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Tonight we had to make something quick as Mr Rigg was heading out for a bike ride with Buddy.  So I made our favourite scrambled eggs on delicious Campanou bread (a French country style loaf) from Barbakan.

I boiled some asparagus, fried mushrooms in butter and added some pretty pink thyme flowers, before lightly frying the asparagus in the mushroom pan to give it a bit of glisten!  All on top of the scrambled eggs and soft bread it was lovely.

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Simple but so, so tasty!  Part of my attempt to eat as much seasonal asparagus as possible!

Asparagus and scrambled egg on bagel

Feeds 1

Asparagus
Olive oil
2/3 eggs
1 bagel
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C.  Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and pop in an oven proof dish.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Cook for between 7-10 minutes until tender.  My asparagus came from Kenyon Hall Farm.

Cook the scrambled eggs your own way, or you could try ‘my perfect scrambled eggs‘ just omit the chives.  Be sure to use the best eggs you can get hold of – organic, free range, woodland, home laid – this will make all the difference to the taste of your scrambled eggs.  Mine came from Abbey Leys and were corkers!

If your bagel is super fresh from a deli or bakery (mine came from the Barbakan) you could just eat it fresh, sliced in half and lightly buttered.  If not, toast it before buttering.

Pop the buttered bagel on a plate.  Spoon over the scrambled egg.  Top with the grilled asparagus.

Mr Rigg ate his asparagus with a fried egg and crisp streaky bacon instead.  So many options!  All delicious!

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The asparagus season has started here in England and I have been so looking forward to it.  For that reason, we are feasting on the stuff at any opportunity, and will probably be sick of it by the end of its short season.

This is a simple meal of asparagus, topped with a couple of crispy slices of streaky bacon, accompanied by some toast smothered in butter and a soft boiled egg to dunk the asparagus spears in.  You may see that I slightly over-cooked the egg so there was no dunking for us – not a mistake I will make again!

The asparagus came from Kenyon Hall Farm (also the people who run our box scheme Northern Harvest).  The eggs were from Abbey Leys Farm – I follow Delia’s method for boiling eggs.  The streaky bacon was care of Sue at Little Heath Farm, and the bread from Barbakan.  So all in all a pretty local meal – and a tasty one at that!

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Asparagus with crispy bacon and a soft boiled egg

Serves 2

Bundle of asparagus spears
4 slices streaky bacon
2 eggs
4 pieces of bread
Butter

Prepare the asparagus by gently bending the stems until they naturally snap – discard the woody stem. My preferred method of cooking asparagus is as follows (but feel free to cook them however you choose): Heat a narrow pan of water about half full until simmering. Use an elastic band to gently fasten the bundle of prepared asparagus together and place in the simmering water – the water should come at least half way up the stems. I use another pan of equal size, placed upside down on top of the first pan. This method enables the stems to cook in the water, and the delicate tops to gently steam.

Meanwhile, put your eggs on to boil – I follow Delia’s method for soft boiled eggs.

Cook the streaky bacon in a frying pan until nice and crisp.

When the asparagus is cooked, turn of the heat. Pop the slices of bread into the toaster and lightly toast. Take the cooked eggs out of the water and pop into your favourite egg cup – gently cut the top off to reveal the golden yolk. Butter your toast and pop it on the plate, along with a pile of steaming asparagus and top with the crispy bacon.

Eat immediately!

sausage, halloumi and roasted red pepper sandwich

sausage, halloumi and roasted red pepper sandwich

Sandwich…burger…I’m not quite sure what this creation is, but it definitely tastes scrumptious.  This sandwich was devised to get us through Saturday – a dawn til way-past-dusk frenzy of furniture moving, hoovering, dusting, sorting, chucking, and reorganisation.  I must say our house positively gleams now, and looks beautiful.  However, this sandwich was needed to get us through that day. 

It is most definitely worth sharing and I hope you all try it – equally delicious without the sausages for a yummy vegetarian alternative.  The only thing I’d do different next time (there will be a next time I make this sandwich…I’m still thinking about it) is add a smear of sundried tomato paste to the bun before ladling in the other ingredients.

The bread baps and halloumi came from Barkbakan in Chorlton, the sausages from Little Heath Farm, and the roasted red peppers from a jar. The mayonnaise wasn’t homemade, I’m not sure it’s necessary for a dollop in a sandwich like this, but it was good quality organic mayo. I think this recipe would work equally nicely in the summer with a good handful of fresh basil.

a simple, delicious lunch

a simple, delicious lunch

Sausage, Halloumi & Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich

Makes two large sandwiches

2 large baps/buns/bread rolls/slices of bread
6 sausages
6 slices of halloumi
1-2 large roasted red peppers from a jar
3 tbsp semolina flour
salt and pepper
couple of dollops of mayonnaise
thyme
smear of sundried tomato paste

Firstly, turn the grill on and cook the sausages until golden brown and sizzling.

