Every time we make pancakes I say the same thing: we don’t make pancakes enough! They are simple and quick to make and so versatile when it comes to fillings or toppings. On those rare occasions we actually get crêpeing, I tend to veer towards the sweet side more often than not. This time it was the turn of savoury.

Cheese and ham are a classic pairing and a favourite in our house. We often add a smear of sweet hot chilli jam when making cheese and ham on toast, so I was confident the same combination would work in a pancake. For the Madame version, we simply added an egg! (I’ve provided recipes for both versions, below).

CheeseHamChilliJamCrepes-5110 CheeseHamChilliJamCrepes-5123

To make the pancakes, you can use your standard crêpe recipe – we’re looking for thin French-style pancakes here, not the thick and fluffy kind. I tend to refer to Delia for this. Alternatively, use the Asda Mix-o-meter which helpfully scales the batter recipe up or down for you depending on how many pancakes you want to make.

I’d suggest making all the pancakes first, so you can find your rhythm and get your cooking time and flipping technique down pat.


Recipe: Pancakes Cheese, Ham & Chilli Jam

Ingredients (per pancake)
1 crêpe
1 slice good quality ham
1-2 teaspoons chilli jam
Approximately 2 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese

Note: I recommend two pancakes per person.



  • Spread the chilli jam onto one side of the ham.


  • Place the crêpe into a flat-bottomed frying pan on low to medium heat. Put the ham on top – chilli jam side up – and sprinkle the cheese over it.
  • Fold the pancake in half and cook on one side for a minute or two before turning over to heat the other side. This shouldn’t need long as you’re just heating through and melting the cheese.
  • Serve hot.



Recipe: Pancakes Cheese, Ham & Chilli Jam, Madame!

Ingredients (per pancake)
1 crêpe
1 slice good quality ham
1-2 teaspoons chilli jam
Approximately 2 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese
1 egg

Note: I recommend two pancakes per person.


  • Turn your grill on to medium-high heat.
  • Spread the chilli jam onto one side of the ham.

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  • Place the crêpe into an oven-proof pan. Put the ham on top – chilli jam side up – and sprinkle the cheese over it.

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  • Carefully break the egg into the centre of the pancake and fold the sides in to form a square. The egg yolk should be uncovered, in the centre (nudge with your finger if necessary).
  • Place the pan under the grill for a few minutes until the egg white is cooked.
  • Serve hot.



This is a paid post for ASDA. Kavey Eats has been paid for developing and sharing this recipe.


Like many of you, I pick up ideas from other blogs, TV and Pinterest all the time. It’s wonderful to have so many sources of inspiration!

The idea of forming bacon into little cups in which to bake eggs is one I’ve encountered so often I can no longer recall where I saw it first but it’s a very simple thing to do and a way to present the same old ingredients a little differently.


Bacon Baked Eggs

1 slice of back bacon or 1.5 slices streaky bacon per egg
Salt and pepper

  • Arrange your bacon slices into a muffin tray to make cups, pushing firmly where the pieces overlap, to make a better seal. Using back bacon, we found it easiest to cut each slice into two pieces first, and use the large end at the bottom of the compartment.


  • Crack an egg into each compartment and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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  • Bake in a preheated (180 C, fan) oven until the egg whites have set, approximately 10-15 minutes.


  • The bacon baked eggs should pop out of the tin easily, as the bacon fat will have naturally greased the compartments as they cooked.


  • Serve hot, with fresh bread and perhaps some silky home-made Hollandaise.

Next time, I may add some baby spinach leaves under the eggs, or grate some aged Comte over the top before baking.


I remember very clearly when the all new Sainsbury’s magazine was launched back in May 1993. Back then, supermarket magazines were pretty wretched; thin and cheaply produced with a dearth of compelling content.

