Posts tagged eggs

Pea, potato & haloumi frittatas

It’s a deadset crappy day outside today – which seems to happen a lot during school holidays! So we’re making the most of it by doing bugger-all. Miss F is reading on the couch. Mr M&P is fluffing about – a bit of reading, a bit of drawing evils guys with crossbows and a little bit of doing a lovely portrait of mummy.

My boobs aren't looking so great, but at least I'm smiling.

My boobs aren’t looking so great, but at least I’m smiling.

Thankfully my kids are pretty calm little people. They can handle a day of doing nothing – they relish it as much as I do. I’ve always thought that a bit of nothing time is essential for the spirit. Creative juices get to flow about, minds can wander over and around all sorts of random topics. Often we end these times recharged and ready for life. But I guess it is a chicken or egg thing – are my kids calm because I give them lots of calm times, or are we able to have calm times because they’re calm people? I can’t decide.

I can decide that these little frittatas have been a massive hit around VSHQ lately. Peas (my favourite vegie of ALL TIME) with haloumi flavour bombs, all padded out with potato making them almost Spanish omelette-like.

Back to my book.


Pea, potato & haloumi frittatas

These gluten-free little tasties are great hot, but also delicious cold, making them a great lunchbox item, too.

2 large potatoes, peeled, cubed into 1cm cubes
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
225g block haloumi cheese, in 5mm cubes
1 small carrot, peeled, grated
7 eggs, lightly whisked
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (not the powdered stuff)
3 tbsp fresh herbs (any combo of chives, mint, parsley is good), finely chopped
Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease a 12 hole muffin tin or line with paper cases.

Par cook the potato cubes by either steaming or microwaving them until barely tender. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine everything (complicated recipe, I know).

Divide between your muffin holes. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and puffy.

Serves with salad.

Makes 12.


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Where to shove a bunch of silverbeet

I’m always on the look out for healthy snacks for the kids. Since silverbeet is currently in season ($3 or less for a good bunch), it seemed like a good idea to see what I could whip up with it.

As with all my recipes, I’m keen to incorporate the vegetables with as little manipulating as possible, so rather than blanching the leaves, I chop them finely instead, give them a light saute with oil and soy sauce, then I mix through the eggs and it’s ready for a quick bake. The result is like a crustless quiche – gluten free and vegetarian.

The first time I made this recipe it seemed entirely UNLIKELY that the kids would have anything to do with this ugly, green thing. BUT I was wrong. Feeding it to them as a starter (cashing in on their pre-dinner hunger), they gave this a happy thumbs up and came back for more.

Just goes to show that it’s always worth giving things a go – you never can 100% predict what the kids will & won’t like.


Silverbeet eggy bites (gluten free)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch silver beet. Washed well.
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tbsp soy sauce (use a GF soy sauce if you need)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
6 eggs
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
8-10 baby bocconcini

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a loaf tin with baking paper. Set aside.

Use a large knife to trim the silver beet leaves off the stalks. Discard the stalks, stack the leaves and start hacking away until it is all finely shredded/chopped.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil then carefully place in the silver beet. It will sizzle and shrink. Use tongs to gently turn it over it so that it wilts evenly for a few minutes before sprinkling over the soy sauce. Stir through for another minute then set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk the mustard and eggs. Stir through the grated cheese and mix in the cooked spinach. Transfer contents into your tin. Spread evenly and push the bocconcinis into the mixture so the tops are just poking out.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Serves 2 adults & 2 kids as lunch or part of a larger meal (it’s nice with salad & bread – although that kind of kills the GF vibe, doesn’t it!).


Other ways to cook with spinach or silver beet?

Try out my vegetarian lasagne, or these cute little filo cheese & spinach sticks.



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Dad’s turn to slack off (and be feted)

Back in May, I was quite vocal about what it was that I was looking for in my Mother’s Day. Now, as September dawns, it pains me to admit that it’s now Dad’s turn to pop the feet up, be reminded of his awesomeness and generally made to feel as though he’s king of his domain (one day won’t hurt us, will it?)

