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Sometimes it takes the simplest of meals to remind you what real, good food actually is. I had this revelation last night as I tucked into my dinner for one of scrambled eggs on toast.
Mr Rigg was away for the night and my dinner choice was based on the fact that I really couldn’t be arsed to make anything more just for myself. We have a lovely farm up the road who produce organic eggs, so I always have a large tray of their eggs on hand for quick meals.
This time I had treated myself to some of their white Leghorn eggs, which I scrambled in my own sweet fashion – melt a healthy amount of raw butter in a saucepan, crack the eggs directly into the hot butter without whisking prior (I had two whole eggs and an extra yolk). Next I turn the heat down and let the eggs cook a little in the butter without touching them, then I use a spoon to break them up. This way you end up a mixture of quite distinct ‘white’ and ‘yolk’ but also some standard pale yellow scramble as well.
I considered skimming some cream off the top of our raw milk to add to the pan of eggs, cream in scrambled eggs is divine – don’t bother with milk! Anyway, that seemed like too much effort, so I just seasoned with salt and pepper and added generous amounts of snipped mint and chives from the garden, plus some pretty purple chive flowers.
Recently I’ve been trying to wean us off cereals – by wean, I mean I’ve just stopped buying it, which for poor Mr Rigg has meant going cold turkey on cereals at breakfast.
If you’re interested why I’m keen to steer away from cereals it’s because I’ve come to realise that there isn’t much good in them, despite what they like to tell us on their TV adverts.
We had this lovely recipe for granola that we used to make, which was delicious both with milk and yoghurt. The only problem is that I’ve also developed an interest in how grains were traditionally prepared, and how they used to be soaked before drying.
This is because things like grains and nuts and seeds have enzyme inhibitors in them, which unless soaked first, prevent us from absorbing all the goodness in them like vitamins and minerals.
I am a huge mushroom fan in all their shapes and sizes. I have found a way to cook them that I just love – I’ve had too many of those soggy watery mushrooms that I was determined to find a way to make them taste how I like them.
I cook them over a really high heat in a big knob of butter until they release all their juices. Then I continue to cook them until all the juices disappear, then they start to brown and caramelise a little around the edges. This is how I like my mushrooms. Once their like this they are delicious and you can then do all kinds of things to them (aside from eating them just like this) to make different meals.
Today I’m sharing this recipe for homemade hot chocolate ice cream sauce because my sister Izzy tweeted how much she wanted a bowl of ice cream with chocolate sauce (and we’ve been eating it this week), and because it’s rather scrummy.
We’ve tried a number of different ways of making chocolate sauce for ice cream, so this is probably a combination of a number of those, but for now in our house it will be known at Mr Rigg’s chocolate sauce, because he makes it. The other night I was tasked with making it whilst Mr Rigg washed up, so I got a lesson on how it’s made and decided to document it to share with you all too.
Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Sauce
First, take 50g of milk chocolate and break it into a saucepan.
Next, add 50g of dark chocolate (at least 70%) and add it to the milk chocolate. We used Green & Black’s organic chocolate.
Add a knob of butter to the pan (there is no specific weight measurement for this, sorry, we just to it by eye – it’s probably golf ball sized) and put it over a gentle heat.
It must be admitted that I am not a burger person. Before a few weeks ago I probably had only ever had two burgers ever in my whole life, and I’m not exaggerating. I grew up in a family who didn’t eat meat, and even when I did start eating meat I never liked burgers. I’ve had the odd bite of someone else’s to see whether I might like them, but no.
A couple of year’s ago we had a Uni reunion in Bath – a group of about 15 of us hired a house and spent the weekend there. Mr Rigg and I were nominated to cook dinner one night, and so decided to do burgers – probably because Jamie Oliver’s America cookbook had just come out, with a recipe for burgers (and everything that man makes seems to taste delicious) and in theory it seemed like a good thing for a large amount of people.
Obviously I ate a burger that night, and I actually really enjoyed it. They were really tasty burgers, and I love all the extras you stuff in a burger – in particular I love gerkins. Fast forward a few years and recently I just really had an urge to make those burgers again – they were one of those food moments that stick with you as being a really delicious meal.
Today we made bagels – our first attempt and after the results they won’t be our last. They were fun and easy to make, beautiful with their caramel sheen, and utterly scrumptious. I followed this bagel recipe and have included my thoughts on it below.
We started by making the dough – the recipe called for putting all the dry ingredients (bread flour, yeast, sugar and salt) into a food processor and briefly mixing, followed by the hot water. I used my lovely new Christmas present (the L’Equip 428 Mill Blender) and that worked ok enough, but I’m sure you could do it by hand if you don’t have a mixer.