The Sainsbury’s magazine pumped oxygen into a stagnant pond and I loved it from the get go! Delia Smith and husband Michael Wynn-Jones were at its helm and commissioned great content, assembling a team of talented food writers, cooks and chefs. Some were at the start of their careers and others already well established; together they produced a rich collection of material for every single issue. And for just £1 it was excellent value, even in those days!

One of the strengths of the magazine was the reliability of the recipes featured. They were always properly tested and clearly written so those of us who made them did so with confidence.

Fast forward 20 years and while the quality of the field has definitely improved (and dropped again, as in the case of Waitrose Food Illustrated when it changed to Waitrose Kitchen), Sainsbury’s magazine is still going strong.

To mark its 20th anniversary, Sainsbury’s has produced a celebratory cookbook featuring over 100 recipes chosen from an extensive archive.

Unlike some glossier and trendier recipe books I’ve flicked through lately, what I love about this collection is how many of them I want to make (and feel confident that I can make).


The good news is that I have one copy of the book to give away to a lucky reader.

But first, let me share the first recipe we made from the book, Brian Glover’s pea, new potato and feta frittata.


Frittata is such a versatile dish – it can be enjoyed both hot and cold, it’s ideal for lunch or dinner, for picnics or packed lunch boxes and it’s very simple to make.

We took Brian’s suggestion to substitute the feta for goat’s cheese, as we much prefer it.



Pea, New Potato & Goat’s Cheese Frittata

Serves 4

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
500 grams new potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme chopped or 0.5 teaspoon dried
200 grams frozen peas*
a good knob of butter
6 large eggs, beaten
100 grams goat’s cheese (or feta), crumbled
optional: a handful of peashoots

*The original recipe specifies podded peas, but we bought fresh pods and discovered enormous, tough-skinned, tasteless peas within so we substituted with sweet little frozen peas instead. We weighed them frozen, then left them in a bowl of tepid water for a few minutes before draining and using. The recipe calls for boiling the podded fresh peas for 4 minutes before adding to the frittata pan.

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  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 23-25 cm non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and 2-3 pinches of salt, and stir. Cover, turn down the heat and sweat the onions for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.


  • Add the potatoes and thyme to the pan and cook, still covered, for 10-12 minutes until the potatoes are just tender, adding the extra oil if they are drying out.


  • Uncover the pan and turn up the heat until the potatoes start to colour.


  • Add the butter and, when melted, add the peas, Season the eggs and pour into the pan, stirring in the cheese and pea shoots. Preheat the grill.


  • Cook the frittata over a medium heat, drawing in the edge with a spatula until the base sets. After 4-5 minutes, when the underside has browned, put the pan under the grill for 2-3 minutes to just set the top.


  • Place a large plate over the pan and turn over plate and pan together, to remove the frittata from the pan.


We really enjoyed the frittata, both hot out of the pan for dinner and cold for lunch the next day.

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Sainsbury’s have offered a copy of their 20th anniversary Sainsbury’s Magazine Cookbook to one of my readers. The prize includes free delivery within the UK.


You can enter the competition in 3 ways:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, telling me about one of your family’s favourite recipes.

Entry 2 – Facebook
Like the Kavey Eats Facebook page and leave a (separate) comment on this blog post with your Facebook user name.

Entry 3 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the (exact) sentence below.
I’d love to win the 20th anniversary @sainsburysPR Magazine Cookbook from Kavey Eats! http://goo.gl/im02D9 #KaveyEatsSainsburysCookbook
(Please do not add my twitter handle into the tweet; I track entries using the competition hashtag. And you don’t need to leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!)


  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 6th September 2013.
  • Kavey Eats reserves the right to alter the closing date of the competition. Changes to the closing date, if they occur, will be shown on this page.
  • The winner will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prize is a copy of the 20th Anniversary Sainsbury’s Magazine Cookbook, with free delivery within the UK.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. One Facebook entry per person only. You do not have to enter all three ways for your entries to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey at the time of notification. For Facebook entries, winners must Like the Kavey Eats Facebook page at time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email, Twitter or Facebook. If no response is received within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.


