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A happy marriage

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I meant to share this when I made it but I got side tracked with other things between then and now. It’s a sunday morning recipe and I’m on the couch with my laptop for a change so it seems appropriate to write it up now.

Avocado on toast is not a new concept and neither is a poached egg but it took a zealous bout of emptying the fridge of left 0vers for me to consider combining them. The warm creamy egg turned out to be a happy marriage with the cold creamy and crunchy guacamole and salsa left over from the previous evening’s meal. You could use shop bought or homemade dips but I like the fact that this uses up the smidges left over from a dinner of fajitas that you don’t want to through away. You can also multiply the amounts to feed more people but I tend to make poached eggs only when I’m cooking for one or two so I have written the recipe below to make everything from scratch for one. It occurs to me now that this would make quite an elegant canapé if made with quails eggs and mini toasts if a little to prepare.

Poached Egg with Guacamole and Salsa on Toast

I love the science behind cooking and find it frustrating to be given an instruction without the reason behind it so it pleases me to know that the freshest eggs make the best poachers because an egg white is made up of what’s called thick and thin whites and the fresher the egg the more thick white it has which holds together better when dropped into the water. So do use fresh eggs if you can, not just for the sake of it. Having said that if you’re cooking for yourself and you wont be offended by an egg with a bit of bed head then dont stress about it if your eggs are a bit older.

  •  1 large free range egg
  • 1 large or 2 small chunky slices of good bread, toasted
  • roughly 2 heaped tbsp salsa
  • roughly 3 heaped tbsp guacamole
  • sea salt flakes to finish

Salsa

  • 1 small tomato or a few cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 a shallot finely chopped
  • a drop of olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Guacamole

  • 1/2 an avocado scooped into a bowl
  • 1 spring onion chopped
  • a squeeze of lime juice
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Mix all your salsa and guacamole ingredients together in two bowls and set side. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Crack your egg into a tea cup or small bowl. When the water is ready, stir it with a spoon to make a whirlpool in the middle and drop in the egg. Cook for about 3 min until the white is set but the yoke is still runny. Meanwhile make your toast and spread it first with guacamole and then salsa. When the egg is ready lift it out, drain off the water and place on top of the toast. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

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Some (slightly dark) pictures from the food geeks November dinner at Cafe Saint Honore

I cant think how to describe the night without sounding annoyingly gushing but it really was amazing. Four courses of excellent locally sourced produce, all served as communal pass around dishes and topped off with some lovely Highland Park whisky and even better food chat (and a sniff of the house sour dough starter!) . The perfect night.

I cant wait to go back, I just hope I get left alone again with the chewy bits stuck to the apple crumble dish and the last of the vanilla ice cream next time.

A Geeky Recipe

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I’ve been busy preserving and the recipe is on the Total Food Geeks website if you’re trying to decide what fruit mince to make this Christmas!

Damson and Red Fruit Mince recipe here…. and some other interesting posts and recipes from my fellow geeks on the rest of the site! ♥

Tomatoes for Christmas

A couple of days ago my tomatoes still looked like this.

 

 

And the plants are showing no signs of slowing growth or flowers despite the fact that its almost winter. I was convinced I was going to be eating tomatoes at Christmas.

And then this morning, I was greeted by this sunny sight.

Yipee! I am not completely inept at growing my own vegetables and we might only be eating tomatoes until Guy Fawkes at this rate.

Comings and Goings

20120927-194946.jpgI was looking through the pictures on my phone and realised Ive been storing up a raft of food snaps that Ive taken whilst out and about over the last month or so. So I’m doing something useful with them and mentioning a few foodie spots around Edinburgh (and beyond) that I would recommend as worth a visit.

The most recent (Im going back to front here) treat was a candle lit dinner for two at Steak.

At last.

I have been dying for an excuse to get there and it didnt disappoint one bit. This picture of my pretty and delicious smoked salmon mousse (with cucumber jelly and beetroot), was the only semi-usable image I remembered to take before I got completely side tracked by my Black Isle Ribeye steak with Bearnaise sauce and buttered greens that followed… nom. Oh, and then on top of all that I had rhubarb crème brulee which was equally nom. Sorry, the camera had been completely discarded by then so you’ll have to use your imagination.

Before my dinner at Steak, I had the luck of being invited to the relaunch of the new menu at The Old Bell restaurant on the south side of town.

My highlight of the evening was this dish which consisted of clams with borlotti beans and herbs, in a very delicate white wine and garlic sauce. I don’t know why now that I’ve tried it, but I would never have thought to serve beans as a side to clams in this way and it was so simple but full of flavour at the same time.

I have been thinking about it ever since and trying to remember each element so I can try to recreate it at home. I like food that makes you jealous because you wish you had invented it yourself.

Now, before the steak… and the clams… I had some damn good ice cream.

