30 April 2010

Mexican Feast

Well, sort of anyway.

The Ultimate Chilli Con Carne from DinnerDiary has been on my to cook list for ages and following a recent blogpost there, I decided that it's now high time for it.


2 tbsp olive oil
3 red Thai chillies
6 cloves of garlic
2 cans of beans (400 g each)
400 g can tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
500 g lean minced beef
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 dl red wine
300 ml beef stock
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cocoa powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Then wash the chillies and remove the flimsier paper bits off the garlic and place in a small ramekin. Then drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil, cover with aluminium foil and bake for 30 minutes, then allow to cool.

  2. Prepare the beans by draining them and the tomatoes by crushing or even liquidising them. Wash and cut the pepper into small pieces.

  3. In a large lidded non-stick pan, heat up 2 tbsp olive oil, season and brown the meat, then set it aside.

  4. Heat up another 2 tbsp olive oil and soften the onions. In the mean time, deseed the chillies, peel the garlic and mush up with the oil they roasted in.

  5. Add the chilli/garlic to the onions and fry through for a couple of minutes, then do the same with the ground spices.

  6. Deglaze with the wine, then add the browned mince, beef stock, tomatoes, tomato puree and beans. Some further seasoning may also be called for.

  7. After all has come to boil, put a lid on and reduce the heat to low, then let simmer for an hour.

  8. Add the green bell pepper and the cocoa powder and let simmer for another 20 minutes.

Unfortunately living outside of London means I can't get hold of all different types of chillies and I also had some cans of beans I wanted to use up, so as usual I'm improvising a bit. The biggest thing is that I halved the stock, since I don't have beans that require cooking and will soak up a substantial amount of the liquid. Still the chilli was more of a thick soup than a stew when I put the lid on.

So I took the lid off and hoped that most of the liquid would evaporate during cooking. And indeed after 32 minutes I had a lovely looking stew, so I put the lid back on and moved the pan to a small burner on its lowest setting. it smelt wonderfully too, the smoked paprika dominated, with a delayed but distinct hint of sweet cinnamon. Later on in the cooking, the cinnamon took over almost completely.


Doing things on the day before will of course allow flavours to develop. And cooking slowly for longer too, but mainly it is important in order to get the beans cooked through. The time can be reduced when using canned beans, though I'm sure they would change the overall flavour. The Thai chillies turned out to heat up the chilli con carne very nicely indeed - which was a nice surprise, usually we struggle to get it hot enough for our taste. Also I was very excited about the cocoa powder. I've encountered chocolate in game pies and I know on the whole it adds to the richness, but I've never been brave enough to use it myself.

Overall, this was a success, the chilli was very much different from what we normally do, which is an adaptation of Delia Smith's simple recipe. No specific spice or ingredient dominated or even came forward, but instead they all blended to a very rich flavour, though perhaps a bit on the sweet side.

Still the above worked very nicely indeed and we had it with tortillas, nachos, tomato salsa, sour cream and what claimed to be guacamole. The last two helped mellow the heat of the Thai chillies.


The "guacamole" is a very old recipe, one of the first I picked up when I started collecting recipes and I've been meaning to try out for a very long time. Old recipe as in 1988 or 1989 I can't remember exactly. It was one of those info leaflets about new and exotic foods that were beginning to appear on the Swedish market and was to encourage people to give it a try. Actually I think most people were already familiar with avocados, but it wasn't perhaps as popular as it is nowadays. I've no idea who issued this leaflet and what I ended up with is certainly not guacamole as it is known in the UK today, but the mixture was rather tasty anyway.