Kavey Eats was sent a review copy of the Sainsbury’s Magazine Cookbook.

This competition is closed. The randomly selected winner was Tracy Nixon.


One of the highlights of our visit to Takayama was our stroll through the Miyagawa Morning Market, along the East bank of the Miyagawa River. Stalls and shops sell fresh produce from local farms, traditional pickles, a wide range of other specialist ingredients, sweets, drinks and much more.

Alerted by the small crowd, we stopped to see what was on offer at a small shop manned by a smiling elderly couple.

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Inside, the gentleman prepared the food; outside the lady took orders and payments.

A sign above the shop window read:

“Owara Tamaten: I pass when it beats an egg white and enter and cut the honey which came to the boil of sugar and agar to a pip after cooling it and soak it in the liquid which added sweet sake to and egg yolk, and it is the Japanese sweet that it is unusual which baked 6.”

Aided by the lady’s further prompt of “marshmallow”, we placed our order to give it try.




A few moments later, a hot cube of honey-sweet marshmallow was carefully handed across.

Wow! So fresh and light, it melted away in the mouth in moments!


Some research helps makes more sense of how these delicacies are made: Egg whites are beaten with sugar and agar to create floaty light uncooked marshmallow. Once set and cut into cubes, these are dipped into a glaze of beaten eggs, sake, mirin and honey before being fried to a pale golden brown.


Rinseido has two locations in Takayama, one on the Miyagawa River road, between between Kaji-bashi and Yayoi-bashi (bridges), and another at Shimoichinomachi 88-1.

With thanks to Akiko Tanabe at Ryokan Tanabe, Takayama for her kind help with address details.


Did you know there’s a British Egg Information Service? No? Me neither, but there is and its job is to promote British eggs, answer public queries about them and publish all kinds of eggcellent content. Sorry!

During British Egg Week at the beginning of October, they wrote to me about a new recipe book full of ideas on how to make good use of one of my favourite ingredients. Take a Box of Eggs promises 100 easy and irresistible recipes. It’s part of the Dairy Cookbooks range which includes titles on cakes, home cooking, recipes for one or two and one pot cooking.

I was sent a copy to review and have three copies to giveaway to readers, in the competition below.

CheeseMuffins-3884 CheeseMuffins-3893

A glossy, easy-wipe hard back cover opens to a ring binder format inside.

Recipes are divided 6 chapters covering toasts and snacks, vegetarian, fish, meat, bakes and desserts. In some, eggs are the star ingredient, in others they are more of a supporting ingredient.

Individual recipes are simply and clearly explained, all with full colour photographs.


A great touch is the QR code on each recipe page which can be scanned by smart phones to automatically display a full list of ingredients – a neat way of generating a shopping list fast. This is the first really helpful use of QR codes I’ve seen and wish more publishers would follow suit. (Our phone failed to display the fraction symbol but as the unit was a teaspoon, we knew it couldn’t be more than one or two, or it would have been measured in tablespoons instead.)


The Extra Mature Cheddar Muffins were very simple to make.

CheeseMuffins-3864 CheeseMuffins-3868 CheeseMuffins-3872
CheeseMuffins-3879 CheeseMuffins-3881 CheeseMuffins-3886

The muffins turned out well, cooked perfectly in the allotted time and had a pleasant texture.

Although we used good quality extra mature cheddar, the flavour of cheese was a little muted. This surprised us, as the recipe calls for 150 grams of cheese for 300 grams of flour, which is the same ratio as other cheese muffin recipes online. Perhaps this is how cheese muffins are meant to be, and we were wrong to expect stronger cheesiness?

Certainly, these would work well in a meal alongside a nicely dressed salad and some cured meats. On their own, I find them bland, and might try the recipe again with bacon added for more flavour.

