Friday, 25 March 2016

Baked avocado egg for brunch

If you've been reading this breakfast blog long enough, you'll know by now I'm a big fan of baked eggs. I've tried baking creamy eggs with smoked salmon (Royale) and spinach (Florentine), as well as ham, chorizo and chilli. It's a really comforting weekend brunch, which is simple and has the added bonus of looking great on the plate.

But until very recently I had not baked an egg inside an avocado. Yes, you heard me right, inside an avocado.

Recipe for one blissful weekend brunch

While I bang on about avocado smash ALL the time on my Instagram feed, I haven't even applied heat to this green fruit before, never mind use it as a capsule for baking eggs. But when you remove the stone from a perfectly ripe avocado, you find yourself with this beautifully smooth hole, which really is just asking to be filled to the brim.

I made this one quiet weekend morning for myself, but it just so happens an avocado has two halves, so this recipe can easily be doubled to make breakfast for two - if you want to share, that is.

Firstly, take half an avocado and discard the stone. Now, dig out a little more of the avocado's flesh to make room for the egg and then find a container which will keep your avocado upright while it is baking in the oven. Next crack an egg into a ramekin (this gives you better control) and carefully slip the yolk into the hole, along with some of the egg white (remember the whole egg probably won't fit). Once full to the brim, use a piece of kitchen towel to mop up any white which is sitting on the flesh, this means the bright green won't be hidden beneath any cooked egg white.

That's the hard bit out of the way. Now give the avocado egg a good grind of salt and pepper and pop into a hot oven for 20 minutes until the white has just set and the yolk is still runny.

While cooking, whip up your favourite side to accompany - I went for strong chorizo and mellow wilted  spinach, because the avocado egg, while pretty, is quite bland. I'd also add chilli flakes for an extra punch.

Enjoy x

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Mug of the Month: Lakeland's cake in a mug

I love baking. The comforting combination of wet and dry ingredients which magically transform into a spectacular carrot cake, raspberry cheesecake or chocolate torte in the oven. But sometimes, my sweet tooth isn't very patient. That's where these mugs come in.

Lakeland's 'cake in a mug' (£7.99) and 'muffin in a mug' (also £7.99) provides you with instructions on how to make a sweet treat in three minutes flat. It clearly won't taste as good as a Sunday afternoon labour of love, but it will surely fix that afternoon cake craving we all get now and again.

Check out the range, here.

Image: Lakeland

Image: Lakeland
Mug of the Month: I’m a firm believer that if you drink a cup of tea out of a beautiful mug it will taste better. Every month I will be featuring a lovely mug which will be perfect for your morning cuppa. Spotted a special mug I should know about? Get in touch: or tweet me @cl_baldwin

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Breakfast at the Dutch Pancake House, North Wales

A recent visit home to Wales resulted in my friend and I getting lost in the foothills of Snowdonia trying to find our way to the Dutch Pancake House in Conwy. If you try and make this journey yourself, rest assured, it's really easy, just don't take the back-roads like my friend did if you're starving and also suffering after too many cups of tea. But the plus side of this oh-so bumpy journey was trying to make friends with a cute little mountain pony and spotting lambs gambolling over the green fields, which was enough to distract me from the pain in my bladder for a good 30-seconds or so.

We finally arrived, and after hurrying back from the (very nice and clean) bathrooms, we settled down with our menus and took a look at our surroundings. This cafe has been around for many years, serving its famous pancakes, and I couldn't believe how I hadn't been taken here as a child. The family-friendly restaurant is decked out in Dutch paraphernalia, with Delft Blue plates, Vincent Van Gogh prints and cloggs adorning the walls - as well as a strangely-placed fish tank in the centre of the room.

After warming up with a cappuccino, we chose our pancakes - one cheese, bacon, leek, mushroom and egg, and one special pancake, folded over with a creamy leek filling. Well, we were in Wales.

A Dutch pancake - not to be confused with a Dutch baby pancake - look like a crepe, but are ever-so-slightly thicker making them more structurally sound when housing their generous fillings and also more satisfying than a paper-thin crepe pancake. Both pancakes were divine, the first was like a pancake pizza, with crispy bacon, while my fold-over was more like a comforting deconstructed cannelloni, perfect for warming you up on a dull Welsh Sunday.

After our first course, we then glanced at each other across the large pine table and both, quickly and shamefully, ordered our dessert pancakes - one lemon and sugar and one cherry special with cream and ice cream, both dusted with icing sugar.

The Dutch Pancake House is situated in the grounds of Conwy Water Gardens. So after a pancake (or in our case two), I heartedly advise to take a stroll and be at one with the Welsh countryside. Not only will you fall in love with the nature reserve, it will help you work off that double-helping of pancakes. Just be warned - the Aquatic Centre sells bird feed, so be prepared for the chickens and ducks to chase you around expecting treats. We made quite a few friends that day, come to think of it.

Uh oh, no feed. We'd better make some friends

Why, hello there Mister Cockerel

Bottoms up
After those pancakes, you and me both!
So calm and peaceful until Mr Cockerel starts up again 


Dutch Pancake House - Conwy Water Gardens
Glyn Isa
North Wales LL32 8TP
01492 651063

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Turkish eggs for brunch

I first tried Turkish eggs at Brew in Wimbledon Village and fell instantly in love with this luscious brunch dish. Kopapa's Turkish eggs, which I tried a few months later, were even better, doused in a generous oily chilli butter. I just love the colours, crisp white, fiery red and sunshine yellow, with a scattering of green. One mouthful provides you a spicy explosion of chilli and egg yolk, while the yoghurt and egg white comfortingly cools your tongue. Make sure you really char your bread to balance the smoothness of the creamy eggs with crisp, slightly burnt pitta.

I served this to my boyfriend, who is used to substantial weekend brunches of fiery chorizo and (lots of) eggs. Unfortunately, this one didn't go down to well with a man who eats four eggs a day. "Why are we eating cream?" he looked at the bowl in confusion and went to make scrambled eggs. Initially disgruntled by his reaction, I soon realised it fine with me, as I got to scoff his portion as well!

Recipe - for two

Take 300g of full-fat Greek yoghurt and stir through the zest of half a lemon, a squeeze of lemon juice and a generous grind of salt and pepper. Divide into two bowls. Start to poach two large eggs and in another pan melt 50g of butter and stir through 1tsp of chilli powder.

Once poached, lay the eggs on the yoghurt mixture and drizzle over the chilli butter - I also added another healthy splash of chilli oil.

Scatter over extra chilli flakes and shredded fresh mint leaves and serve with charred pitta or sourdough to generously dunk. 

When seated with the mixture of hot and cold Turkish eggs in front of you, use the bread as giant boiled-egg-soldiers to dip into the yoghurt and break open the beautiful golden yolks - you almost don't need cutlery, but if you do, use a spoon.

Enjoy x