Tag Archives: Easter

“Oeuf cocotte” : Savoury cream eggs with truffle paste and oil

I am very excited about sharing this recipe! Maybe it is its simplicity, or its taste combination, or maybe it is the fact we are approaching Easter but I feel really excited about posting this…

It was in a cold train station, very early one morning, that I tasted this dish and was instantly hooked! This little cream pot with a soft runny egg in the middle revived memories of the ham and egg “oeuf cocotte” I used to be served as a child – a comforting, protein-packed and tasty starter…

If you don’t want to splash on truffle oil or truffle paste, you can just replace it with chopped ham and a pinch of sweet paprika. Both versions work just as well but I had bought Truffle oil and Truffle paste from //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” target=”_blank”>Tartufaia Truffles  in Borough Market as a Christmas treat and a dash of both elevated a simple family dish to new heights of deliciousness!!! I prefer using duck eggs for this because there is more of it and they cook slower than hen ones so you are less likely to overdo them ; but any egg will do – just adjust the cooking time to the size.

Duck egg in truffle cream

Duck egg in truffle cream

Steams in 10 minutes

Steams in 10 minutes

Ingredients list: 

  • Duck egg
  • Crème fraîche, 1 large Tbsp
  • Truffle oil and/or shaved truffle, 1 tsp
  • Sea salt

Take an oven-proof small dish like a “ramequins” or dariole mould and put a large dollop of crême fraîche in it. Push the curved side of your spoon in to create a dip. Crack your duck egg inside the dip. Dribble some truffle oil and add some truffle shavings (or use some Tartuffaia truffle paste if you can). Truffles are an expensive treat but you only need a little oil or paste to release the most powerful aroma so it is worth making the effort.

Steam in an electric steamer or in a pan with a little water for under 10 minutes. Stop the cooking as soon as the yolk start to set. The white will set before the yolk does and so the result is a soft boiled egg in a dish!

Serve boiling hot with a small pinch of sea salt. Add some buttered “soldiers” on the side! This is regressive and blissful cooking…

For the ham and paprika version: Just chop some cooked ham over the cream and add a pinch of smoked paprika on the egg. Success is guaranteed!IMG_9007

Simnel cake- An Easter baking lesson

A Simnel cake is a traditional fruit cake baked without raising agent and decorated with marzipan, that is served for Easter around England. I had never had one- let alone baked one- but the prospect sounded good enough to try.

Ingredients list:

  • 175g butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  •   3 eggs
  • 225g plain flour
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 100g dates (chopped)
  • 425g mixed dried fruit (with or without peel)
  •  finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 450g marzipan

What to do:

Grease and line a 7″/18cm round cake tin. Cream butter and sugar until pale, beat in the eggs. Add the flour, cinnamon and lemon zest and fold in. Add the fruits and fold in, until the ingredients are well combined. Spoon half of the mixture into the cake tin.

Roll out half of the marzipan into a circle just smaller than the diameter of the cake tin (about 6.5″/17cm). Put this marzipan on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the rest of the mixture on top, and level the surface.

Bake at 150C for about 2.5 hours, until brown and firm to the touch. Cool in the tin and then turn out. Roll out the rest of the marzipan a cut out another circle, just bigger than the diameter of the cake. Spread a little warmed apricot jam over the top of the cake and stick the circle of marzipan on top.

My cake for Easter 2015

My cake for Easter 2015

Using the marzipan trimmings, make 11 small balls. Stick these on around the edge of the marzipan, using a dab of warmed apricot jam as ‘glue’.  Just before serving add chocolate eggs and Easter chicks on the top of the cake!

We made a Simnel cake during a session of the Healthy Cooking Club last week and it was decorated and instantly devoured by the crew! Here they are – with me in the chef hat!

Nigella’s moist chocolate cake

Nigella’s chocolate cake

Nigella Lawson has this recipe in her yummy mummy book “How to be a domestic goddess”- love the  title!- and I have adored this since I started making it because it is both light and strong and does not give you an overdose feeling even if you eat lots of it!
To emphasize the strength and lightness of the mix, I make it with twice as much chocolate and a third less sugar than the original but I particularly love the tangy taste left by the use of bicarbonate. It reminds me of a moist gingerbread…

Ingredients list:

  • Butter 225g
  • Muscovado sugar 260g
  • Eggs 2
  • Vanilla extract 1tsp
  • Dark chocolate 200g
  • Flour 200g
  • Bicarbonate of soda, 1 tsp
  • Boiling water 250mlPre-heat the oven to 190° C and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper. This cake mix will be very runny so this is pretty essential.
    Cream the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon then add the beaten eggs and vanilla. Melt the chocolate with a spoonful of water and add it to the mix. Measure the flour with the bicarbonate and add it in batches to the mix with the boiling water until you have them all well combined.

    Note that you can add some cinnamon and ginger to make it richer in spices but the moist Demerara usually usually does the job. A nice twist is also to present it with a cinnamon and ginger infused chocolate icing- more indulgent but totally worth it for a special party.

    Pour into the tin then bake at 190° for 30 minutes. Turn down the oven to 170 °and bake for another 15mn.

    Remove when the cake has raised but is still squidgy inside. It keeps well and like gingerbread is lovely the next day with a cup of tea – while the kids will be running around looking for their eggs under the wet bushes…

  • Happy Easter!