So possibly you’ve got a big brunch planned. And of course there’ll be bacon, a bit more bacon. Maybe a few chippolatas and a bit more bacon. To go with it, chuck together this brunch frittata. The best bit of it is that you can actually make it up the night before, store it in the fridge and then bake it in time for when your family descends the next morning. Handy!

See ladies, quietly, I’m still looking out for us, even though it’s not exactly our turn.

Impressive and easy - my favourite combo.

Impressive and easy – my favourite combo.

Make-ahead Brunch Frittata

2 potatoes
4 spring onions, finely sliced (use some of the green bits too)
½ punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
6 mushrooms, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 cup bread cut into a 1cm dice (this is a great way to use up day old sourdough)
1½ cups grated cheese
5 eggs
½ cup milk
Salt and pepper

Cook the potatoes. You could bake them, boil, steam or microwave them until just tender (I use the microwave as I find it the quickest and easiest way).

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line an 18x28cm slice tin with baking paper.

Once cool enough to handle, peel away the potato skins and chop into a rough dice. Add to a large mixing bowl.

Tip in the vegies, bread and cheese. Combine well.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk. Season well. Pour onto the vegies and mix. Tip the mixture into your slice tin and fiddle bits around so that the mix is evenly distributed and firmly packed. Leave a few cherry tomatoes on top for presentation.

Bake for 40 minutes until set and golden on top.

Cut into 8 brunch-sized slices. Serve alone or with chipolatas and bacon.

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June giveaway (and why I love bread)

Wasn’t there a lot of pressure a while back to give up bread? I was still working in magazine-land at the time and naught a model nor stylist nor photographer would DARE have it pass their lips (but then joyously they discovered QUINOA and were saved from the evil rampaging of processed carbs).

Me? I’ve always loved bread and have never had issues with it. A warm crusty baguette is pretty much as good as life gets. Sourdough downright seduces me and I find it IMPOSSIBLE to walk through Townhall station without grabbing a Luneburger loaf.

In the burbs I’ve always been happy with Bakers Delight bread, particularly the cape seed and the hi-fibre, low-GI white, which is a great option for the kids. So when they got in touch and asked to team up I was more than happy. You can see my recipes on their website here

In return, they’ve given me a bunch of prizes for my June giveaway. Up for grabs are two vouchers for $40 each and 5 kids merchandise packs which include a ruler, pencil case, pencils & lunch bag.

To enter you must be in Australia and you must be a Vegie Smugglers subscriber. Check out the Bakers Delight website and then comment below about which of their products is your favourite and what you like to do with it (stay nice!).

I’ll start… this is what I do with a slice of low-GI white…

Bread tart cases.

Bread tart cases.

Easy egg tarts

Cut a big round of bread from a slice, push it into a greased muffin tin, spray with oil and grill until a bit golden. Then pop in some prosciutto and cherry tomato before cracking in an egg (in a smaller muffin hole, you won’t fit all the egg-white). Then bake until set to your liking and sprinkle over salt, pepper, parmesan and parsley.

And there you have it, a gorgeous, quite posh looking egg tart, done with the minimum of fuss. Your turn…


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ON THE SEVENTH DAY (A serious case of the ‘can’t be bothered’s)

Vegie Smugglers baked eggs

A dinner to cook when you're not cooking dinner.

A while back I surveyed a few of you to find out more about your cooking habits. Admittedly, it was probably completed by those of you who enjoy being in the kitchen (so is statistically a total sham), but I thought it was interesting to see how often each week you make dinner.

Not a single family reported that they cook every night of the week. Most reported cooking (in some semblance) 6 nights with a takeaway on the 7th (which was usually pizza).

I think this is an outstanding effort! Well done all of you who manage to put a homemade meal on the table 6 nights a week!

This fits the pattern at my place. ON THE SEVENTH DAY I have no motivation or intention to cook anything. For us, that night is Friday night. At about 4pm I come down with the most severe case of ‘I’ve-been-cooking-all-week-and-all-I-will-reach-for-from-the-fridge-now-is-wine’ and the children’s hunger becomes extremely uninteresting to me.

But the pesky little rascals still need to be fed.

