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Cover: The Gourmet Garden

Recipes with eggs

19Jul 12

Ful Medammis

Ful MedammisFul medammis is a very typical Egyptian dish made with green fava beans.  In fact, it’s so common that it’s often referred to as the national dish of Egypt.

Although it’s quite simple to make, it does take a bit of time, mostly due to the soaking and cooking of the dried fava beans.  If time is an issue, you can go ahead and use the canned variety; it won’t be quite as yummy or authentic, but it’s more than good enough in a pinch.

The fun thing about this dish is that rather than completely finishing the preparation yourself, you put the different garnishes on the table and let your guests garnish their own however they wish.  This also makes it a lot more fun for kids and a perk for eating their veggies.  Of course, if you prefer, you can mix in the garnishes yourself before serving.

 

What you’re going to need:

  • 2 eggs
  • 450g dried fava beans
  • 50g lentils
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • 60g fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

 

What you have to do:

 

  1. Soak the fava beans and lentils overnight in abundant water with a pinch of salt.
  2. Place the beans in a large saucepan and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, or until the beans are nice and tender.  Drain the leftover water.
  3. Place the eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water.
  4. Set the saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Drain the excess water from the saucepan and run cold water over the eggs until they are cool.
  7. Peel the cooked eggs, cut them into halves, and set aside.
  8. Serve beans in individual bowls.
  9. Place the eggs, garlic, parsley, lemons, tomatoes, olive oil, and salt and pepper on table and allow diners to garnish and season as they like.

 

Preparation Time:  20 minutes plus overnight soaking of the beans

Cooking Time: 1-2 hours

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Easy

Note: The main focus of this dish is the fava beans, but the lentils add a nice touch. For more lentil recipes, try this tangy red daal.

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08Jun 12

TVP Veggie Burgers

TVP Veggie BurgersBefore I became a vegetarian, one of my all-time favourite foods was hamburgers.  So when I finally converted to vegetarianism, I decided I had to learn how to make veggie burgers.  Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) seemed like the way to go for substituting the meat, and after a few slightly disastrous attempts, I eventually came up with this recipe for TVP Veggie Burgers.  The recipe was an instant success with both family and friends and has been a weekly staple of my diet ever since.

If you prefer not to use TVP, these spicy beanburgers are also rather tasty, and a good alternative for those who try to refrain from “meat substitutes” like TVP or tofu.

The hardest part of the recipe is getting the right ratio of wet and dry ingredients so that the burgers stick together when you mould them into shape.  This is achieved by varying the exact amount of breadcrumbs added to the mix. At first, try using a little bit less than the indicated amount and keep adding more until you get them to a consistency where they stick together well but not to your hands.  As always, practise makes perfect.

What you’re going to need:

  • 200 g TVP (Vegetable Protein Mince)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 50 ml soy sauce
  • 250 ml boiling water
  • 2 eggs
  • 250 g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

What you have to do:

  1. Mix the TVP in a large mixing bowl with the soy sauce and boiling water and wait for it to puff up (about 2 minutes).
  2. In the meantime, fry the onion in the olive oil over a medium heat until it’s translucent but not brown and add to the TVP mixture.
  3. Add the paprika, curry powder, salt and pepper, and stir well.
  4. Beat in the 2 eggs and add breadcrumbs. Mix well.
  5. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Take it out and form it into tightly packed balls, about the size of tennis balls.
  7. Squeeze the balls between your hands to make patties about 1.5 cm thick.
  8. Fry the patties in a little oil over medium heat until they are dark brown on the outside (about 4 minutes per side).
  9. Leave the finished burgers on a wire cookie rack to cool, allowing the oil to run off so as to avoid greasy burgers.
  10. Serve between 2 slices of toasted whole-grain bread with your favourite toppings.

Preparation time: 45 minutes (including 30 minutes setting in fridge)

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 8

Difficulty: Medium

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28May 12

Potato and Gruyère Cakes

Potato and Gruyère Cakes

These potato and Gruyère cakes are a satisfyingly filling starter that are sure to delight the whole family, young and old alike.  The tangy crème fraîche offsets the earthy flavour of the potatoes in just the right way, making for a true taste sensation.  For a sweeter presentation, try serving them with an added dollop of raspberry jam, or any other jam you like.  These were initially intended as an appetiser, but I have found they make for a great breakfast too.

If you are a fan of Indian food, you might want to try out this Malai Kofta recipe as well. They are special potato dumplings with cheese in a special gravy. The texture isn’t as delightfully crunchy as with my cakes, but the flavour of the gravy is amazing!

