Happy 2015! | Rachel Khoo’s Leeks With Poached Eggs

Leeks with poached eggs

Happy new year folks! I know the blogosphere is abuzz with resolutions, words-for-the-year, setting intentions and going through detoxes. Well, I haven’t really given any of the above much thought- I’m not much of a resolution setter or keeper, but I’ve decided to devote more time in the months ahead to reading, writing and journaling, and showcasing more everyday meals on the blog. (I still love my cakes & cookies, brownies & bars, pies & tarts; but so much of what I do cook on a day to day basis doesn’t end up here.)

I started a bit of a tradition last year of getting myself one or two nice cookbooks/food memoirs around the holidays. Online sellers have some amazing sales, and I scroll through my wishlist and the food & drink sections to see what’s on sale and quickly add to cart. To some, spending so much on cookbooks doesn’t make sense, especially since millions of recipes are available online, at little to no cost. But to a food lover and kitchen gnome like me, there’s always space on the bookshelf for one more glossy tome 🙂

Which brings me to my question: Are you fans of Rachel Khoo? I first heard of her on Purple Foodie, where she referenced Khoo’s book. I saw the BBC series, and really enjoyed her simplified spin on French classics. I never tried her recipes despite enjoying the show, however. I’m more of an Italian food fan myself, and I had some preconceived notions about French food being too complicated, heavy and rich. (Which is exactly what Khoo dispels in the book.)

But, after going through Thanh’s blog and her successes with the book, I had to buy it. Plus, I really wanted to learn more about French cooking and figured Little Paris Kitchen would be a good place to start. So LPK and Julia Child’s My Life In France were my food book gifts to myself for 2014.

The first recipe I tried was a buckwheat galette, topped with some cheese and cherry tomatoes. It calls for nothing more than salt, buckwheat flour and water, and I much prefer this savoury version to the vegan buckwheat pancake recipe from It’s All Good.  It’s easy and can be customized with sweet and savoury toppings.

The second recipe I turned to was the leeks in vinaigrette with a poached egg and ham. I love the concept of topping dishes with an egg, whether it’s a bowl of noodles and broth, bibimbap, or just some lemon-parmesan pasta.

Now you know me- I rarely follow recipes down to the wire (unless I am baking,) and will substitute or go without an ingredient if necessary- so I did just that with these leeks. I didn’t have ham, so I added sundried tomatoes for a salty kick. I served the leeks with some simple lemon-pepper-parmesan pasta.

LEEKS IN VINAIGRETTE WITH POACHED EGGS AND SUNDRIED TOMATOES (Adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen.)

INGREDIENTS

For The Leeks

  • 8 young leeks, white and light green parts only
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg per person
  • 1 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For The Vinaigrette

  • 6 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • A pinch of sugar + salt to taste

METHOD

  • Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  • Soak the sundried tomatoes in warm water for 30 minutes until soft and pliable. (If you are using sundried tomatoes that are packed in olive oil, you can scatter over the leeks as they are, once plated.)
  • Trim the roots of the leeks and slice lengthways. Soak in cold water for 10 mins, then wash thoroughly under running cold water to get rid of any dirt and grit that may be stuck between the leaves.
  • Heat a griddle pan until smoking. Brush the cut sides of the leeks with olive oil, place them cut-side-down on the griddle pan until grill marks appear, about 4-5 mins.
  • Brush the tops of the leeks with olive oil, flip and cook on the other side for 4-5 mins.
  • Poach your eggs in the meantime. I am a terrible poacher of eggs, so I just use a Nordic Ware microwave egg poacher. For the authentic way to poach eggs, follow Amanda Hesser’s instructions on Food52.
  • Once the eggs and leeks are ready, plate up. Place two leek halves on a plate, drizzle with the vinaigrette, place an egg on top and scatter some sundried tomato pieces over the top. I finished with an extra swirl of olive oil, along with some salt and cracked pepper.

 

12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 12: Baked Figs

20141223_165052I’ve baked with figs before, but that was in a galette, and there was a heady dose of frangipane, and that outshone the figs.

http://instagram.com/p/lm4EDzOIQa/

Baked fruit makes for a simple and nourishing dessert, especially if you’ve had one chocolate cake too many. This recipe is inspired by Purple Foodie’s baked figs with goat cheese, except that I kept it unadorned- just plain figs with some rosemary, honey and a squeeze of lime.

Ever since I baked Nigella Lawson’s rosemary loaf cake, I’ve been a fan of using the woody herb in desserts. The figs pair well with the rosemary honey, and the lime adds a little sharpness. The cuts I made on the figs ran a little too deep, which is why they are pictured here, arms outstretched. Just remember to slit them about halfway through, especially since there is no stuffing!

There is no recipe as such: just slit the figs halfway through, drizzle liberally with honey (or use a scant amount, if you prefer,) sprinkle some fresh or dried rosemary over the top and add a squeeze of lime. Bake in an oven preheated to 180 C for 10-12 minutes. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or as is.

12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 7: Orange & Basil Salad

20141120_163814This is another Padma Lakshmi recipe I saved from a magazine. The combination of orange, sharp red onions and the bitter leaves is pretty darn good. The original recipe calls for blood oranges and pepitas, but I substituted regular oranges and sunflower seeds- they add a pleasant crunch. The Christmasy element comes from the cranberries (I used dried,) and we all know that orange+cranberry are a happy combination.

Here are 3 reasons why you should make this salad:

  • It’s quick;
  • It’s uncomplicated;
  • The oranges make it more fun to eat.

Now I tried really hard to peel and segment the oranges the way chefs do on TV- but I ended up slicing away a good portion of the fruit along with the skin. So the oranges aren’t half-moon shaped, but it was ok, since I was the only one eating it!

Either way, here’s a little tutorial I found.

The original recipe can be found on Popsugar Food.