3 large ripe avocados
1 small onion
1.5 dl sour cream
1 large clove of garlic
salt and pepper
a few drops of Tabasco
1 medium hot fresh red chilli


  1. Cut the avocados in half, remove the stone, then scoop out the flesh with a spoon onto a bowl.

  2. With a fork, mush up the avocado - the idea is to still have a few chunks for texture.

  3. Peel and finely dice the onion, then add to the avocado along with the sour cream.

  4. Press in the garlic, season and add the Tabasco.

  5. Wash and if needed deseed the chilli, then chop it finely and add to the mixture.

  6. Stir in everything well, then chill until needed.

I think this recipe could benefit from dill and possibly swap the onion for red onion or chives to get a more interesting colour as opposed to washed out green. The mixture would work well just as a regular dip and I suspect might be quite nice in a sandwich cake too.

15 April 2010

Spanatchnik With Salmon

Dealing with left-overs once more, this time a piece of lovely hot smoked salmon, that just wasn't big enough for a meal for the two of us. So I decided to make spanatchnik and put the salmon in it as well.


However with one significant difference to my original recipe, I swapped some of the grapeseed oil with butter and I have a nagging suspicion that made the big difference, because this time it tasted really nice. Or it could be that I grow impatient and don't bake it long enough or I don't know.

I also had different proportions on the greens, so here's the recipe.


250 g frozen spinach
2 large leeks
3 tbsp grapeseed oil
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 dl chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp dried mint
2 tbsp dried dill
2 tsp sage
salt and pepper to taste
25 g butter
200 g hot smoked salmon
75 g butter
540 g filo pastry (2 packets as it happens, there was some left over)

  1. Thaw the spinach over a sieve to remove excess liquid.

  2. Trim and wash the leek, then slice it thinly.

  3. Heat up the grapeseed oil on medium heat and add the leek to get it soft.

  4. Once it's softened, add the spinach and the herbs and stir in to mix well. Then season and continue to cook until it feels a bit dry.

  5. Take off the heat, then stir in a knob of butter (about 25 g) until it's melted completely. At this point you can put a break into this dish.

  6. About an hour and a half before you want to serve the dish, pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C, then melt the 75 g butter on very low heat, just until it's melted, it should not bubble.

  7. Crumble the salmon into the greens and stir to mix well./li>
  8. Brush some of the butter on an oven-safe dish.

  9. Unpack the filo pastry and lay it out. If the pastry seems too thin, use two layers at a time. Also if it's in an awkward shape, overlap pieces to get a decent shape to roll.

  10. Brush melted butter onto the whole filo sheet, then dab teaspoon sized pieces on two thirds of it, leaving a third to form the outermost of the roll. Then carefully roll it up and place in your baking dish.

  11. Repeat until all the filo and filling have been used up. Any left-over pastry can be used as crunchy decoration. It still needs to be brushed with butter though.

  12. Finally brush the spanatchnik with the remaining butter and bake for about 45 minutes, until the filo turns golden brown.

  13. Note that if you run out of butter early, just melt some more, it may seem like a bad thing all this butter, but it's necessary to bake the filo pastry and make it crunchy.

The salmon we had was a new type, which in addition to being hot smoked also had chilli flakes and crushed pepper on top, which made it very tasty.

The spanatchnik was accompanied by white sauce, made with whipping cream and chives, instead of double cream and spring onions. I made it in the morning and let the flavours develop in the fridge.

On the whole extremely tasty.

13 April 2010

Chicken Cushion with Black Venus Rice


Not being entirely sure what to do for dinner, I noticed that our butcher was open, which is very rare on Mondays. So I wandered in to see if they had anything interesting looking, but they didn't, so off the top of my head I asked for a chicken cushion. They didn't have any, so I got one made up especially and this time it was a whopping big one too.

So that was the meat part of dinner sorted. What about carbs? Well, there was the brown packet of fancy expensive vacuum packed black rice I bought at Harvey Nicks last August. It's called Black Venus Rice and the packet was full of family lore about this rice and a "btw boil for 35-40 minutes in salty water" nicely hidden away in a corner.

