Tag Archives: poached egg

Farro “Risotto” with Broad Beans, Wild Asparagus and Poached Egg

18 Jan

Farro Risotto with Poached Egg

Farro is barley from spelt rather than wheat. This is whole Farro (or spelt).  You can also buy it pearled or semi-pearled apparently but I haven’t found it here yet. Pearling removes some of the outer husks, this means it cooks more quickly but you will also be missing out on some of the fibrey wholeness.

Farro

I bought half a kilo of broad beans at the market this weekend because they screamed “Spring” at me from behind a pile of cabbages and cauliflowers. I love cabbage and cauliflower but it’s nice when new things start to appear.

Broad Beans

I also bought a bunch of wild asparagus, trigueros in Spanish. It is a very fine type of asparagus that grows wild in fields and at the side of the road underneath spiky bushes (very clever). There are sometimes rather scruffy looking men selling big bunches of it at roundabouts at this time of year.  They are probably so scruffy because they have been scrabbling around underneath spiky bushes looking for the asparagus. They are the epitome of “being dragged through a hedge backwards.”

Farro Asparagus Risotto

Revueltos de Esparragos Trigurerosis a classic Spanish dish where the wild asparagus is sautéed in pan until just tender then you add some beaten eggs and cook it all together. Scrambled eggs with asparagus basically. This is what inspired me to top this risotto with a poached egg. It’s lovely because if your egg is perfectly runny when you stick your knife in it the yolk runs into the risotto giving it a rich creaminess that works really well in this dish.

 The flavour or the trigueros is slightly more bitter than the thicker asparagus and you still have to trim off quite a lot of the woody ends or the twiggy bits get stuck in your teeth I found, not attractive.

Broad Bean Farro Risotto

I cooked the farro using the risotto method, adding a ladleful of warm stock, waiting for it to be absorbed, then adding another ladleful and so on. It took a long time to cook, about 40 minutes in total I think. If you are using whole spelt/farro like me then I would probably suggest that you cook it according to the instructions on the packet (mine didn’t have any). Cooking it normally, in water or stock, will probably shorten the cooking time, you still want it to be nutty and have some bite so don’t overdo it.

You can then add your broad beans, asparagus etc at the end of cooking and heat it all up together. If you are using normal asparagus you will need to blanch it in boiling water for a few minutes before adding it to the risotto at the end.

Farro Risotto with Asparagus

Farro Risotto with Broad Beans, Asparagus & Poached Egg

Serves 3, vegetarian

  • 300 g Farro (spelt barley) I used whole but pearled or semi-pearled cook quicker
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • a pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 litre veg stock
  • salt & black pepper
  • about 30 g ( a handful) of grated manchego/parmesan, plus shaved to garnish
  • 500 g broad beans still in their pod chambers (as in the picture above)
  • 1 bunch of wild (or not) asparagus, woody ends trimmed off, cut into 1- 2 inch pieces
  • 100 g frozen peas, left to defrost
  • a handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • about 15 basil leaves
  • toasted pine nuts
  • 1 egg per person
  • white vinegar

Remove the broad beans from their chambers, then put them in boiling water for a minute or two, drain, rinse under the cold tap, then squeeze the bright green beans out of their pale jade cases. Discard the cases. If using normal asparagus cook this in boiling, salted  water for about 3 minutes until just tender, drain and run under the cold tap to stop the cooking, set aside.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and cook the onion with a pinch of salt over a medium heat for about 4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme and chilli flakes and cook for another 2 minutes.

At this point you can either:

1) Add in the uncooked farro, stirring to coat for a minute. Heat the veg stock in a small pan until hot but not boiling. Add two ladles of the hot stock to the farro and cook until absorbed then add another two ladles of stock, repeating until the farro is tender but still with a nutty bite. If you need more liquid add some boiling water from the kettle. Season with salt & black pepper.

Or…

2) Add the uncooked farro and the veg stock, bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer, partially covered until the farro is cooked, tender but still with a nutty bite. Season with salt & black pepper.

Then, when ready to serve stir the peas, broad beans and chopped asparagus into the farro stirring to heat through for a few minutes until cooked. Then stir in the cheese and most of the fresh herbs. Taste for seasoning

For the poached eggs:

Meanwhile, using a pan big enough to hold all the eggs, fill it 2/3 full with water and bring to the boil. Crack the eggs into separate teacups or ramekins.

When the water is boiling, squeeze in about a teaspoon of vinegar and some salt. Remove the pan from the heat, stir it with a wooden spoon very fast to create a little whirlpool then, quickly but gently, slide the eggs into the water, one at a time. Put on a lid and leave for 3 – 3 1/2 minutes.

