Epic (fail) eggs

Ahh, Sunday morning.

Lovely sunny morning, maybe we could go out for breakfast? Maybe someplace by the water, that would be nice.

On second thoughts, why should I leave my nice comfortable house on a Sunday morning? That would require hair brushing and the like. Seems like effort, pants to that. I’m a food blogger, aren’t I? I can make Eggs Florentine; it can’t be that hard, surely.

Surely?

Well, it appears Eggs Florentine are a wee tiny incy bit more effort than I had initially thought. Full epic fail instructions are as follows:

  1. Clatter about in pots and pans cupboard, making as much noise as possible. Wake boyfriend and possibly neighbours; if you’re up they can’t need much more sleep.
  2. Put toast under grill and promptly forget about it.
  3. Perfectly poach the eggs (gold star!) and feel immensely proud. So proud that electric kettle is inadvertently placed on the hot stove ring (which has obviously been left on. Obviously).
  4. Vaguely smell burning toast, ignore.
  5. Melt butter for the hollandaise sauce.
  6. Realise that toast has been charred, curse loudly and put fresh bread under the grill. Resolve to pay much more attention in future.
  7. Think the burning toast smell has a funny plastic tinge to it. Must be imagining things.
  8. Scramble the eggs making the first batch of hollandaise, damn it. Stomp about a bit in frustration.
  9. Remember to check the toast (hooray!).
  10. Suddenly realise electric kettle is melting rapidly, filling kitchen with noxious kettle fumes.
  11. Curse. A lot. Very loudly. In multiple languages.
  12. Run out into garden with melted kettle and flail about for a bit, not knowing what exactly to do with it.
  13. Open all windows and doors.
  14. Snap at emerging boyfriend enquiring about burning kitchen. He should be grateful that breakfast is being made for him.
  15. Stand back, take one large (kettle filled breath) and start again

Eggs Florentine

The second time around I faired much better. However, this dish does require good timing and quick thinking and so maybe it’s not ideal for first thing on a Sunday morning.

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Bœuf bourguignon and posh potatoes

Like all of my fellow countrymen (and women), I enjoy the odd spud. But then who doesn’t? Spuds are great. They are super cheap and filling (making them a firm favourite during my student days), but they’re also unbelievably versatile. As a famous hobbit once said, you can “boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew” not to mention bake them, gratin then, fry them, ferment them, and the list goes on! Well ladies and gentlemen, this weekend I brought the humble spud to whole new levels of fanciness: I got me a potato ricer.

I can just hear my Dad now, saying that it was far from potato ricers he was reared and sure what’s wrong with an ordinary masher and a bit of elbow grease? Well Dad, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. But with a ricer I promise you, you will make the most yumbo, softest, un-lumpy, creamy mashed spuds you’ve ever had in your life.

So, then all I had to do was think of something equally fancy to serve with the spuds. I figured beef bourguignon was almost posh enough. The spuds still held their own though, fair dues to them.

Bœuf bourguignon and posh potatoes

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Eastern inspired chocolate cake

So, all day I’ve been trying to think of a super interesting introduction for this post. Some exciting reason why I made this cake; something that would knock your socks off, make you rush into your kitchen and bake this immediately. But I was totally stumped.

Then I got to thinking: does a girl really need an excuse to bake a yumbo chocolate cake? Ehhh, I think not! No one should ever need a reason for chocolate. Ever. End of story.

So treat yourself and make this cake, it’s seriously good. The spices add subtle and interesting flavours, giving the cake an exotic twist. In fact, it’s so rich and dense and unusual you could serve it as a posh chocolate desert cake at a dinner party and all your friends would be mucho-impressedo.

I found the recipe in The back to basics cookbook by Maureen Tatlow and it’s an old style cake recipe. Now, I’ve always vaguely known that true bakers match the weight of the ingredients to the actual weight of the eggs they’ve used, but let’s be honest, how many of us ever do this? It works really well, but I’ve included actual quantities for those us you who need a non-efforty, super-fast chocolate hit.

Eastern inspired chocolate cake

Poshness!

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Dreaming of Darina

OK, so I got this book recently and it’s – as we’d say at home – feckin’ deadly! It’s called 700 Forgotten  Kitchen Secrets by Darina Allen, and I recommend that everyone goes out and buys it, immediately.

I know it almost sounds like I’ve been paid to endorse it. Ha! Wouldn’t that be something? No, I’m just really obsessed with it, so much so, I’ve even considered bringing it to read on the train to work in the morning. But, if sales do sky rocket, Darina you can reach me through this blog. And, I won’t want to be paid or anything, a short spell in Ballymaloe will do me just grand, thanks!

Anyways, this book is amazing. It’s full of handy hints, beautiful pictures and great little anecdotes. Reading it makes me want to move home to Ireland and live on a goat farm somewhere on the west coast, making cheese and maybe soap for the tourists. I could keep my own chickens and a cow for milking and maybe even a little hive of bees. Oh, the daydreams I have while trudging through the Sydney underground every morning. Unfortunately, the Fella, having been born and raised here thinks he’s far too cosmopolitan for all that craic. He won’t entertain these notions I have at all, even when I send him pictures of goats being super cute and fun.

So, this post will be the first of many recipes from this fab book. I decided to make creamy chicken and ginger, mainly because I already had all of the ingredients and thus didn’t need to leave the house. But also, it’s just a really interesting recipe. Darina recommends letting the chicken soak in milk for about half an hour before you cook it. The lactic acid in the milk works as a tenderiser; breaking down threads in the meat and making it super soft and delicious. This was just too good an experiment for my super-nerdy-chemist-brain to pass up on, and the result: score! I’m not always a fan of chicken breast, but this was lovely and juicy and tender, and not at all dry or bland. Also, the combination of ginger and cream was something I’d never have put together myself, but it works really well.

Creamy Chicken and Ginger

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