Category Archives: eggs

Spanish Hash {Patatas Bravas+Eggs}

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Spanish Hash (Patatas Bravas and Eggs)
This recipe got created by accident which happens here A LOT. The night before Brad went on his trip we had a tapa night. I guess we were still in Spain in our spirits.  Stay-in dates are great when it’s impossible to get a babysitter plus we can make any food we love for a fraction of the price at a restaurant. I love tapas but what I love even more is that we usually cook them together.  It’s such a great way to start a date! Drinking wine while juggling multiple pots and pans and hot plates tends to infuse an everyday activity like cooking with much hilarity. Try it for yourself if you don’t believe me.  ( But be safe. Seriously.)

Patatas Bravas is one of the tapas that is “a must” for us. Fried potatoes served with spicy tomato sauce. Brilliant. “Bravas” means “fierce” in Spanish, apparently. How can you NOT love a dish that is fierce?!!!

Spanish Hash was born out of leftovers but it turned out to be such a  beautiful and satisfying breakfast dish I decided it deserved a life of its own.  I am definitely reserving this for weekend breakfasts and brunches. It would take just a few minutes to throw together if you have potatoes boiled and sauce made the night before.

Ingredients:

( For the bravas sauce)

  • Olive Oil- 1 tbs.
  • Onion (chopped) -1
  • Garlic – 4 cloves, sliced
  • Red Chilli- 1, minced
  • Carrot- 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Fresh thyme- 2-3 sprigs ( you can also use dried thyme)
  • Chopped Tomatoes- 1 tin (400gr)
  • Red Wine Vinegar- 1tbsp.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Note: The sauce recipe makes about 1 cup but you will only need 1/4 cup for the breakfast hash. Reserve the rest to make “patatas bravas” or serve it with your favourite pasta. 

Ingredients for the Hash: (Serves 2 but you can easily double or triple it)

  • Potatoes (boiled and cubed)- 2 medium
  • Olive Oil- 1 tbsp.
  • Eggs- 1-2  per person ( I used 3 because I eat 1 and Brad eats 2)
  • Goat Cheese (crumbled)- 1 tbs. (or use whatever cheese you like)
  • Parsley- 1-2 sprigs

Method:

As I mentioned earlier you can cook potatoes and the sauce the night before. This way your morning will be much smoother. If you are doing everything in one go here is what you need to do.

Half your potatoes and bring them to a boil in a pot full of water, then cook them for 6-8 minutes longer until soft but not falling apart. Drain and cool the potatoes.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and cook your chopped onion and sliced garlic over low heat for 5 minutes, then add minced chilli, chopped carrot and thyme (leaves only) and cook for 5 minutes longer.  Then pour in your canned tomatoes, vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper, turn the heat up and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes until it’s thick.  When you are satisfied with the thickness of the sauce take it off the heat, pour it in a food processor or a blender and blend until smooth. Scoop 1/4 cup out and reserve the rest for a later use.

Preheat your oven to 350F/180C

Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a frying pan and add your cubed potatoes into it, cook them until they are golden brown, then add 1/4 cup of the bravas sauce. Make little wells in the sauce and potatoes and carefully crack your eggs into them and put the pan in the preheated oven for 6-8 minutes depending on how soft or firm you like your egg yolks.  Once the the eggs are set, take them out, sprinkle them with crumbled goat cheese and chopped parsley.

I can’t tell you enough how wonderful the bravas sauce is! It’s like the most flavourful ketchup with a bit of a kick to it. I am absolutely in love with it and am currently adding it to everything. Enjoy!

Spanish Hash {Patatas Bravas+Eggs}
Note: The bravas sauce recipe was adapted from “Jamie Does Spain”.

Zucchini and Ham Hash with Grilled Tomatoes

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Zucchini and Ham Hash with Grilled Tomatoes Have you just come home with a load of reasonably priced zucchini and now wonder what to make out of it besides zucchini bread? Zucchini must be one of my favourite vegetables, it’s so versatile! It often appears on our dinner table and I always look for new ways to cook it.

