Monday, 16 February 2015

Brunch Eggs 4 Ways With Le Creuset

Going back through some of my 'Places To Eat In London' posts over the last few years, I've realised that whenever confronted with a brunch menu, I'll always order something with eggs. Poached Eggs served on top of an aubergine puree, yogurt, sumac and a big chunky slice of toasted sourdough at Caravan in King's Cross, soft boiled eggs with dippy anchovy soldiers at Beagle in Hoxton, or simply a pillow of perfectly chef scrambled eggs with a side of smoked salmon at Granger & Co. in Notting Hill are all favourites of mine.
Dippy Eggs & Anchovy Butter Soldiers
The egg I think is the quintessential breakfast and brunch item, and while there are delicious versions of it to be had all over London on a Sunday morning, sometimes you want something a little more than the classic fried or scrambled to have come out of your own kitchen (but with minimal effort. It is Sunday morning, after all!) So, rather than doing one straight out recipe post today, I've teamed up with the guys at John Lewis and Le Creuset to bring four different ways you can prepare your eggs for some pretty delicious yet super simply weekend breakfasts inspired by some of my favourite restaurant dishes to feed your friends and family. Intentionally here, I have not included exact recipes for any of these brunch dishes. I did not use any recipes making them, and I want to show you all that you don't necessarily have to be exactly following a recipe every time to make a delicious meal with what you've got. Brunch is the perfect meal, and eggs the perfect ingredient to just play around with, with minimal scope for disaster. Have a go, you may surprise yourself!
Softening Onions on the AGA Baking Eggs in Tomato Sauce in a Le Creuset Pan
I've always used Le Creuset casserole dishes in the kitchen, I learned to cook in my Mothers pretty blue enamel ones that she has to match her blue AGA. I'd noticed that Le Creuset had started making more bits of kitchen stuff than just casseroles a while ago, but it was only last Christmas when I was given a lovely cream K-Mix by my parents did I know what colour I wanted to start collecting equipment for my future kitchen in.
Middle Eastern Baked Eggs
Baked Eggs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

Something you see on a lot of brunch menus in so many different variations, but are so easy to make at home are baked eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. As a basic rule, to serve 4 you need 6 eggs (served with freshly baked crusty bread - I have an easy recipe here - all you really need is an egg each, but bake a few extra for boys/ hungry people), 2 cans of tinned tomatoes, 3-4 (yes, really) garlic cloves thinly sliced and whatever other flavourings you happen to have on hand. I like to add depth to my tomato sauce by frying up a big onion, finely chopped in a little olive oil in the pan first. Once it is golden, I then add a deseeded chilli, thinly sliced (though you could use something like harrissa to bring the heat instead) the garlic and a good heaped teaspoon of cumin seeds to the pan. Improvise with whatever spices you like. Fry until the garlic is soft, but has not browned and add the tomatoes with a little (about 1/2 a cup full) stock or water.

Allow to bubble until the sauce has thickened a little and has taken on the flavours, season with salt, pepper and a little sugar if the tomatoes are too acidic, and crack the eggs into the pan. I'm using Le Creuset's Toughened, Non-Stick Shallow Casserole here as it has a lid, which you will now need to put on top to build up the heat and steam, and allow the tops of the eggs to set. Serve in the pan at the table with a good few grinds of salt and pepper, and some chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish.
Individual Brunch Frittatas Single Serving Brunch Frittatas
Single Serving Brunch Frittatas 

As you probably noticed when I used them to house my Dark Chocolate Marmalade Brown Bread & Butter Puddings, I'm slightly obsessed with the endless, adorable single serving portion dishes that can be had using Le Creuset's Petite Round Casseroles. In case you were wondering, red pepper, spring onion and spinach make a golden combo for mini breakfast frittatas, baked until just set and puffed up in a hot oven. 1.5 large eggs is the golden amount to each dish to stop them overflowing (like they did when I baked these, do them on a baking sheet just in case!), so if you're only cooking for one, still make up the other one. It makes a great cold packed lunch with a side salad for Monday morning. Or midnight snack, I'm not judging!
Le Creset Kettle on the AGA Boiling an Egg
Did we not have a truly beautiful Sunday? I spent the morning walking through the countryside, and when I arrived back to the warmth of the AGA in the kitchen, I could not help but capture the beautiful light streaming in through the kitchen window to where I was boiling (Le Creuset's super stylish Traditional Stove Top) kettle for a nice warm mug of peppermint team, and a pan of water for a quick boiled egg for my lunch.
Dippy Eggs & Anchovy Soldiers How To Make Dippy Eggs & Anchovy Butter Soldiers
Dippy Eggs with Anchovy Butter Soldiers 

