A confession from the kitchen…

…I nearly failed a challenge I set myself in December.

Jenny came over last night and reminded me that it is now February and there has been no word of Battenburgbelle’s Book of the Month, whereby I ask a guest to select at random a cook book from my sagging shelves. I am then to cook from that for the month. I was under the impression I said I’d cook from the chosen book at least once a week, but apparently I just have to use the book that month, no rules as to how often. That was a relief, as Jenny, in her infinite wisdom chose this one:

The Galloping Gourmet

Battenburgbelle’s Book of the Month, January 2014

I have very fond (if vague) memories of watching his programme back in the day. I think I had a slight crush, which is frankly a bit weird. Showed Missy B a clip on YouTube, which did raise a giggle or two, but it’s a bit of a pain in the backside as an actual cook book. It veers between teaching useful but very basic methods (how to boil a potato, for example – I’m pretty much on top of that already) and VERY 1970s meals. So my confession is that I had been putting it off and hoping it would go away, but Jenny was adamant that I couldn’t fail the challenge without even starting it.

And therefore this morning she frog marched me into the kitchen and insisted that we had: Graham Kerr’s poached eggs. I regularly poach an egg for breakfast, but henceforth instead of poaching them in a small pan and keeping my fingers crossed, I will be using this method.

Poaching eggs

Poaching eggs for breakfast

So here goes, a simple but rather awesome recipe for Poached Eggs:

Eggs, at room temperature – however many you need

  • Place a frying pan on a low heat and brush with a little melted butter.
  • Bring a (fairly large) pan of water to the boil and lower the eggs into the water in a basket/colander.
  • Boil for exactly 10 seconds then remove them.
  • Pour the boiling water into the buttered pan.
  • Crack the eggs into the pan and keep them on a low heat (not quite simmering) until the whites are set.
  • Lift out with a slotted spoon and dry gently with kitchen paper.
  • Serve on toast, with marmite for me, butter for Jenny. 
Perfect Poached Eggs

Poached Eggs à la Galloping Gourmet

Special message for Davie McG: there is NO vinegar. I rest my case. 

For our dinner Jenny and I had this delicious Quinoa and Lentil Salad, from Katie Quinn Davies’ lovely book What Katie Ate. We managed to stop Missy B stealing all the halloumi, but only by sending her to bed.

200g Puy lentils

100g quinoa

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

250g baby tomatoes, quartered

3 spring onions, finely sliced

1 green chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced

20 spears of asparagus

1 pack of halloumi, sliced

juice and finely grated zest of 2 limes

handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped

salt and pepper

  • Cook the lentils, in simmering water for about 20 minutes. Drain and cool.
  • Cook the quinoa in simmering water for about 15 minutes. Drain and cool.
  • Mix the lentils and quinoa, add the oil and vinegar oil.
  • Boil a pan of water and cook the asparagus for 2-3 minutes, then drain and place in a bowl of iced water. Drain again and add to the lentils and quinoa.
  • Add the tomatoes, spring onions, chilli, mint and lime zest.
  • Heat a chargrill or frying pan and add the halloumi. Drizzle lime juice over the halloumi and sear for a couple of minutes on each side.
  • Add to the salad, with more lime juice and season to taste.
Lentil and Quinoa Salad

Lentil and Quinoa Salad, with some halloumi, but not as much as there should have been due to Missy B’s thieving ways

Serve with crusty bread – we shared one of these lovely fougasses. A bit misshapen, need to practice that Bertinet method again! 

Fougasse

Fougasse – needs work

Jenny has chosen my next book by the use of a random number selection process. The 37th book on he shelves was The Great British Bake Off – so there will be cakes in February. Jenny suggested I do the coffee and walnut Battenburg, for obvious reasons, but she had forgotten that only last night we discussed the fact the if there is one cake I really don’t like, it’s coffee and walnut… 

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