I was thinking what to have for breakfast on a Sunday morning a week or so ago and thought I would like something a little different from kippers and scrambled eggs (not that I bought any kippers that weekend) or an omelette or any of the other usual breakfast dishes so I did a little research and came across this recipe published online by Rika Livingstone in Posh Journal.
What struck me was the simplicity of the recipe, not least because I had all the ingredients and there are only four of them – baked beans, egg, grated cheddar cheese, and hot sauce. There is a fifth, optional, ingredient if you have it to hand – chives.
The addition of hot sauce in this dish makes it a slimmed down version of Huevos rancheros and the fact I have chosen a quasi-Mexican dish will come as a complete surprise especially to my friends Michelle and Joe and their daughters Olivia and Sophia who know all too well my trenchant views on Mexican food! I have never been a fan of Mexican cooking and developed my robust opinion after walking through a Mexican market in San Antonio, Texas, decades ago, where most of the food being cooked seemed to be nothing but chicken gizzards and other unmentionable and inedible parts of the bird. Having so said, I have modified my view slightly after nephew-in-law Paul introduced what seemed to me at least, a more modern approach to Mexican food when he managed a branch of Chiladas in Plano, Texas.
The sauce that Ms Livingstone mentions in her recipe is Louisiana Hot Sauce. I am not sure if this brand is readily available here in the UK but by good fortune and after a rummage in my kitchen cupboard I came across a bottle of Alvin’s Hot Sauce which was given to me by Natalie and Paul after their return from a holiday in Trinidad and it is this sauce I used.
Whereas Louisiana Hot Sauce is made with cayenne peppers (and made in Louisiana USA) Alvin’s Hot Sauce is made with “Fresh Scotch Bonnet Peppers” as the label proudly states – along with the fact that it is Island made in Trinidad and Tobago.
However don’t despair if you can’t get hold of either brands mentioned above because one that is readily available, at least in Waitrose, is the Encona brand West Indian Original Hot Pepper Sauce. If you are fussy about what type of peppers are used in your hot sauce Encona uses Scotch Bonnet peppers and Habanero peppers! And if you wish to make your beans and egg more exotic you could use Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce from Thailand which is made with birds-eye/Thai chillies
What you’ll need for one, two, three, four or more people is:
- Heinz baked beans – 200gr/7oz per person
- 1 egg per person
- Hot sauce to taste
- 40gr/1.5oz grated cheese per person
- Chopped chives – optional
What you’ll need to do:
- Heat the oven to 180C/350F.
- Divide baked beans between individual oven-proof dishes (I used a 10cm/4″ ramekin dish for one person).
- Stir in an amount of hot sauce into the beans. NB add sparingly at first and check before adding more if required.
- Add grated cheese on top of the beans.
- Add egg to the centre of each dish and finish off by adding a little more cheese over the egg.
- Place dishes on a baking tray and cook in the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes depending on how you like your eggs – softer or more set.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh chopped chives and serve with toasted bread on the side if you wish.
I made this soup after I returned home from spending a weekend with my friends Annie and Andrew at their home in Wiltshire. On the Saturday Annie and Andrew took me to Salisbury where there is a very good market in the main square – a proper market with vegetable stalls, fruit sellers, butchers, a cheesemonger (maybe two) and all manner of stalls with delicious foods to buy. One of my purchases was the celeriac – the other was a brace of pheasant which were locally sourced (and shot) and are now residing in my freezer – the subject of a future post. I must say that the Salisbury saturday market is reason enough to move there.
What you’ll need for four people as a soup/first course:
- One celeriac approximately 1kg in weight
- One medium-sized onion peeled and cut in half
- One small to medium-sized potato peeled and cut in half or quarters*
- 1.5 litres vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper
What you’ll need to do:
- Prepare the celeriac by trimming off the thick knobbly roots. Then, either using a potato peeler or a sharp knife, ‘skin’ the celeriac. If you are using a knife be careful not to take off chunks of the vegetable with the skin. The skin is easy to trim away so not much force is needed.
- Cut celeriac into chunks
- Make up the vegetable stock in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Add the celeriac, onion and potato to the stock and reduce to a simmer. Cover with saucepan lid and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Check that the celeriac and potato are cooked and if so turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool.
- Once the broth and vegetables are cooled sufficiently transfer to a liquidiser and whizz until smooth.
- Return soup to a clean saucepan and season with salt and a little pepper if you wish. Remember, the stock will have salt in it so you may not need to add more.
- As you are warming the soup prior to serving pour in the cream a little at a time to your liking. Once you have added the cream don’t let the soup boil as the cream may separate.
* I include a potato because it acts as a natural thickening agent. If you prefer a thinner soup then you may either omit the potato altogether or add more stock after you have blended the soup. I think the potato adds a little silkiness to the overall texture.
** If you wish to keep the calories down then you can ditch the cream – the soup will be just as delicious without it. Oh yes, I use double cream myself.
As a post-script I would like to thank my friend June Lim of Singapore who suggested I should put the picture of the finished dish at the top of the recipe and not at the bottom.
When my sisters and I were children we would visit our two aunts in Chester, Olwen and Morfydd. Aunty Morfydd was a very good cook and she would often prepare bulldogs for us. I don’t know why this sandwich got given the name of bulldog (perhaps my sisters know – I never thought to ask them) but it was Morfydd’s creation.
As we would visit in the afternoon it formed part of a high tea (not to be confused with afternoon tea) and our mother would make them for us for breakfast at home too.
It is, simply put, a toasted tomato sandwich however instead of buttering the inside the top piece of toast is buttered. Though this recipe is ever so easy to make my sisters, particularly Caroline, often ask me to make bulldogs for them – so too my niece Natalie.
What you’ll need for two to three people is:
- Olive oil
- One 400g tin of tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- 6-8 slices of white bread (white is best in my opinion)
What you’ll need to do:
- Heat a good slug of olive oil in a saucepan.
- When the oil has warmed up a bit put in the tomatoes. If you are using whole plum tomatoes break them up a bit with a wooden spoon.
- Cook the tomatoes over a medium to high heat for about 15 to 20 minutes. The idea is to cook the tomatoes to a nice pulp. But be warned – do not walk away and leave the tomatoes to their own devices because they will catch and burn. Keep an eye on them and stir regularly. You have arrived at the right consistency once the juice has evaporated and the resulting tomato sauce is glossy.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Once the tomatoes are cooked you can set them aside and keep the pan warm (on a hot plate if you have one) with lid on the saucepan whilst you make the toast.
Once you have your toast nice and golden remove from the toaster or grill and on one piece of toast spread a thin layer of tomato. Then place the second piece of toast on top and butter the top piece.
Slice in half and enjoy you bulldogs!
Cooking the tomatoes as described above also forms a basic tomato sauce for pasta. In fact if you look back at my Arrabbiata and Amatriciana recipes this the basic sauce.
Oh yes, if you have more people to feed, simply add more tins of tomatoes and have more slice of bread to hand. If you have left-over tomato sauce simply keep it in the fridge and use in the next days to make a pasta sauce of you choice.