Cheshire Food Blogger

Fluffy Eggs and Mushrooms on Toast

Scrambled eggs on toast is a wonderful veggie option for brunch, especially at the weekend. Here is my recipe for a quick, simple and satisfying breakfast that you can rustle up in no time.

#bestofthebrunch
#bestofthebrunch

Weekends are all about a lie-in and a decent brunch – if you ask me. Here’s a weekend breakfast classic which is quick, easy and not all that unhealthy. Fluffy scrambled eggs with herby mushrooms on granary toast. Mmmm. A splash of Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce at the end tastes great and helps if you have a hangover!

You’ll need a wok or a large frying pan for the scrambled eggs, and a little separate frying pan is perfect for the ‘shrooms.

This recipe serves 2, and takes about 10-15 minutes in total.

What you need:

  • 5 free-range eggs
  • a dash of milk
  • a small handful of finely chopped, flat-leaf parsley (or you could use thyme or coriander – whatever you fancy)
  • a big handful of sliced chestnut mushrooms
  • a shallot, very finely sliced (optional)
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  •  2 knobs of butter or spreadable Lurpak
  • a little bit of olive oil
  • 4 slices of granary bread
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning

What to do:

  1. prep your work station – get the wok and frying pan ready on the hob, toast in the toaster (but don’t toast just yet) and get your plates and cutlery out ready.
  2. crack your eggs into a bowl and beat lightly with a fork, adding the dash of milk and salt and pepper. Mix in half of the chopped parsley.
  3. put one of the knobs of butter into small frying pan with the olive oil, and wait until it starts to foam. Then, add the sliced mushrooms and chopped shallots (if using). Leave them to fry gently, tossing every 30 seconds or so.
  4. add the other knob of butter to the wok and again, wait until it starts to foam (a medium heat should do it), pour in the eggs and using a wooden spatula start to stir them immediately, continuing to stir until they start to come together.
  5. pop the toast down in the toaster!
  6. as the eggs cook – turn down the heat, but keep folding them over with the spatula.
  7. check your mushrooms to make sure they are going nice and golden, and add the chopped garlic and the rest of the fresh parsley for the last 30 seconds or so.
  8. by this point you should be ready to bring it all together, get your toast buttered and serve the scrambled eggs on one slice, then a generous pile of the mushrooms on the other.
  9. season to taste with freshly ground black pepper, and a dash of Tabasco hot sauce to taste! Enjoy!

Cheshire Food Blogger

Advertisements

Makers Market, Knutsford

On Sunday we visited the Makers Market in Knutsford, and I must say it’s one of the nicest markets I have been to for a while. They have so much stuff on offer. First and foremost, an amazing array of different food stalls, all seemingly quirky and charming in their own little way. From ‘cake in a jar’ made by Alex’s Bakery (yes, literally ready-to-scoff jars of sponge cake heaven – in a jar, with a spoon) to Thai-inspired pies from Orn’s Thai Fusions (who use authentic Thai flavours fused with classic British savouries). Other very noteworthy stalls were Hemingway’s Pasta – from whom which I bought the most delicious pesto which is so fresh, made from only 5 ingredients and it’s freezable. Wood’s Butchers stall also never disappoints, which is always situated right outside their shop. They sell some of the most delicious and succulent sausages I have ever tasted. We didn’t buy any this time as we’re fully stocked at home, but they are always very forthcoming with their pre-cooked (to perfection) samples!

An old time favourite of mine, The Great Northern Pie Company were also there, with some dashing new flavours on offer. It was also great to see some very friendly faces from Altrincham Market – Duncan from Bounceback Foods was there with a beautiful new stall, showing off his fantastic new branding and flyers. His stall is aptly located right opposite the Methodist Church – one of Knutsford’s main food banks. Nice and easy for him to just pop over there with his donations after a hard days graft at the market! Perfect!

After a long and relaxed walk up and down the stalls it was time to get our scran on. I was very excited to learn that Nasi Lemak had a pop-up stall at the Makers Market this weekend, so for me, the lunchtime choice was easy; Sambal King Prawn served with rice, peanuts, crispy anchovies and chillies. Delicious, as always. They were so popular, that by mid-afternoon they had completely sold out of everything. Nice work!

