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Baked Eggs

Baked Eggs



If you are looking for an excellent light supper, lunch or even brunch dish, look no further than these Baked Eggs. You could also have them for breakfast.  They are really simple, uncomplicated and delicious!


They are as simple as buttering a dish and cracking a couple of eggs into it.  A smallish dish for each, so that the eggs cook perfectly . . .  with set whites and golden runny yolks . . .


A mix of hard cheese, cream and mustard is sprinkled over top . . .  before baking. You can also add chopped cooked bacon if you wish, or a bed of spinach for the bottom, or leave the cheese/cream out altogether and just add a few slices of chorizo . . . or some buttered crumbs . . .  they are very forgiving and adaptable.


I butter bread, cut it into soldiers and bake along side . . .  for dipping into those beautiful runny golden yolks . . .


They are also a really quick bake. Ten minutes.  That's all, which makes them perfect for a week-night supper when you get in from work, all tired and wasted, and just can't be asked to do anything complicated.


They look gourmet.  They taste gourmet.  They are a total Doddle.


I added a smattering of snipped chives today  . . .  for show.  It does add a bit of flavour also, but its really not necessary if you don't want to.


See?  Perfectly cooked  . . .  with each dip bringing you a bit of golden yolk, runny cheese, and a scrap of bacon  . . . just gorgeous.



*Baked Eggs*
Serves 2
 

Quite simply scrumptious. I like to butter bread, cut it into fingers and bake it along side of the eggs for dipping. 


25g butter (2 TBS)
4 large free-range eggs
50g grated hard cheese (gruyere, or cheddar, scant half cup)
1 tsp mustard
1 TBS heavy cream
fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
toast to serve 




Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter two small oven proof dishes and crack two eggs into each one.  Mix together the cheese, mustard and cream. Season with salt and pepper.  Scoop onto the top of the eggs.  Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Serve hot with toasted bread cut into fingers for dipping. 



Variations:
- add some crumbled cooked bacon to the cheese mixture.
-wilt a few large handfuls of baby spinach in a bit of butter and add a bed of this to each dish, before cracking in the eggs.
-omit the cream and top with several thin slices of chorizo sausage
-top with buttered bread crumbs for a crispy finish.



These really are simple. If you wanted to cook for a light lunch or supper, just add a salad on the side. Quantities are given for two, but easily adapted for more!  Bon Appetit! 



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Marie Rayner
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Crunchy Yogurt Pots

Crunchy Yogurt Pots




After all of the decadence of the last few days this morning I am really craving a return to normality.  My hips are screaming at me . . .  "enough already!"  and I can't say that I blame them.  This morning saw me indulging in a simple, plain yet really delicious breakfast. Crunchy Yogurt Pots.


I quite simply adore yogurt.  I started eating it when I was still in highschool. It was a relatively new product at that point and I don't think a lot of people really knew what it was, or even liked it.  I had a small pot of yogurt every day for my lunch all the way through my years in high school on into Secretarial school.  


I think I am in love with Greek Yogurt most of all.  Its thick and creamy and quite delicious. Yogurt's health properties are also prett impressive when you look at it just on it's own. It can boost the immune system, prevent yeast infections, lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol.



Rich in calcium, it is good for building bones and it has also been found to have a preventative and curative effect on arthritis. Because it kills the bacteria on your tongue, it can also help to prevent halitosis, or as it is more commonly known . . .  bad breath!


Many people have also found that it can help to ease ulcers and colitis. Add to that the fact that its delicious and you have something which is really special.  When you add a mix of toasted nuts and oats to it, which also have great health properties such as added calcium, protein and cholesterol lowing properties  . . .



Along with cinnamon, which is also very good for you  . . .  well, you are really onto a winner here!


I like to add a drizzle of honey to mine because not only do I like the natural sweetness of it, but it is also a much healthier option than sugar and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties amongst many other things.



Altogether this makes for a breakfast that is not only crunchy, sweet and creamy, but that is also quite good for you!  I LIKE!


*Crunchy Yogurt Pots*
Serves 4

 
Quite simply delicious!  