B. Janetta’s Italian gelato from their little shop in St Andrews. I’m sorry to betray the gelaterias in my own city but I havent been in one in Edinburgh that has the volume and creativity of flavours you can find in this one (if there are any Gelateria owners currently reading this who think I have just missed out on your shop I would be more than happy to be proved wrong and find that I have something better on my doorstep so please feel free to correct me should you feel I am doing you a disservice).

I chose buttered pecan ice cream which would have been delicious just on its own but I went OTT and had it topped with caramel crunch pieces and toffee sauce.

See what I mean?

20120927-195157.jpgLast but absolutely not least, I managed to get round to another foodie event Ive been managing to miss out every month due to a combination of bad timing and a slow trigger finger (the tickets are gone within minutes of being released).

I finally went to Burgher Burger! The three course menu for BB9 started with this bowl of freshly made miso soup full of crunchy veg and zingy ginger. It might seem odd that I’ve mentioned the soup first when the whole thing is about the burger but it made me realise the miso soup I have tried in the past was frankly, rubbish. I wish someone had given me this one the first time I tried it. Unfortunately the lovely mood lighting also meant it was too dark by mains to capture my beautiful handmade burger with mushroom ketchup and parmesan crisp but all I’m saying is that tickets for BB10 are being released tomorrow and I will be hovering over my keyboard with trigger finger at the ready.

Take my ticket and you’re dead! ♥

My favourite books to read while I’m on holiday are written by chefs about their lives, using a mixture of narrative and recipes to tell the story. I can actually quite happily read a normal cookbook like a novel but I’d have to bring a small library to keep me busy for two weeks so these keep me occupied a little longer and give me a few recipe ideas if I happen to need them.

My latest read is Dear Francesca by Mary Contini, the co-owner of the famous Italian delicatessen Valvona & Crolla. Its addressed to her daughter, telling the story of their family and how they came to Edinburgh from Italy. Strangely its the first one of her books Ive read but I loved it and Ive been plowing my way through the recipes since I got back home. There are some benefits to the Scottish climate… its cold enough to eat soup!

Besides a freezer full of soup, I finally got around to trying tomato risotto. I thought Nonna Marietta’s risotto al pomodoro was a pretty good recipe to start with. I intended originally to stick to the recipe but I had some mature scottish cheddar in the fridge and thought it would be an interesting alternative to Mary’s suggestion of adding chunks of fontina to the finished dish which melt into stringy pockets as they sit in the risotto. I thought since the book combines dishes from both countries, I wouldn’t be frowned upon by the author if she knew what I was up to.

The experiment didn’t disappoint and I am imagining all kinds of variations on my normal risotto recipes that I want to try with different base flavours and cheeses. This could turn into a very fattening winter (yes in case you are still telling yourself summer might turn up before we hit snow again, I hate to break it to you…its not coming).

Tomato Risotto with Smoked Pancetta and Mature Cheddar

I’ve written out Mary’s recipe with only a couple of small tweaks as I couldnt find a copy on the net but I wholly recommend you buy her book yourself so that you get the Italian mothering and instruction that my version is lacking.

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 75g butter
  • 1 shallot peeled and finely chopped
  • 150g smoked pancetta (the original recipe uses 200g but with the cheddar the smoked pancetta is very rich so a little less pares it back a bit)
  • 200g risotto rice (I normally use 100g per person due to a paranoid fear of having too little but Mary’s original recipe uses 300g to serve 4)
  • 200g Italian plum tomatoes, sieved (half a 400g tin)
  • about 1-1.25 litre hot chicken stock (1 litre is enough for 200g rice)
  • a handful of cubed mature cheddar

Heat the oil and 50g of the butter in a saucepan. Sauté the shallot until softened and transparent. Sauté the pancetta a little and then add the rice and stir around to let it toast. Add the sieved tomatoes and cook for a few minutes. Slowly start to stir in the stock, one ladle at a time. Stir everything and cook for about 20 minutes. When the rice is cooked stir in the remaining butter and divide between two bowls. Sprinkle over the cheddar cubes and gently push them into the rice so that they melt. You could also garnish with fresh herbs such as basil.

Serious comfort food! ♥

This is a very quick update to my last post about Cocoa Boutique.

I completely forgot to add a link to their monthly competition, which enters you into a draw to be a taster – you get free chocolates, and in return you score them as you would if you were a permanent member. I can safely say its good fun, requires barely any effort on your part and frankly… you would have to be a bit weird not to want free chocolate.

So it would be remiss of me not to share the opportunity.

http://www.cocoaboutique.com/free-chocolates

And if that plan doesnt work there’s also an introductory offer on the paying membership (£9.95 instead of £34.95) if you click here.

Right I’m starting to sound like a salesperson so enough of that. Recipes to feature again soon I promise.

Happy Tuesday! ♥

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