When the white is cooked, carefully lift the eggs out, one at a time with a slotted spoon onto a double sheet of kitchen paper to drain, cover the tops with another sheet of kitchen paper.

Serve the farro “risotto” in warmed bowls and carefully use the paper and spoon to move the poached egg on top of the farro. Season the egg with a little salt & black pepper and garnish the dish with some shaved manchego/parmesan, the rest of the herbs and the toasted pine nuts.

Farro Risotto with a Poached Egg

Have a Great Weekend Everyone!!

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Asian Mushrooms and Pak Choy in a Crispy Noodle Basket with a Poached Egg

6 Mar

This recipe was inspired by a dish we had at Kitima in Hout Bay. Kitima was given the award for the best Asian restaurant in the South African Eat Out Awards this year. I can see why.

Behind its traditional Cape Dutch facade hides a series of beautiful lounges, secluded private dining rooms, bars and terraces. All opulently decorated with gold and brocade. It has that real “East Meets West” feel that many fail to acheive.

The large menu and extensive wine list is accompanied by knowledgeable staff and excellent service. The food is more reasonably priced than you would expect from this level of service and surroundings.

We ordered the Veggie Gau, steamed rice paper dumplings filled with carrot,water chestnut, pickled Chinese radish, shiitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots. They came with a dipping sauce and some lovely crispy fried garlic to sprinkle over the soft dumplings.

And some Vegetable California, “Inside out” sushi rice rolls filled with cucumber, carrot, pickled radish, avocado & Japanese mayonnaise. They came with the usual wasabi, soy and sushi ginger.

We also ordred a Thai Green Vegetable Curry, Pad Thai Noodles and my favourite dish of the night, Kitima’s Mushroom Basket. This had fresh mushrooms wok-fried with cashew nuts, onion, carrots and water chestnut nestled in a crispy potato basket. Everything was full of flavour and authenticly spiced. By which I mean it was hot. Which is a good thing.

So, you will have probably noticed from the title (and the pictures) that I did not make a crispy potato basket. Well, I tried! They very kindly let me have the recipe and I gave it a go unfortunately without success. My excuse is that you need an industrial sized fryer (and an experienced chef) to make it work.

You finely julienne the potatoes, toss them in corn flour and line them on the inside of a stainless steel bowl. Then you submerge the bowl in the hot oil using a metal ladle to hold the bowl under and keep the basket shape. I didn’t have a metal bowl small enough to be able to submerge it in the oil (I used a wok as a fryer) so The Washer Up suggested that I line the potatoes in a sieve so that the oil could get in and cook them. Genius, I thought, it cooked the potatoes and held the shape.

But then I couldn’t get it out of the sieve, it was stuck! Fail number one…

Fail number two involved lining the potato matchsticks around the inside of my stainless steel hand juicer bowl. It was small enough, I thought to submerge it in the oil in the wok. But no still no go. So then he suggested that I should put the oil in a smaller pan so that the oil would be deeper. You see this is why we are together, I would never have thought of that. My mind doesn’t work like that.

It worked, the potatoes fried and it (kind of) held its shape. The problem came when we tried to turn it out of the bowl. They all fell out in a pile and they were soggy, not crispy at all.

By this time I was totally losing the will to live and starving hungry. Not a good combination.

The Washer Up to the rescue again, looks at the left over cooked soba noodles from last nights dinner and chucks them in the hot oil. They bubble and splutter a bit but they stick together and cook. Lifting the whole lacey noodle disc onto some kitchen paper to drain he moulds it, while still warm, into a basket shape. Success at last. We have a crispy basket. And soba noodles are so much better for you than potatoes anyway. Even if they are deep-fried.

I adjusted the mushroom recipe slightly too by adding some dried chinese mushrooms and using pak choy instead of water chestnuts because I didn’t have any. The poached egg and watercress were inspired by the gorgeous breakfast we had at Ile de Pain in Knysna. So this is really a hybrid of two of the best dishes we ate while away. It makes the perfect brunch or lunch dish and you don’t have to worry about the potato basket because I’ve already been there…

Asian Mushrooms & Pak Choy in Crispy Noodle Basket with a Poached Egg (optional)

Serves 2, vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free. Adapted from the Kitima recipe 

Prep time: 20 mins Cooking time: 10 mins

  • 50 gr dried soba noodles, cooked according to packet instrustions, drained, rinsed under cold water
  • oil for deep frying
  • 200 gr mushrooms, wiped & finely sliced
  • 25 gr dried chinese mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 20 mins or more (reserve the soaking liquid)
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 large spanish spring onion (or 4 scallions) green & white parts
  • 2 heads of pak choy, rinsed, leaves whole, white parts chopped
  • 50 gr cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp chilli bean paste
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp shaoxing rice wine
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • white pepper
  • a handful of fresh coriander, stalks & leaves chopped seperately
  • sesame seeds to garnish
  • raw carrot & red pepper julienne to garnish (optional)
  • watercress
  • 2 eggs (optional)

Remove the dried mushrooms from their soaking liquid (keep the mushroomy stock for later) and slice.