I'd not had any suitable opportunity to try this out, but a friend of mine had tried it and said it was great. So, following the instructions I boiled 100 g of the rice in 500 ml liquid. Since I decided to put some mushrooms in for good measure and I only had canned ones, I put in the liquid from them and topped up with hot water to reach half a litre. I also put in salt. After 30 minutes, it looked like there wasn't enough water and the rice would start sticking, so I poured in a bit more. Curiously when I first poured in the liquid, it all went dark purple/red like wine and for a moment I toyed with the idea of chucking an egg in to see if the shell would pick up the colour. I'll do it next time. 40 minutes did it for this rice type.

Given the cost of the 500 g packet, I was surprised that it wasn't cleaner. I rinsed it well, but didn't have the patience to go through all the grains and pick bits out apart from the couple of odd looking things I spotted straight away.

In the mean time I baked the chicken cushion and I gave it 50 minutes as it was bigger, but that was over the top and the meat felt a bit dry.

I'd also quartered the button mushrooms and fried slowly in a bit of butter. As Lundulph came in through the door, I drained the rice, rinsed it well and mixed in with the mushrooms and re-fried it. The rinsing was necessary as it turned out I'd added too much salt to the cooking water and the rice tasted very salty too, but rinsing removed that.

The chicken was stuffed with some sort of sage and onion stuffing mixed with sausage meat and the whole lot worked pretty well.

The rice was certainly one of the tastier I've eaten, so I think it's worth having a packet in the larder.

5 April 2010

Easter Baking Part 2


The second thing I baked this Easter was the dessert to go with the Easter dinner and it was again from Susan's inspirational blog - the February 2010 Daring Bakers Challenge. Additionally I decided to try and replicate the cake shape itself and happily ordered the adjustable cake ring from Amazon.

First thing for the Tiramisu was to make the ladyfinger biscuits. Instead of using the recommended recipe for the challenge, I opted to make the one given in Lenotre's "Desserts and Pastries". This is the first recipe I try out.


5 eggs
150 g granulated sugar
125 g plain flour
icing sugar to sprinkle on top

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees C.

  2. Separate whites and yolks of the eggs into separate bowls, making sure that the whites go into a metal or glass bowl, not plastic.

  3. Set aside a tablespoon and a half of sugar. These are to be used with the whites.

  4. Whisk the yolks with an electric mixer at medium speed, then gradually add the majority of the sugar. Keep whisking until the mixture turns pale yellow and reaches the so called ribbon stage - when (the stopped) whisk is taken out of the mixture and the mixture drizzles back in a continuous stream forming a ribbon folding on itself before dissolving into the rest of the mixture in a bowl.

  5. On lowest possible speed, mix in the flour just enough to incorporate it, no more.

  6. Wash and dry the whisks thoroughly, then add the saved sugar and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks stage.

  7. Carefully fold the whites into the batter.

  8. Line a couple of baking sheets with baking paper and pipe strips of the mixture. Then sprinkle generously with icing sugar and bake for 18 minutes. Turn the sheets around after 12 minutes, if the biscuits aren't browning evenly.

  9. Let cool a few minutes on the baking paper, then prise off and place on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container

I made a double batch of the above, as it was just not quite enough for the cake. I followed Susan's instructions with drawing three circles on the baking parchment and piping in them, then the strips for the edge fairly close together so they'd flow together during baking and make easier to build the cake. The three circles were 15 cm diameter, the strips were 10 cm long. I only have a 1.5 cm round nozzle, which worked well for this, the batter was perhaps a bit on the runny side, so it flowed well.

Unfortunately I forgot to sprinkle the rings and some of the strips with icing sugar before baking and this is sort of fatal for these biscuits in that the icing sugar forms the typical crust of these. Instead what I had was a sticky sponge for Swiss roll. I rescued by sprinkling even more icing sugar afterwards, to prevent the circles sticking together in the cake box. I also didn't prise them off, but left to cool completely on the baking parchment, then cut around each shape before fitting into the cake box. It sort of worked OK. However, I now know the cake box is not airtight - the rings went a bit soggy, over the two days' storage, but no major harm was done.

