Frugal February – Shakshuka

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Every time I make this I wonder why I do not make it more often. Shakshuka makes the perfect quick and easy supper dish. In it’s simplest form it is just eggs poached in a spicy tomato and pepper sauce. I serve it with chopped coriander sprinkled over the top, crusty bread and butter.

Ingredients (serves two).

1 tablespoon vegetable oil- I used sunflower oil

1 brown onion diced very small

2 cloves garlic crushed

1 red pepper diced

1 tin chopped tomatoes

2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup red wine

1 bunch parsley

1 large bunch chopped coriander

vegetable stock cube

1 tbs chilli powder

1 teaspoon cumin

4 free range eggs

Sautee onion and garlic in oil. Add cumin and chilli powder and cook lightly, don’t let it burn. Add diced red pepper and cook until soft. Add tinned tomatoes, chopped parsley, sugar, vegetable stock and wine and simmer until cooked through. At this point I turned off the heat and let the mixture sit for several hours so the flavours all came together. Just before you want to eat, turn the heat on again and simmer. Make 4 wells into the mixture and crack the eggs into the tomatoes. Cover with a lid and gently poach. When eggs lightly cooked, scatter with fresh coriander.

Tonight my choice was to make Shakshuka or omelettes. Shakshuka takes a little bit of chopping and simmering, but is somehow easier than watching over an omelette pan.Much more satisfying to eat too.

 

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Frugal February – Tuna and Egg casserole

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Yes, really.

This was another staple from my childhood that I just loved. I suspect that any Australian growing up in the 70s and early 80s had some version of tuna and egg casserole in their life. I cannot be sure, but guess it may have come from a Woman’s Weekly cookbook. It sounds bonkers, but here in the UK tuna and sweetcorn pasta bake is pretty common, and the component parts are really pretty similar.

From the larder

tinned tuna in brine

white flour

rice

From the fridge

2 hard boiled eggs, sliced.

milk

butter

From other parts of the kitchen

1 medium onion diced

2 slices stale bread.

This is really simple. Sautee diced onions in butter then remove onions from the pan and set aside. Make an easy white sauce using butter, 1 tablespoon flour and milk as required. Add onions. Add tinned tuna in brine…. don’t drain all the brine… about half is needed for that true tuna flavour. Add sliced eggs and stir through. Serve hot over rice. I was doing the complicated version in that I topped it with homemade croutons using the diced stale bread which I pan fried in a little bit of leftover butter. The combination of creamy, salty sauce with crouton crunch cannot be beaten.

I plonked this down in front of Baby-Gusto and made no comment and provided no explanation as to what he was being presented with.  He hoovered it down with nary a whimper. Any meal that gets eaten is a good meal.

score

9/10.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Retro-Cookbook-Australian-Womens-Weekly/dp/1742451039

Breakfast at The Coast – and new Isle of Wight bloggers

A nice way to spend a weekend morning. Breakfast at The Coast Bar and cafe in Cowes.

http://thecoastbar.co.uk/

It was a busy place to be. The numbers of people pulling suitcases stopping in for breakfast before heading for the RedJet  told us that many people were heading for home after spending New Year’s Eve in Cowes.

Despite being local, we rarely go to The Coast and I always wonder why we are so infrequent when we do go. The ambience is really nice… all wood, leather chairs. The staff are friendly – yesterday we had two absolutely delightful waitresses who could not do enough for us – despite the busy morning. Husband-Gusto’s many requests for coffee refills were fulfilled quickly with a huge smile. They even had board games on the counter which kept Baby-Gusto amused.

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2016 is going to be my Year Of Tea.

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Husband-Gusto’s Full English (minus the baked beans) was very good he said. Although his gold standard is the 7-item breakfast on Red Funnel Ferries, and this was almost as tasty.

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But the real standout meal was my Eggs Florentine.

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Two softly poached eggs on wilted spinach and English muffins. The hollandaise was absolutely wonderful. It was light, creamy and lemony. This was a total joy.

I could really get into breakfast. 🙂

Two ‘new’ bloggers are blogging from the Isle of Wight also. Rosy has written some desperately funny blogs and her latest  details her adventures on the Island.

https://welcometotheisland.wordpress.com/

Reniera has newly relocated with her gorgeous family to the Island and has some fabulous recipes and adventures and stories to recount.

https://rodsislandlife.wordpress.com/about/

Happy New Year!

