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I am almost living off crumpets at the moment for breakfast and tea breaks – with this howling gale and rain crumpets seem to fill the right cosyness hole inside me. I have been perfecting the art of toasting my crumpets just how I like them – a long session in the toaster to begin with, then a shorter session on the bagel setting just to crisp the top.
Some friends of ours (the same ones who suggested topping cheese on toast with chilli con carne) said they eat their crumpets with Marmite – a topping I’d never considered for a crumpet, thinking it only a carrier of sweet goodness. Anyway, Mr Rigg like his with butter and jam, I’ve grown up with butter and golden syrup, and it got me thinking how other people like their crumpets.
Do you like them really toasted and crisp on top, or soft and wobbly still? Do you like lashings of salty butter or none at all? Do you put so much of your chosen topping that it seeps all the way through and makes a puddle on the plate (this is my preferred method – otherwise why bother!)? Do you have them sweet or savoury or both ways depending on how you’re feeling? And have you tried Jamie Oliver’s version where he soaks them in beaten egg to make a crumpet version of eggy bread?
I’d love to know! I have tried crumpets with homemade quince jelly, but I feel I need to expand from simply loads of butter and golden syrup, although it will still always be my favourite.
I’ve got some photos to share from my trip to London (Borough Market and the National Trust Fine Farm Produce Awards) but whilst I sort them all out I thought you might like to see these incredible English muffins.
They were hefty things that were drawing a crowd on their stall at Borough Market, and well I couldn’t resist either. I had them for breakfast this morning, pulled apart with my fingers (no bread knife involved) and toasted them.
Then when my thick slabs of salty butter didn’t melt, I bunged them under a hot grill until the butter went all golden. Topped with some homemade strawberry jam.
Last weekend we celebrated the fine weather with our first barbeque of the season (hopefully not the last!). We had tiny buffalo koftas from Laverstoke Park Farm, asparagus, new potatoes baked in the embers, and homemade flatbreads.
This was a new adventure for us – attempting to make our own flatbreads – and I was desperately worried they would go all crispy, and not soft and doughy like I was hoping. If there was anyone I was going to put my trust in, it was Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
What to eat for lunch when the fridge is almost bare? My solution is homemade hummous and toasted pitta bread – all which can be made from what’s in my cupboards and freezer.
My homemade hummous is inspired by some my friend Jane made – it’s a simple matter of whizzing together a tin of chickpeas and olive oil, with lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.
Today I’ve used 1 medium garlic clove, juice of about 1 small lemon (I find getting the amount of lemon juice right is what makes or breaks this hummous), and about a teaspoon of ground cumin.
Today I’m eating my hummous with toasted pitta breads from the freezer. Pitta breads freeze fantastically and I always try to have a packet in the freezer ready to toast whenever I’m out of fresh bread.
They can be easily popped in a toaster or if, like me, you are toaster-less, simply bung them under a hot grill for a couple of minutes on each side. Beware of hot steam escaping from the pittas once toasted!
Here’s me eating my lunch in my not-so-romantic working space…
We had an unusual but lovely tea on Sunday – hot buttered crumpets with homemade quince jelly and a plate of exotic fruits. Mr Rigg and I had eaten quite well the rest of the weekend (including a lovely meal out on Saturday night with Mr Rigg’s uncle) so we weren’t that hungry.
So we toasted some crumpets under the grill (our toaster is broken…has been for months…the new toaster I want costs about £50…too much for a toaster I’m told…) until they’re really golden and crisp.
My friend Jane makes the best crumpets and she always puts them in the toaster a couple of times until they’re really crispy and only a little bit soft right in the middle. Any less and you just get a soggy doughy mouthful – yuk!
Once toasted, I liberally buttered them – lots of butter is a must with crumpets – popped them on a pretty blue and white plate (this makes them taste better, I promise) and top with homemade quince jelly.
So you see, despite my lack of regular posting we have been busy making lovely food – like making quince jelly for the first time. Just without a camera I’m rather embarrassed and ashamed of my phone camera pictures.
We also had a plate of fruit – pomegranate seeds (we drank the tiny cupful of juice that came out in little shared sips) and feijoa fruit. Ever heard of a feijoa? Me neither. Unicorn had a basket of them, these small green fruits and they were described as tasting of mint, pineapple, strawberry, guava…they sounded too intriguing not to buy a bag full to try.
The instructions I had on how to eat the feijoa were to leave until they were tender when squeezed – then they were ripe. Simply cut in half and eat like a kiwi. Firstly, the fragrance of this fruit is incredible. Utterly bewitching. The taste is equally wonderful, and beyond description – quite unusual even. If you see them whilst out and about, my advice is to buy yourself a bagful and try them.
On quick investigation they are native to South America, also known as the pineapple guava, and the pulp used in some natural cosmetics as an exfoliant. Fascinating stuff.
There is something so lovely and comforting about being able to wander to the bottom of your own garden and pick something for dinner. Last night I decided to pick some of the yellow sunburst squash that I have growing in my vegetable patch.
These UFO shaped squash are so pretty – although mine are looking a bit sorry for themselves. They’ve started to rot a bit where the flower blossomed with all this rain we’ve had recently. Also, the ones I usually see in my local grocery are much more yellow – mine are a bit pallid!
None-the-less they taste lovely. So I picked a few and brought them inside to be eaten within half an hour of picking – now that’s pretty special. Beat that supermarket giants!
For tea we had scrambled eggs on toasted bagel with garlic fried squash, oregano flowers and Gruyère. Fresh flavours and very tasty – and I love the yellow from the eggs and squash flecked with the purple from the oregano flowers.
Scrambled eggs on toasted bagel with garlic fried squash, oregano flowers and Gruyère
A couple of small yellow sunburst squash
2-3 cloves of garlic
5 medium eggs
Handful of oregano flowers and leaves
Heat a frying pan with some olive oil. Finely chop the garlic and add to the pan – softening it gently.
Thinly slice the squash and add to the garlic. Fry until soft and starting to turn a little golden and season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, make your scrambled eggs – here’s how I make mine.
Put your bagels on to toast and butter them once they’re ready.
Add the oregano leaves to the scrambled eggs, mix together, then spoon over the bagels.
Take your fried squash and place on top of the eggs and grate over some Gruyère cheese.
Finally, sprinkle over some oregano flowers and eat!