With the leftover batter, I piped more ladyfinger strips, but this time well apart from each other and some of them I decorated with chopped mixed nuts and some with dessicated coconut, both very good combinations.

Next I made the two cooked creams - sabayon (zabaglione) and pastry cream. I've never made sabayon before and followed the instructions to the point, however, the instructions were incorrect, which lost me half an hour of constant stirring over a water bath - it should have been whisking, not stirring! I found that out when I looked in my Cordon Bleu book and once clarified, I whisked and the sabayon foamed up and thickened wonderfully. It was extremely tasty too.

Ingredients for sabayon

2 egg yolks
50 g granulated sugar
60 ml coffee
1.25 ml vanilla essence
0.5 tsp lemon zest - about half a lemon

  1. Bring some water to boil in a pot.

  2. In a heat-proof bowl, that fits over the above pot for a double boiler/bain marie, whisk together all the ingredients until everything is evenly blended and smooth.
  3. Place the bowl over the pot of boiling water and keep whisking for about 8 minutes until the mixture cooks through, foams up and thickens to the consistency of custard. It'll also go quite pale. Then allow to cool and chill in a fridge until needed.

Ingredients for pastry cream

55 g granulated sugar
8 g plain flour
0.5 tsp lemon zest - about half a lemon
2.5 ml vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
175 ml milk

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan until well blended, then place on low heat and cook for about 12 minutes, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens into a custard and bubbles.

  2. Take off the heat and transfer to a container, then cover the surface of the cream with cling film, making sure no air bubbles are trapped. Then let cool completely and refrigerate until needed.

Additionally 75 g mascarpone cheese and 235 ml whipping cream, whipped with 55 g granulated sugar and 2.5 ml vanilla essence, are required. Do the whipped cream just before putting the whole cake together and it should be whipped to "stiff peaks stage". The mascarpone should be whisked up too to soften it up and make easier to mix. Some further cold lightly sweetened coffee can be used to brush the ladyfinger circles and fresh raspberries - about 300 g work very nicely. I decided against making mascarpone, life was just too busy this past week anyway.

Note that the mascarpone and the two cooked creams above result in what seems very small amounts, however, it is perfectly sufficient for the Tiramisu cake.

I put this cake together just before beginning to cook the main dinner. My original plan was to make it on the day before, to allow the cake to firm up and the biscuits to soak up some of the wetness of the cream, however I decided against it, in case everything went too soggy and collapsed or went crackling dry and collapsed. Especially since I noticed that the cake box wasn't airtight.

I adjusted the cake ring to 17.5 cm diameter and lined it with baking paper, placing everything on a cake plate. Then I placed one biscuit circle in the bottom, followed by the conjoined biscuit strips along the sides. There was some deformity during baking, but things were soft and fitted together anyway. I then mixed all the creams and the mascarpone together. I hadn't whipped the cream sufficiently hard and the end cream was a bit too soft. Still I scooped some of it into the cake ring to form a 2 cm thick layer, and pushed in some raspberries. Then biscuit ring number two went in and I took off the baking parchment as I needed it, so I had to run and wash my hands several times while building the cake.

When I put in the final circle, I realised that I'd got the dimensions a bit wrong or the cream was just too runny to hold things up, so the edge biscuits stuck out a bit more than in Susan's photos.

I grated some dark chocolate over the cake and put it in the fridge for the few hours while dinner was cooked and eaten. Along with the cake ring for support. I took it off just before taking the cake out to the table.


As soon as my Brother-in-law stuck a knife into my creation the whole thing collapsed and he rushed to cut pieces and quickly slosh them onto people's plates. Although a shapeless mess, it tasted fabulously and there was one little piece left, which Lundulph and I shared for dessert today.

I think next time, I'll do a different pastry cream, possibly also use some liqueur as is more traditional. This time I had to take into account my two nieces who are too young for alcohol and my Brother-in-law's girlfriend who doesn't drink alcohol. Maybe I should be a little cheeky and add some gelatin to the cream to force it to keep its shape too.