Seeing as we submitted to the mega-mortgage last year, any decent takeaway is a bit too $$$ for the budget (and despite my temporarily uninspired state, I still can’t face giving them the nasty takeaway options on a regular basis) so I opt for the cheap and cheerful ‘cooking when you’re not cooking’ options which can be made in 10 minutes from start to clean up.

High on the list is toasties. Multigrain bread, cheese, avocado, a bit of whatever vaguely slimy cold meat is left from the week and I’ll even sneak in a bit of tomato.

Muffin ‘pizzas’ are popular too, and even a bowl of baked beans/spaghetti combo with toast soldiers.

But ever since our trip to the country, but kids are HUGE fans of eggs. I have embraced them like a new best friend.

So pretty they are, full of protein, minerals and iron (and cholesterol – but kids don’t need to worry about that). And they’re so easy to cook. Boiled with soldiers is always a hit, and when I’m feeling a bit fancy, I roll out these…

Ham & egg yummies

2 slices ham, chopped
4–8 cherry tomatoes
100g roasted capsicums and/or zucchini
4 eggs
Handful of grated cheese
Parsley leaves

Divide the ham, tomatoes and capsicum between four shallow ovenproof dishes. Crack over the egg (whisked or whole is up to you). Scatter with cheese and black pepper.

Preheat grill to medium and cook for 3–4 minutes until the egg is set. Serve with parsley and fresh bread or toast soldiers.


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A quick clafoutis

Right. Easter this weekend, so we need a recipe with eggs. Avoiding all the usual culprits, I thought a clafoutis would be good – a nice opportunity to get one last pleasure from plum season. They’ve been one bright spot in a pretty drab year for summer fruit.

I was photographing this for the new cookbook, but they do sink FAST, meaning that I couldn’t get a good enough shot, so let’s keep this recipe as a WEB EXCLUSIVE. Awesome.

Being lactose intolerant I rarely cook with cream. My body can handle a bit of cheese here and there and I always just substitute soy milk without any dramas, but cream is a challenge and since my last pregnancy my body has evolved and it’s now a total no-go zone. But in the supermarket I saw a lactose-free cream (in the long-life section), and thought this recipe was a good chance to give it a go… so far so good. Combined with a lacteeze and I might be back on my way to dessert heaven!

Doesn't this look gorgeous? But wait, there's more...

Plum Clafoutis

These quantities are for the small dish pictured. Double the mixture for a large, family-sized flan dish

Butter for greasing
3-4 tbsp caster sugar
3 plums, quartered
2 eggs
2 tbsp plain flour
1/3 cup milk (soy is fine)
1/3 cup cream
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 190C.

Grease an oven-proof shallow dish. Sprinkle and teaspoon of the sugar over the base. Place the plum pieces around evenly.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy (a minute or until your arm is too tired to bother any further), add the sugar and keep whisking and combine in the flour, milk and cream. Also pop in the vanilla and zest.

Pour over the plums and bake for 30 minutes or so until golden and firm. Serve with ice cream.

Eggs... cream... more!

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What Juanita eats when she’s not reading the news…

With the Vegie Smugglers cookbook so fresh off the presses, I’m still a bit chuffed whenever I receive positive feedback about it. Setting up as an independent publisher of quality publications has not been easy. I love it when people tell me how nice the stock is, how gorgeous the photos are etc etc. That’s all great, but what I REALLY want to know is how are the recipes working in your household?

A smattering of copies have made their way around town, and one person who instantly sprang to mind to send one to was Juanita Phillips, broadcaster and author of A Pressure Cooker Saved My Life. She seems like a nice lady. And a busy one. With small kids to boot.

And apparently she is nice, since she emailed me straight away – a chatty note about the food battles at her house (food boredom, with a small and over-used collection of dinners on high rotation). I was VERY chuffed when she said…

“I love your book! I’m very very excited about it. It looks gorgeous but more importantly the recipes are terrific. I made the salmon pancakes on Sunday night and the only sound at the table was quiet scoffing as every last pancake was eaten.”

She plans to work her way through the book AND tell all her friends about it. Awwwww she IS a REALLY nice lady. So in tribute, I’m renaming the Salmon Pikelets after her…

Salmon Pikelets

The pikelet that more journalists trust.

