Spinach and butter bean baked eggs with feta and preserved lemon


 
spinach and butter bean baked eggs with feta and preserved lemon
spinach and butter bean baked eggs with feta and preserved lemon
spinach and butter bean baked eggs with feta and preserved lemon
spinach and butter bean baked eggs with feta and preserved lemon
spinach and butter bean baked eggs with feta and preserved lemon
spinach and butter bean baked eggs with feta and preserved lemon
spinach and butter bean baked eggs with feta and preserved lemon
spinach and butter bean baked eggs with feta and preserved lemon

I had one of those "Far out, I am SO lucky to be living in NYC" moments this morning. I don't have them all too often, particularly when it's hot and sweaty and smells like 10 million people's rubbish (literally). But this morning Rich and I got up early, and got to the greenmarket just as it was opening. The stalls were stacked to overflowing with fresh vegetables - beautiful carrots and radishes, leafy greens, huge containers of herbs, boxes and boxes of just-picked strawberries and cherries, bread pulled out of the oven only a few hours ago. I love to do a lap of the market before I begin buying things, just to make sure I know exactly what was on offer, and this morning I caught myself in awe of just how beautiful this was - an amazing farmer's market in the middle of this crazy city. We have access to fresh vegetables locally in New Zealand, but nothing on this scale. There's just something about it that blows my mind on the regular. I love heading in just as it's opening, to pick through and see what's on offer. 

Everything seems to have come into season all at once. At first it was rhubarb, then slowly strawberries showed up, and in the last week or two, it's suddenly become summer. And it's the best. Our CSA share is full of amazing vegetables, and coupled with the farmers market, I think we have a summer full of delicious veggie-loaded meals ahead of us. I've also slowly gotten the hang of making homemade sourdough, which has meant loads of toast. 

One of my favourite ways to pack heaps of veggies into a meal is to cook them down, and either toss them with pasta, or crack some eggs on top and throw them the oven. I spied a spinach and chard baked eggs Ottolenghi posted recently, and couldn't stop thinking about them, so when loads of spinach showed up in our CSA share, I knew what had to be done! 

This dish is insanely versatile - a base of garlic and onions is cooked down, then a can of butter beans is tossed in the fragrant mixture, so that they soak up all of the flavour and turn creamy. Then, more spinach than you think will fit into the skillet is added, before eggs are cracked into little wells in the mixture. The whole thing is then baked in the oven until the yolks are just set. It is then finished off with a good dose of feta, and some slivers of preserved lemon. We usually eat dishes like this straight out of the skillet, with a side of crusty bread. It makes a perfect, well rounded meal, regardless what time of the day you are eating it. 

A few wee notes:

  • This is entirely flexible - use the spinach mixture as a base, and add whatever you like to it! We went with preserved lemon and feta (we used a marinated sheep and goats milk one), but also tried it with halloumi and it was just as good.
  • The eggs will continue to cook once you pull them out of the oven, so pull them out when the whites are just set and the yolks are still runny. If anything, you can always pop them back in for a minute or so to firm them up a little more
  • Use a skillet or frying pan that can go on the stove and in the oven. Alternatively, fry up the spinach mixture, then transfer to an oven proof dish to bake.
  • This can be easily scaled for more people, or you can also use a different number of eggs if you are catering for different appetites.
 

 

Spinach and butter bean baked eggs with feta and preserved lemon
- Serves 2-3 people -

4 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt to season
1 can butter beans, drained and rinsed
350g (12oz) spinach, rinsed and chopped roughly (Approx 2 large bunches)
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes, plus more to taste depending on heat preference
4 eggs
100g (3 1/2 oz) feta, crumbled
1/2 a preserved lemon, sliced into thin strips (optional)
Crusty bread to serve

 

- PROCESS -

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. In an ovenproof skillet, or heavy bottomed frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and pinch of salt, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until translucent. Add the beans and cook for a further 2 minutes, tossing inthe pan to stir rather than mixing with a spatula to avoid breaking up the beans

Add the spinach a quarter at a time, adding 2 tbsp water with each batch. Allow the spinach to wilt down, stirring gently, before adding the next batch. Stir in the chilli flakes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. 