I'm very glad I invested in the cake ring though, it's a brilliant tool and I look forward to using it more as I refine my skills at cake making.

I also compared this recipe to the two I've done on previous occasions and noticed that neither of them involves any sort of creams, but just stirring in some egg yolks into the mascarpone and that's about it more or less. Given the dangers of eating raw eggs, this recipe seems a lot better, if a bit on the fiddly side. I certainly thought it was well worth doing.

Easter Baking Part 1

Going away from tradition this year, I did not make kozunak this year. Instead I decided to try my hand at Hot Cross Buns, an English tradition around Easter. Actually very much like the Semla buns in Sweden, these are available on the 2nd of January, when people haven't quite recovered from the Christmas celebrations.

The idea came from this blog entry on the WildYeastBlog. With one modification - I'd mix the dough on the evening of Easter Saturday, refrigerate, then shape and bake on the morning of Easter Sunday, so that they would be nice and warm by the time our guests arrived.

As expected the dough rose nicely despite being in the fridge. I was a bit uncertain about the ground allspice that went into the dough, but the end result was fantastic. What I didn't like was the paste for the crosses. I ended up adding a lot more water than Susan's recipe states, and it was still pretty thick and I had to use a flat nozzle to pipe it in the end and my hands went shaky afterwards.

The other thing I didn't like about the paste was the fact that even making extra wide crosses, I only used up about a quarter of the paste and had to throw away the rest.

Here is what they looked like just before going into the oven.


And here they are after baking and glazing.


As you can see I missed a bit on one of the buns and it has only a stripe rather than a cross.

Oh, and I baked them for 18 minutes on 200 degrees C, instead of starting off at a higher temperature and reducing after 7 minutes.

The glaze remained sticky throughout, but I sort of expected that. I'd bought clotted cream and raspberry jam and that was definitely a winning combination.

So, I'd definitely repeat these once I've found a different paste recipe.

Family Easter Dinner

Over the last week, I've been preparing for yesterday's family Easter get-together, mostly with buying and preparing food.

Ever since our Christmas ostrich, we promised to invite the rest of the family to try out this delicacy. I decided to do the same recipe, however being nine people, I decided to treble everything. Thus three ostrich fillet roasts, three times the mushrooms, three times the gravy and three times the potatoes.

Now since I don't have a restaurant kitchen and staff, I decided to do each fillet roast on it's own. So I made three lots of the spice mixture for the dry marinating. All other things I did in one go.

The potatoes were prepared in the evening of the previous day and were kept in my pressure cooker under water. That made them swell sufficiently to prevent me from fitting them all into the baking tray, a feat I did manage to do after I'd sliced them into the Hasselback shape. So there are two tiny tatties in a bowl of water in the fridge waiting to be cooked. I greased them with goose fat, which I had left over from Christmas and had kept in a box in the freezer. I think I should have seasoned the potatoes before baking them, as the were, they tasted a bit too much of just fat. I think it could be to do with the increased water content of preparing them the day before.

Also on the day before, all the spices were ground, the mushrooms and the greens (baby leeks, French beans and purple sprouting broccoli) were washed and dried. One thing I sort of cheated with was to use ground coriander and cardamom instead of grinding them alongside the black pepper and juniper berries. This is not really a problem, but I made a mistake that I've specifically commented on in other blog posts - if grinding spices before use, the flavour is stronger than if using pre-ground spices, thus amounts need to be adjusted. I completely ignored doing that, very consciously and so the balance of the spice mixture was wrong. In addition, I used up all the juniper berries left in the jar, which were perhaps a tad too few. This resulted in the black pepper completely dominating in the end result, most unfortunate, though most of the family seemed OK with the extra heat.

For the mushrooms, I skipped the butter at the end and just heated up the double cream on low and stirred in the mushrooms briefly.

