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Turkish eggs

I  have been worrying a bit recently that the book of this blog, The Bad Cook (which is out TODAY, purchasable here)*, is going to be a disappointment.

This hadn’t crossed my mind until very recently – until recently I had always flicked through it sniggering to myself and going “This is great!!! Definitely worth £1.99.” But now I’m not so sure.

“Does it represent value to my readers?” I think as I sit with a cookbook on my lap, staring out of the window and trying not to pick at my cuticles because it drives my husband nuts.

So I have decided today to alert you to a recipe, which I would pay someone £1.99 to tell me about, which will assuage my feelings of fraudulence.

It is for a turkish eggs thing that Peter Gordon does at his restaurant brasserie cafe thing Les Providores in Marylebone High Street. It is NOT in fusion (sic), which is his cookbook, so I had to source the recipe off a New Zealand website, convert all the measurements, try it out and photograph it.

I’m sure that’s worth £1.99.

So these turkish eggs are poached eggs with yoghurt and a chilli butter. I understand if you think that yoghurt and eggs together sounds gross but I promise it isn’t. This is an incredibly delicious, almost addictive taste and it is very easy to put together for a light supper for you and someone you love. Or just for you alone.

Do not worry if you aren’t brilliant at poaching eggs – I am absolutely hopeless and mine came out just about okay.

So here we go – turkish eggs for 2

2 eggs – the fresher they are, the easier they will be to poach
200g greek yoghurt
1 tbsp olive oil
large pinch of chilli flakes
70g butter
some chopped parsley if you have it

NB – you will notice that there is no salt specified in this recipe. It is not an accident. You can, of course, add as much salt and pepper as you think this needs but personally, I think the lack of salt, the slight blandness, is a really important aspect to this – I don’t think the flavours need it. But you must do whatever you like.

1 In a bowl whisk together the yoghurt and olive oil. It is this whisking and whipping of the yoghurt that makes it so delicious, in my view. You CAN add here a small scraping of crushed garlic, but I don’t think it’s neccessary.

2 In a small pan melt the butter gently until it takes on a very pale brown colour – this takes about 10 mins over a low heat. Don’t be tempted to razz it hot otherwise it will burn. Once it looks to you like it has taken on some colour, add the chilli flakes and swirl around in the butter. Put to one side.

3 Now poach your eggs in some simmering water for 3-4 mins. If you add 100ml white vinegar to the water it should in theory help the process.

4 To assemble, divide the yoghurt between two bowls, then drop an egg on top, pour over the chilli butter and scatter with parsley.

We ate this with toasted sourdough, as they do in Les Providores, but I think this would also be terrific with any sort of flatbread or pitta.

* for Amazon refuseniks the book is also available from other sources:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/bad-cook/id580194993?mt=11

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Cook-ebook/dp/B00ALKTWYY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363857002&sr=8-1&keywords=esther+walker+bad+cook

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Esther_Walker_Bad_Cook?id=wGTySqj1u-wC&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImJvb2std0dUeVNxajF1LXdDIl0.

THANK you if you bought it. You don’t have to read it, I promise I won’t corner you and ask you what you thought next time I see you.

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Dairy-free beef stroganoff

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  • Serves: 4

  • Prep time: 10 mins

  • Cooking time: 15 mins

  • Total time: 25 mins

  • Skill level: Easy peasy

  • Costs: Mid-price

Traditionally beef stroganoff is made with soured cream but in this dairy-free beef stroganoff we’ve used a non-dairy alternative to cream (there are several available made from oats or soya) and added a little lemon juice to give the slight sharpness of soured cream. Beef stroganoff is a quick dish to make using tender cuts of beef such as rump or sirloin steak. However to cut the cost you can use lean pork steaks instead and even lambs liver cut into strips is very tasty cooked this way. Served with boiled rice and a crisp green salad it makes a delicious speedy meal.

Ingredients

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 500g rump or sirloin steak, cut into strips
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 175g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 250ml dairy-free oat or soya cream substitute
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1tsp paprika
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Rice, to serve

That’s goodtoknow

For vegetarians omit the beef steak and serve the mushroom sauce with Quorn peppered steaks.