Make four wells in the mixture, and crack an egg into each well. Place into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the egg whites are only just set. Remove from the oven, and stand for 10 minutes before serving. 

Crumble over the feta, and add the preserved lemon over the eggs. Serve with crusty bread. 

spinach and butter bean baked eggs with feta and preserved lemon

Gluten free chocolate chestnut waffles


 
Gluten free chocolate chestnut waffles with coconut yoghurt and maple syrup
Gluten free chocolate chestnut waffles with coconut yoghurt and maple syrup
Gluten free chocolate chestnut waffles with coconut yoghurt and maple syrup
Gluten free chocolate chestnut waffles with coconut yoghurt and maple syrup
Gluten free chocolate chestnut waffles with coconut yoghurt and maple syrup
Gluten free chocolate chestnut waffles with coconut yoghurt and maple syrup
Gluten free chocolate chestnut waffles with coconut yoghurt and maple syrup

There's something amazing about cooking with someone else in their kitchen. Working together on a recipe, swapping notes, throwing ideas around, styling, shooting, eating. It's one of my favourite things. My NYC Mum Jill and I do it fairly often, and, if I may say so myself, we often manage to come up with some pretty epic creations. Jill makes some of the best food I have ever tasted. Her home is so welcoming, her kitchen is beautiful, there's cats to snuggle and a puppy to play with, and it's just the perfect place to spend a day. We always have the best time completely destroying her kitchen.

The most recent kitchen adventure we set out to recreate an amazing chocolate chestnut waffle that we tried while we were breakfasting with some friends of ours at De Maria. The waffle was rich and chocolatey, and studded with little soft pieces of chestnut. We ordered one for the table, and when it arrived, we all abandoned our orders and totally destroyed it. We had no choice but to recreate it. 

And my goodness, did we recreate it. We adapted a fairly standard waffle mixture, subbing the flour for buckwheat flour, chestnut flour and a 1:1 gluten free baking mix to keep it gluten free. Chopped roasted chestnuts and dark chocolate were stirred in just before it went into the waffle iron. The waffle that came out somehow managed to be light but dense at the same time, fudgy from the chocolate, and earthy and nutty from the buckwheat and chestnut flours. We paired it with maple syrup and super rich coconut yoghurt. It was hands down one of the best waffles I have ever eaten, and I can't wait to recreate it again.

This would be perfect for breakfast or dessert. You can serve it with whatever you would like - it would be amazing with ice-cream and fruit, or a softly whipped cream and chocolate sauce. My favourite thing about this recipe is that it is a little play on your traditional waffle - the flavour profile is rich, and keeps you coming back for more.

A few wee notes:

  • The recipe uses both chestnut flour and roasted chestnuts. These should be available in supermarkets such as wholefoods, or you can get them on amazon.
  • The quantity that is made depends on your waffle maker - Jill has a waffle maker that makes square waffles, while mine makes slightly larger round waffles. You will need to have a play around with how much mixture you need depending on the machine that you are using and whether you would like your waffles to be uniformly shaped, or a little more rustic like ours were. We used a smaller amount of mixture so that they didn't spread right to the sides of the maker.
  • We used a 1:1 or cup for cup gluten free flour to keep these gluten free, but if that isn't important to you, all-purpose flour will work perfectly.
  • To make your own buttermilk, add 1 tsp acid (apple cider vinegar, white vinegar or lemon juice) per cup of whole milk.
 

 

Gluten free chocolate chestnut waffles
- Makes approx 8-10 waffles, depending on the size of your waffle maker -

1/2 cup (50g) chestnut flour
1/2 cup (60g) buckwheat flour
1 cup (120g) 1:1 gluten free flour
1/2 cup (60g) dutch cocoa powder
1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar or coconut sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups (480ml) buttermilk
1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) melted butter
1 cup roasted chestnuts, chopped
200g (7oz) high quality dark chocolate, chopped finely
Coconut yoghurt and maple syrup to serve (optional)

- PROCESS -

Preheat your waffle maker. 

In a large bowl, sift together the chestnut flour, buckwheat flour, gluten free flour, cocoa, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir together, and create a well in the middle. 

