“Oeuf en Cocotte a l’Estragon” from “The Skinny French Kitchen”

I made this for my lunch today because I was pretty sure that if I served it up for dinner, there would be a minor revolt on my hands. Or, as a friend recently posted on Facebook with a picture of a big beautiful salad: “Better bring my wine to the table because I know everyone else will be whining too.”

This is essentially baked eggs with cream and tarragon and almonds scattered on top. Yum.


The skinny tip is to use a smaller ramekin in which to cook the egg and the cream. I wasn’t sure, however, what qualified as “smaller”, so I used my usual ramekin. I didn’t think my small one would be able to hold the egg and the cream without it spilling over.

It was, in a word, divine. It couldn’t have been more simple: a medium-sized egg swimming in a small amount of chicken stock and cream with bits of tarragon thrown in for good measure.

Will I make it again? You bet. Would I make it for the family? Probably not. I don’t want to have to bring my wine to the table for the whining.

“Oeuf en Cocotte a l’Estragon” from “The Skinny French Kitchen”

“Chorizo, Spinach and Ricotta Frittata” from “Fast, Fresh, Simple”

Sorry, I don’t have any dialogue for you today as I made this for my lunch and I tend to eat alone. Not for any Greta Garbo sort of way, but just because that’s where I found myself that day. In fact, she never said, “I want to be alone” and instead said, “I want to be left alone.” Garbo later said, “There is all the difference.” Indeed.

But I digress. I can tell you that I enjoyed this dish so much that I have now eaten it for lunch twice. It is a whole lot of good eating in one little skillet. For the record, I never added the sage leaves it called for– I had them, I just kept fogetting to add them– but I don’t think that oversight left the dish wanting. Also, I didn’t have any single cream to hand, so I used milk, which also worked. I imagine the cream would make it an even richer dish, but it seems pretty good as it is, so I don’t know if its use is entirely necessary.

I didn’t think it would work to cook the spinach with the chorizo, as I usually cook down spinach with water. It did work, though, and it worked a treat. I will remember this trick when I make other dishes with spinach in the future.

Again, because I was eating alone, I cut the quantities down to make it for one person. It could very easily be scaled up, in which case you’d need to share the whole skillet of goodness, which might be difficult for some people.

I would definitely make this again, especially for a weekend breakfast or brunch, though lunch on my own was equally nice. I’m pleased to say that all the timings worked for this recipe.

“Chorizo, Spinach and Ricotta Frittata” from “Fast, Fresh, Simple”

“Apple & Watercress Salad” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

In case you didn’t get the memo, Jamie Oliver’s next move will be world domination. He has a staff of 1,000. He makes millions every year. His “30-Minute Meals” was the fastest and best-selling non-fiction book of all time in the United Kingdom. The fact that the aforementioned book nearly killed us is neither here nor there. Jamie is an industry unto himself.

Just in time for the Christmas season is “Jamie’s Great Britain.” Bookmaker William Hill is offering 1:2 odds that this will be the best selling book this Christmas. Given how many Christmas trees had “30-Minute Meals” underneath them, I think that’s a pretty safe bet.

With the glorious Indian summer we’ve been having here in London, I thought the best way to kick things off would be with an Apple and Watercress Salad with blue cheese dressing and crushed walnuts. I’m sorry there’s no conversation for this one, but since I was eating alone, it would be a worrisome development for both the blog and myself if I did have dialogue to provide.

This was delicious and easy. The salad is basically apples, watercress, walnuts and blue cheese with a dressing of spring onion, yoghurt, cider vinegar, olive oil, seasonings and more blue cheese. I used my food processor to slice the apples thinly and quickly, and then used it again to whip up the dressing.

Continue reading ““Apple & Watercress Salad” from “Jamie’s Great Britain””

“Apple & Watercress Salad” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

“Beef Salad with Red Onions and Balsamic Vinegar” from “Easy”

Julia: Visually, it’s… (pause for serious consideration for the right adjective) appealing. The flavours are really super.

Tom: I thought it was very tasty with a good mix of flavours.

Julia: What’s it called?

Maureen: Beef salad with red onions and balsamic vinegar.

Julia: It should have a fancier name than that!

Continue reading ““Beef Salad with Red Onions and Balsamic Vinegar” from “Easy””

“Beef Salad with Red Onions and Balsamic Vinegar” from “Easy”

“Pea, asparagus and Parmesan tart” from “Good Things to Eat”

Anna: I’m not really a tart person….

Jane: Guffaw! I don’t know, I’ve known you a long time  – have you forgotten the Nineties?

Anna: Thank you for that. As you well know, what I mean is that I seldom make tarts, quiches, those sorts of things. In fact I think I manage one a year.

Jane: Well this is beautiful.

Anna: I’d call it ‘rustic’. The pastry is threatening to fall apart. I’m not quite sure why, as I followed the recipe. It’s pastry alchemy. I don’t have the secret.

Jane: Did you make the pastry from scratch?

Anna: Did I hell. There’s a limit to how much work I’m prepared to do on a Sunday morning, even if I have the Archers Omnibus to keep me company.

Jane: It reminds me of the south of France. It’s delicious. Can I have another slice?

Anna: It is very good, isn’t it? But it’s not very filling. I put more parmesan in than it called for too, but I think it’s because there isn’t enough filling mixture. It feels like there’s more pastry than tart, if you know what I mean.

Jane: I do. It looks quite big and rich in the dish, but once you put the slice on the plate it looked a bit thin and sad.

Anna: Though that might have been because the pastry fell apart, as feared.

Jane: We had enough for seconds, and I still think it was delicious. Thank you for my lovely lunch!

“Pea, asparagus and Parmesan tart” from “Good Things to Eat”

“Chicken, leek and tarragon pie” from “Good Things To Eat”

Andrew (11 — pushing away his plate as he polishes off his dinner in record time): That was really good!

Nicholas (8): This is one of the best things I ever tasted.

Maureen: I agree. This has got to be one of the best chicken pies I’ve ever had. What did you like about it?

Nicholas: It’s got a lot of flavours but not too many flavours.

Continue reading ““Chicken, leek and tarragon pie” from “Good Things To Eat””

“Chicken, leek and tarragon pie” from “Good Things To Eat”

“Butter Bean Soup” from “Leon 2”

Maureen: It seems like a good soup day, and with spring coming, hopefully we don’t have too many soup days left until autumn.

Nicholas (7): It doesn’t look like anything.

Maureen: Of course not. It’s white.

Andrew (11): Is this from the new cookbook?

Maureen: Yes, it is. What do you think?

Continue reading ““Butter Bean Soup” from “Leon 2””

“Butter Bean Soup” from “Leon 2”