Meanwhile, combine the semolina flour, salt and ground pepper in a bowl. Take the slices of halloumi and coat in the semolina flour – this creates a nice crispy coating when they cook. If the halloumi is quite dry, smear over a little oil to mak the flour stick.

halloumi dusted with semolina flour

halloumi dusted with semolina flour

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with a glug of oil – use a piece of kitchen towel to wipe it evenly around the pan to ensure the cheese doesn’t stick. When the oil it nice and hot, carefully lay the halloumi into the oil and let it cook for a couple of minutes – without moving it – until it is golden. Then flip the halloumi over and fry on the other side until golden.

crispy coated hallmoui for added crunch!

crispy coated halloumi for added crunch!

Slice your baps or bread rolls in half. Roughly slice the roasted red peppers. Smear over some sundried tomato paste and lay the cooked sausages on top (three on each). Next add the golden halloumi and a good handful of roasted peppers. Top with a dollop of mayonnaise and a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves.

yum yum in my tum

yum yum in my tum

Yesterday two of our closest friends came round for lunch.  They are looking for a new house and had been to a viewing in a village nearby – they loved it, so fingers-crossed for them that it all works out.  I decided to go for a simple ploughman’s style lunch so that there was little preparation needed, but that would look and taste delicious.  There is something incredibly satisfying about meals that take little effort.

The one effort we did make was to whip up some homemade chicken liver pate on Friday night.  I have found a lovely little organic deli in Chorlton called Wild At Heart (http://www.wildatheart.uk.com) which sells very reasonably priced organic chicken livers.  This is a great recipe to make for friends and family because it’s simple to make, but looks great and people always seem to be impressed that you actually made pate.  Plus, it tastes fantastic.

We ate our pate on Kaiser Brot from the Barbakan Deli (www.barbakan-deli.co.uk) in Manchester. Our ploughmans included: chicken liver pate, bread, a hunk of Manchego cheese, gerkins, homemade pickled onions, Branston Pickle, pistachio nuts, and thick cut honey roast ham. This was all served with goat’s butter, and small dishes of Dijon and Wholegrain mustard.

homemade chicken liver pate - into the fridge to set

homemade chicken liver pate – into the fridge to set

Chicken Liver Pate

400g butter, softened
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
455g chicken livers, trimmed
1 small bunch of fresh thyme
1 large wineglass of brandy
olive oil
salt and pepper

*Pre-cooking notes: As I’ve probably mentioned before I work more with approximate amounts rather than exact, unless I feel a recipe would really go wrong without using exact measurements. So if you have a little over or under in weight of chicken livers, just bung it all in. I would, however, recommend using the ‘large’ wineglass of brandy – the first time we did, this time we didn’t, and although it still tasted lovely this time it didn’t have that extra kick and depth of flavour.*

In a small pan on a low heat gently melt 150g of the butter until it has melted. Turn off the heat and let it separate into the yellow clarified buter and the white milky liquid at the bottom – it should do this while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

Gently soften the finely chopped onion and garlic in a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan. Make sure it doesn’t brown. When it’s soften, remove to a plate or bowl and wipe the pan clean.

Turn up the heat, add a small glug of olive oil, the fresh thyme leaves and the livers. Make sure the livers cook on one layer until they are lightly coloured but still pink in the middle. If you overcook them you will end up with a grainy texture not smooth.

Next, pour in the brandy. If you are using a gas hob make sure long hair and eyebrows are well clear as it can flame – we had a serious fire ball the first time we made this pate! Simmer for a minute, then take off the heat.

Bung the livers and their juices into a processor along with the onion and garlic. Blitz until you have a smooth purée. Add the remaining softened butter and blitz again. Season the mixture well with salt and pepper, and then push it through a sieve twice before putting it into serving dishes.

Make sure that you smooth the pate out before carefully spooning over the yellow clarified butter from the pan – make sure you don’t get any of the white milkly liquid. I got a bit fancy and carefully arranged some fresh sprigs of thyme on the pate we were going to serve for lunch. Whilst this isn’t necessary, it’s quite fun and looks nice.

Put the pate in the fridge to set – this will take about an hour. The pate can be eaten straight away, or left a couple of days to let the flavours develop. If you don’t break the butter seal they will keep for up to two weeks.

This recipe is taken and slightly adapted from Jamie’s Kitchen by Jamie Oliver (www.jamieoliver.com).

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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