The other issue was that the muffins stuck like glue to the paper cases. After a couple of days storage in a plastic box, they came away from the paper a little more easily but it did mean enjoying them fresh resulted in some wastage.

CheeseMuffins-3892 CheeseMuffins-3894



The British Egg Information Service and Eaglemoss Consumer Publishing are offering three copies of Take A Box Of Eggs to readers of Kavey Eats.

The prize includes delivery within the UK.



You can enter the competition in 2 ways:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, answering the following question:
What’s your favourite recipe to make the most of eggs?

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @KaveyF on twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter!
Then tweet the (exact) sentence below. You don’t need to leave a blog comment about your tweet.
I’d love to win the Take A Box of Eggs cookery book from Kavey Eats! #KaveyEatsBritishEggs



  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Monday 10th December 2012.
  • Kavey Eats reserves the right to alter the closing date of the competition. Changes to the closing date, if they occur, will be shown on this page.
  • The winners will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prizes are a copy for each winner of Take A Box Of Eggs cookery book and include delivery to any UK address.
  • The prizes cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prizes are offered by The British Egg Information Service and provided by Eaglemoss Consumer Publishing.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You do not have to enter both ways for your entries to be valid.
  • For twitter entries, winners must be following @KaveyF at the time of notification, as this will be sent by Direct Message.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email or twitter (for twitter entries). If no response is received within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats received a review copy of the book from The British Egg Information Service.


With just under 200 grams of shortcrust flan pastry leftover from making the pea, mushroom and mint flan plus a generous harvest of purple sprouting broccoli from the allotment, I decided to use both in a second flan.

PSB-Flan-0287 PSB-Flan-0280

The pastry was just enough to line a smaller oven dish, and I used the scraps to make one small individual flan too.

My rolling wasn’t too great (as I didn’t have Pete to do that for me this time!) but the pastry was soft enough to tear off bits from the overhang and use them to patch up the cracks and thin bits.

I didn’t weigh the broccoli, so I can’t give a complete recipe, but I made up the liquid mix using 170 ml double cream (based on the size of the pots my supermarket sells) and two eggs. Michel Roux’s mix for the pea, mushroom and mint flan uses one egg and two additional yolks, but I didn’t want to have more egg whites left over.

This post is really about encouraging you to make up your own flan recipe, using whatever vegetables you have to hand. If you’d like to make a larger flan just increase the amount of pastry, fillings and liquid accordingly.

Rough Recipe for Purple Sprouting Broccoli Flan

200 grams shortcrust flan pastry
Purple sprouting broccoli to fill flan dish
170 ml double cream
2 large eggs
Salt and pepper


  • Preheat oven to 190 C.


  • Roll out pastry and line your dish. Use offcuts from the edges to patch up cracks or thin areas.
  • Trim the edges, leaving a generous amount of pastry around the rim.
  • Line with baking paper and fill with baking beads.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven, take out baking beads and paper and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until pastry appears pale golden brown.


  • Set aside to cool, leaving the oven on at 190 C.


  • Optional: Chop off the thicker part of the stems from the purple sprouting broccoli and cook them in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften. If you do not have a microwave, you could steam for a couple of minutes instead.


  • Line the bottom of the flan case with the stems, and cover with the broccoli florets.

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  • In a bowl, combine the double cream and eggs, season generously with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour gently over the broccoli.

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  • Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until the surface shows some browning and a knife inserted into the flan comes out clean. Smaller individual flans will take less time than larger ones.

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  • Leave to cool for a few minutes before serving warm.

This was a delicious way to enjoy our home grown produce and use up leftover pastry and it’s definitely encouraged me to make more flans going forward. I’d always imagined I’d need to follow an exact recipe, but using my own estimates worked very well this time and has given me more confidence.


I already own Eggs and Sauces, the first two titles in Michel Roux’s series of reference books on classic techniques and recipes. So I was very happy to receive a review copy of Pastry: Savoury and Sweet.