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the strips of steak and fry over a high heat for 2 mins until browned. Remove from the pan with slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Reduce the heat, add the onion and cook for 3-4 mins until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 mins, stirring occasionally. Pour in the cream and add the tomato puree, mustard and paprika. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and heat, stirring, until hot but not boiling.
  3. Return the beef to the pan and simmer for 2 mins to heat through. Season with lemon juice to taste and add a little boiling water from the kettle if the sauce is too thick. Serve with rice.

By Nichola Palmer

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Salmon en Croute

I had salmon en croute once at someone’s house and it was absolutely disgusting.

The cook had failed to use any salt, because they are the sort of person who thinks that any salt kills you stone dead within weeks. My view is that you can either use a decent amount of salt in your cooking and run the extremely tiny risk of it doing you some damage, or you can use no salt and die of a) starvation b) boredom. And get some mean leg cramps in the night.

But there’s no reason why salmon en croute shouldn’t be a delicious thing. It’s wrapped in pastry!! I mentally file this kind of thing under my “finishing school” category of cooking. Quiches and souffles are also filed under this category. Baked bone marrow and suet puddings are filed under “New British”, curries and stir-fries go under “student”, lemon meringue pie, soup, and devilled kidneys go under “yuk” and so on.

I consulted the internet for a good way to do this and came across something by Gordon Ramsay. I’m normally shy of things by Gordon Ramsay or Gary Rhodes or anyone who has spent more of their waking hours in a kitchen than they have outside; they make all sorts of insane assumptions about the domestic cook, like that they will have a fish kettle, or a sugar thermometer, or that they are cooking for 80 people.

But this looked really quite straightforward. And it was! And it was also delicious – I really recommend it. It looks fantastically fiddly and impressive but it was really very easy. It also has the tremendous advantage that you can do all of it in advance and then just shove it in the oven 1/2 an hour before you want to eat.

It also doesn’t create a lot of mess and it doesn’t stink your house out while cooking. So it’s no wonder really that it was served at every dinner party during the 70s and 80s country-wide. So out, it’s got to come back in soon. I say bring it back now.

Roughly Gordon Ramsay’s Salmon en Croute
Serves 4 (with something on the side)

2 salmon fillets – if you can get the salmon from a fish counter or fishmonger who can take the skin off, otherwise you are going to have to do it yourself and you will most likely make a huge buggery mess of it. Trust me, I have a shimmering range of the most expensive fish-skinning knives available for purchase legally and I can’t do it nicely

Small bunch of dill
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard, yes I know this sounds weird but it works
about 40g butter at room temperature (this is important so just be patient with it)
salt and pepper
1 packet all-butter puff pastry from jus-roll (not just the puff, in the green packet, but the all-butter puff, in the gold packet)
1 egg, beaten, in a small bowl

Preheat the oven to 200C

1 Make a herb butter by smooshing together about 2 tbsps of chopped dill with a large pinch of salt, about 7 twists of the pepper grinder and the butter.

2 Dry the salmon fillets well with kitchen paper to help the butter stick and then paste one upturned curvy fillet side with the herb butter and the other upturned curvy fillet side with the mustard. Then fit these fillets together to make a reasonably even shape – like a yin yang sign. Put this to one side.

3 Roll out your pastry to a thickness of a £1 coin. This is thinner than you think it is, so maybe just have a quick check. Put the salmon in the middle of the pastry. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and then fold the sides up over the salmon like you’re wrapping a present (have flashback here to most awful Christmas present received). Don’t overlap the two long ends of pastry too much otherwise you’ll have a great ridge of pastry down the middle of the salmon, which will not look chic.

4 Trim the sides and ends as much as you need to and then tuck the ends in under the salmon. Roll your parcel over so the seam is underneath and place on a greased or non-stick baking tray. Mark three slits diagnoally across the back of the bundle to let steam escape.

5 Brush the whole thing over with more beaten egg and then sprinkle with sea salt and more pepper for good measure.

6 Bake in the middle of your oven for 35 mins. The recipe said 20-25 mins but it was still cool in the centre after that time and after 35 mins it wasn’t overcooked or burnt – and I’ve got a mega mental fan oven that razzes the living shit out of everything – so you ought to be okay.

And that’s it! When it comes out, slice on the diagonal and serve with something nice. A salad maybe, if that’s not the most boring thing I’ve ever said.

I would say here that obviously this is nice because it’s wrapped in pastry – how could it not be? But I know for a fact that pastry can only do so much.

 

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