Heat the oil to about 180 C. Take a handful of the cooked, drained noodles (they should be dry) and drop them carefully into the hot oil. It will bubble up. After a minute or so, using a metal slotted spoon, check that the noodles are crispy and browned. Remove with the slotted spoon to drain on kitchen paper and, while still warm, gently mould into a basket shape. Repeat to make a second basket. Set aside.

Heat a tbsp oil in a frying pan or wok over a medium high heat. Add in the garlic, ginger, coriander stalks & chilli paste and cook fro about a minute. Then add the carrots and the white parts of the spring onions. Stri fry for 30 seconds then add both types of  mushrooms, the white parts of the pak choy and the cashew nuts (save some for topping).

Stir fry until barely cooked then add a splash of the mushroom soaking liquid. Season with the soy sauce, sugar, white pepper, sesame oil, rice wine & rice vinegar. Throw in the green parts of the spring onions, pak choy leaves, most of the coriander and cook for another minute.

Taste and adjust sugar and soy sauce as required.

For the poached eggs. Bring a medium pan of water to a boil and squirt in a little vinegar. Crack the eggs into separate teacups. When boiling turn off the heat, stir the water to create a little whirlpool and carefully slide the eggs into the water. Put the lid on and leave them for 3-4 minutes.

Remove them with a slotted spoon to drain on kitchen paper.

Put a handful of watercress on each plate and top it with the noodle baskets. Fill the baskets with the mushroom stir fry, topping with a few carrot & pepper juliennes. Carefully place the poached eggs on top and sprinkle with sesame seeds and a few coriander leaves.

Serve immediately.

For more information about Kitima visit their website here.

Enjoy!!

Tunisian Spiced Aubergine with a Soft Poached Egg

9 Nov

This is another 0ne of those aubergine dishes that you have to try even if you think you don’t like aubergine. We are coming to the end of the season here now so it maybe your last chance to change your life. Or your eating habits anyway..

This is dish from Delia Smith (we love Delia) and she got it from an Elizabeth David recipe. It is supposed to be served at room temperature, drizzled with olive oil and served with some warmed pita breads on the side, a blob of greek yoghurt and fresh herbs on the top. Continue reading

Fabulous Cabbage Recipes

12 Oct
 
 

We walk past these cabbages every day and see them growing. I love the silveryness of their leaves in the sun. After the rain we have had they are definitely looking ready to me so I am finally accepting it is now Autumn and am going to cook with cabbage tonight…

 
 
 

 

Our Broccoli & Cabbage

 

Indian Spiced Cabbage & Potato Samosas Recipe 
 Makes about 8 samosas Vegetarian/Vegan

Indian Spiced Cabbage Samosas wih Fig Chutney

 For the Samosa Pastry

makes about 8/10 samosas

  •  225 gr plain flour (I use wholemeal, you can use white or a mixture of both)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or veg oil
  • 110 ml water (You may need a little more but start with this)
    1. Mix the flour, salt, cumin seeds & turmeric in a large bowl until combined.
    2. Add the oil & water, stir with a wooden spoon then use your hands to bring it together to form a ball of dough. (You may need to add a little more water if it’s too dry).
    3. Wrap the ball of dough in clingfilm and put it in the fridge while you make the filling.

    For the cabbage

  • 1/2 head cabbage cut in half & finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp punch pooran*
  • 1 small fresh chilli chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  •  a squeeze of lemon/lime juice
  • a handful of fresh coriander chopped
  •  2 tbsp veg stock
  • some leftover cooked mashed potato or chopped cooked potato whatever you have.

*Punch pooran is a whole spice mix made up from cumin, fennel, fenugreek, black mustard & onion seeds. It gives a great rounded flavour to any indian dishes & is available from East End Foods.

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok to a medium heat. Add the punch pooran, cooking until the seeds start to pop, then quickly add the rest of the spices, garlic & ginger cooking them for about a minute but do not burn them.
  2. Add in the cabbage and salt and stir to coat the cabbage in the oil & spices then add the veg stock to loosen it slightly and stir fry the cabbage until it is cooked how you like it. (I like it cooked but still a bit crunchy about 5 mins).
  3. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice & the chopped coriander and check for seasoning.

You can serve it like this as a side dish its delicious..

