Sunday, 26 August 2012

Baked Egg with Smoked Salmon

It's very rare that I go to bed excited about the next morning's breakfast. As it happens, unless I predict some sort of McSandwich or a meat-heavy full English the first meal of the day tends to be one I don't really get too worked up over. This is a breakfast to get excited about. Creamy, herby and's pure decadence in a ramekin, best enjoyed after an epic lie-in.
A couple of weeks (months) ago my sister, an avid runner and swimmer, asked me to put together a 24-hour pre-race menu that she could use for her next half marathon, mile swim, or whatever it is this month that she's doing in stark contrast to my activities at the time (I do marathons, but most of them involve FIFA, beers or Jeremy Kyle). I'm no nutritionist - a friend at work can attest as he caught me googling 'when to eat bananas' the other day - but I know that you can't go wrong if you start the day with an egg. So this will be the first of a 3-part pre-race meal plan. If you think about it, I'm putting in just as much work as she is, really. Well done me. *pats self on back*
Not only is this little pot of greatness a tasty treat, it's very simple - ideal for first thing in the morning, or a groggy midday brunch. Grease a ramekin with butter and scatter smoked salmon across the bottom. Add a tablespoon-ish of double cream and about the same of chopped parsley. 
Season with salt and pepper and crack an egg on top and add another tablespoon or so of salmon, cream and parsley. Pop into a baking tray then fill the tray with boiling water until it's about halfway up the ramekin, a bains marie if you will. Stick into a pre-heated oven at about 190C for 15 minutes, or until the whites have set and the yolk is gooey. 
Serve with some buttered soldiers and dig in. This is Sunday morning eatings at its finest.
1 egg
2-3 tablespoons smoked salmon trimmings
2 tablespoons double cream
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
butter, toast, salt & pepper

Monday, 6 August 2012

Black Bean Soup with Chorizo Wrap

I was playing around in the kitchen a couple of weeks ago and I came up with this recipe. Inspired by Tex-Mex grub from the Southern USA and countless hours of 'Mexican Food Made Simple' on the Food Network, it's unbelievably simple, outrageously tasty, and actually pretty inexpensive to put together. The holy trinity of cooking if you ask me.
Finely chop 1/2 a red onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, about an inch of fresh ginger and a green chilli pepper. This is one of my favourite flavour combinations right here...stick these ingredients together with anything and you'll do well to mess it up. Fry them off in a splash of oil for a couple of minutes, just to release the flavours.
I love this recipe especially because black beans are found in the Afro-Caribbean section of the supermarket, and any day you get to spend some time in the Afro-Caribbean section of the supermarket is a very good day. Using a food processor, or hand blender if you have one, mix up the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger with about 3/4 tin of black beans, liquid and all. Stir in chicken stock until you've got a thick soupy consistency and bring to the boil on the hob. Reduce to a simmer, add the rest of the beans and leave it to heat through whilst you get your sausages on the go.
You can't beat chorizo sausage. I like a Lincolnshire or Cumberland as much as the next guy, but here the Spanish truly have the edge. Smokey, spicy, salty...I'm sold.
Slice them down the middle and cook them off on a hot griddle or frying pan. The smells filling your kitchen will be something special. I'm sure my girlfriend would follow that with some sort of joke but I'm not that immature.
I'd like to make a Mexican-language television detective series. The lead character would be called 'Manchego Cheese'. Imagine his moustache and oversized sombrero. I think it has legs. Anyway - for now this is my new favourite cheese. Parmesan-esque, it has a really great flavour.
Crumble some Manchego into your tortilla wrap with the chorizo, a few sprigs of coriander (or in this context, cilantro) and a bit of salad. Squeeze some lime over and that's a wrap. Sorry.
Slice thin strips of tortilla and fry them off in some oil for a bit of crunch of top of your soup. Crumble some cheese, add a bit of coriander and a squeeze of lime and that's all she wrote.

2 cloves of garlic
1 inch of ginger
1 green chilli pepper
1/2 red onion
1 tin black beans
about 300ml chicken stock
1 lime
chorizo sausages
manchego cheese
tortilla wraps