Last Saturday I hosted a giant dinner party-Roasted Gammon with all the trimmings and now it’s time to clean up all the leftovers from the fridge. I stumbled upon this recipe while leafing through the June edition of Olive Magazine on the way home from work and knew immediately I would be eating it for dinner. Hash is usually a breakfast choice but Brad is away this week and I thought it would be perfect time for a lighter meal. The recipe incorporated all the bits of the weekend feast I was determined to get rid of.  To my utter delight, it was ready in minutes and the taste didn’t disappoint- the comfort of hash browns lightened up by loads of healthy, delicious zucchini and topped with a poached egg. Yum!Zucchini Hash with Poached Egg and Grilled Tomatoes

Ingredients: Serves 2

  • Red Onion- 1 small
  • Garlic- 2 cloves
  • Olive Oil- 1 tbsp.
  • Fresh Thyme- a couple of sprigs (leaves only)
  • Potatoes , boiled (I used new potatoes)-2 medium
  • Zucchini, grated-2
  • Smoked Ham, chopped- 100-150 gr
  • Cherry Vine Tomatoes- 2 sprigs
  • Poached Eggs-2 (optional)

Method:

Turn your oven to 200C/400F and grill your tomatoes for 10 minutes until the skins blister a bit. Take them out and set aside.

Grate your zucchini and squeeze out the excess liquid. Slice the onion and saute with some olive oil in a very large pan over medium- low heat, when the onions are soft and lightly browned add sliced garlic and thyme leaves, add cubed potatoes and cook them until a golden crust develops. If your onions are burning at this point remove them to a small bowl.

Turn the heat up and add grated zucchini, continue cooking stirring everything. Zucchini will throw off liquid so cook until the pan is dry again and everything is cooked though, add ham and put your onions back in if you removed them earlier. Cook for a minute longer until everything is brought to the same temperature.

While you are cooking potatoes and zucchini bring water to a boil in a small pot and drop two eggs in boiling water 3-5 minutes before hash is done cooking, so everything is ready at the same time.

Zucchini and Ham Hash with Grilled Tomatoes
Zucchini and Ham Hash with Grilled Tomatoes
Zucchini and Ham Hash with Grilled Tomatoes

One Week-End Morning

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It’s Friday night and I am beyond excited. I can’t wait till tomorrow because Saturday morning lazy breakfasts with my favourite man and my two little ones is one of my most beloved times.
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Ah…pure bliss.
If you are looking for inspiration for a weekend breakfast look no further. I’ve got you covered- Syrniki Russian Sweet Cheese Fritters, Russian Crêpes Blini , Best Blueberry Muffins or a simple but tasty breakfast sandwich.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Easter Eggs and Our Traditions

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Easter EggsEaster Eggs
Every Easter I am taken back to my childhood in Russia where the holiday is steeped in century-old traditions and memories. The holiday so loved and revered by people that even Communism wasn’t able to erase it from the nations’ psyche. It seems like the early childhood memories are the strongest and what I remember is my babushka starting to collect onion peels in a plastic shopping bag weeks before the arrival of Easter, so there would be enough to colour dozens of eggs. How could we possibly eat them all? We didn’t! With the rise of the dawn on Easter Sunday we would start hearing little knocks on our front door and my granny with a big bowl of beautifully coloured eggs at the ready opening the door to hear cheerful choir of the neighbourhood children, “Christ is risen!” to which she would reply with no fail, “Risen Indeed!” and give them each an egg. That went on for hours. That is one of the Easter traditions that carried on through centuries and was carefully preserved during the tough years when Christ was not welcome anywhere in the country. I still don’t understand how it was possible but one thing I do know there was not one family that didn’t celebrate Easter in one way or another. Miracle.
Having moved away from Russia many years ago I’ve lost many traditions but I was not about to lose the joy and anticipation of Easter by not colouring eggs with my own children! We colour eggs each Easter to remind us of what Christ has done, paving the way to new life, new birth and new beginning.
Easter eggs
Easter Eggs
The design on the eggs I have here is so beautiful yet so simple to achieve and what is even better is completely natural, no chemicals involved! Here is what you will need:

  • Onion peels(red or yellow) from about 10 onions
  • White Eggs
  • Any leaves you like e.g. rose leaves, parsley, dill, anything interesting you can find in your back yard!
  • Salt -1 tsp.
  • Pantyhose
  • Thread

Take the onion peels and put them in a pot. The next step is quite simple but a teensy bit fiddly. Place a leaf of your choice on the egg and slide it inside a pantyhose, tie a thread on each side of the egg to prevent the leaf from sliding. Repeat the process until all the eggs are “dressed” in pantyhose. I learned that very stiff leaves don’t work as well because they don’t “hug” the egg too tightly and produce an unclear print. Fill your pot with water and boil the eggs for 15-20 minutes. Make sure the heat is not set on very high as you don’t want your eggs knocking around in the pot and cracking. Cool the eggs, remove the panty hose and the leaves, wipe any leaf remnants with a cloth. The last step is to make them shiny! Simply rub each egg with a little bit of oil.

Easter egg colouring-The Russian method
I am sure I don’t have to tell you how much fun you will have with your children colouring eggs! However, if you have very young children the above method might be a bit too intricate for their little fingers. Not to worry, this is what I did with mine.
Egg colouring
Egg colouring
Use food colouring pastes and a tablespoon of vinegar per each cup of colour, top up with boiling water. Drop a cooked egg and let it sit for 5 minutes. I recommend using gel colours as they produce more vivid hues than their liquid counterparts.
Easter Egg Colouring
Easter Egg Colouring

How do I eat buckwheat? Let me count the ways…

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Buckwheat groats
Quinoa, goji berries, flaxseed. What do they have in common? They are the buzzwords circulating in the foodie media/blogosphere, all claiming to be a “miracle food”. Like many others I get weary and suspicious when the next “cure for all ills” emerges, being of the opinion that variety is key in any diet. That said, I believe buckwheat is something special, and that will soon flood first the health stores then the supermarkets and then pantries everywhere. As we stand now buckwheat is still fairly unknown outside of Russia, where it’s been a staple for centuries, and a big part of my diet growing up. The most common use of buckwheat in North America is in the flour form. It’s gaining popularity for it’s unique earthy taste and the fact that despite the name it is not related to wheat or any other grain and is gluten-free. People want to incorporate more buckwheat into their diets for its health benefits-high amount of protein, fibre, potassium and over 80 minerals! However, I am not going to go into details as I am not a nutritionist but merely a buckwheat lover. You can research it yourself if you are interested!

One of the greatest qualities of buckwheat is its versatility. The groats could be ground up and made into pancakes, you could enjoy a bowlful of  morning “kasha” (Russian for porridge) with a bit of milk, for lunch- toss it with some fresh veggies in a salad or sit down to a plate of savoury buckwheat with caramelised onions and sautéed mushrooms for dinner. Reheat the leftovers in the morning, top it up with an egg and voila a new breakfast dish is born! The only two things you need to know are what type of buckwheat is suitable for these recipes and how to cook it.

When I first moved to North America 15 years ago the only place I could find buckwheat was a health food store but although I could recognise the familiar triangular shape of the groats, the colour was anaemic grey instead of rich brown I was used to. I learned that buckwheat sold in Russia is pre-roasted, and it is this process that prevents the groats from turning into a mushy mess during cooking as well as provides that lusciously nutty flavour I’ve come to expect. It seems that many stores have the pre-roasted variety of buckwheat groats, however, the best buckwheat comes from Russian stores so if you have one nearby check it out. It’s worth it!