There are chapters for shortcrust pastries, enriched sweet pastries, puff pastry, raised pie pastry, brioche dough, croissant dough, choux pastry, pizza dough and filo pastry and each chapter starts with the basic dough recipe and then provides a wide range of recipes making use of it.

One of the things I like about the book is its use of step by step pictures and instructions for pastry techniques such as lining a flan tin with pastry, making a pastry lattice top and decorative borders, shaping croissants and so on. In addition each type of pastry has several photographs of how the dough looks as you make it. And there are lots of recipe photographs too.

Knowing what you are aiming for gives much greater confidence during the process, for me anyway.


Pete is pastry king in our house so I got him to make the pastry, roll it out into the flan dish and bake it for me, ready for me to do the rest.

Together, we made this absolutely delicious pea, mushroom and mint flan – a recipe I shall definitely be making again once our home-grown peas start cropping.


The flan calls on two recipes in the book, the first for flan pastry and the second for the flan itself.

The two shortcrust pastry recipes provided are for pâte brisée and flan pastry. The former is described in the book as a more delicate, crumbly and light; the latter as less fragile, crisper and just as good in taste.

One downside of the pastry recipe is that it creates about 430 grams of pastry, whereas the flan recipe calls for 260 grams. We used the rest to make some simple purple sprouting broccoli quiches a couple of days later.

The recipe also calls for 500 grams of mushrooms. We used only 400 grams, which filled our our flan dish pretty well.

We also substituted frozen petit pois for fresh peas.

Where the recipe requires steeping the mint in the cream, blending it and then sieving it through a chinois, I went for the rustic approach and decided to leave mine in. My stick blender didn’t do a great job on the leaves, and I’ve amended the recipe for next time to simply chop the leaves much smaller and leave out the blending altogether.

You can also see that our mushroom and peas stuck out proud from the creamy custard flan, which I thought looked lovely, but didn’t resemble the clean flat top of the one in the book.

PeaMushroomMintFlan-0218 PeaMushroomMintFlan-0228

Pea, Mushroom & Mint Flan

260 grams of shortcrust (flan) pastry, cold from the fridge
500 grams very firm medium button mushrooms, trimmed and cleaned
60 grams butter
250 grams fresh or frozen peas
200 ml double cream
25 grams fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 egg
2 egg yolks
Salt and pepper

Note: We made the pastry according to the recipe provided earlier in the book. It came together very quickly indeed and was easy to roll out and use. You could use ready made if you prefer.


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  • Preheat the oven to 190 C.
  • Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 3mm and line a 20 cm diameter flan dish.


  • Lightly prick the base, line with paper, fill with baking beads, and bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the beads and paper and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 200 C.
  • Halve or quarter the mushrooms, then sauté in butter until they have released their liquid. Drain, season and leave to cool.
  • Cook the peas briefly. I used the microwave on its defrost setting for about 2 minutes, as I didn’t want to the frozen peas to lose their freshness.
  • Heat the cream and mint leaves in a saucepan, over low heat, allowing the flavours to infuse.
  • Whisk the minted cream with the egg, egg yolks, salt and pepper.

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  • Put the mushrooms and peas into the pastry case.

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  • Pour the minted cream and egg mixture over the fillings. Mine had clumps of mint leaves, which I could have removed from the surface, but decided to leave in.


  • Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180 C and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until ready. Test by inserting a knife tip into the flan; it should come out clean.


  • As our flan ring doesn’t allow the flan to easily be removed onto a plate or rack, we left it to cool down in the dish for 5 minutes before serving.

We both really enjoyed the flan – the combination of flavours was excellent with earthy mushrooms, fresh sweet peas and vibrant mint. Our flan bottom was a little soggy, perhaps we needed to bake it a little longer, or possibly brush with egg to create a protective layer against the wet custard.