Instead of covering in clingfilm, we used one of our trusty hotel shower caps (they work brilliantly!) and left it to rise for an hour – this is what it looked like 60 minutes later…
You turn the dough out onto your floured worktop and press it down ‘to expel any gases’. Next you cut the dough into 10 equal pieces – these will shortly become your bagels.
I’ve recently discovered that nuts comes with pesky enzyme inhibitors inside them, that can put a strain on your digestive system and makes it more difficult for your body to absorb all the good nutrients in them. You can overcome this by soaking the nuts overnight before slowly drying them out in an oven, then eating them as you wish.
This is something traditional cultures did and I’m all for learning from our ancestors and the knowledge they gleaned over many many generations.
After enjoying bowlfuls of Greek yoghurt topped with honey and a mixture of crumbled nuts on holiday, I thought I’d give it a go as I really wanted to recreate the mixed nuts ‘crumb’ for my own breakfasts.
Here’s said holiday breakfast…
For the past couple of months I have been avoiding sugar for health reasons, even natural sugars (honey, fruit juices, maple syrup) as best as possible. I am now able to eat smaller amount and I’m enjoying the adventure of trying out alternatives to previously enjoyed sweet treats.
One of my absolute favourite things is hot chocolate – I have long enjoyed a mug of Green’s & Black hot chocolate, and at the start of the year the luxurious treat of Montezuma’s hot chocolate, which is made with real shavings of chocolate. But both of these, despite being great options to conventional hot chocolate mixtures, still contain sugar.
So, my kefir making is going well – yey! I haven’t killed it off! I was worried that I wasn’t going to do well with it as it requires a little bit of love each day, but I actually enjoy taking care of it.
You might have seen my first post when I received my kefir grains in the post, well since then I’ve been nurturing each evening and this is what it looks like…
Each evening when I come to open my jar of grains and milk it looks something like the above. I think because the weather has been so warm it’s been splitting more than normal, but I just ignore its looks and get on with it.
You might imagine that raw milk that’s been sat in a jar on the counter top for 24 hours would smell pretty rank – but it doesn’t. I’ve even had some raw milk out on the side for a few days to make it sour (great for making soda bread I’ve read) and I was convinced there would be that terrible ‘gone-off’ milk smell I’m sure we’re all familiar with – but no, barely a smell at all, just a hint of sourness.
I have pretty much given up sugar in the past couple of months, I’d like to share more of my experience of cutting it out, but for now I wanted to share my first attempt at a sugar free sweet treat.
I found this nice sounding recipe for lemon bars and liked that it was simple and didn’t use a list of weird and wonderful ingredients. Mr Rigg loves lemon drizzle cake and this sounded like it might make something pretty similar. I’ve make cakes before with ground almonds and they usually come out moist – this lemon cake was no exception.
Because there’s no raising ingredients, it’s pretty much the thickness of the batter you pour into your tin, but what it might not give in depth it provides in flavour and texture.
It’s sticky and moist and sweet, but with a lovely tangy lemon taste. I even made a ‘drizzle’ to go over it, using raw yoghurt and maple syrup (as suggested in the original recipe) – however, the original looks more like whipped cream (I think this is because Greek yoghurt is very thick), whereas the raw yoghurt I used is much runnier.
If you’ve never experimented with natural sweeteners (like me!) then I would really recommend giving this recipe a try – you might be surprised how delicious it is. It would make an excellent pudding served warm.
To begin with I preheated my oven to 180°C.
Firstly I placed my butter (1/2 cup) into a little saucepan on a low heat to melt it. Once it was melted, I mixed in 1/4 cup of local honey and 1/4 cup of organic maple syrup, and a 1/4 tsp salt.
In a separate mixing bowl I beat together 2 eggs, 2 additional egg yolks, and the juice and zest from 1 lemon (our lemon was a jumbo one which made for a very lemony cake).
Then I added the melted butter and syrup into the egg mixture and gave it a good whisk. Finally, I added 1/2 cup of organic whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of ground almonds. Mix that together and pour it into a baking tin I’d lined with greaseproof paper. Bake it for about 30 minutes.
Finally, I made a yoghurt drizzle by mixing in a bit of maple syrup. I found that you don’t want this yoghurt to be really sweet as the tartness of the yoghurt is perfect against the lemony cake. We ate ours warm with a tiny bit of lemon zest to make it look pretty.
I wanted to add that just because I’ve given up sugar (as in the white stuff, and its counterparts) I’ve not gone made on the natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, fruit juices etc. I have been cutting it all out as far as possible, just having a tiny amount in dark chocolate, honey, and watered down apple juice. This lemon cake was primarily to satiate Mr Rigg’s love of sweet treats and I have only eaten the tiniest of pieces.