Archive for the ‘Simply Eggcellent’ Category

The weather has been amazing the past week. Mother’s Day was exceptionally SUN-TASTE-TIC! Perfect for any al fresco get-together. And that’s exactly what we did last Sunday at the restaurant. We opted to sit on the terrace, with parasols just to cover our heads from the scorching afternoon sun

The dishes we ordered were refreshingly light using fresh seasonal vegetables. We noticed a common ingredient on every plate. Asparagus!!

Hubby looked at me and I, him. Immediately, I read his mind… Okay, okay, we have not had asperges op vlaamse wijze or asperges à la flamande or (white) asparagus cooked the Flemish way in a LONG time. He’s actually right. The last time I made this dish was in 2012! Boy that was eons ago. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!

A Healthier Version

White asparagus is hugely popular in continental northwestern Europe ie BE, NL, FR, DE, AT, CH, TR, IT, ES and PL. It is a spring vegetable, hence is freshest from late April to June. Hubby was persistent to have the dish again and he actually bought a bunch of super fresh 1kg-pack of the herbaceous, perennial plant. Did I have a choice? Erm… Don’t think so… Duh!

By the way, I have posted a recipe of this dish on this post, Asperges op Vlaamse wijze following the recipe of one of my favourite Belgian TV chefs, Jeroen Meus. To be honest, I like the dish, BUT the amount of butter used in the recipe scares me LOTS! The original recipe for 4 pax calls for minimum 300 g farm butter and 6 hard-boiled eggs. In this recipe, I have reduced the butter to 120g with 4 hard-boiled eggs. A fairly huge reduction, but we all loved the end result. I have also tweaked Jeroen’s method slightly.

Here’s the out-turn…

How I did it …

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 kg white asparagus (ca 21 to 22 spears)
  • 120 g unsalted farm butter
  • 4 free-range eggs, hard-boiled 
  • Fleur de sel, to taste
  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • A bunch of parsley 
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste 

Cooking asparagus is not difficult. The trick is to place the peeled asparagus (check out my recipe here on how to peel the asparagus correctly) in a large pot of cold water with a pinch of sea salt. It is important to use enough water to immerse and cover the asparagus completely. Heat the pot over medium heat and bring the water to a boil. Let the water simmer or bubble for a moment and immediately remove the pot from the heat. Allow the asparagus to rest for a few minutes in the warm water, depending on the quantity and size of the asparagus. I accounted for 10 minutes for 22 asparagus spears. Do the taste test to check for doneness. It should be crisp tender, cooked but not overly cooked. Remove the asparagus from the water and drain them on a clean kitchen towel.

Meanwhile, boil 4 eggs. Once boiled, immediately transfer the eggs to cold water. Peel the eggs and mash them lightly. Do not purée the eggs. Then mix finely chopped parsely while adding salt and pepper to taste. Grate some nutmeg and mix the egg mixture gently. Set aside.


Add 120g farm (unsalted) butter in a pan and let it gently melt over low heat. This Flemish dish requires using only clarified butter, meaning the white milk residue from the melted butter must be removed. Keep the clarified butter on a very low heat.

To serve, place 4 to 5 warm asparagus on a plate, then scoop a chunk of the egg mixture across the centre of the cooked asparagus and then drizzle some clarified butter over the egg mixture. 

Ta-dah!


My Verdict?

The original recipe says to add the egg mixture into the clarified butter and mix gently. I omitted this step. Instead, I drizzled the clarified butter over the egg mixture separately. That way, less butter was used and consumed per portion and the egg mixture was not a mushy mass. We could still see the eggs and the freshly chopped parsley with a light drizzle of the clarified butter. Sorry, Jeroen, I prefer my new-found method, and will stick with it. Without a doubt, thanks for the inspiration you have given me by unlocking the Belgian kitchen and putting big smileys on the faces of my other half and 2 boys.

I’m linking this post to #CookBlogShare week 19, hosted by Kirsty of Hijacked By Twins


This post is also linked to Tea Time Treats for the month of May 2016, hosted by The Hedgecombers and Lavender and Lovage


And to Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too

Happy Mid-Week!

Cheers!