As I mentioned, there are plenty of classic pastries in the book. Pete’s already made the brioche dough, which he used to make brioche bacon twists, also in the book. We didn’t take any notes or photograph these but they were delicious, if rather less beautifully shaped than those in the pictures!

This promises to be another great reference book to have in our collection.


Kavey Eats received a sample review copy of this book from Quadrille Publishing.

Pastry: Savoury and Sweet by Michel Roux is currently available in paperback on Amazon for £6.79 (RRP £9.99).



When we were sent a Waring Deep Fill Sandwich Maker to review, I was quite surprised to see a note in the accompanying PR bumf that it could be used to make omelettes. I’d never come across such an idea and was intrigued, but disappointed that the instruction pamphlet made no mention of this.

Google came to the rescue, with this odd but charming home-video of a gentleman using his sandwich toaster to make omelettes, wandering off to answer the phone in the middle, leaving his cameraman wife to pan around the room until he came back to reveal the finished omelettes!

Of course, we had to try it!


The sandwich maker itself is a simple stainless steel design, quite heavy and seems robust.

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It’s not hugely deeper than your ordinary sandwich toaster, though that little extra depth does seem to result in less leakage of toastie fillings, so it’s enough to make a difference. But the biggest innovation, in my mind, is the introduction of the removable plates, which are also dishwasher safe. I think these are cunning and rather fabulous.

There are three heat settings, low, medium and core-of-the-sun hot. Thus far, we’ve found that low and medium are our friends and hot is rather too hot, as you can see from the slightly browned butter in the images below!


Omelettes In A Sandwich Toaster

Butter or vegetable oil
A couple of eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional: a handful finely diced or grated cheese

  • Switch on your sandwich toaster and give it a little time to heat up.
  • Add butter or vegetable oil to each of the sections, and allow to heat.
  • Pour the beaten egg into the sections. If adding cheese, sprinkle over the egg.
  • Close the lid and allow to cook for a minute or two, until the surface shows some browning.

Toasties-9635_thumb Toasties-9638_thumb Toasties-9640_thumb Toasties-9643_thumb Toasties-9645_thumb Toasties-9647_thumb Toasties-9649_thumb

So how were our little triangle omelettes? Surprisingly good, actually, with a light and fluffy interior and decent texture on the surfaces. Let me know what you think if you have a go.

Coming soon, a post on our favourite toasties!

Kavey Eats received a complimentary sandwich toaster from Waring.


Given how much I adored Saraban, I was really excited about getting my hands on the latest title from Greg & Lucky Malouf: New Middle Eastern Food.

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Whilst I was immediately taken by many of the recipes, one major problem with the book revealed itself very early on:

The typography and page layout may look modern and attractive but made the book very hard to read. With the exception of the recipe title and ingredients, the introduction and method are printed in pale grey on white paper. Combined with the small text size, this really had me struggling. I’ve not had this problem with any other recipe book, so it’s not a case of deteriorating eyesight.

Flicking through the book on the sofa, I tried to lift the book closer to my eyes, but it’s large size and weight made that impractical.

I can only suggest reading this one at the table, and making use of a sturdy book stand when in the kitchen. Or perhaps investing in a pair of magnifying reading glasses!

Reading problems aside, what about the book?

Whereas their previous books (Arabesque, Moorish, Saha, Turquoise and Saraban) are as much about sharing their journeys and creating, in words and pictures, a vivid mental image of the regions, peoples and traditions they experienced, this latest title is much more focused on food.

What you’ll find here is a compendium of over 300 Middle Eastern recipes, many of which have appeared in the Maloufs’ other books. There are also plenty of new recipes for fans who already have a Malouf library. I particularly like the larder section at the back which is a veritable encyclopaedia of recipes for spice blends and spice pastes, dressings, pickles, relishes, jams and preserves.

