Some months ago I slipped into a second hand bookshop while waiting for Richard who was in the barber. I think at the time we were in the midst of our food waste challenge so I was cooking strictly from the pantry and vegetable garden and was determined not to buy any food. There were however no rules in place regarding the buying of cookery books. In the time it took for Richard to have a very speedy grooming I managed to find and buy three cook books all of which were of the ‘cooking from the garden’ variety. I was delighted with them. Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes by Jeanne Kelley, Plum Gorgeous by Romney Steele and I’m afraid I just can’t remember what number three was, let alone find it. It might be buried under the mountains of paperwork waiting to be tamed into a tax return. Now there’s an incentive to get that done.

Blue Eggs and Yellow TomatoesThis morning when I was looking for inspiration for my weekend ritual of making something for Scarlet’s creative challenge while at the same time treating my family to a little surprise, I reached for Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes and idly flipped through it with no real expectations. I knew I had to make two things: a nice healthy (carb free) breakfast for Richard preferably using things from the garden, maybe a variation on last week’s frittata, and something muffin-like and way more indulgent for the kids using only ingredients we had on hand.

Two recipes jumped out at me: ‘Bittersweet One Pot Brownies’ and a Swiss chard encased baked egg recipe. ‘Perfect’, I thought,’those recipes are just crying out to be made – with some modification.’

And into the garden I went. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the lovage growing so abundantly in its corner and its companion, the French tarragon. They did work rather well together last week. And then there were the spring onions in desperate need of picking.

Spring Onion Flower

That was the healthy/low carb diet option taken care of. Now I just needed to come up with something creative for the brownie. I rummaged around in the cupboard and found half a packet of blanched almonds and a jar of instant espresso powder bought for one of Nigella’s recipes. A nice start but what else? There was some left-over halva from last week. ‘Could that work in a Brownie?’ I wondered.

And so I ended up with Green Eggs and Halva, Almond, Mocha Brownies and a happy little family.

Halva Almond Mocha Brownie

Green Egg

Green Eggs

Ingredients

  •  olive oil and or butter for frying
  • 4 Swiss chard leaves
  • 6 large spring onions finely sliced (include some of the green part)
  • two stalks of lovage including the leaves, finely chopped
  • a very generous handful of tarragon, finely chopped
  • a heaped teaspoon of tomato jam
  • salt and pepper
  • feta cheese
  • 4 extra large free range eggs

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Butter four small ramekins.
  2. Cut the stalk out of the Swiss chard (keeping the leaves whole) and chop the stalk finely
  3. Fry the Swiss chard stalk, spring onions and lovage very gently in a generous amount of olive oil and butter until very soft.
  4. While frying the spring onion mixture lie the Swiss chard leaves on top of the mixture in the pan one at a time until just wilted. Set aside.
  5. Add the tarragon, salt, pepper and the tomato jam to the spring onion mix stirring until nicely mixed together.
  6. Line the ramekins with the Swiss chard leaves.
  7. Crumble a little feta into each ramekin, add a couple of spoons of the spring onion mix, crack an egg into each ramekin, spoon in some more of the spring onion mix and top with the remaining crumbled feta.
  8. Place on a baking tray and bake for 12 minutes or until the egg is just set.
  9. Turn out onto a plate and serve with a little fresh chopped chilli.

Halva, Almond, Mocha Brownies

Ingredients

  • 140 grams butter
  • 245 grams dark chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 170 grams sugar
  • 3 extra large free range eggs
  • seeds of half a vanilla pod
  • 115 g cake flour
  • 10 ml instant espresso powder
  • 50 g chopped roasted almonds ( I roasted them in the oven in the baking tray for ten minutes while mixing the batter)
  • 100 g sesame halva cut into 1cm cubes

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a 15 x 27 cm baking pan and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heavy pot over a very low heat stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
  3. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  5. Fold in the flour and espresso powder, and then gently fold in the almonds and halva.
  6. Pour into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook – you want the brownies to be moist inside.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan. Cut into squares.

 

Advertisements