Whisk the egg yolks and vanilla into the buttermilk. Add to the dry ingredients, along with the melted butter. Stir until just combined. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped egg whites into the waffle mixture until just combined. Carefully stir through the chopped chocolate and chestnuts.

Spray waffle maker lightly with cooking spray or brush with oil. Cook the mixture in the waffle maker until cooked through - cooking time varies depending on your machine.

Serve with coconut yoghurt and maple syrup.

Gluten free chocolate chestnut waffles with coconut yoghurt and maple syrup

Blackcurrant Smoothie Bowl


 

Ok. I'm doing it. I'm jumping on the Smoothie bowl train. We have been eating these for a  year or so now, I just have never gotten around to sharing the recipe! For those who are new to the idea of a smoothie bowl - it's just a slightly thicker smoothie in a bowl, with toppings. And it's the best. Not just because it's an excellent excuse to eat heaps of peanut butter, but it's an awesome way to switch up the breakfast situation if you are getting tired of a regular smoothie. Eating it out of a bowl feels so much more exciting. Maybe that's just me.  It's also a really good way of making sure you get a really good nutritious start to your day - you can load up the bowl with berries, seeds and nuts, which I find really help to keep me full. 

I like going with the same base every time for the bowl, and then switching up the toppings. For this recipe I use greek yogurt. If you were wanting to keep it vegan, sub in an extra half a banana, or use coconut yoghurt. I also tend to use homemade almond milk - you can find a recipe for it here. Feel free to also use any other milk, dairy or non-dairy (almond is just what I have on hand most often).

Top this with whatever you would like! I generally top it with lines of coconut, chia, hemp seeds and cacao, and then add in some peanut butter. It is also amazing with granola. For this bowl, I used small cookie cutters to cut out shapes from fruit, which would be perfect for kids (or adults!).

This smoothie bowl in particular is jazzed up with something a little special! I have used Sujon Blackcurrant powder as a little addition. Sujon is a family-run company from my hometown back in New Zealand. Not only is it run by a lovely family, they have some incredible products. I worked there during the summer of my University holidays, packing frozen fruit, and blast freezing boysenberries and blackcurrants during the season.

I have been using this powder myself for a few years now, and I love it. It is made by freeze-drying and crushing blackcurrants. Approximately 7kg of berries go into producing 1kg of the powder, which means that all the beneficial properties (antioxidants, flavonoids, all those good things) of blackcurrants are hugely concentrated. It also does AMAZING things for muscle recovery. A teaspoon of powder, either in a smoothie or smoothie bowl, or just stirred into a glass of water, helps hugely with muscle repair and recovery, and the removal of lactic acid via vasodilation of blood cells. And it works. There has been a huge amount of research done on blackcurrants as the next superfood. If you want some hard science, you can check it here and here! I can tell you from personal experience - this stuff is the best. AND they ship internationally for free! Trust me on this one. You want to try this. 

And so, I would love to share it with you! Sujon is very generously giving away two prize packs - each consisting of a 180g package of powder, and a container of blackcurrant powder capsules, which are a newer product, perfect for those who prefer to take things in pill form. All you have to do is make sure that you are following both myself and Sujon on Instagram, and then leave a comment below telling me your favourite smoothie flavours! Make sure you mention your instagram name in the comment too. Competition is open worldwide, and closes at midnight on Sunday the 9th of April, at midnight Eastern Standard Time. 

 

 

Blackcurrant Smoothie Bowl
- Serves 2 - 


2 Frozen Bananas
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup (120ml) greek yoghurt
2 Tbsp Sujon Blackcurrant powder
1/2 cup (120ml) almond milk
Your choice of toppings - I like chia seed, hemp hearts, cacao nibs, coconut, and peanut butter, but feel free to add whatever you like!


- PROCESS -

Add all of the ingredients, except the toppings, to a high-powered blender. Blend on low, stopping and scraping down the sides as necessary, or using the tamper of your blender if possible. Once the smoothie has begun to combine, increase the speed to medium high, and blend until smooth. 

Divide the smoothie between serving bowls, and top with desired toppings. Serve immediately. 

Thank you so much to Sujon Berries for providing the powder used in this recipe! All opinions are my own.