Potato and Gruyère Cakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetiser
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 900g potatoes
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, white part only, cut in half lengthwise, washed and sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2tsp minced garlic
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2tbsp Crème Fraîche plus extra to garnish
  • 100g Gruyère cheese, grated
  • 1.5tbsp flour
  • Oil for the frying pan
Instructions
  1. Place the potatoes in a pot of cold water and bring to the boil.
  2. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, until they are tender but not quite completely cooked, about 25 minutes.
  3. Drain and set aside to cool.
  4. When cool, peel and grate using a coarse hand grater, or a food processor.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan and add the leeks and a few pinches of both salt and pepper.
  6. Cook over medium heat until the leeks start to get soft, about 3 minutes.
  7. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add a little water if necessary to avoid having the leeks stick to the pan.
  8. In a mixing bowl, combine the leeks, potatoes, ½ teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper.
  9. Beat the eggs and crème fraîche together in a separate bowl and then mix into the potato mixture.
  10. Mix in the cheese and flour and stir well.
  11. Form the mixture into little cakes about 7 to 10 cm in diamater and about 1 cm thick.
  12. Cook in a well-oiled frying pan over medium heat until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes per side.
  13. Serve immediately with a dollop of crème fraîche.

 

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18Apr 12

Pumpkin Ravioli

Pumpkin RavioliI made this pumpkin ravioli last weekend when I had some friends over for lunch, and the verdict was unanimously positive – everyone loved it!  Which was a good thing too, because it definitely took a bit of work to prepare.  The baked garlic and sun-dried tomatoes provide a great counterpoint to the sweet pumpkin, and the filling just melts in your mouth when you bite into it.  The recipe calls for a pasta machine, but if you don’t have one, you can roll out the dough by hand.  It takes a bit more time but won’t make any difference to the taste; just make sure you get the dough as thin as you can.  About 3mm is thin enough.

Filling your pasta is a great way to add flavour to the dish. For more variations, try this scrumptious tortelli piacentini recipe.

What you’re going to need:

For the pasta:

  • 250g flour
  • 2 eggs
  • A pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 4 garlic cloves, skin on
  • 400g pumpkin, peeled and seeded
  • 120ml cottage cheese
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

What you have to do:

For the pasta:

  1. Place the flour, eggs and salt in an electric mixer and blend into smooth dough.
  2. Knead the dough for 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface.
  3. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and let it set in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll them out lightly to half a centimetre thick.
  5. Pass the pieces through a pasta machine on the thinnest setting.
  6. Let the pasta dry for 10 minutes on a clean cloth.
  7. Use a drinking glass about 7cm in diameter to cut the pasta into circles.

For the filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
  2. Bake the unpeeled garlic on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until soft.
  3. Steam the pumpkin for 6-8 minutes or until tender.
  4. Drain well.
  5. Peel the garlic and add to the pumpkin.  Mash well with a potato masher.
  6. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, cottage cheese, salt and pepper.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Place a heaping teaspoon of the pumpkin mixture in the centre of half the pasta circles.
  9. Wet the edges of the pasta with a little water on the tip of your finger and fold in half in a semi-circle.  Press down firmly on the edges to seal the ravioli.
  10. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the ravioli.
  11. Boil for 4 minutes.
  12. Drain well and serve plain or with your favourite pasta sauce or cheese. I personally like sprinkling a bit of Feta cheese on top.

Preparation Time:  45 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty:  Hard

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10Apr 12

Asparagus and Cheese Pudding

Asparagus and Cheese PuddingThis creamy and savoury asparagus and cheese pudding is a great way to make use of yesterday’s leftover bread and impress even the most demanding gourmands at the same time.  I usually use ciabatta, but any rustic style bread will work just as well. (Also try this Asparagus Risotto.)

What you’re going to need:

  • 450g ciabatta bread, at least a day old, cut into 1cm thick slices
  • 375ml milk
  • 250ml double cream
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4tsp salt
  • 1/4tsp pepper
  • 450g asparagus, tough stems removed, cut into 5cm sticks
  • 250g grated Manchego cheese
  • 250g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • 1tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

 

What you have to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Lay the bread along the bottom of a large shallow dish and cover with the milk.
  3. Set aside and let the bread absorb the milk, about 30 minutes.
  4. Bring 3 litres of salted water to the boil in a large pot.
  5. While you wait for the water to boil, butter a 2 litre baking dish and set aside.
  6. Combine the double cream, eggs, salt and pepper in a medium size bowl and whisk together.  Set aside.
  7. Place the asparagus in the boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes, until it just turns tender.
  8. Drain and rinse under cold water then set aside to drain again.
  9. Combine the cheeses in a small bowl.
  10. Place a third of the milk-soaked bread on the bottom of the buttered baking dish.
  11. Lay half of the asparagus over the bread, sprinkle with a third of the cheese mixture and half of the herbs.
  12. Lay another third of the bread on top, cover with more asparagus, herbs and half of the remaining cheese.
  13. Cover with the rest of the bread and the cheese, placing the remaining asparagus on top.
  14. Pour the egg and cream mixture over the top.
  15. Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown.
  16. Use a knife to check if it’s done.  The egg and cream mixture should be set and the knife should come out clean when inserted into the centre of the pudding.
  17. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve.