One beautiful Saturday afternoon, I hosted a potluck lunch for my girlfriends (without partners and kids), whom you have ‘met’ on these posts, here and here. One of the girls, C, just visited a farm near her place before coming to my house. She’s a great multi-tasker, conjuring 2 absolutely mouth-watering plates of stir-fried veggies a la minute in my kitchen! And not only that, she brought her fresh homemade pizza dough and baked 3 different toppings of pizzas that afternoon! Yup, in my kitchen. Thanks, C. All 3 dishes were absolutely DIVINE and went down our tummies effortlessly!  

  

Oh yes, the farm visit. C bought 3 dozens of super, super, SUPER fresh eggs. She must have waited for the chicken to lay the eggs at the farm as she was the last one to arrive that afternoon. Lol! Oh by the way, she also brought a Chiffon Cake pan, in the hope of using some of the eggs to bake a nice pandan Chiffon Cake in my kitchen, using my recipe, here.  

But alas, there was no baking of a Chiffon Cake because everyone was stuffed to the brim and was too tired to do anything “strenuous” that Saturday afternoon. 

Girls, thanks for bringing your “lucky” pot(s).  It was gluttony all the way. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!  😱

   

Before the girls left, C gave me 10 of the freshly laid free-range eggs. Boy, I felt so bad that I did not show her how to bake the Chiffon Cake. Sorry, C 😦

Making Good Use of C‘s Fresh Eggs

I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the super fresh eggs I got from C. Making my childhood favourite toasted bread spread, called kaya, had always been on my to-do list since time immemorial. Kaya is a Malay word, meaning ‘rich’, because of the creamy and custardy texture from the coconut cream/ milk and eggs (chicken or duck) and sweetened with sugar. Then other flavours or colours come in. If the kaya is brown, palm sugar or gula Melaka or gula Apong is used, whilst the green-coloured kaya is flavoured with the sweet and fragrant herb called Pandanus (or Screwpine). 

  
I was lucky I had a packet of frozen pandan leaves in my freezer ~ not opened or used yet ~ but telepathically, waiting for me to conquer ’em. So yes, I was making the fragrant pandan coconut jam – FINALLY!

Great Helper

The most basic kaya recipe has only 3 ingredients ~ eggs, coconut cream/ milk and sugar, and yet most people shun from making it. Why? Because the task of standing hours on end stirring the mixture over the stovetop is immensely unexciting, dull and monotonous! It can take as long as 3 hours! It’s not like preparing slow-cooked meat stew that you can leave the cooking unattended, but you need to keep an eye on the kaya mixture, stirring constantly in order to end up with the texture you want, otherwise you have to start all over again! 

In my opinion, there is no one right homemade kaya consistency or texture. This is really subjective and very personal to one’s target preference.

By the way, I recently owned the latest model of the Thermomix, the TM5.  This kitchen gadget has been a great “helper”in my kitchen. Instead of me stirring the mixture, my thermie was doing the job. I could do 101 other things while waiting for my kaya to set. I was even watching the telly!

I know there are many shortcut recipes out there, that could churn the kaya in 10 to 15 minutes. But hey, I’m not the one who’s stirring, so time and energy are not the essence 😜

My objective was to make a decent kaya that I could enjoy and reminiscing my childhood days. Period.

As I have said earlier, the ingredients are pretty obvious in making kaya. Eggs (usually the yolks), sugar and coconut cream/ milk.  Since the eggs I got from C were super fresh, I decided to use 5 whole eggs!

Note: If you do not own a Thermomix, the ingredients remain the same, BUT you need to manually stir the mixture in a double boiler pot or a crock pot or a heavy bottom wok or pan. Eyeballing on the texture and consistency is key. Slow Cooker works well, too. You may want to refer to my pumpkin jam recipe, Slow-cooked Zesty Pumpkin Jam.

Ingredients

  •  5 fresh free-range whole eggs 
  • 140 g castor sugar (increase the quantity if you have sweet tooth, but 140 g is more than sweet)
  • 245 g coconut milk (if possible, get freshly squeezed coconut cream/milk, but there ain’t any here, so the best I could get hold of was 250 ml brik Chaokoh coconut milk)
  • A tiny pinch of sea salt (my secret ingredient)
  • 40 g freshly extracted first-pressed pandan juice (from 20 pandan leaves) ~ a post on how I extracted the pandan juice coming up next on my blog (here).

