety of sizes from dinky single-serving boxes to giant take-away slabs for dinner parties. Their excellent tiramisù also comes in all manner of flavours: there’s the classic coffee, nutella, chocolate and banana, pistachio, strawberry, forest fruits and this summer’s limited edition piña colada! I didn’t happen to see a cherry version but I’m certain it’s been done before. Inspired by the delicious Italian amarena ice cream and all the fresh cherries appearing in the shops I decided that it was time to make a tribute to Bar Pompi. (more…)

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I’ve made no secret that I don’t particularly enjoy breakfasts and never make much of a fuss over the first meal of my day; I’m usually happy with a couple of Wheetabix and a splash of skimmed. This last week while we’ve been off work and tearing apart what was the kitchen I fancied a more substantial breakfast but still needed something quick. This egg bake fitted the bill perfectly; although it takes a little while to bake, for the next few days you’re all sorted provided you don’t eat it all at once! (more…)

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Every so often I find myself craving a particular food after reading a (non-cook) book. Joanne Harris’ Five Quarters of the Orange made me yearn for fruit tarts and cherry liqueur and Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson brought on a porridge fest. From a very early age I found recipe inspiration from literature; I remember asking my mum to let me make stone soup and trying my hardest to imagine what the Hot-Cold Goodies in Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree tasted like. I wonder how many foodies start off this way, obsessing about food before they even start school? I even used to get excited by pictures of food; I adored the idea of the Very Hungry Caterpillar munching his way through fruit, ice cream and cake. (more…)

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