Since Mother’s Day is this Sunday, I bet many of you have the intention to cook up a storm for the traditional brunch. To inspire you to choose your ingredients wisely, we have invited blogger Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella to share her thoughts on food and a recipe using RSPCA Approved Eggs.
RSPCA: What is your favourite dish? And why?
Lorraine: That’s quite hard as it depends on my mood. Given the inclement weather we’ve been having lately though, my favourite dish, that I’ve made several times, is risotto bolognese. I make in the pressure cooker and it defines comfort food.
RSPCA: Do you have an absolute favourite ingredient?
Lorraine:Butter without a doubt, it can do savoury or sweet. I could never eat dry bread or toast!
RSPCA: Do you pay attention to where your food comes from?
Lorraine: Definitely. Paying attention to where it is produced and what conditions it is produced under give you an idea about the quality of the food. Free range food tastes better and organic food is better for you so knowing and food produced locally often gets to you in a better condition as it is often fresher and has less to travel and involves less impact on the environment so they’re questions worth asking.
RSPCA: Considering more people are concerned about where their food comes from, is this trend inspiring you to cook with humane food?
Lorraine: I didn’t grow up eating free range or organic food. It wasn’t easy to find back then nor did my parents really consider about whether the food was treated humanely or not. But even if you don’t care about the humane aspect (although I do challenge anyone to not care if you see the conditions that battery hens and pigs live in) the fact is the free range product tastes better.
I made my parents a chicken dish using free range chicken and they really saw how meaty the whole chicken was rather than the shrivelled meatless version they had bought that was just basically an empty rib cage. The meat was also tender and I think that the prices now are good enough to convince some people to switch over to free range food at least for some categories (chicken, pork and eggs). Grass fed beef is delicious too although I don’t tend to cook steaks at home, instead I tend to see them as an occasional treat.
RSPCA: Any cooking tip using eggs you would like to share?
Lorraine: Save the old eggs for making boiled eggs as the shells slip off easily. When you boil an egg, throw an unlit matchstick into the water and if the egg shell cracks slightly, it will prevent the egg from creating a storm of white clouds in the water (that is a Nigella Lawson tip 😉 ).
Serpent’s Coil Pastry With Spinach & Feta
(An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella)
250g/9 ozs. fresh or frozen spinach chopped and drained
200g/7 ozs Danish feta (or other creamy feta)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1.5 cups shredded cheese (tasty, cheddar, mozzarella, whatever you like)
2 RSPCA Approved or high welfare eggs (barn or free-range), separated into a bowl of the whites and a bowl of the yolks Pastry
non stick spray or butter to grease
14 sheets fresh filo pastry (I used brand Antoniou which is in the refrigerated section of supermarkets)
150-200g (5-7 ozs) butter, melted
4-5 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
a handful of nuts to decorate (I used almonds but pine nuts are also good)
Make the filling by combining the spinach, feta, garlic, walnuts or pine nuts, garlic, cheese and egg whites in a food processor and process until cohesive. Fill a piping bag with the mixture and refrigerate until needed. The mixture Rolling up the snake Placing it in the greased pie dish.Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Grease a 25cms/10inch pie plate with butter or non stick oil spray. Line a clean surface with a sheet of non stick parchment and take out your filo pastry. Filo dries out very quickly so have a damp tea towel on top of it to prevent it from drying. Take out one sheet and recover pastry. Brush with butter and then place another on top of this and butter and repeat until you have four buttered sheets on top of each other. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top as shown and then pipe the filling along the bottom. All rolled up ready for the egg glaze…Lift the edge of the paper and roll the pastry over rolling quite tightly. Lay it out carefully on the greased pie dish covering this with a damp tea towel. Repeat another two times so that you use a total of 12 sheets of pastry (4 sheets for three logs). I found that I needed a bit more to fill in the centre so I cut the last two sheets of pastry in half and did a shorter log. Yes I swear it was egg glaze and not more butter! With the two egg yolks, brush the top of the pastry well with the egg yolk mixture and scatter nuts on top. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.