Sambal King Prawn
Sambal King Prawn, Nasi Lemak

My friends opted for pizza, and they were not disappointed. Sourdough bases are hand-rolled in front of your eyes, topped with fresh ingredients and popped in the oven – Wood Fire Smoke do make wonderful pizzas, I can confirm 🙂

Funghi Pizza
Funghi Pizza, Wood Fire Smoke

Just to give you a little insight into what we bought and ate, below are some pictures to whet your appetite. I have tried to link you up to each supplier, but in some instances (rather annoyingly!) these guys don’t always have a website or a social media page, so I have done my best!

Orn's Thai Fusions
Orn’s Thai Fusions

The featured image above is one of these gorgeous Thai-style scotch-eggs, made by Orn’s Thai Fusions. Meaty, totally flavoursome and with a hint of spice. They use duck-eggs so the yolk was lovely and big. It even came with a yummy Thai-style dipping sauce. All for £2. Delicious.

Alex's Bakery - Cake in a Jar
Alex’s Bakery – Cake in a Jar

If you hit the market you simply have to buy one of these little ‘cake in a jar’ things from Alex’s Bakery, who I believe are based in Stockport. Only one photo of the little thing as it was enjoyed with a cup of tea as soon as we got home, and it was honestly delicious. So much nicer than a cupcake, great idea and you get to keep the pretty jar! Lovely.

Bounceback Foods
Bounceback Foods

Bounceback Food sell high quality, staple ingredients on a ‘One for you, One for Society’ basis. That means, every time you purchase a product from them, they donate one of the same quality to your local foodbank. I have worked with Bounceback Foods before, so read more about their amazing cause here.

Above are some snaps of the delicious pizza’s being knocked-out by Wood Fire Smoke. We tried the Funghi (Tomato, mozzarella, basil, portobello mushrooms & white truffle butter) and the Nduja (Tomato, mozzarella, basil & nduja) varieties, and were not disappointed by either. Delicious, fresh and they look amazing too.

I am a huge fan of Nasi Lemak, their Malaysian street-food food is authentic, fresh, vibrant and fast. They are always so busy and all of their signature dishes taste incredible.

Next we bought this awesome pesto from Hemingway’s Pasta. With only 5 ingredients, it really is as fresh as it gets. I love making my own pesto, but this week these guys saved me a job. We teamed it with The Cheshire Smokehouse’s bacon offcuts and spinach for an easy mid-week pasta dish.

After our delicious Pesto pasta dish, we treated ourselves to Jo’s Cheshire Kitchen Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert. You get 2 (big) portions from the box which cost £3.95 which is pretty good value for something completely homemade. As you can imagine it is really sweet, but a big helping of double cream helps to tone it down a little. She has gluten, wheat free and vegan versions available too which is a great idea.

I paid for all of the products/food featured in the above article, and none of the sellers knew I was going to review their products.


 

Recipe: Best Party Hummus

Hummus is a really easy, simple recipe which can be knocked together in no time based mainly on ingredients you can always keep in the cupboard. I like my hummus to be lemony, garlicky and with a hint of warmth from the cumin. There are loads of variations you can experiment with but this one seems to be a real crowd pleaser. It makes enough for about 6 people as a starter, or more as part of a party selection. This weekend I made it with my Thyme & Tabasco Sausage Rolls for a few friends and it went down a treat.

What you need:

  • 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas (reserve the liquid, plus a few chickpeas for topping)
  • 3 tbsp. tahini
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. crushed sea salt
  • 6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • The juice of 2 large lemons
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • A pinch of Paprika for dusting
  • Greek basil (for topping)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (for drizzling, optional)

What to do:

  1. Get the bowl-blade option ready on your food processor. Rinse the chickpeas in cold water and add to the bowl. Next, add the tahini, garlic, salt, lemon juice, cumin and a few tablespoons of the reserved liquid from the tinned chickpeas. Turn on the food processor and slowly pour in the olive oil as everything combines.
  2. When the mixture is fully combined, tip it into a serving dish. Drizzle with some more extra virgin olive oil and decorate with a few whole chickpeas. Sprinkle with paprika and finely chopped Greek basil leaves for decoration.