 
3 TBS raw cashew nuts
3 TBS raw almonds
3 TBS raw macadamia nuts
2 TBS large flake oats
4 TBS raisins
1 tsp ground cinnamon
350g Greek yogurt, plain (scant 1 1/2 cups)
liquid honey to serve (optional) 




Coarsely chop the nuts. Heat a dry non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the nuts and oats.  Cook, tossing every 30 seconds or so, for about 3 minutes to lightly toast. Remove from the heat and dump into a bowl.  Add the cinnamon and raisins. Toss together to coat. 


Divide the yogurt between four yogurt glasses. Top each with a quantity of the toasted nut/oat/raisin mixture. If desired drizzle with some honey and serve immediately.



This was so refreshing.  I really enjoyed it this morning.  I think you will too.  Do note that it is not wise to feed honey to the elderly or the very young.  Bon appetit! 



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Marie Rayner
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Jam Oysters

Jam Oysters



When I made my declaration about not doing any more fancy eating posts for a while, I had forgotten about these delicious little jam tarts I had baked the other day for the Royal Occasion. Nevermind, it may be too late for the wedding, but this fabulous recipe is sure to come in handy for any tea party/special occasion you have in mind that you want something a tiny bit special for.  Jam Oysters.  Sounds funny to you I am thinking, a name like Jam Oysters.  But let me explain . . .


They are really only jam tarts.  Fancy jam tarts.  Little almond frangipane filled short crust pastry tarts that you bake until the frangipane is golden brown and then the magic happens . . .


You take the tip of a sharp knife and carefully remove the frangipane once the tarts have cooled, taking care to keep it intact. You then fill the baked and now empty tart shells with a portion of raspberry jam, and a layer of  piped vanilla buttercream. At the end you pop that frangipane layer back on top and dust with icing sugar.  I suppose it looks a bit like an opened oyster shell, but with what is a much tastier filling than an oyster . .  in my honest opinion.


They look quite pretty on a tea table  . . . and are just that tiny bit more special than a plain old jam tart.


They are as light as air  . . .  and oh so tasty.  Use a good raspberry jam for this. If you don't have homemade, us a good storemade one, which in my case is always Bon Maman.  And not just because of the jar . . .


Although to be sure that little gingham red and white cap draws me like an ocean siren draws a sailor.  I just love Bon Maman preserves, both the contents and the jars. So pretty and pretty tasty!


I thought they looked quite pretty balanced on top of these little Jenny Wren egg cups . . .  just like the little Jenny's are about to take to the air with their sweet little surprises  . . . 


Such pretty little birds . . .  such pretty little cakes  . . .


Incredibly tasty too and sure to be a big hit at your next soiree!  I have given recipes for the tarts as well as the pastry (a sweet shortcrust) and for the buttercream.  YUM! 


*Jam Oysters*
Makes 18 


Not only are these a real treat for the eyes, but they are delicious as well. They look complicated but they really are very easy to put together.
175g  of prepared shortcrust pastry (make your own or use ready made) (1/2 pound)

FILLING:
70g butter (1/3 cup)
70g ounces of caster sugar (1/3 cup + 1/2 TBS)
85g ground almonds (scant cup)
1 medium free-range egg, lightly beaten
Few drops of almond essence

You will also need:
Raspberry jam to fill
Vanilla Butter Cream icing to fill
Icing sugar to dust


Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F/gas mark 5. Roll out the pastry thinly and cut into rounds, using a 3 inch fluted pastry cutter. Use this to line 18 patty tins.


Cream the butter together with the sugar until fluffy and well incorporated. Stir in the ground almonds, beaten egg and the almond essence. Mix well.


Place a small spoonful of the almond mixture into each pastry case. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until set and nicely browned.


Remove from the oven to a rack to cool. Once they are thoroughly cooled, carefully remove the almond filling with a knife. Fill the pasty cases with the jam and pipe a bit of butter cream on top of each. Replace the almond filling on top, dust with icing sugar, and serve.



*Rich Sweet Shortcrust Pastry*
makes 1/2 pound 
 

The best way to make shortcrust pastry that has a crisp crumble in the mouth texture is to do it by hand, rather than by machine. Using a  machine tends to overwork the gluten in the flour and the pastry has a tendancy to end up springy and shrink when cooked..  Resting the pastry for a half hour in the fridge is also an important step because of the high proportion of butter to flour, which makes it difficult to roll out when warm. 


