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Trials and Errors in and out of thebigfatnoodle's kitchen
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    Scrambled eggs with tomatoes and feta

    5mins to make. 30 seconds to devour.

    Scrambled eggs with tomatoes is a dish that my family, and other Chinese families all around the world, have cooked for probably centuries. However, it’s normally a dish you eat at dinner with rice alongside stir fried vegetables and other meat/fish dishes.

    I’ve always loved the combination of eggs and tomatoes so when I tried this for breakfast (with a Mediterranean twist), I had to add it to my list of favourite recipes. It’s ideal on a cold, wet and dreary day (like we’re experiencing today in Surrey) and spiced with feta cheese and spring onions, makes a lovely alternative to the typical English (and meat laden) greasy fry-up. Hope you like it.

    Hot and eggy and salty rich. Everything I need to get me out of bed on a dull and wet English summer day.


    Filed under: Alcohol, Cheese, Eggs, Stories Tagged: Feta, Scrambled eggs, Tomato

    Scrambled eggs with tomato and feta 3thebigfatnoodlescrambled eggs with tomato and fetaScrambled eggs with tomato and feta 3Scrambled eggs with tomato and feta 3thebigfatnoodlescrambled eggs with tomato and fetaScrambled eggs with tomato and feta 3

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    Our lovely and much appreciated food parcel :)

    Even though I love living in the country, there are some days, like today, when the long commute in and out of London wears me down. That was until I finally got home and was reminded of  this  … a food parcel from my brother-in-law which he brought over on Sunday.

    None of my husband’s family are avid gardeners – neither are we – and we all have typically small-ish English gardens. However, have space, will plant…

    Our garden and cat

    I like to think of it as tinkering because we all  don’t really have big enough gardens for vegetable plots so we just experiment. It might be an attempt to grow one squash here (we tried that last year but failed), or try and grow some leeks in amongst the flowers (that failed miserably too…) This year, we noticed a fennel sprouting from in between the paving and our rosemary bush but we decided not to pull it out to eat. Instead, we’re letting it go to seed and seeing if we can plant the seeds elsewhere in the garden next year.

    Our surprise fennel. No idea how it ended up growing in our garden

    You don’t actually need much garden space (if at all) to grow your own yummy edibles like tomatoes or beans, as pots will do just fine. However, these beans, tomatoes and apples did come from my brother-in-law’s garden and were lovingly grown by his girlfriend  (thanks Marta :) !)

    No recipe for you guys tonight though. We sliced these runner beans and dunked them in boiling water for just under 3 minutes. They’re so unbelievably fresh, sweet and tender that they didn’t need any further cooking. A sprinkling of maldon sea salt over the top (no butter!) was the only finishing touch required. We were so hungry that we dove straight into the beans before I remembered to snap a shot, sorry!

    Those cherry  tomatoes are heading straight into my salad tomorrow and I can’t wait to do something with these apples this weekend. If only I didn’t have 3 more working days to get through! Never mind, at least I won’t notice the commute so much as I think about what to do with them… any ideas, anyone?

    No idea what type they are but they're definitely half cooking apples and half some other variety...

    They came from an apple tree that was already planted in the garden when my brother-in-law bought his house. They look like a cross between a cooking apple and a Cox’s. If anyone thinks they know which variety they might be, please do let me know! Meantime, I feel some kind of cake and bake weekend is required!

    Thanks Jeff!

    Lots of love

    thebigfatnoodle


    Filed under: Adventures, Apples, Cherry tomatoes, Country life, Features, Fruit, Fruits, Garden, runner beans, Stories, vegetables Tagged: Apple, Bean, Food, Garden, Gardening, Growing, London, Plant, Runner bean, Tomato, Vegetables

    Fruit & veg from Jeff's gardenthebigfatnoodleapples, beans and tomatoesMeet our cat SpikeFennel flowersJeff's cooking applesFruit & veg from Jeff's gardenFruit & veg from Jeff's gardenthebigfatnoodleapples, beans and tomatoesMeet our cat SpikeFennel flowersJeff's cooking applesFruit & veg from Jeff's garden

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    I wasn't lying about the lazy weekend :)

    Hi everyone

    The good news is that I’m back from my work trip, yay! How’s everyone been? Good I hope…!

    I’ve got lots of catch-up reading and posting to do, and despite the dire conference food I’ve inevitably been subjected to, I did have some good tapas while I was in Barcelona, and I’m planning to replicate some of the best ones for thebigfatnoodle over the next few weeks.