 

Homemade Chicken Kievs with Broccoli Mash

I was pondering, as you do, on Friday lunchtime in the office – ‘what delights am I going to cook up this weekend?’ Chicken Kiev’s have been on my list for a while, and I knew I had some decent sized chicken breasts, a bakery loaf which had seen better days and some eggs in the pantry. So I decided to give homemade chicken kiev’s a go. I think it’s safe to say I won’t be going back to the shop-bought kind, as these are surprising quick and really easy to put together. They also taste so much fresher (as they are), and you can really go to town on the garlicky, buttery filling – adding whatever herbs you fancy.

So I set about finding a good recipe for the basis of this dish. I received Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food for Christmas – and it just so happens to have a great Chicken Kiev recipe. In an attempt to make it slightly healthier for January – I swapped out the smoked bacon in the filling, and added steamed green beans to the baby spinach garnish. Below is my interpretation of Jamie’s recipe, which serves 2 and takes about 40 minutes from start to finish! Perfect for a Saturday night, low-fuss treat!

What you need:

  • 2 decent sized skinless chicken breasts (150g)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 75g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 large free range egg
  • sunflower oil
  • a handful of baby spinach
  • a handful of green beans (enough to serve 2, with the ends chopped off)
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • a small handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley (10g), finely chopped
  • 3 knobs of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 400 g Maris Piper potatoes
  • half a head of broccoli

What to do:

First of all, prep your breadcrumbs. If you’re using shop bought, obviously you can skip this stage. For fresh breadcrumbs, it’s best to use a bakery bought loaf rather than the shop-bought pre sliced. Bakery loaves contain less additives, and therefore give you a crunchier crumb. I left 2 slices of a thick, white bloomer loaf out overnight, then in the morning, removed the crusts and blitzed vigorously in my mini food processor until evenly crumbled. Keep them in an air-tight container until ready to use.

Next, make the garlic butter and prep your production line – mix 2 knobs of the butter with finely chopped garlic, parsley and a pinch of cayenne pepper and set aside in the fridge to firm. Line up 3 containers which will comfortably fit one chicken breast in at at time. In the first container add the flour. In the second container, add the egg and lightly beat. The third container should contain your breadcrumbs and a little seasoning (I used Nando’s Peri Peri Sprinkle and some freshly ground black pepper).

Chicken Kiev Production line! Flour, Egg then Breadcrumbs.
Chicken Kiev Production line! Flour, Egg then Breadcrumbs.

Prep your potatoes and broccoli for the mash – scrub, peel and chop your pots into 3 cm chunks.  For the broccoli, half the florets down the middle of each stalk so they don’t require much cooking time. Put on a large pan of water with a pinch of salt to boil. If you have a steamer attachment – get this out now ready. If not, also get another pan ready to steam your green beans.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

Now to stuff the the chicken. To do this, start by pulling back the loose fillet on the back of the breast – put your knife in the opposite direction and slice to create a long pocket. Jamie Oliver has a handy how-to video on this, so if you’re unsure, take a look here and skip to 0:45 seconds. Next, fill the pocket with your garlicky herb butter (see image below).

Chicken breasts stuffed with the garlic herb butter.
Chicken breasts stuffed with the garlic herb butter.

Once your chicken is stuffed, it’s ready for the breadcrumbs. First, dip the breast into the flour and make sure it’s coated evenly. Repeat in the egg and then finally, the breadcrumbs. If you need to use cocktail sticks to help hold things together, that’s fine – they can be removed at the end. Repeat with the other chicken breast.

Now you’re ready to crisp up your chicken, put 2 cm sunflower oil in a large frying pan on a medium to hot heat. Once the oil is hot, add the kiev’s and shallow fry  for 2 minutes on each side, until they start to go golden and crispy.

Chicken Kiev's shallow frying in sunflower oil
Chicken Kiev’s shallow frying in sunflower oil

Keeping an eye on the chicken, start boiling your potatoes for the mash. Add the potatoes to the large pan of boiling water and boil for 10-12 minutes, adding the broccoli (to the same pan) for the final 8 minutes. When you add the broccoli, get your green beans in the steamer pan.