Preparation ( TM5 way) –

  1. Insert the butterfly attachment in the TM bowl and add sugar and eggs. Mix for 30 sec/ speed 3
  2. Add coconut milk, concentrated first-pressed pandan extract and a pinch of salt. Cook for 40 min/ 98C/speed 2 without MC
  3. Check the consistency of the texture by smearing a small portion of the cooked kaya with the spatula against the inner bowl of the TM. If the kaya mixture is still too runny, it’s not done yet, however, if the mixture takes a while to roll back to the bottom of the bowl, then it’s done. (Note: I had to do the ‘test’ twice as the consistency of my kaya was still a bit runny in the first 40 mins. I  added 2.5 mins * 2 at 90deg C.  Be warned that the texture and consistency of the kaya is subjective. If you prefer a runny kaya, then by all means, cook for a shorter time. I prefer a less runny kaya,  that’s all 😜)
  4. Once you have reached the texture you want, blend the mixture for 20 seconds from speed 0 to 4 for a smoother consistency (Note: you can blend above speed 4 if you don’t mind the mixture splattering to the lid and the sides of the inner bowl)
  5. Pour the kaya into sterilized jar(s). Refrigerate once cooled.
  6. Done!

   

  
My all-natural fragrant pandan coconut egg jam. 

How to eat Kaya ?

Imagine kaya as your Nutella spread, or peanut butter or jam or confituur. For me, I like to spread my kaya on white toasted bread with a layer of butter. The best brekkie or High-tea. Mmm… 

   
 

  

Oh by the way, with this recipe, I could only fill one jar, which is luckily bigger than the normal jam jars. It’s really quite addictive and Preciousss!! So you can imagine how miserly the consumption was. Lol!

This makes a great tea time treat anytime. For this, I am entering this post to the monthly Tea Time Treats Linky Party – March 2016 hosted by Karen of  Lavender and Lovage and  Jane of The Hedgecombers 

  
With such fresh eggs used in this recipe, I would not miss the boat this month on Dom’s Simply Eggcellent #13 – A Celebration of Eggs! over at Belleau Kitchen.

  
With the all-natural green colour from one of South East Asia’s most beloved herbs, the pandanus, I’m thrilled to link this post to Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking with Herbs for Easter and Spring

  

A Blessed AND Peaceful Easter!

Shalom!

It seems like only yesterday when we were chomping on our stuffed turkey, gratin, lobsters, soups with lots of cream and all the sweets – OMG! – Christmas cakes, puddings, cookies and whatnots! A back-to-back bountiful banquets with sinful indulgences! *blush*

The first month of the new year is usually a ‘slow’ month with less activities and less eating spree :-). To be honest, it’s a rude shock to get back to the pace of reality, for me, at least. Back to work after the holiday mode and crippled with the crazy traffic jams, the icy cold weather and it gets dark ever so early! Really, leaving home in the morning when it’s still dark and coming home from work in the evening when it’s dark. It’s like living in the ‘Dark Side’ 24/7. LOL!

Tribute to my late MIL

When it’s dark and cold, our tummies seemed to rumble a bit more than normal. With not a lot of leisure time to do extravagant cooking or baking during weekdays, I opted for the easiest way out. I have been meaning to bake this ‘healthier’ version of sponge cake in a long time. By the way, this was a recipe from the Thermomix (TM5) recipe book. It not only looked great, but was a breeze to make.

  
   

My late MIL used to bake her lemon sponge cake using yoghurt instead of butter. As I have said earlier, I have been meaning to bake this cake but have not got round to doing so until now. And I’m glad I finally did it! Thanks to my late MIL for ‘introducing’ this cake to me more than a decade ago.

Ingredients –

  • 80g oil (I used corn oil), plus extra for greasing
  • Zest of 1 organic lemon (see my honest review “Verdict”)
  • 150g sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 200g flour
  • 120g Greek yoghurt
  • A pinch of salt
  • 15g baking powder
  • Some icing sugar for dusting (see my honest review “Verdict”)

  
 

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C. Grease a bundt cake tin. Set aside
  2. Place lemon zest and sugar into mixing bowl and grind (For TM5 owners, grind for 10 sec @ speed 10. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula)
  3. Add eggs and mix with a hand or stand mixer (For TM5, mix for 30 sec @ speed 3)
  4. Add flour, baking powder, oil, yoghurt and salt and mix until all ingredients are combined (For TM5, mix for 1 min 15 sec @ speed 5)
  5. Place mixture into the greased bundt cake tin and bake for 30 minutes at 180 deg C. Allow to cool in cake tin for at least 10 minutes before tipping the cake from the mould to a serving plate. Leave to cool completely and then dust with icing sugar.