As is the Malouf style, the recipes in the book are not slavishly authentic but adapted to suit the modern global market which allows many of us to incorporate ingredients from all around the world into our cooking. So a recipe for a zucchini omelette includes provolone cheese, and a confit date ice cream uses Kahlua. As Greg explains in his introduction:

“My food would not be about reinventing classics – and nor, really, would it be about tradition. Instead, I was bursting with ideas for a new kind of Middle Eastern food: subjective and personal interpretations, yes, but dishes that would absolutely capture the essence of the Middle East, but express it in a fresher, more inventive – and even, perhaps, a more Western – manner.”

We chose to make two recipes: lamb kifta tagine with eggs and my favourite, kukiye sabzi (a soft herb omelette), which we’d made once before, as the recipe is also in Saraban, . By the way, the spectacular Persian Baked Yoghurt Rice with Chicken (Tahcheen-e morgh) that we so enjoyed previously is also included in this book.

Lamb Kifta Tagine With Eggs

This dish can best be described as lamb meatballs in a tomato-based sauce, with eggs baked on top.

Meatball ingredients
500 grams lamb, finely minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil for frying
Sauce ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 x 400 grams tinned tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Other ingredients
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
6 free-range eggs
(optional) baby radish leaves and sage flowers to garnish

Note: We halved all amounts, above.
Note: We used regular salt instead of sea salt (since it was being used in a cooked dish).
Note: We used vegetable cooking oil instead of olive oil (for the same reason).
Note: We used chopped tinned tomatoes and included all the juices.


  • To make meatballs, thoroughly mix all the ingredients, except for the oil, and with wet hands, form into walnut-sized balls. Heat the oil and brown the meatballs all over. Drain well on paper towel.

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  • For the sauce, heat the oil in a heavy-based casserole dish and lightly sauté the onions and garlic until they are translucent. Add the tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste and stir well. Then add the water, stir again and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer the sauce, uncovered, for about thirty minutes, or until it has reduced to a very thick gravy.


  • Add the meatballs to the sauce and continue cooking for a further 8 minutes. Stir in the parsley and coriander. Carefully break the eggs into the sauce, cover the pan with a lid and cook until the eggs are just set, which will take about 5 minutes.

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  • Serve at once, straight from the pot.


  • Malouf suggests liberally garnishing with radish leaves and flowers, and serving with plenty of Arabic flatbread to mop up the runny egg yolks. Alternatively, he proposes accompanying the tagine with a dish of plain buttered couscous and a dollop of thick natural yoghurt.
  • He also adds a note that those who enjoy a more piquant dish may add one finely chopped bullet chilli whilst sautéing the onion and garlic.

We really enjoyed the dish, though found it a lot like a North Indian tomato-based curry in flavour. Reducing the volume of coriander leaves would probably alleviate this.

(Kuku-ye Sabzi) Soft Herb Omelette

2 tablespoons barberries, stems removed
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup chopped coriander leaves
1/2 cup chopped dill sprigs
1/2 cup snipped chives
50 ml olive oil
6-free range eggs
(optional) 2 tablespoons saffron liquid (a few strands of saffron soaked in a couple of tablespoons of boiling water)
1 tablespoon self-raising flour
(optional) 1/3 cup fenugreek leaves or 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Note: we omitted the barberries, saffron liquid and fenugreek.
We halved all amounts, above.


The first time we made this, we used a small frying pan, which was better suited to the halved amounts. The second time, we used a much larger pan, which resulted in a flatter finished omelette with raised sides, reminiscent of a Yorkshire pudding. Both tasted great and had a good texture, but the one made in the smaller pan was more in line with what the dish should look like.

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C. Soak the barberries in cold water for 2 minutes, then drain and dry. Toss the herbs together and use paper towel or a clean tea towel to pat out as much moisture as you can.
  • Pour the oil into a non-stick oven-proof frying pan and heat in the oven for 5-10 minutes.