Broccoli Mash - add the broccoli to the boiling potatoes for the last 8 minutes of cooking time.
Broccoli Mash – add the broccoli to the boiling potatoes for the last 8 minutes of cooking time.

Once your kievs are nicely golden and crisp, transfer them to a baking tray in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. They don’t take long, so use this time wisely to get everything else sorted.

Once the potatoes and broccoli are done, drain and let steam dry for a few seconds, then transfer back to the pan and mash with a knob of unsalted butter, and season to taste. I added a bit of leftover stilton cheese for an added creaminess!

Now you’re ready to bring it all together – split the mash between two plates and place your chicken kiev on top. Remove your green beans from the steamer and run under a little cold water to cool them slightly, drain them and add to a bowl with the baby spinach leaves, some lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Once evenly coated, add to your serving plates alongside the chicken and mash.

Tuck in & enjoy!

Homemade Chicken Kiev's with garlic and parsley butter, served with broccoli mash, steamed green beans and baby spinach.
Homemade Chicken Kiev’s with garlic and parsley butter, served with broccoli mash, steamed green beans and baby spinach.

Have you made homemade chicken kievs before? If so, did you add anything special to the buttery filling? I’d love to hear your ideas, so please feel free to comment below.

With love, Sophie -x-

Spiced Carrot & Parsnip Soup with Chilli & Garlic Tarka

Spiced Carrot & Parsnip Soup with Chilli and Yogurt Topper
Spiced Carrot & Parsnip Soup with Chilli and Garlic Tarka

It’s that time of year again when I usually switch from salads to soups as my main go-to for lunches at work. Most supermarkets offer great soups in a wide range of flavours, which are ideal if you’re pushed for time. However, they can end up costing a lot more, and sometimes contain stabilizers and other random ingredients that you don’t really want – so I highly recommend making your own. If you do a batch, it’s freezable so you can stock-up for the winter months. No brainer!

As you know, I love spice, so I wanted a soup that was warming, healthy and super-tasty. This soup has loads of carrots, so is high in vitamin-A and low in saturated fat; making it perfect for a little health-boost (always welcomed, especially at this time of year!)

I’ve been trying out a few different recipes recently, but none are as good as this one from Sainsbury’s Magazine. Hats off to cook Tamsin Burnett-Hall (twitter: @cooksewgrow) who created this recipe, it truly is delicious and has been perfectly crafted for full-on flavour without overloading on calories. The soup topping, tarka, is a mix of spices fried in oil until fragrant, then added just before serving. It’s what makes this soup extra special, perfect for lunch in the week (just take the tarka in a little separate tub), or ideal for a starter if you have people round for dinner.

The original recipe makes 8 portions, but my casserole dish only has room for 6, so I have adapted the recipe slightly to make 6 hearty portions instead. In total it takes around 50 minutes to make from start to finish.

what you need:

for the soup

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 650g carrots
  • 350g parsnips
  • 1 tsp grated root ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 litre good quality veg stock

for the tarka

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp shredded root ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
  • 1-2 red chillies, de-seeded and finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 tbsp low-fat natural yogurt
  • handful of freshly chopped coriander

what to do:

1. For the soup, heat the oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish, add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes until softened but still pale. Meanwhile, scrub (no need to peel), trim and chop the carrots and parsnips into 2 cm chunks.

2. Add the ginger and spices to the onion and cook for 1 minute until fragrant, then add the carrots and parsnips and mix to coat them in the spices.

3. Pour in the veg stock, season and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Spiced Carrot & Parsnip Soup with Chilli and Yogurt Topper
Let the spiced veggies simmer in the pot until tender, ready to be liquidised.

4. Blend the soup in a liquidiser or using a hand blender until smooth.

5. For the tarka, heat the oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat and fry the ginger, garlic, chilli and mustard seeds for 1-2 minutes, until the seeds start popping and the garlic begins to change colour.

6. Ladle the soup into cups or bowls and swirl in a spoonful of natural yogurt and a few bits of coriander. Sprinkle over the chilli and garlic topper just before serving and enjoy -x-

Spiced Carrot & Parsnip Soup with Chilli and Yogurt Topper
Spiced Carrot & Parsnip Soup with Chilli and Garlic Tarka