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WHAT’S COOKING
3 ways with eggs

It’s Easter, which means we are all inundated with chocolate eggs. We turned to the author of A Good Egg: A Year of Recipes from an Urban Hen-keeper, Genevieve Taylor, seeking inspiration for some savoury egg recipes, instead.

Baghdad eggs with herb yogurt & pitta crisps
Serves 2 | Ingredients
For the pitta crisps:
  • 3 pitta breads
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • Sea salt flakes & freshly ground black pepper
For the herb yogurt:
  • A generous handful of mixed fresh herbs, finely chopped (coriander, mint, parsley & chives are all good)
  • 160g Greek yogurt
  • A little salt & freshly ground black pepper
For the Baghdad eggs:
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • A splash of olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 4 eggs
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

1. Slice the pittas into 3cm-wide strips and peel apart the 2 layers of each strip. Place in a single layer on a baking tray, drizzle over the olive oil and scatter on the cumin seeds, chilli flakes and a generous seasoning of sea salt and black pepper. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until completely dry and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

2. Make the yogurt sauce by stirring the herbs through the yogurt and seasoning to taste. Spoon on to two plates and set aside.

3. For the eggs, in a large frying pan dry-fry the cumin seeds for just a minute or so. As soon as you smell their aroma rising from the pan, tip them into a mortar and grind coarsely with the pestle.

4. Add the butter to the pan, along with a drizzle of olive oil to help prevent it burning.

5. When it has melted and starts foaming, stir through the garlic, paprika and ground cumin and fry for a couple of minutes.

6. Then crack in the eggs and fry them, basting in the spiced butter until they are done to your liking. When the eggs are cooked, use a fish slice to lift them out on to the serving plates, and drizzle over the butter.

7. Serve immediately, with the pitta crisps to dunk in both the yolk and the yogurt.

Salt & pepper scotch eggs
Makes 4 | Ingredients
  • 6 eggs, size small to medium
  • 400g sausagemeat
  • 120g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying

I love scotch eggs – even the over-chilled ones bought in haste in garage forecourts are something of a guilty pleasure to break up long car journeys – but home-made ones are pretty phenomenal and well worth making occasionally. Today’s version had a crisp breadcrumb coating spiked with plenty of flaky sea salt and coarsely ground black peppercorns. I used thick herby sausages, which I skinned, instead of plain sausage meat, as they tend to have more flavour. Buoyed by their success, I decided to try a meat-free version. For this my eggs were wrapped not in pork but a tasty falafel mixture – a Middle-Eastern spiced chickpea purée. The coating is not quite as robust as sausage meat and so it’s even more important to give them a double dip in the breadcrumbs – it is this shell that protects the chickpea purée and stops it from disintegrating on frying. I found a shorter cooking time combined with a slightly higher temperature helped as well. The result was a picnic feast of savoury eggs suitable for vegetarians and carnivores alike. For both these recipes I picked smaller eggs, as once they are wrapped up in their coating they end up a good size. If you use large eggs you may need to make the coating a touch thinner in order to cover them.

Method

1. Place 4 of the eggs in a small pan and cover with cold water. Bring steadily up to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and run under cold water until cool. Peel and set aside.

2. Crack the other 2 eggs into a small bowl and lightly beat.

3. Divide the sausagemeat into 4 balls, pressing each one flat between the palms of your hands. Put one of the eggs into the centre and fold and press the meat around it so it is completely covered.

4. Put the breadcrumbs into a wide shallow bowl and mix in the crushed peppercorns and salt. Dip each of the sausage-covered eggs in the beaten egg, then roll in the crumbs.

5. Once all 4 eggs have a coat of crumbs, repeat the dipping and rolling to give them a second coat of crumbs.

6. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 170°C and cook the eggs for 7 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

Falafel eggs (vegetarian alternative to Scotch eggs)
Makes 4 | Ingredients
  • 6 eggs, size small to medium
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, roughly ground
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, roughly ground
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1 tbsp tahini paste
  • A small bunch coriander, chopped
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 120g fresh breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
Method

1. As with the scotch eggs, cook 4 of the eggs, run under cold water, peel and set aside.

2. Lightly beat the remaining 2 eggs in a small bowl.

3. Set a small frying pan over a low heat and sweat the onion in the olive oil for 10 minutes until it is beginning to soften and turn translucent. Add the garlic and spices and fry for a further minute.

4. Remove from the heat and tip into a food processor, along with the chickpeas, tahini and coriander. Season well with salt and black pepper and whizz to a smooth thick paste. You need the mixture to be firm, but if it’s too stiff to process, add a little more tahini to loosen it a little.

5. Scrape into a bowl and chill in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up.

6. Divide into 4 balls and flatten each between the palms of your hands. Place an egg in the centre and fold and press the falafel coating around the egg so it is completely covered.

7. Dip each wrapped egg in turn in the beaten egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs.

8. Once again, repeat the dipping and rolling process to give each a double coating of breadcrumbs.

9. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 180°C and cook for 5–6 minutes until crisp and golden.

A Good Egg: A Year of Recipes from
an Urban Hen-keeper, by Genevieve Taylor
(Eden Project Books, £15.00)
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