  

 
  
 

Verdict: The original recipe is called, simply, Yoghurt Cake. Seeing that lemon is used in the recipe, I wanted to intensify the lemony flavour of the cake, which was light and refreshing. In hindsight, I should have used the zest of two lemons instead of one and add a splash of cointreau and make a lemon icing glace instead of just dusting with icing sugar to elevate one of my favourite citrus fruits, lemon! And what better time to start baking again with the next festive season coming up. The Chinese New Year!

Cakes of all forms, shapes and sizes are omnipresent during ‘open houses’ at Festive occasions in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. With the playful and intelligent Monkey shooing the woolly Sheep away come 8th Feb, this cake will surely be a hit for kids from 1 to 92 😃

Without much ado, I’m linking this post to celebrate the auspicious occasion of prosperity at Cook and Celebrate: Chinese New Year 2016, hosted by Yen from GoodyFoodies, Diana from The Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids 

  
If you want to indulge in something sweet, but not overly sweet and yet tasty, zingy and not too boring at the same time, this healthier version of butter sponge cake will do justice on anyone’s palate anytime of the day. For, this, I’m linking this post to Simply Eggcellent #11 – start the year on an egg … hosted by Dom @ Belleau Kitchen

  
 

 

 

 

Stay warm if you are cold

Stay cool if you are warm

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

If there was one type of cake I had always wanted to bake it right first time, it’s got to be that feather light and tall cake! Yup, it’s none other than Chiffon Cake!

This cake has been on my Bucket List for a good number of years. I am so glad I finally owned that special Chiffon cake (tube) pan, with removable base. A colleague got it for me from The Netherlands early this year, however, it has not been used until yesterday!  It’s a pretty big pan at 26cm diameter. 

Live Demo!

Yesterday I had 4 ladies over at my house, one being the ‘sifu‘ (teacher) whilst the three others and myself were the eager students wanting to know the tricks of the trade of baking one of my favourite cakes!

  
According to Wikipedia, “A chiffon cake is a very light cake made with vegetable oil, eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, and flavorings. It is a combination of both batter and foam type (sponge type) cakes

By the way, we did not make one but 2 chiffon cakes yesterday!

One of my girlfriends also brought her cake pan over for the live cooking cum baking demo’s. Her chiffon cake pan was a smaller size than mine.

David and Goliath 😄

Baking, unlike cooking requires precise measurements, therefore, two different-size pans meant utilising different quantities of measurements. That’s when the subject of Mathematics came in handy 😉

Where precision in baking is concerned, I needed visual aids. I’m glad sifu JL took my offer by coming over to my house to give live cookery demo. 

She started with the smaller pan from my friend. While she was in control of everything from weighing the ingredients, mixing, whisking, etc, I was taking notes as I had to replicate what she had done by adapting the measurements aligning to the size of my 26cm chiffon cake pan.  You bet I was nervous. I was really paying attention to every detail.

And here were the results!

David and Goliath ~ the results!

Sifu JL got the recipe from another friend. She said it’s a foolproof recipe, even for a novice, and I couldn’t agree more. Thanks, JL!
  

My first visual aided attempt and definitely not my last! Before all these efforts went to waste and became lost in oblivion, I translated the verbal and visual ‘languages’ from yesterday to a ‘language’ I could decipher. I wanted to remind myself tomorrow or next week or next month or next year or in 10 or 20 years from now that if I googled my blog, I’m very certain that this is a tried and tested recipe that will not go wrong even for a novice …

Here’s my improvised recipe like how I grasped it, translated in a ‘language’ I’m comfortable with based on the live demo presented by JL yesterday with an amazingly positive result from my first ever aided attempt in baking a chiffon cake  😀

Pre-heat the oven to 165 deg C for 1 hour

Ingredients

(For a 7-egg 26 cm chiffon cake pan like mine)

  • 150g caster sugar (split 50/50 parts or 75g each for the whites and yolks)
  • 150g plain flour (sieved through very fine strainer)
  • 15g  baking powder
  • 59ml cooking oil (I used corn oil)
  • 118ml Chaokoh 100% coconut milk
  • Koepoe Koepoe” Pandan paste (Note: this is very concentrated paste, hence, a little goes a long way!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 63g * 7 fresh free-range eggs (room temperature)
  • 8g vanilla sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar or cream of tartar or lemon juice (optional)