Indian Spiced Cabbage

4. Now add your cooked mashed potato or cooked chopped potatoes (As much as you like) and stir to combine well.

Cabbage & Potato Samosa Mix

5. Now take the dough out of the fridge, flour your board & rolling pin and start to need the dough for about a minute to make it stable.

6. Cut the ball of dough into quarters then into eights and roll out one of the pieces of dough to about 2 or 3 mm thick. Then trim it into a square about 10 or 12 cm.

10 - 12 cm Samosa Square

7. Now take a heaped tablespoon of the mix and put it on one half of the square, leave the edges clear

8. Now fold the empty side over the filling to make a triangle and press down the edges then seal them again with a fork.

9. Repeat with the rest of the pastry.

I baked mine in a preheated oven 210 degrees for about 10 – 12 mins. I brushed them with a little oil first & oiled the baking tray. You can deep fry them in hot oil for about 2 minutes on each side.

I served them with some of my fiery fig chutney (see recipe) but you can serve them with any chutney you have or a raita either way they’re great.

 I love potato, especially mashed potato, and I also love Indian food so this next idea is an Indian spiced version of Colcannon (An Irish dish with mashed potato & cabbage) or Bubble & Squeak, an English dish made with leftover potatoes & vegetables (usually Brussel sprouts or cabbage) which is made into patties and fried in a pan. Heaven….

Indian Spiced Bubble & Squeak with a Poached Egg

serves 2 vegetarian

Brunch Heaven
  • leftover Indian spiced cabbage (see above)
  • leftover mashed potato
  • 2 eggs
  • coriander or chives to garnish
  1. Mix the cold mash and cabbage together well

2. Press the mix into two chefs rings or cookie cutters to make patties ( Or just shape them by hand). Then heat some oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the patties to the hot oil and cook them until well browned on both sides and hot in the middle

Bubble & Squeak

3. Meanwhile put a large pan of water on to boil with a squirt of vinegar. When it’s boiling turn off the heat, stir the water and carefully crack the two eggs into the water (Break them into the surface of the water). Put the lid on and leave them for 3 minutes.

Serve the poached egg on top of the Bubble & Squeak and garnish with chives or coriander. 

Enjoy!

Spiced Asparagus Brunch Recipe

18 Sep

I know that it is not strictly speaking asparagus season but it’s still good here so I couldn’t resist. This is a gorgeous brunch dish though it could be breakfast or lunch or even a late supper…

The inspiration for this dish came from a book I bought recently on a trip back to the UK for a wedding. The book is Flavour by Vicky Bhogal & it has loads of really exciting vegetarian recipes that I can’t wait to try. Her recipe is for just the asparagus with a mustard seed cream sauce but I had some cooked new potatoes left from the night before so I thought it would be great with those & a poached egg on top, everything is great with a poached egg on top!! You could also serve it on leftover mash.Ibought the book in TK MAX which has a brilliant reduced recipe book section, so many to choose from. I also bought some measuring cups which are great for american recipes, anyway..  

Spiced Asparagus Brunch
Vegetarian Serves 2

For the sauce:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp poppy seeds (I didn’t have any mustard seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp onion seeds
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 clove garlic crushed
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 100ml creme fraiche (about 1/2 tub)
  • handful fresh coriander chopped

 For the Asparagus

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • enough cooked new potatoes quartered
  • 1/4 red onion chopped
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • coriander sprigs to garnish
  1. For the sauce, heat the oil & butter in a small pan with the cumin, poppy & onion seeds.
  2. When they start to sizzle add the onion & garlic & fry until light golden.
  3. Turn down the heat & add the garam masala, salt, pepper & lemon juice & stir well.
  4. Add the creme fraiche & cook for about a minute.
  5. Add chopped coriander & turn off heat
  6. Meanwhile steam the asparagus for 3 or 4 minutes until just tender.
  7. Heat some oil in a large frying pan and fry 1/4 chopped red onion over a med high heat with the rest of the spices for a few minutes until softened & fragrant.
  8. Add the chopped cooked potatoes & stir to coat in the onion & spice mixture, cook for 2 mins.
  9. Add the cooked asparagus to the potatoes stir to coat & cook for 1-2 mins.
  10. Add the lemon juice, salt & pepper turn the heat off & put a lid on.
  11. Have a pan of boiling water on the go when you are nearly ready to serve add some vinegar to the water.
  12. Turn the water off & crack both eggs into the water very near the surface.
  13. Put the lid on & leave for 3mins.
  14. To serve put the asparagus & potatoes on the bottom of the dish.
  15. Take the poached eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon & drain on kitchen roll.
  16. Put the eggs on top of the asparagus.
  17.  Spoon the warm sauce around the asparagus & potatoes & garnish the eggs with coriander

Enjoy!

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