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  • Whisk the eggs and saffron liquid, if using, until frothy. Whisk in the flour, fenugreek, salt and pepper, followed by the herbs and barberries.

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  • Pour the egg mixture into the hot oil. Cover the pan with a lid or foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until nearly set. Remove the cover and cook for a further 15 minutes to brown the surface.

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  • Cut into wedges and serve hot from the pan. Alternatively, drain on paper towel and cut into wedges when cold. Cold omelette is particularly good as a sandwich filling.

This dish became a favourite of mine at the now closed Aqua restaurant in North Finchley, so it’s great to have a simple, delicious recipe to make it at home.

With thanks to Hardie Grant for the review copy.

Published by Hardie Grant, New Middle Eastern Food by Greg & Lucy Malouf is currently available from Amazon for £19.84 (RRP £30).

Nov 232011

When challenged to create a dish with the theme of Whipped Heaven (cream/desserts) for week 2 of the Russell Hobbs Allure cookery challenge, one idea popped into my head straight away.

A cross between a pavlova and a fruit tart. I named my creation the pavlotart!

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Kavey’s Pavlotart

From the pavlova, I’m taking the meringue base, which is usually topped with fresh whipped cream and fruit. From the fruit tart, I’m taking (a quick and easy verion of) pastry cream and the idea of glazing the fruit.

Makes 2 medium or 1 large pavlotart

Meringue Ingredients
4 medium egg whites (approximately 120 grams by weight)
240 grams granulated sugar
Pastry Cream Ingredients
200 ml double cream
100 ml fresh custard
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Topping Ingredients
Mixed fresh fruit of your choice
3-4 tablespoons of fruit jelly or jam *

* I used homemade plum jelly, but apple jelly or apricot jam would also work well.


  • Preheat the oven to 150 C.
  • In a very clean bowl, whip the egg whites until they reach the stiff peak stage. You should be able to hold the bowl upside down without them sliding out.
  • Add the sugar little by little, mixing them into the egg whites all the time. This should result in a thick, glossy meringue mixture.
  • Spread the meringue onto a baking sheet in one or two circles, taking care to create a “wall” around the edge, to hold the cream and fruit in. A piping bag may make this process easier.
  • Turn the oven down to 140 C and put the meringues into the oven.
  • Bake for an hour.
  • Leaving the door closed and the meringues in the oven, turn the oven off. The cooling oven will dry out the meringues a little more.

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  • After an hour or two, remove the meringues from the oven, and leave to cool further on a rack, if needed.
  • In a clean bowl, whip the double cream and the vanilla extract until the mixture becomes thick and stiff.
  • Fold in the custard.
  • Spoon the pastry cream mix onto the cold meringue base(s).
  • Wash the fruit, chop as necessary.
  • Heat the jelly or jam in the microwave for 20 seconds, or in a pan on low heat, till it’s become runny but is not bubbling hot.
  • Coat the fruit in the melted jelly or jam and arrange over the pastry cream.

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I folded my custard in a little too vigorously which made my patisserie cream a little softer than intended and spooned it onto the meringue when it was still slightly warm, which made it melt a little too!

  • If using dried fruit and nuts, coat in jelly or jam in the same way, and add to the pavlotart.

The glaze made the fruit look like jewels and the patisserie cream gave an extra flavour over plain whipped cream. I really liked the finish look and it tasted fantastic.

The next day, I topped the second meringue shell with the same pastry cream but as it was late and I wanted to be quick, I didn’t stop to glaze the raspberries, bananas and blueberries. It was a great combination of fruits and worked very well with the pastry cream but didn’t have quite the glistening beauty of the glazed fruit version from the previous day.

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I also considered adding some dried fruit and nuts to my fresh fruit toppings, and will try that out next time!

You can watch a (cringe-worthy) video of me making this dish over on the challenge’s Facebook page. And do stop and vote, for whichever recipes appeal the most, my fellow contestants are creative, talented and much better at presenting than I am!

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