Preparation Time:  35 minutes

Cooking Time: 60 minutes

Serves:  6-8

Difficulty: Difficult

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06Apr 12

Crepes Stuffed with Ricotta and Courgette

Crepes stuffed with ricotta and courgetteThey’re cheesy, chewy and delicious, and you’re going to love them.  What more can I say?! Prefer fruit over vegetables? Try these crepes suzette with oranges.

What you’re going to need:

For the crepes:

  • 2 eggs
  • 300ml milk
  • 100g flour

For the filling:

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 3 medium-sized courgettes, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and diced
  • 25g butter
  • 25g flour
  • 300ml milk, heated with 1 bay leaf, 1/2tsp ground nutmeg and 3tbsp diced onion
  • 2tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 200g Ricotta cheese
  • 50g Parmesan cheese
  • 300ml vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Butter to grease the  baking dish

What you have to do:

For the crepes:

  1. Beat together the eggs and milk with an electric blender for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the flour and continue mixing for about a minute or until the mixture is smooth and thick.
  3. Let set for 30 minutes.
  4. Heat a bit of butter or oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  5. Drop about two tablespoons of batter onto the frying pan and fry for 1 minute, flip over and fry 1 minute more.
  6. Repeat with the rest of the batter.  You should end up with around 10 crepes.

For the filling:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and sauté the courgette and garlic for a few minutes or until golden, stirring frequently.
  3. Drain off any excess oil with kitchen towel and set aside.
  4. Heat the butter in a saucepot over low heat, add the flour and stir well to form a smooth paste.
  5. Add about a third of the hot milk mixture, stirring constantly until the sauce is nice and smooth.
  6. Add the rest of the milk mixture while continuing to stir; keep at it until smooth.
  7. Bring to the boil and cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
  8. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  9. Add the courgette and garlic to the sauce along with the ricotta and half the Parmesan.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Fill the crepes with the filling, using a spoon.
  11. Roll them up and lay them out on a buttered baking sheet/dish.
  12. Pour the vegetable broth over the top and sprinkle on the rest of the Parmesan.
  13. Bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes.
  14. Serve hot.

Preparation Time:  30 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves:  4-6

Difficulty: Hard

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01Apr 12

Spanish Potato Omelette

Spanish OmeletteI learned how to make this delicious Spanish Potato Omelette many years ago when living with some Spaniards in North London. The difficult part about this omelette is the flip. It may take you a few tries to get it right, but the result is well worth the effort!

For desserts you could try one of my favourite Spanish treats – a turrón mousse, inspired by the typical Spanish dessert served only at the holidays.

What you’re going to need:

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs, well beaten

What you have to do:

  1. Heat 6 tbsp of olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
  2. When the oil is nice and hot, but before it starts to smoke, add the potatoes, onions and salt.
  3. Fry for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the potatoes and onions are golden.
  4. Remove from heat and drain off the oil in a colander.
  5. Wipe the frying pan with a paper towel to remove the used oil and put back on medium heat with new olive oil (2 tbsp).
  6. In a large bowl, mix the beaten eggs with a pinch of salt; add the potato and onions and mix well.
  7. When the oil is hot but not smoking, pour in the egg, potato and onion mixture.
  8. Move the pan over the burner in a circular fashion so that the omelette rotates in the pan and doesn’t stick.
  9. When the egg on the bottom starts to set, reduce the heat to medium-low.
  10. Keep cooking for about 3 more minutes (4 minutes total).
  11. Now for the hard part, flipping the omelette:
    1. Place a large plate (at least a little bit bigger than the frying pan) upside down over the top of the frying pan.
    2. Lift the pan upwards and flip it over at the same time so that the omelette falls onto the plate.
    3. Put the frying pan back onto the burner and slide the omelette back in with the uncooked side facing down.
  12. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for another 3-4 minutes.
  13. When the omelette is ready, it should be golden brown on both sides, and the egg in the centre should still be just a little bit runny.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Serves: 2-4

Difficulty: Medium

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