I prepared the first part of the gravy on the day before as well and as it turned out, the jar of cranberry sauce was a lot smaller than I thought and it was also a lot emptier than I thought. In fact it only had enough for one batch of gravy, so I topped up with lingonberry jam, which I happened to have in the fridge and which tasted pretty similarly. The lingonberry jam was definitely in a big jar and it was almost full. Also I cracked open a bottle of sherry vinegar, which I've been dying to try out for ages. It combined very nicely with the Merlot wine and the port. For some reason not everyone had gravy, so we have quite a lot of it left over now. Hopefully it's good for dipping bread in or something. Maybe I can freeze it.

The greens were just steamed. I had intended to sauté them, but there just wasn't enough time for that.

Now out of the nine of us, two are vegetarians, so for them I made a traditional Bulgarian dish - Бюрек от пиперки, which is "byurek" of peppers and here how it is made.

6 sweet bell peppers, preferably as oblong as possible
400 g feta cheese
4 large eggs
6 tbsp grapeseed oil

  1. Roast the peppers as per instructions here. Then peel, remove the handles and seeds carefully so the peppers remain intact and finally rinse thoroughly.

  2. In a bowl, break up 400 g of feta cheese with your fingers, so that it resembles cottage cheese nodules. Then add two of the eggs, season with salt and pepper and coarsely chopped parsley. Be generous with the seasoning, as the peppers themselves won't be seasoned.

  3. Fill each pepper with the mixture and make sure they are flattened a bit.

  4. In a shallow bowl, big enough to fit a pepper, break the two remaining eggs and whisk together lightly. Spread the breadcrumbs on a plate, then heat up the grapeseed oil in a frying pan.

  5. Dip each pepper in the eggs to get it coated on all sides, then roll in the breadcrumbs and fry for 2 - 3 minutes on each side until the coating goes golden brown.

A word on feta cheese. Traditionally feta is stored in brine and that's how you used to buy it in Bulgaria. Then some time before it's needed it can be immersed in water, which draws out a lot of the salt. The amount left depends on now long the feta is soaked, so in extreme cases all the salt will be gone and it'll taste like fromage frais. So for a byurek, a slightly too salty feta is to be preferred. The egg/feta mixture is then to be stuffed into red peppers because their sweetness offsets the feta cheese so very nicely. Unfortunately I've not come across brined feta recently, the packets in the supermarkets are completely salt free. This doesn't really matter, just season the mixture well. I also used low fat feta and had some doubts about that, but it turned out to be very nice indeed and tasted great. It was listed as 11.5%, regular feta is around 25% I believe.

Other types of peppers can be used of course. The ones I used were good for a main course with potatoes and greens, but using small ones, they would make nice finger food at a buffet, hot or cold. The dish is popular in Bulgarian restaurants, though some might be using the Bulgarian hard yellow cheese called кашкавал (kashkaval), which is very similar in flavour to Peccorino Romano or Peccorino Sardo cheeses, though quite fatty and not as hard in texture.

As before, the mushrooms were the first to run out - there were precisely enough for all nine of us and some did make attempts at nicking other people's mushrooms, they were tasty.

Meringue Chicks


My Mum told me about this a couple of weeks ago and sent me the instructions on how to make little chicks out of meringue.

As per usual, I didn't follow the instructions on the meringue itself, but made the one I normally make. Unfortunately I over-cooked it ever so slightly, which is why the white chicks look the way they do. Adding yellow food colouring kind of sorted things out a bit and I also set aside a little and coloured red for their crests.

For beaks, I used two small pine seeds and the eyes were made with melted dark chocolate.

The way they are done is to first pipe a larger ball of meringue (so the mixture needs to be pretty firm). Mine were about the size of a walnut. Then on top of that, a second meringue ball is carefully piped, which forms the head. Generally the top of this second meringue ball will form a little crest, so can be left as is, or add on a red crest with a flat nozzle.