 

 Method – 

  • Separate the egg whites and yolks. 
  • Divide the caster sugar into 2 small bowls of 75g each
  • In a large bowl, add all the wet ingredients ~ cooking oil, coconut milk, egg yolks and Pandan paste. Mix with a balloon whisk and then add 75g sugar and salt. Stir well to combine.
  • Re-sieve the flour with the baking powder into the wet ingredients. Mix well until no sign of flour is visible.
  • Whisk the egg whites in an electric stand mixer. Add the  sugar (75g) in 3 batches until the whites turned from foamy form to soft peak meringue and finally stiff peaks
  • Add a third of the meringue  into the cake batter and fold with a rubber spatula. Continue with the second and third batches, folding lightly but quickly until the meringue is completely combined with the batter
  • Pour the batter into the chiffon cake pan and remove any visible air bubbles by poking with the spatula. Level the top layer with the spatula 
  • Tap the cake pan 2 or 3 times on the work surface to raise the air bubbles out of the batter.
  • Check the timer of the oven and place the cake pan in the centre of the oven for 55 minutes.
  • When cake is cooked, remove from the oven and immediately tilt the cake pan upside down to cool the cake. This also helps to avoid the cake from shrinking from the pan.

   
 

I fell in love with the smooth top layer. My first aided attempt and the chiffon cake did not crack! 
 

   
 
Verdict:-

The crack was visible on the smaller cake pan due to the heat of the oven and the duration of the baking. So yes, the type of oven you own will trigger the different results.

Cream of tartar was not used as the stabilizing agent to beaten egg whites to increase their stability and volume in this recipe. My friend JL added 1/2 tsp white vinegar as substitute in the first cake. This step was omitted on the second cake. Vanilla sugar was also added in the first cake while it was omitted in the second cake. Overall, both cakes had perfect textures of a good chiffon cake, with or without the stabilizing agent. To be honest, I found the second cake was a wee bit sweeter than the first. In hindsight 150g sugar was a bit too much. I will reduce the sugar count in my subsequent attempts, plus making my own fresh Pandan juice. The Pandan paste was used due to time constraint.

Honestly speaking, making a chiffon cake is not as difficult as it appeared to be. Seeing is believing. I’ve seen it and it’s true! 

I’m linking this post over at the October blog-hop cooking event with the theme, “COCONUT” at Little Thumbs Up organized by Doreen of my favourite little DIY and Zoe of  Bake for Happy Kids and hosted by Jess of Bakericious at this post
 
 

This post is also linked to Dom’s (Belleau Kitchen) monthly “eggy” cooking challenge, Simply Eggcellent #8 with the theme, “Anything Goes!”

  

Happy new week!

Cheers!

I was trying to clear my kitchen cupboard, stuffed with loads of this and that! Gosh, it was like un-veiling a treasure chest that has not been opened since time immemorial! 

Deep inside the cupboard somewhere were a few un-touched, un-opened packets of God knows what – cake flour, pizza flour, cornflakes…. hmmm… I’m feeling really embarrassed now *blushing*

Oh-oh… and more “skeletons” kept appearing…tortilla wraps, spring roll wraps and there… tucked in the corner, was a brand new, virgin packet of Betty Crocker’s Cinnamon Streusel – Muffin & Quick Bread Mix! I hadn’t the slightest inkling when I bought it. Definitely, not this year! The first thing I did was searching for the expiry date, labelled somewhere on Ms Crocker’s Muffin pre-mix. Okay, got it! 12th July 2015.

Phew!

BUT, who or what is Betty Crocker?

By the way, not many people know that Betty Crocker is an iconic, fictitious character, like Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot created by Agatha Christie or James Bond, created by Ian Fleming.

Betty Crocker is actually a trademark and brand name of the American multinational manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer foods, General Mills, Inc. According to sources, the name “Betty” was selected because it was viewed as a cheery, friendly-sounding, all-American name. Betty’s surname, Crocker, was chosen in honour of the popular director, William Crocker of Washburn Crosby Company, the largest predecessor of General Mills.

And what the heck is “Streusel“?

The word, “streusel” is German meaning, “something scattered or sprinkled”. It is similar to the English verb “strew”, however, in the world of baking and pastry, streusel is just another glamourous word for the crumbly topping on breads, muffins, pies and cakes. The ingredients used in making the crumble topping or “streusel” are flour, butter and sugar, identical to the crumbly toppings of a basic Apple crumble pie!