 

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Squeezing in a late lunch before the school run I drove to Gurnard and grabbed a cheese omelette from The Watersedge. An immensely fluffy pillow of an omelette emerged from the tiny kitchen in no time at all, which considering the cafe was packed solid was really impressive. It was tasty and so huge that even I in my ravenous state could not finish it.

Cheese omelette with salad garnish – £7.95.

http://www.watersedgebeachcafe.co.uk/

 

Cowes Week Day 8 – Ryde.

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Well, we are officially Cowes Week’d out. It has been a great week of parties parties. Lunches lunches. Walks walks. Sun, sailing and lots and lots of lovely Pimms.

Sigh. Great week, but today for the last day, after a terrific evening that featured the glorious Red Arrows and fireworks, today we decided to give the last day of festivities a big fat miss and went instead to Ryde. We spent hours playing on the beach, and at the park and had a picnic.

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I also wandered in to Appley Tower and came out rather poorer (as did Mummy-Gusto who had to loan some funds- having bought H-G his birthday present. Appley Tower now is home to a rather impressive display of rocks, crystals and fossils.

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Our picnic featured….

Egg and cress sandwiches

Cream cheese and olive sandwiches

ham, cheese and piccalilli sandwiches

chicken, tomato and cheese sandwiches

blueberries, grapes

Water and wine for those of us who were not driving.

Great final day to Cowes Week.

Oh- and ice cream.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appley_Towers

http://www.raf.mod.uk/reds/

Canapes- Mini Egg Florentines

MH900022272We were so looking forward to Christmas and then as always it seemed to fly by. This year I had grand plans to not only decorate the house from top to bottom, but also to make my own Christmas cards. Not only did that NOT happen, but we ended up being so busy that we forgot all about a tree until December 24th and by then it was too late. Not even B&Q had a tree so late in the day.

But, on the 23rd, when we possibly should have been looking for a tree, we had a friend over for drinks and nibbles instead. It seemed decadent to be sipping champagne in front of the fire, and even though there were still presents to be wrapped the afternoon served to make us feel like the holidays had started.

I made mini-egg florentines. A few years ago we attended a cocktail party that featured eggs and spinach wrapped in filo pastry. I have taken the idea and adapted it so that the tiny eggs sit on top of spinach and puff pastry discs and was thrilled to finally be able to try my mini eggs out on people to whom I am not related.

Ingredients

12 quail eggs

puff pastry

frozen spinach – a good handful

nutmeg

1 tablespoon of cream

2 tablespoons creme fraiche

good quality hollandaise sauce (I use Maille)

Roll the pastry out thinly and cut into round shapes using a biscuit cutter or the rim of a wine glass. (I do not own a biscuit cutter. I do however own lots of wine glasses).

Grease a muffin tray and lay each pastry round in the bottom

cook the quail eggs, cool and peel. (Quail eggs are easy to get right. Put in a small saucepan of cold water and as soon as the water starts to get a few boiling bubbles, turn straight off and leave until water cool. They are easier to peel when the eggs are very cold).

Heat the spinach, add nutmeg and cream

heat a good tablespoon of hollandaise sauce, add creme fraiche and heat through.

Pop the pastry into the oven on about 190-200 for 20 minutes.

Once out of the oven, assemble by putting spinach on the pastry, topping with a quail egg and pouring over a dollop of the hollandaise sauce.

These were very popular. They were also quite large, so it would be possible to halve each egg to make it look a little more dainty. However I always think a good canape is a big canape.

stockists of garden quail eggsPhoto kindly reproduced with permission by Garden Quails – a family run business in West Sussex that provide truly free range quail eggs. Check out their website and their story at http://www.gardenquails.com/index.html 

Many thanks to Nik at Garden Quails!!!!

Chinese eggs

I call this dish ‘Chinese eggs’ for absolutely no good reason except that it features soy sauce and chilli.

I made this today when I was really busy and needed to eat quickly, yet needed something warming and filling.

Ingredients;

one teaspoon olive oil

half teaspoon sesame oil (sesame oil is so strong, that it just needs a tiny dash)

finely sliced spring onions (enough to fit the palm of your hand)

half a hot red or green chilli, finely sliced

one pack cooked king prawns chopped into little pieces

3 eggs, lightly beaten.

gloop soy sauce

Method

Put olive oil and sesame oil into a nonstick frying pan and heat gently.

Add chilli and spring onion and stir for a minute

add finely diced prawns and stir for 30 seconds

add beaten eggs. Leave for about half a  minute so that the bottom just starts to set. Then stir with a wooden spoon, gently until the ingredients are incorporated like scrambled eggs.

Add a gloop of soy sauce, and then serve with steamed rice.