    However, you’re going to have to wait a teeny bit longer because I’ve designated this weekend as rest and recovery time. After a week of standing and running around, I’m going to completely veg out and do as little as humanly possible, which largely means not venturing very far from my bed, my husband, my books, my laptop, my cats and the TV. :)

    Naturally though, a girl’s gotta eat (husband too), so I started my lazy weekend this morning with this lazy weekend brunch for one. Well, it initially started off as brunch for one because my husband had already eaten some toast for brekkie but after I made this for myself and fed him a bite, he made me make another one for him.

    My lazy weekend brunch - baked eggs and a milky latte.

    It is a spur-of-the-moment recipe based on the idea of many baked egg recipes I’ve had in restaurants or seen many other bloggers try with a number of different ingredients. I experimented with what I could find in our fridge today and the result is a baked egg with ham, cheese (parmesan and some cream cheese), tomatoes and… salad!

    I know the salad bit sounds weird but trust me, it really does work. Other than spinach, I know a lot of people don’t cook with salad leaves and I don’t know why. My mum’s always cooked with salad leaves, especially different types of lettuce. She normally drops them into her soupy noodles but she’s stir fried lettuce leaves as well and they’re awesome.

    A friend of mine makes a similar baked egg with wilted spinach and some cream with the egg, and you could pre-wilt/steam your salad leaves like she did, but in all honesty, I didn’t bother and it turned out just fine. Enjoy!

    Baked eggs with ham, cheese and tomato (for one)

    Roughly half a cup of wash and thoroughly dried salad leaves (eg baby spinach, rocket/arugula or baby cress)

    2 large eggs (preferably at room temperature and not straight out of the fridge and cold)

    1-2 cherry tomatoes, de-seeded and finely chopped

    1 slice of cooked ham, finely chopped

    1 tablespoon grated fresh parmesan

    1 heaped tablespoon of cream cheese

    You’ll also need a few drops of worcestershire sauce

    salt & pepper to taste

    Some chopped chives to garnish

    (optional) 1-2 teaspoons of single cream.

    Preheat your oven to 200 degrees (celsius).

    In an oven proof bowl lightly coated/brushed with some butter, press your salad leaves down into the base of the bowl.

    That really is salad in the base of my oven proof bowl.

    Mix in your chopped tomatoes and ham, and top with half of your parmesan. Add a few generous drops of worcestershire sauce and a pinch of salt and black pepper.

    Top with parmesan, ham and tomatoes along with a few drops of L&P.

    Spoon your cream cheese over the top and try and spread this out over your ham, cheese and tomatoes. Crack your eggs over the top. Now, if you have some single cream to hand, you could drizzle this into the egg whites around the yolk but I didn’t have any to hand today. Finish this off by sprinkling the remaining cheese and chives over the top, and a final pinch of black pepper.

    The eggs are poured over a spoonful of cream cheese, and then topped with chives and some more parmesan.

    Pop this into the oven and bake for 12-15 or until the egg white has set but remains wobbly. Serve with a generous mug of tea/ coffee and if you fancy, some soldiers / buttered toast.

    Et voila! My experiment for the day - baked eggs with ham, cheese, tomatoes and salad.

    Anyway, I’ll leave you to enjoy the rest of your weekend. Meantime, I’m taking a leaf out of my cat’s book. Zzzzzzz. :)

    Spike aka Fatso aka Fatlump :)

    Lots of love

    thebigfatnoodle


    Filed under: Adventures, Arugula, Bread, Breakfast, British, Butter, Cheese, Cherry tomatoes, Chives, Country life, Cream, Eggs, Ham, Herbs, Ingredients, Lunch, Recipes, Rocket, salad, Spinach, Toast, Tomatoes, vegetables Tagged: Baked eggs, Cook, Cream, Cream cheese, Egg white, Eggs, oven, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Salad, Toast, Tomato

    Baked for 15 minutesthebigfatnoodleFatlump getting her back scratchedLazy weekend brunch for oneFeel free to steam or wilt the salad leaves beforehandAdd chopped tomatoes, ham and parmesanCrack two eggs over cream cheese and top with cheeseBaked for 15 minutesSleeping SpikeBaked for 15 minutesthebigfatnoodleFatlump getting her back scratchedLazy weekend brunch for oneFeel free to steam or wilt the salad leaves beforehandAdd chopped tomatoes, ham and parmesanCrack two eggs over cream cheese and top with cheeseBaked for 15 minutesSleeping Spike

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    The bar at The Gherkin

    Jelly making with a savoury twist

    Some of you may remember that last year, my husband and I visited London’s famous ‘Gherkin’ building to have dinner at Searcy’s restaurant on the top floor.

    The most memorial part of that night out, apart from the architecture, turned out to be the amuse bouche that we were served, and that wasn’t even on the menu!

    We were served a deconstructed ‘BLT’ – consisting of tomato jelly topped with a bacon onion foam, a sliver of crispy baked tomato and lettuce dressing. In fact, it was the memory of the tomato jelly that has stayed with me ever since.

