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Chocolate Eggs

Chocolate eggs

Chocolate eggs

Easter is over, I know, but can one’s love of chocolate really be boxed into a religious weekend? Don’t think so. Chocolate is an all-year thing.

Last week I received a copy of Willie Harcourt-Cooze’s Willie’s Chocolate Factory. It’s an indulgence at the very least! From Venezuelan Hot Chocolate to chocolate risotto, it seems there’s nothing that wouldn’t do well with a sprinkling of cacao.

The word ‘chocolate’ is a bit misleading – the added ingredient is actually 100% cacao. Since this isn’t readily available in SA (not Willie’s brand, anyway) the closest I was going to get was Lindt’s 85% Dark Chocolate. Since I’m not a dark choc fan particularly, it tasted like 100% to me.

Lindt 85%

Lindt Excellence

My first experimentation was rather safe:

Fried eggs with grated chocolate on top (well, cacao if I had).

I know you’re thinking eew, but think wow instead. It’s a creamy, indulgent alternative to pepper. The bitter notes of the chocolate are perfectly complemented by the soft, silky taste and texture of the egg yolk. It’s one of the more interesting tastes I’ve yet experienced.

Give it a try. You can do it like I did – one with chocolate, one without – in case it’s kak.

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Lemon Meringue

That’s Meringue as in merr-ing-gyoo, y’hear?

It was our first time. I was a little nervous; when dealing with substances with the consistency of egg whites, we all know how quickly you can end up with a bun in the oven instead of just a hot piece o’pie, you know what I mean?

Blonde Beauty

I've always had a thing for golden blondes...

A lemon meringue always looked particularly complicated, all the layers, and crusts and I aren’t the best of friends yet. Flaky, to say the least… but this recipe from Fresh Living‘s little fast ‘n slow booklet was amazingly simple and accurate. I swear, it looked almost identical to the picture on the page! I love it when that happens; you know they ain’t using no fancy tricks and gadgets your poor wooden spoon would never live up to.

No gebakte pere, just a gorgeous blonde tart – like me.

Lemon Meringue

Crust:
1 packet of tennis biscuits
1/2 cup of melted butter

Yellow:
3 egg yolks
rind and juice of 4 lemons
1 can of condensed milk

White (meringue):
3 egg whites
2/3 cup of castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 180ºC. Finely crush the tennis biccies in your food processor, or by putting them in a bag and smashing it against the counter. This is also a lot more fun. Mix finely crushed biscuit bits with the butter. Flatten into a pie dish and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. Take it out and let it cool. Resist the urge to eat the yummy smelling crust.

Then… beat your egg yolk and lemon juice and rind until its pale and thick. Seriously, mine never got thick. Frothy, yes, but not thick.  But once you add that all important tin of condensed milk – the stuff kids’ dreams are made of – it will become thick. Problem solved.
Pour said thick yellow gloop into the pie dish on top of the crust.

Then… okay there’s a trick to meringue. Jamie Oliver was on the telly JUST when I was making this baby, and he was making meringue! Freaky, I know. He says older eggs make better meringue. It’s true: the egg whites are thicker. Also, pour the sugar in gradually while beating whites and vanilla. Put the sugar in your hand and use a loosely closed fist to let the sugar stream in slowly. It looks real sexy too. So basically, beat your egg whites, sugar and vanilla until softish peaks form. Mine weren’t soft or stiff, just perfectly in-between, and this worked for me.

Spoon the meringue on top of yellow gloop and make loving, swooshing movements with your spoon, like you’re a happy French housewife with nothing else to do. It will make pretty peaks and troughs – another thing I learnt from Jamie.

Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven, let it cool. Decorate with some rind and serve.

C’est bon!

Lemon Meringue

Lemon Meringue

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Spinach and Feta Rice Quiche

Spinach and Feta go together like peas and carrots, cheese and tomato, me and Danny. In the spirit of togetherness this weekend, I tried my hand at a S&F recipe, despite not being a fan myself. One of the Taste Mags we received in our goodie bags from the SAFBC contained a recipe for Cheese and Swiss Chard Pasta Bake. Obviously I never do things by the book. So this is what happened next.

Spinach and Feta Rice Quiche

Say "Cheese"!

I found a bag full of gorgeous, turgid (heehee) spinach in my organic veggie box last week, plus I had the feta from my cheese goodie box so I was powerless to the forces of attraction between the two. Tsk… and the rice you might ask? My ingredients are so freakin’ hot for each other I needed a buffer incase the egg came out the oven fertilised instead of baked.

Spinach and Feta Rice Quiche
1 cup of rice
3 cups of roughly shredded spinach
1 cup of chopped butternut
250g feta, crumbled
4 free range eggs (trust me, you want to use the free range)
1 cup of cream
1 tbs crumbled blue cheese (Simonzola)
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
Seasonings of your flavour

Preheat your oven to 180ºC. Cook your cup of rice.  Steam your butternut and spinach until wilted. Drain and squeeze juices out of the spinach, if you want. Once the rice is done, mix it in with the spinach and butternut.

Mix the eggs, cream and cheeses together with a beater. Season to your tongue’s wish and heart’s detriment. Add this to the rice mix and mix some more. Mix, mix, mix…
Pour the unexpectedly runny ‘batter’ into a greased and lined (if you have baking paper, which I did not) baking pan. Generously sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and then pop it in the oven. If you have leftover batter, pop it into a ramekin or five and bake that too. Makes for pretty pictures. Bake for 30 minutes. Not longer, or it will be dry like stale rice crispies squares. Trust me, I’ve made the mistakes for you.

Spinach and Feta Rice Quiche

Heart-mark approved

Remove from oven and serve with a tomato, onion and cucumber salsa and a dollop of cream cheese.

It looked very pretty, but I didn’t particularly enjoy the taste. Then again, I’m not big on quiches anyway. Danny ate it all, so he reckons it was very good. He says it could do with some tuna though. Freak, Mr wants to put tuna with everything! I hate tuna!
*Breathe*
If you like tuna, this might be a good suggestion.

*Note: I know this isn’t a traditional quiche, but I reserve the right to rename my food.

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