I've wanted to re-create the dippy eggs with anchovy soldiers I had as part of an absolutely stellar brunch at Beagle in Hoxton ever since I had them last January. I've bookmarked so many different recipes for the anchovy butter, that I was overcomplicating things. With the eggs perfectly soft boiled at just 5 minutes for a large egg, and served up in Le Creuset's pretty Rainbow Egg Cups, they make the perfect quick breakfast to impress to feed your family, or just an indulgent treat for one. My egg did not even make it to the table when I took these photographs; I just sat cross legged in the window seat polishing off every last lick of butter.
Anchovy Butter on Toast
All you really need to do is on a small plate mash 2-3 anchovies and a very large knob of unsalted, room temperature butter per person with a fork until it is all combined, before slathering it on hot toast and cutting it into soldiers. If you're an anchovy lover like me, I apologise in advance for how addicted to this, dipped in great pools of runny, golden yolk you're going to become. You can thank me later.
Full English Breakfast Casserole
Full English Breakfast Casserole

I was introduced to the joys of a good, Southern-style American breakfast casserole by The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. While I make these in a single serving, I've found the Le Creuset's Pie Dish makes a great double serving. For a 'Full English' version, pack it with pieces of stale crusty bread or leftover bagels (if such a thing even exists!), and studded with pieces of cherry tomato, portobello mushroom and pieces of cooked sausage. Honestly though, anything goes. A smoked salmon and cream cheese (use full fat, cubes of it puff up wonderfully in the oven) version would also be delicious. Beat 3 large eggs with a generous dash of milk or cream, season with salt and pepper and pour over the casserole. Leave for at least an hour or overnight in the fridge so the bread can start to soak up some of the egg mixture. Bake in a hot oven until the egg is set. 

I'd love to hear how you get on with some of these ideas at the weekend (I'm giving you a whole week to plan ahead!), and I'd love to hear some of your personal variations. If you're looking for more brunch ideas with your eggs, why not check our my recipes form Green Eggs & Ham, Smoked Salmon Latkes, or either of the brunch toasts I put together for Borough Market last year?

14 comments:

  1. These all look phenomenal! x

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  2. Ohh wow so many variations! Puts my scrambled eggs on toast to shame haha.

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  3. Those baked eggs look delicious! And I really like the sound of the breakfast casserole - it looks like a good one to cook and portion up for a substantial breakfast that you can take to work with you!

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  4. This is actually one of my favourite posts ever! I bloody love eggs! The dippy eggs though are my all time favourite, so definitely going to try it with anchovy butter!


    Jenna || Jennafifi.co.uk

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  5. I'm really glad you enjoyed this post, I especially had fun putting together the dippy eggs - I can't wait to hear how you get on with them!

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  6. Hey, scrambled eggs can be sexy too. I like them either cooked in coconut oil with little chopped pieces of cherry tomato stirred through, or in lashings of butter, extra creamy with a little bit of lumpfish (cheap) caviar stirred through!

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  7. I'd never thought of that, but it does make a great desk breakfast. They're not brilliant cold, but I've successfully microwaved cooked portions before!

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  8. The eggs or the cookware? I can vouch that either category is totally delicious!

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  9. I do have some coconut oil on hand right now, might try that!

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  10. I love eggs - they're my go to weekend breakfast/ brunch / lunch staple. I usually go for poached eggs on seeded bread, sometimes with a side of spinach and tomatoes. Boiled eggs are definitely a comforting classic though - and I love those rainbow egg cups! I noticed a bit of trend not long ago for egg cups without a stem or classic egg cup shape - I'm so glad to see these 'proper' egg cups are coming back again! The tomato sauce dish and the frittatas look amazing, I'm saving these recipes for use in the future :)
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

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  11. I'd love to hear what you think! However, it is not my tip - I must admit that I stole it from Jasmine Hemsley!

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  12. Eggs are always a great idea. I love them! These are so clever... you're so great at making basic things fun again with just a new ingredient. Dippy eggs win I think!

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  13. I LOVE eggs so will be saving this post for the weekend as they all look delicious!

    Maria xxx

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