Eggstra! Eggstra! Read all about it!

I’ve just got some new hens – and they are absolutely loving scratching and running around our old orchard area. Its lovely to see them – even though they also think they should be scratching up the actual garden and creating great puddles of dry leaves on the paths. In return for our care they are laying really well so, naturally, I have started looking at what to do with the eggs!

Eggs are amazing – each a little powerhouse of food just waiting to be used! You can boil, fry, poach, and scramble them; make an omelette and French toast – and nearly every baking recipe uses them!

As eggs are so basic, I’m obviously not going to be just giving you any recipes you already know – so here are just a few “out of your comfort zone” ones. I do hope you will give one a try!

Green Shakshuka – from the Middle East

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 leek
  • 1/2 bag of spinach
  • 125g frozen peas
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 pack of parsley
  • 1/2 pack coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 pack of mint, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 dessertspoon harissa paste – or to taste 
  • natural yogurt
  • pitta bread to serve

Heat the oil in a wide, shallow frying pan over a medium heat. Add the leeks with a pinch of salt and cook for 4 mins until softened. Add handfuls of spinach to the pan, stirring until wilted. Stir in the peas, garlic, cumin, herbs and some seasoning. Cook for a few mins until it smells fragrant, then create 2 gaps and crack an egg into each. Cover and cook for 10 mins or until the whites are set but the yolks are runny – they will carry on cooking slightly as you take them to the table. Season the eggs with flaky sea salt, dollop spoonfuls of the yogurt interspersed with the harissa, and scatter over a few mint leaves.

Baked Eggs with potatoes, mushrooms and cheese

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Put the potatoes in a pan of water, bring to the boil, cook for 5 mins, then drain. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Cook the potatoes, mushrooms and garlic for 5-8 mins to soften the mushrooms and brown the edges of the potatoes. Stir in half the thyme and cook for 1 min more.Spoon the potato mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle with the cheese and the remaining thyme. Make holes in the mixture and break in 4 eggs. Bake in the oven for 12-15 mins until the eggs are set and the cheese has melted

Thai Eggs

Put the eggs into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Time 8 mins from boiling. Cool under running water, then peel. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, fish sauce and tamarind in a pan. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, skimming the top if you need to. Check the taste, it should be sweet and sour. Adjust with sugar, fish sauce or tamarind if you need to. Meanwhile, heat a 5cm depth of oil in a wok or large frying pan. Once shimmering, add the shallots, garlic and chillies. Fry for 1 min or until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper. Can be done a few hrs ahead. Fry the eggs for 3-4 mins or until the outsides take on tinges of golden brown. Remove from oil and drain. To serve, quarter the eggs and place in a serving dish. In a separate bowl, combine the coriander with the crisp chilli, garlic and shallots. Mix well. Pour the sauce and coriander mix over the eggs and serve.

You might like to know that the real name for this dish is Son-in-Law eggs. The story goes the Thai street food staple was cooked by a mother who was less than happy with how her daughter was being treated by her son-in-law. So, she serves him the deep-fried eggs to let him know that if he’s not careful, his jewels are next in the frying line!

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