    Our amuse bouche - the BLT - Bacon and onion cream, lettuce sauce, tomato jelly with a sliver of baked tomato

    I’ve been waiting for the weather to warm up so that I could attempt to recreate the tomato jelly; in fact, I found a recipe on the Daily Telegraph website that I’ve been dying to try for months now.

    So here it is, a simple crab salad served on pea shoots in tomato jelly. I changed the Daily Telegraph’s recipe slightly as I wanted a sharper and warmer jelly, so I added an infusion of lemon and chilli to give it sharpness and heat.

    Pea shoots - I love their fragile flavour.

    I absolutely love this jelly, and I can see myself making this again, and again, and again. My only criticism of my dish today is that I didn’t actually put enough pea shoots into the jelly so the flavour of the pea shoots didn’t come through enough.

    I love tomatoes.

    All those ingredients were blitzed and then strained to create this beautiful coral liquid.

    Pea shoots set in tomato jelly.

    I made 4 pots of jelly to go with the crab salad, which left plenty of plain tomato jelly left over. It’s so versatile because we have been using the tomato jelly on other dishes as well – it dissolves back to liquid when heated and we served this over some rice and slow-baked pulled pork we’d made during the week.

    I made a simple crab salad using white crab meat, spring onions, a de-seeded chilli, lemon juice and some mayonnaise.

    A simple crab salad served with my tomato jelly and some toasted pain levain.

    This recipe has really sparked my interest in savoury jellies now so don’t be surprised if you’ll see me tinkering with jelly mixtures this summer. I haven’t provided the recipe for the crab salad as it was just some fresh white crab meat, mixed with some freshly chopped spring onions, a de-seeded red chilli, lemon juice and my favourite French mayonnaise.

    Making this jelly reminds me of the fun I used to have in science classes so if you like playing around in the kitchen like I do ie tinkering, experimenting etc whatever you want to call this, you’ll probably love trying to make this too. :)

    Click here for a printer-friendlier recipe.

    Lots of love

    Thebigfatnoodle

    A savoury jelly made with tomatoes and pea shoots, served with a simple crab salad.

    Tomato Jelly

    1.5 kg tomatoes

    300 ml tomato juice

    ½ freshly squeezed lemon

    1 whole red chilli

    1-2 large shallots

    2 cloves garlic (blanched in boiling water for 2 mins)

    1 teaspoon celery salt

    Good pinch of black pepper

    4-5 springs of fresh basil leaves

    Enough gelatine leaves to set approximately 700 ml of tomato liquid

    Put all of your ingredients into a food processor and blitz it until as smooth as possible.

    If you don’t have a jam stainer or muslin cloth, put a clean tea towel over a bowl and pour your tomato mixture into your clothe. Strain your tomato mixture, which will leave you with at least 700-800 ml of pale pink liquid (I ended up with almost a litre of liquid). Taste your tomato liquid and if you don’t feel it’s concentrated enough (which I didn’t), I set my tomato liquid on a gentle simmer and reduced the tomato ‘stock’ down to about 650 ml.

    When you’re ready to make your jelly, place your gelatine leaves in cold water for a few minutes, then squeeze out the water before adding them to your tomato liquid.

    If you’re not planning to set anything in the tomato jelly, then add your gelatine leaves, mix well, and then pour your tomato jelly liquid into your desired mould and allow it to set overnight.

    I set some fresh pea shoots in the jelly, so to do that I allowed the jelly to cool completely before I reheated one ladle of tomato liquid in order to dissolve the gelatine leaves. I then mixed the hot liquid back into the rest of the tomato liquid, before pouring it over pea shoots – the lukewarm liquid ensured my salad leaves didn’t lose any colour.


    Filed under: Adventures, American, amuse bouche, Bread, British, chillies, Cool stuff, Country life, Crab, Dinner, English, Fish, Garlic, Ingredients, Lemon, Lunch, onion, seafood, Shellfish, Sour, Tomatoes, vegetables, Vegetarian Tagged: Cooking, Daily Telegraph, Home, Jams Jellies and Preserves, London, Salad, Tomato, Tomato Jelly

    Pea shoots set in tomato jellythebigfatnoodleJ'adoreBLT amuse bouchePea shoots are my new favourite thingLovely tomsStrained and reduced to a beautiful coral liquidPea shoots set in tomato jellyCrab, spring onions and chilliMy crab salad with a tomato jellyA perfect light summery saladPea shoots set in tomato jellythebigfatnoodleJ'adoreBLT amuse bouchePea shoots are my new favourite thingLovely tomsStrained and reduced to a beautiful coral liquidPea shoots set in tomato jellyCrab, spring onions and chilliMy crab salad with a tomato jellyA perfect light summery salad


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