All posts by Rachel

Aromatic Indian-style Scrambled Eggs

basketofeggsIt’s our wedding anniversary today (hard to believe it’s 26 years) and special days always call for special food so to start the day (and to use up some of the four dozen beautiful free-range eggs I received from Farmers’ Market stallholders at the weekend) it was
scrambled eggs for breakfast – but scrambled eggs with a difference – Aromatic Indian-style Scrambled Eggs.

Sometime ago I came across a recipe for Indian-style scrambled eggs and since then I have found similar recipes in the cuisines of Pakistan, Afghanistan and neighbouring countries – all seem to use onion, tomato, fresh coriander and chilli but vary as to whether garlic and/or ginger is used and which spices are preferred – my recipe uses cumin, but sometimes I use turmeric or a combination of turmeric and cumin.

My interpretation of Indian-style Scrambled Eggs is an easy go-to dish for when you want something a little exotic without a lot of effort and with its layered nutty, chilli and herby flavours makes an excellent brunch dish or a delicious Sunday night tea. Serve with a steamed green vegetable such as spinach or a salad of mixed leaves for a complete meal. If left to cool they also make a delicious filling for sandwiches or rolls.

Aromatic Indian-style Scrambled Eggs

Serves 2-4 as a light meal or brunch

4-5 free-range eggs, depending on size
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 small red chilli, thinly sliced – seeds removed (optional)
Sourdough, ciabatta or bread of your choice, toasted, to serve

1             Break eggs into a bowl, add salt and pepper and whisk lightly to combine. Set aside.
2             Heat oil in a non-stick 18-20cm frying pan over a medium heat, add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Add cumin and cook for 1-2 minutes longer or until mixture is aromatic.
3             Add tomato and cook stirring, until warmed through and soft. Reduce heat to low.
4             Stir coriander and chilli into egg mixture. Pour egg mixture into pan and cook, stirring gently, for 5-7 minutes or until eggs are creamy and scrambled. Serve immediately with toast.

So with breakfast out of the way it’s time to think about lunch and after that hearty breakfast I think it will be a salad – I’m just working on a kumara and rocket salad with feta and walnuts and will let you know how it turns out on another day.  And dinner tonight a beautiful wild venison fillet from The Organic Farm – haven’t decided how I am going to cook that yet – but have got all day to think about that.

Happy cooking and eating

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

Cherry and Kirsch Jam

freshcherriesI have now finished as the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market Manager and yesterday as they say ‘Was the first day of the rest of my life’ and it’s time to sit back for a little while and think about what I am going to do going forward – the one thing I do know is that it will be something to do with food, so while I am thinking about it, it is in to my kitchen to start making Christmas gifts and trying and testing some of the recipes I have not got to yet.

My farewell gift from the stallholders at the markets was a generous selection of Hawke’s Bay produce and artisan products, so first up yesterday morning was making sure none of the produce went to waste.

The produce included several large punnets of cherries and while we had eaten our way through some of them the rest have been made into Cherry and Kirsch Jam – there wasn’t a great quantity but being made with lovely Hawke’s Bay cherries it is pretty special.

Making jam is a great way to use up an abundance of seasonal fruit and the simplest jams consist of fruit, sugar and maybe lemon juice, depending on how much natural pectin is in the fruit you are using. Pectin naturally occurs in most fruits and is the substance which helps jams and marmalades set – the amount of naturally occurring pectin in fruit varies and if making jam with a fruit that is low in pectin adding lemon juice helps ensure the jam sets. Cherries are one of the fruits which are low in pectin, adding lemon juice which is an acid helps to develop the pectin which helps to set the jam.

Sugar is also an important ingredient in jam, it helps with setting and acts as preservative. Too little or too much sugar usually means the jam will not set and in the case of too little it will not keep. Too much sugar and the jam will also be sticky and too sweet. Jams should contain half to two-thirds by weight of sugar – I usually measure the quantity of cooked fruit pulp and add an equal quantity of sugar and seldom have trouble with setting.

There are a number of methods to test the set of jam – I usually use a combination of the flake test and plate test – the flake test to give me an idea of when the jam is coming to setting point and the plate test to confirm. For the flake test allow some of the jam to drip from the spoon and when it no longer runs off the spoon but rather forms larger drips it is a good indication that the preserve has reached setting, at this stage I take the pan off the heat and place a small amount of jam on a saucer which has chilled in the freezer for a few minutes (3-4 minutes), then return to the freezer for another 3-4 minutes after which if you can run you finger through the jam and it leaves a path setting point has been reached. If setting has not been reached return pan to heat for a further 5 minutes, then test again.

Jars used for any preserves must be cleaned and steriled – in the home kitchen the easiest way to do this is to put them through the dishwasher, then while making the preserve place the jars upside down in a low oven – pour hot preserve in hot jars and cover while still hot.

The basic method I follow for jam making is to put the prepared fruit into a preserving pan – with or without a small amount of water depending on the juiciness of the fruit – bring to the boil and boil until the fruit is tender. Measure the fruit pulp, add an equal quantity of warm sugar, return to heat, bring back to the boil and boil until setting point is reached.

There is some equipment which makes home preserving easier. I think a preserving or jam pan is a must for home preserving and if you a planning on making jams, jellies, marmalades, relishes, chutneys and pickles on a regular basis it certainly makes the process easier. The difference between a preserving pan and an ordinary large saucepan is the shape of pan which is wider at the top than the base which helps with faster evaporation. The pan should also be heavy based and can be made from a variety of materials, my current preserving pan is stainless steel. Another useful piece of equipment a wide neck funnel – this allows for easy filling of jars with the wide neck allow chunks of fruit to flow through.

Cherry and Kirsch Jam

I had approximately 800g of un-pitted cherries which made about 4 cups of jam. If you do not have muslin use a clean chux cloth – place the pits on the chux cloth and tie with a piece of string to form a bag – the pits of the cherries contain additional pectin.

ripe fresh cherries, pitted – stones reserved and tied in a muslin bag
juice 1 lemon
1 tbsp kirsch

1              Place pitted cherries, lemon juice and bag of pits in a preserving pan. Bring to the boil and boil for 20-30 minutes or until fruit is tender.

2              Remove pan from heat. Remove muslin bag containing pits and discard. Measure fruit pulp and for each cup of pulp add 1 cup of warm sugar.

3             Return pan to heat, bring back to the boil and cook until mixture sets when tested. Stir in kirsch. Pour jam into clean, warm, sterilised jars and seal.

Recipe and information by Rachel Blackmore