The Science of Baking

With a net weight of 394g, Betty Crocker’s Cinnamon Streusel – Muffin & Quick Bread Mix comes with one packet of pre-mix flour base and another smaller packet of the crumbly topping mix or streusel. Baking is science. It’s all in the chemistry. Baking, unlike cooking, requires carefully balanced formulas. Tweakings are out of the question! The 2 dry ingredients I got out from the box of BC’s pre-mix will never ever make muffins or a quick bread on their own in a million, zillion or trillion years! Why? Because the extra leavening (eggs), moistening (water) and tenderizing (fats) ingredients were NOT included! And finally, with the missing chemistry of heat and water, the physical reactions would never take place.

What were needed were the following 

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil (I used corn oil)

I added a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon powder and I didn’t regret that a bit (NOTE: This was not on the instruction box)

Pre-heat the oven to 200 deg C for 10 minutes without the muffins and then lower to 180 deg C when the baking starts (NOTE: This was not on Betty Crocker’s instruction box. This was my own because from experience, my ancient oven would have burnt the muffins if I left the oven on at 200 deg C throughout the baking process)

Add all the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine until all the ingredients are blended together into a smooth batter. Scoop one tablespoonful of the batter into each of the 12-hole muffin pan, then sprinkle the streusel or sweet crumbly topping on each muffin.

Alas! I sprinkled too much on the first few muffins and ended up with 3 ‘naked’ muffins. What I did was sprinkle some cinnamon powder on the last 3 muffins!

With all 12 muffins feeling happy and dressed up, they were ready to go in the oven for 18 minutes.

Et voilà! 

I was surprised by the feather-like texture of the muffins, be they fresh out of the oven or kept overnight. Of course the muffins did not last for more than 24 hours!

They were scrumptious with a cup of tea or coffee. Perfect for high tea, breakfast and for picnics.
       

I’m sharing these muffins over at Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen from Lavender & Lovage and co-hosted by Jane from  The Hedgecombers with the June theme “Muffins, Fairy Cakes and Cupcakes

  
I’m also linking this post to #CookBlogShare17 hosted by Lucy of  Supergolden Bakes

 

Without fresh eggs and the other extra wet ingredients, these BC’s muffins would never have transformed into what they were supposed to be… Yes, muffins and feather-light, too! And without much ado, I’m linking this post up to Belleau Kitchen’s Simply Eggcellent #4 with the June’s theme, “Anything Goes“.

 

 

I’m also linking up to Tasty Tuesdays hosted by HonestMum

 
Happy Saturday!

Blessed Sunday!
Cheers! 

 I named these egg muffins, “Margherita” following the legend of the famous Pizza Margherita. If you don’t already know, the pizza was so named after Princess Margherita of Savoy, the Queen consort of the Kingdom of Italy during the reign of her first cousin and husband, King Umberto I (1878 – 1900). Legend has it that out of the three pizzas created by “modern” pizza-maker Raffaele Esposito and his wife of the then Pizzeria di Pietro e Basta Cosi in the Nineteenth Century in Naples, the Queen’s favourite pizza resembled the colours of the Italian flag – green (fresh basil), white (mozzarella) and red (tomato). According to Wikepedia, Esposito’s restaurant still exists, although the name has been changed to Pizzeria Brandi.

Oh, you Poor Posh…!

Now that we know the legend of Pizza “Queen” Margherita, which may sound rather posh, however, the ingredients used are nothing near to royalty. First of all, pizzas are oven-baked flatbreads without any toppings, were a staple of the peasants. That’s right… they were known as the dish for the poor people once-upon-a-time! And by the way, the three main ingredients topped on a pizza Margherita are commonly found in Italy and almost everywhere in Europe.

Holy Trinity               Without a doubt, a posthumous credit is due to Raffaele Esposito for creating the most amazing ‘holy trinity’ in both colours and flavours of Italy on the plate and on the palate. So simple ingredients and yet so exquisite in taste.      

Here’s my version of the not-so-posh “Margherita” egg muffin. The real Queen did not taste it but the kitchen “Queen” in Belgium made 9 muffins in 30 minutes flat (including prepping and baking). I’m quite certain the real Queen would have given her royal thumb UP if only she had tasted these delectable savoury little spongy discs 🙂

The Sky’s the Limit

What I LURVE about this recipe is that you can go crazy with your ingredients – a little or more of this or that. It’s insanely endless! The sky’s the limit! 