280g plain flour (2 cups)
4 ounces cold butter (1/2 cup)
6 TBS icing sugar, sifted
2 egg yolks
2 TBS water 


Sift the flour into a basin. Add the butter, cut into pieces and rub it into the flour until it resembled fine dry bread crumbs. Add the icing sugar. Whisk in well. Make a indentation in the centre of the butter mixture. Beat the egg yolks and water together. Pour into the indentation and then, using a fork, mix together to a rough dough in the basin. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Shape into a ball and then place into a zip lock bag. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes, while you make the filling.  Proceed as per the recipe requirements for whichever recipe that you are using to fill the tart with. 



*Perfect Vanilla Buttercream Icing*
Makes enough to fill and frost a layer cake


225g butter, softened (1 cup)
390g icing sugar, sifted (3 cups, confectioners, powdered)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 to 2 TBS double cream 


Beat the butter and sugar together on low until well blended and then continue to beat on mdeium for another few minutes until it begins to become fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and 1 TBS cream, only adding the second one if needed until you have a frosting of spreading consistency. 



I just adore these old fashioned, traditional teatime recipes  that you find here in the UK.  I adore frangipane anyways, but when you pop it into pastry along with some jam and buttercream, well that is just a couple of little heavenly bites that I truly have a difficult time resisting!!!  Bon Appetit!




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Marie Rayner
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Lemon Raspberry French Toast

Lemon Raspberry French Toast



Royal weddings aside, I do like to pull the boat out a bit at the weekend when it comes to breakfast/brunch.  I actually did this last weekend, but am only getting to show it to you now.  I found and adapted the recipe from a site which I like called Tablespoon



There were a few things I liked about the recipe. One was that it was built especially for two people and we are only two.  Secondly I liked that it was simple and used things I normally have on hand.


I confess right now, I am not a huge fan of ricotta cheese.  It is a consistency thing.  I MUCH prefer cream cheese, which is smoother and richer.  So that is what I chose to use instead. By all means use ricotta if you prefer it. I don't.


The cheese is mixed with some honey and lemon peel and then spread onto slices of french bread. Easy peasy.  You spread it on all of the slices of bread, and then top only half of them with the fresh raspberries.


I adore fresh raspberries. It was not always so.  My sister and I gorged ourselves on freshly picked raspberries from a neighbors bush when I was a girl, and I ended up getting sick afterwards.  That was a really naughty thing for us to do really, so fair dues that I ended up sick. A fitting punishment.  It was a very long time before I could face a raspberry and my father was hoovering raspberry seeds out of the carpet in our car for a very long time. Lets just say I was not very popular with either the neighbors or my dad!


Thankfully I have since gotten over my aversion to them.  I really enjoy them now, but do have to watch my consumption somewhat due to my diverticulitis.  Enough said!


They work beautifully in this recipe, but I expect any berry would work well.  So just pick your favourite kind and go with the flow!


The honey in this is also a real favourite for me. I adore honey. For this I used Acacia honey . . .  lovely delicious flavours! 


*Lemon Raspberry French Toast*
Serves 2


Quite simply delicious with a lemon cream cheese and fresh fruit filling. 

120g cream cheese (4 ounces)
60ml honey (1/4 cup)
2 1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest
8 slices (1/2 inch thick) soft French bread
95g fresh raspberries (3/4 cup)
1 large free-range egg, beaten
75ml milk (1/3 cup)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon



Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Line a 15 X 10 X 1-inch baking sheet with foil.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray.  


Whisk together the cheese, 2 TBS of the honey and 2 tsp of the lemon zest. Spread about 1 rounded TBS onto each slice of bread. Place 3 berries on top of half of the slices of bread and cover with the remaining bread slices, cheese side down. 


Beat the egg, milk, salt, vanilla and cinnamon together in a shallow bowl.  Place the sandwiches in the bowl.  Let soak for 5 minutes, then flip over and soak for a further 5 minutes.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. 


Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.  To each sandwich with the remaining raspberries, drizzle with the remaining honey and sprinkle with the remaining lemon zest.  Serve immediately. 



Whew!  After all of the cooking I have done over these past few days I am exhausted!  I really pulled the stops out for the wedding weekend and am happy now to go back to normal.    A bit of restraint is now in order!  I wonder what I will cook up next?  Hmmm . . .  food for thought! Bon Appetit! 



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Marie Rayner
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