Juanita’s salmon pikelets

These little miracles are delicious fresh, reheated or from the freezer. The smaller size makes them perfect for toddlers seeking a bit of feeding independence.

2/3 cup self-raising flour
6 eggs
1/3 cup milk
400g can red or pink salmon, drained, flaked
2 cubes frozen spinach portions, thawed (or ½ cup fresh English spinach, finely shredded)
1 small red onion, finely diced
125g can corn kernels, drained
2 tbsp chopped chives or coriander (optional)
Black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and milk and whisk out any lumps. Use your hands to crumble in the salmon (crushing up any bones), then stir through the spinach, onion, corn and herbs (if using) until evenly combined. Season with pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add 1-2 tbsp of batter to form pikelets 5-6cm wide. Cook for 2-3 minutes then use a spatula to turn over carefully. Flatten with the spatula and cook for another couple of minutes until golden brown on both sides. Repeat in batches with remaining batter.

Serve with green beans and lemon wedges.


STORAGE Place cooked pikelets on a plate for 10 minutes to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Reheat in the frying pan, oven or microwave.

FOR THE ADULTS Serve these on a bed of rocket and smother them with sweet chilli sauce and a squeeze of lemon.

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You know it makes sense…

There’s been sadness in my family lately with the passing of our matriarch. At 96, the death of Mollie was not unexpected, but sad nonetheless and a reminder of what does actually happen at the end of these crazy lives we lead.

We watched her spend a couple of months in and out of hospital, growing frail, then drifting away from us before dying. I watched a 96-year-old woman say goodbye to her 76-year-old son and saw the twinkle of mummy-love still glistening in her eye. It was a life affirming moment.

Sometimes I can’t wait for this stage of parenting small children to be over. Other days I’m almost distraught at how quickly it’s all flying by. But no matter how ephemeral this stage of mothering is, the indulgent love lasts a lifetime and I will adore my girl and my boy forever. They will be able to grow old and experienced and frail themselves and still they will be my joy.

Clearing out Granny’s small apartment, we were surprised by the amount of nostalgia. The cups we’d drunk from as kids, the paintings we’d looked at. The patterns from a lifetime of the domestic arts that I’m salvaging in the hope that one day I’ll have the skills to use them.

Tucked away on a kitchen shelf was a pure gem. Not Granny’s, but my great-grandma’s copy of “The Commonsense Cookery Book”. A 1914 first edition of the classic that has sold over a million copies. In terrible condition, with newspaper clippings stuck into spare pages. It’s a fantastic piece of family and social history.

I brought it home and realised that I also have a copy. A shiny, barely-flicked through one that I bought last year.

I’m drawn to the simplicity of heirloom recipes. I love the way they’re written. Back in the days when nothing needed explanation and things barely needed measurement. When women at home didn’t need to have ‘cream the butter and sugar’ explained to them. We’re a pretty hopeless, unskilled lot these days.

My copy and a 1914 edition of The Commonsense Cookery Book

Old but new, how the circle of life reveals itself in happy ways

Looking through my two matching copies is like some strange circle of life and an instant glimpse of the changes to motherhood and wifery over the last century. The new shiney copy isn’t the same as the original, it’s been revised and updated. What’s been left out? Well the whole chapter on “Invalid’s and children’s cookery”, with recipes for junket, egg flip (with sherry) and beef tea custard.

So perhaps some things are best in the past. But I think next time one of my kids is sick, I might be reaching for this simple piece of bliss…

(text from the 1914 edition of The Commonsense Cookery Book”)

Sweet Omelette

3 eggs
1 teaspoon water
1 oz. sugar (2 level tablespoons)

1. Take yolks of 2 eggs and whites of 3 eggs.
2. Boil water and sugar.
3. Add it to the yolks.
4. Beat whites stiffly.
5. Have a hot plate ready.
6. Have some hot jam also.
7. Melt the butter in an omelette pan.
8. Add the yolks to the whites.
9. Mix well but lightly.
10. Pour into the pan.
11. Cook gently and shake occasionally till set.
12. When coloured slightly underneath, brown the top by placing in the oven or under the griller.
13. Lie it on to the hot dish.
14. Spread heated jam on one half.
15. Fold the other half over.
16. Serve at once.

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