For this post, I used fresh basil, fresh cherry tomatoes, grated old Italian cheese (or Parmesan cheese), light cream (20% less fat for daily use from Campina), a pinch of fleur de sel, freshly milled black pepper and of course EGGS!!!

Note I did not measure my ingredients. I guesstimated and eyeballed, which portrayed the real me where savoury cooking is concerned;-)

For 8 large eggs, I ended up filling 9 cavities in a 12-hole muffin pan.  

While most people would mix the dry ingredients and herbs in the beaten eggs together and then pour the batter in the muffin pan, I prefer to assemble the dry ingredients separately into each hole of the muffin pan first and then pouring the lightly seasoned wet ingredients (beaten eggs and cream) last which ensures equal proportion and distribution of the ingredients per muffin. But of course you can do however you like. Your kitchen! Your call!

Bake the little Margherita’s in the pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 18 minutes.  Please check your oven. 18 minutes may be too over or under for your type of oven but it’s Goldilocks test of “just right” consistency for 9 muffins in my ancient oven 🙂  
  What more can I say? 

Bellissima!

Notes: These muffins were great eaten warm as well as cold. I refrigerated 2 pieces and packed them in my lunchbox for work the following day and continued placing my lunchbox in the fridge at my office’s kitchenette until lunch time. Absolutely perfect! 

If you prefer to munch on warm egg muffins, just microwave them for about 30 seconds covered with absorbent paper. The muffins will remain soft as if they were freshly baked.

Enjoy!

Although I did not use chives in this recipe, I’ve used one of my favourite herbs, basil, therefore, I’m linking this post over at Lavender & Lovage’s “Wild Garlic and Chives ” May and June’s Linky Party for Cooking with Herbs.

   

This post is also  linked to Little Thumbs Up with the June 2015 theme “CREAM” organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Mui Mui of my little favourite DIY and hosted by Diana of The Domestic Goddess Wannabe.

  

I’m also linking this post to #CookBlogShare16 hosted by Lucy of Supergolden Bakes

An egg muffin may not be the typical muffin we are used to, but muffins can be either sweet or savoury. These muffins will make a nice treat over at Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen from Lavender & Lovage and co-hosted by Jane from The Hedgecombers with the June theme “Muffins, Fairy Cakes and Cupcakes

 

I’m also linking this somewhat eggy post over at Belleau Kitchen’s Simply Eggcellent #4. The June’s theme is “Anything Goes”… and how appropriate, me think…*wink*

 

And last but not least, I’m sharing this post over at Tasty Tuedays Live hosted by HonestMum 

  
Have a great Weekend and enjoy what’s left of the weekend…
Cheers!

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Saturday morning, my friend, X, came to my house to pick up her four garden chairs I borrowed from her for our housewarming.  I was in the kitchen about to prepare lunch when our door bell rang at 11 am.

By the way, X also came to my house on my invitation for the purpose of sampling my chicken steamed buns (chicken pao’s) I made a week earlier (see post here).  I froze a few and re-steamed some for her to try out.  She enjoyed the pao’s and doggy bagged (tapau) 3 buns for her boys. While we were eating pao’s and chatting in my kitchen, she asked me what I was preparing for lunch.  I placed a filled carton of twelve eggs on the table.  These!  I told her I was going to make an omelette.

1. Wholesome omelette_12 eggs

I could see the frown on X’s face.  Huh?  A dozen eggs?  You got to be kidding, right?

Nope!

A 12-egg omelette may sound rather mundane, and uninteresting or unhealthy, even. It’s like a highway to cardiac arrest if consumed by one person on a single serving; however, there’re 4 of us, hence, mathematically it’s a 3-egg omelette per person, which is about the right portion per consumption for a main meal.  Yeah, I’m consoling myself on this case to liberate my guilty conscience 😉

Well, X, my dear friend, here’s the result of my omelette, which I dubbed the “Dirty Dozen Wholesome Omelette”.  Good, eh?  😀

2. Wholesome omelette_baked

Jeroen to the rescue – Again!