Buckwheat
What I would like to share with you is the basic method of cooking buckwheat and one simple recipe which happens to be my family’s favourite way of eating it. Have I mentioned that my kids are crazy about buckwheat?
Buckwheat with Caramelised Onions and Cremini Mushrooms {Breakfast Edition}Buckwheat with caramelised onion, mushrooms and egg

Ingredients:

  • Buckwheat-2 cups
  • Water-4 cups
  • Salt- a pinch
  • Cremini/Chestnut Mushrooms-8-10
  • Red Onions-1 large
  • Pepper- to taste
  • Egg-1 (per person)
  • Butter- 2 tbsp.

Method:

Rinse your buckwheat and dry fry it in a non-stick frying pan (i.e. in a dry pan, without oil) over medium heat for a 2-3 minutes. Transfer the buckwheat to a pot, add water and salt and cook for 15 minutes until the groats are soft and the water is evaporated. Take it off the heat, cover the pot with a lid and let it stand for additional 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, you can cook buckwheat in your rice cooker, just follow the instructions for grain to water ratio for your particular rice cooker.

While waiting for your buckwheat dice your onions and mushrooms. Feel free to slice them if you prefer a chunkier look. I am still in the stage  of “hiding” the healthy things from my kids so I usually dice.

Put a large frying pan on high-medium heat and when it’s hot add butter, onions and a pinch of salt. Salt will draw moisture out of the onions which will help with caramelising process. Fry them slowly, stirring once in a while and not letting them burn. Once your onions look wilted and darker in colour, add mushrooms and sauté them for 5 minutes adding salt and pepper to taste. Now add your buckwheat and mix everything together, cook for 2 more minutes to bring all the ingredients to the same temperature and allow for the flavours to blend, taste to make sure it has enough seasoning. This meal could be enjoyed as a main course or as a side dish to any type of meat or fish.  What you see here is leftovers that were served a couple of days later for breakfast. Fry your eggs in a frying pan and top each portion with an egg. By all accounts-Breakfast of Champions.

Buckwheat with Caramelised Onions and Cremini Mushrooms

Buckwheat with Caramelised Onions and Cremini Mushrooms
Note: I use water to cook buckwheat when I want it to be versatile-sweet or savoury. If you are preparing buckwheat for dinner in a savoury dish I would suggest using broth instead of water- a quick and simple way to infuse your dish with much flavour.

Starting the day right

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Here is my confession. Although I am always cooking something delicious and posting pictures of the great looking food, I am almost always on some sort of a diet. Sometimes it works but more often than not it doesn’t. Sad. This breakfast you see on this picture was this morning’s decision to ditch my Herbalife diet and start the day the way God created it to be, in other words eating real food. Healthy, nutritious and just plain gorgeous! Just look at that!

I am sure you don’t need a recipe for a breakfast sandwich but here it goes anyway. It comes with a few minor tweaks to make more it palatable for this fussy Russian.

Ingredients:

3 cremini mushrooms

1/4 small red onion

1 tsp olive oil

1 egg

1 slice Russian black bread (dark rye bread)

salt and pepper

Directions:

Slice your mushrooms and onions and slightly saute them in the frying pan over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and onions translucent. When they are almost done make some room for an egg and break it onto the pan. Meanwhile toast your bread and make coffee or tea to go with your scrumptious breakfast. Pile your mushrooms and onions on the toasted bread and top it with a fried egg. As you might have noticed I like my egg “sunny side up”, so I only fry it on one side as I like the look of it and the runny yoke. Feel free to do it however you like but I warn you it’s much less delicious any other way!!!

I am sure you figured it out by now that this recipe is a breakfast for one but could be doubled, tripled or quadrupled. Your choice. I was all alone after my hubby left for work and the kids were dropped off at school. I enjoyed it immensely. Yes to real food! Now let’s hope for no relapse.