Finally stick two pine seeds in as a beak and then bake as normal, but for an hour and a half or even longer, if the meringues are still sticking to the baking sheets, then leave in the oven after switching it off, overnight is good and will get them nicely dried out. The reason for the longer baking is that they will end up bigger and taller.

Some 10 minutes into the baking, when the meringues have just started to dry out, using a wet sharp knife, cut into the main chick body to shape wings and spread out a little. I waited too long for this - 15 minutes and so the meringues were too dry and cracked badly, so after trying on a couple of chicks, I decide to leave it and let them complete baking without wings.

Once they are done and cooled down, melt a little dark chocolate and dot eyes on them, then place in airtight containers, so they don't go soggy.

I'd made these especially for my two nieces and sadly completely forgot about them yesterday. So maybe I can make new ones with them next time we meet.

Pre-Easter Eggsperimentation

As Easter was getting nearer and nearer, eggs in all colours and sizes kept cropping up more and more and during one shopping trip, I impulsively bought a lonely looking packet of quail eggs. I've seen them around, but have never had them and given our recent escapade into duck eggs, I've been feeling adventurous.

And so as a nice surprise to Lundulph I served them as a starter before our salad dinner.


The instructions stated to carefully put in boiling water for one minute, then take off the heat and leave for another 30 seconds, which will achieve a soft boil. If aiming for a hard boil, let them boil for two minutes, followed by a 30 second rest in the hot water. I went for the soft boil and they turned out perfect, even if I counted the seconds in my head, rather than using a timer. A bit fiddly to peel, being so very tiny, but once that was done, a quail egg was a wonderful bite with a nice firm white and creamy runny yolk. The shells were beautifully brown/grey speckled, slightly blueish on the inside and the flavour was very much like a regular chicken egg, but with a slight hint of sweetness at the end.

When I made a second lot a couple of days later, again I counted in my head, however this time I must have counted faster because the eggs were underdone and had to go back in to the water for a few more seconds.

My third attempt was when half the family came over for the traditional Easter dinner. This time I timed it strictly to the second and they ended up between our previous two attempts, so were pretty tricky to peel and most managed to squeeze them too hard so the yolk erupted out. I worked out that peeling the top third of the egg was sufficient to suck out the creamy yolk, then use the tip of a dinner knife to scoop out the white. Still, they tasted lovely on little nests of baby leaf salad. No need for any seasoning or dressing, I might add.

Which brings me to the second egg of the season, I spotted this in our local farm shop, where I also got the beautiful baby salad leaves for the family dinner. The egg was from a goose and was massive in comparison. I've not seen goose eggs in at least 20 years and I'd certainly never eaten one, so this was all very exciting too.


A quick google indicated that boiling for 10 minutes would result in a runny yolk, so that's what we did. I remembered also that Stephen of Dinner Diary had boiled one for 11 minutes a couple of years ago too.

So after boiling the thing, Lundulph and I started peeling it, realising that the shell was significantly thicker. There was also quite a lot of white at the top and Lundulph began to despair that there wouldn't be much yolk, but this was completely groundless - there was loads and it was wonderfully runny and creamy.

On the whole, it seems that flavour-wise these eggs are pretty similar to each
other, at least to me and Lundulph. The raw white of a duck egg is a lot clearer than
the corresponding chicken one, but behaves in pretty much the same way in cooking too. I've yet to try it out on meringues.

I'm now also pretty curious to see if I can get hold of a turkey egg, I'm guessing it would be of similar size to the goose egg.

The online shop where I purchased the ostrich fillet for Christmas also say they do eggs, when in season, though this season isn't specified. This sounds extremely tempting, but would require the majority of our extended family to come together for a massive omelet for a purchase like this to be viable. Not entirely out of the question for the future though.

One thing to note in the two photos above is that the bowls in which the quail and goose eggs are presented are the same.

Oh, and sorry for the silly pun on the post title, I just couldn't resist.