As with my previous posts here, and here, this omelette recipe is from the Belgian chef, Jeroen Meus (adapted from his 4th book, Dagelijkse Kost, with some modifications).  Jeroen used bacon, cheese, mushrooms, potatoes and fresh herbs to create that wholesome touch. You could make a vegetarian version by omitting the bacon. As Jeroen would say, “pimp up your omelette!” 

I added an extra ingredient, chicken sausages to sooth the tummies of my boys 😉

Ingredients (I tried my best to translate the recipe from Dutch to English…)

  • 10 eggs (I used my “dirty” dozen)
  • 200g smoked bacon slices (I used the ready cut smoked bacon pieces)
  • 4 chicken sausages, pre-fried and cut on the bias (this was not on the recipe)
  • 150g grated cheese (I used a mix of Feta and Emmentaler cheeses)
  • 150g button mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • Boiled potatoes (diced and left to cool down)
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • ½ clove of garlic (I used 1 whole clove of garlic, minced with some coarse sea salt)
  • A few sprigs of fresh parsley
  • A few sprigs of fresh chervil
  • A knob of butter (I did not use butter)
  • A dash of olive oil
  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • Salt to taste

3a. Wholesome omelette_ingredients3b. Wholesome omelette_chervil + parsley

Method –

  • Assemble all the cut, sliced, chopped, minced and diced ingredients
  • Melt a knob of butter in a frying pan over a medium high heat and fry the bacon pieces (Note: I used olive oil in lieu of butter). Let them sizzle in the pan for a few minutes until slightly crisp.
  • Sauté the chopped onion with the bacon
  • Add the minced garlic, sliced mushrooms and the cut chicken sausages. Stir preferably with a wooden spoon.
  • Taste for seasoning, and bearing in mind that the smoked bacon is quite salty.
  • Rinse the fresh herbs, drain and chop them finely.
  • Add the chopped chervil and parsley to the sautéed mixture.
  • Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Preheat the oven to 180° C
  • Take a large bowl and break all the eggs. Whisk well.
  • Pour the beaten eggs in a greased oven dish (or round baking pan)
  • Assemble the diced (or cubed) cold, cooked potatoes in the beaten egg, making sure they are spaced evenly.
  • Assemble the sautéed ingredients of bacon, sausage, mushrooms and herbs evenly into the egg mixture
  • Sprinkle a generous helping of grated cheeses over the omelette
  • Bake the omelette for 30 minutes, until the centre is cooked through
  • Serve the omelette in wedges

Stir fried onion. garlic, bacon, chicken sausages, mushrooms, chervil and parsley

Stir fried onion. garlic, bacon, chicken sausages, mushrooms, chervil and parsley

1st Layer ->> Pour the  beaten eggs in a greased oven dish and assemble the cooked potatoes evenly

1st Layer ->> Pour the beaten eggs in a greased oven dish and assemble the cooked potatoes evenly

2nd Layer ->> Assemble the stir fried ingredients

2nd Layer ->> Assemble the stir fried ingredients

3rd Layer ->> Sprinkle your favourite cheese(s).  I used Feta and Emmentaler

3rd Layer ->> Sprinkle your favourite cheese(s). I used Feta and Emmentaler

A cross-section of the omelette

A cross-section of the omelette

Slice the omelette in wedges before serving

Slice the omelette in wedges before serving

My wholesome slice of omelette with some salads for a balanced diet ;-)

My wholesome slice of omelette with some salads for a balanced diet 😉

It was YUMMY... I had a piece the next day for lunch at work :-D

It was YUMMY… I had a piece the next day for lunch at work 😀

The omelette was not called “wholesome” for nothing.  I had that one slice with some salads, and that’s all my tummy could take.  It was really filling and wholesome.  The dirty dozen omelette lasted for at least 3 days!  Well, that’s the idea.  No further cooking for the next 2 days 😉

This dish is good for buffets and picnics and can be taken either cold or warm.

Oh by the way, X, what do you think of the omelette?  

I am submitting this post to the the following –

1. Little Thumbs up event with the August theme “EGGS”, hosted by Baby Sumo from Eat your heart out , organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids

th_littlethumbups1-1

2. Cook-Your-Books #3  organized by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours

Cook Your Books

And …

3. I’m thrilled to link up this super eggy recipe to the May 2015 theme for “savoury egg” dish hosted by  Dom of Belleau Kitchen‘s monthly blog hop challenge Simply Eggcellent #3 !

  

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Cheers!

 

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