An Easy Continental Brunch!

eggs, asparagus. seasonal, healthy, simple recipe, continental, cheese, cheeseboard

The lovely spear-shaped asparagus is to adults what broccoli is to children – something we love to hate! :-) Well, since none of us here in the UK have been spared the relentless peddling of this lovely spring surprise, I thought I’d give it a go and see what my family feels about a slight twist on our eggs on toast breakfast. Our verdict – WE LOVE IT!

Reasons to give it a go : Asparagus is loaded with nutrients, a great source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that improves insulin action to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. Like avocado, kale and Brussels sprouts, it’s packed with glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens. Asparagus consumed reglarly may also help protect against and fight certain forms of cancer. Our little javelin is ranked among the top fruits and vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. Big, big positive – it helps with ageing. Now go get some some from a supermarket, farm shop, farm…anywhere, and get started with this simple continental brunch :)

eggs, asparagus. seasonal, healthy, simple recipe, continental,
Seasonal. Healthy. Packed with Goodness!

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, trim asparagus stalks (some can be a bit fibrous and not very complimentary to our soft and luscious egg!) Add the asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes or until bright green and tender crisp. Drain and move the asparagus to a plate. Keep warm (and make sure it doesn’t dry up).  If you wish to give this a bit more oomph, saute for a quick minute with some garlic butter! If you want to keep it ‘diet’,  just keep it warm ;P

For best results with asparagus and the eggs, don your chef’s apron and rule two pans/two worlds! :)

Add a little vinegar to the water in pan. Do this next step on medium low…Carefully crack the egg into the centre of the pan. Cook for 3 minutes for a soft yolk or to whatever degree you like best. Use a slotted spoon to drain extra water and transfer to a plate. Cover and keep warm if you have many plates to go.
Divide the asparagus among serving plates. Top with an egg. Season with salt and pepper. Optional : Grate some good quality parmigiano reggiano over it before serving. I’ve omitted it here as I’m trying to keep the calories down. Plus I love a sliver of cheese as pudding, so making some clever calorie choices here 😉

eggs, asparagus. seasonal, healthy, simple recipe, continental,
Poached egg with asparagus!

Coming to the pudding : Very often I find myself craving a bit of sweet, just to finish off a meal, s-oh much more so if the meal was in any way celebratory 😉 My solution to that is a nifty cheeseboard! Some oat or whole wheat crackers (water crackers are good too) a small sliver of ‘light’ Brie and some grapes. Simple does the job! There’s a bit of gooseberry and strawberry preserve there for anyone who might not want to be as frugal on the calories as I have to, but you can improvise with whatever’s reigning in your store cupboard! 😉

 seasonal, healthy, simple recipe, continental, cheese, cheeseboard
Simple Continental Cheeseboard!

Eating well and enjoying life doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag just as good meals don’t have to be extravagant or complex! I’ve learned that I’m a lot more relaxed and confident with simplicity on my side. I hope you’ll be inspired to use asparagus this summer and come up with a lot more “innovation” than I have! Feel free to leave recipe recommendations for me to check out if you’ve made anything you think I’ll fancy. :) x

 

You may also enjoy other food posts listed under The “Two-Left-Spatulas” Kitchen.

Here are a few more posts that are definitive of what I do :) :

Retro-Chic and the Cult of Neo-Sobriety!

Live Smart- Your Planet’s Worth it!

Nostalgic Minimilism~That pretty much sums up homestyle for me!

www.intrepidmisadventurer.com

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Lush, Gooey Chocolate Brownies!

chocolate brownies, baking, simple recipe, bake sale

Just as I decided to do a post on lush, gooey chocolate brownies, I was reminded of when getting bake sale notices from my children’s school made me break out into a sweat because I could’nt bake! Clearly, less in the know about how people turned their noses up at shop bought, I ended up sending a few boxes of supermarket goodies, which sadly never got sold! Whilst volunteering at one of these events I felt very sorry for my little cakes that were the last to go…well, they either got distributed amongst us volunteers or were the begrudging buy of a late mum toting a sulking child! :)  I remember telling myself that if I wanted to survive British schooling, I needed to learn to bake.  And so I did-(for a long time with my good friend, Betty Crocker!)

If I’m honest, I still have a small collection stashed away for one of those times when the need to be that sorta mommy comes a’callin’… <Smooths hair in place and grabs an apron!>

Anyhow, we live, we learn…and today, I catalogue something in the Tales of the Two-Left Spatula Kitchen that I think I’ve got down quite well! The ratio of gooey to chewy has been tweaked nicely, as many an imperfect batch has been made (and since it would really be so very wrong to throw away, has been had at the end of my many lo-0-ng days!) This week, I’ve come across a lovely farmer who delivers fresh eggs to me, straight from the farm so I know these are the best eggs I can cook with. His wife, very old-worldly tells me how brownies are really an American invention that she doesn’t make much but to always make sure  that I never bake with anything other than room temperature eggs..every little bit of advice comes in handy to a rookie cook like me!  I love it when I meet people who aren’t afraid to speak their mind, we are politically correct to a fault these days :) She asked me to look at the real way early chefs cooked, like Delia Smith? I ask..”more like Fanny Cradock”, she replied! Fanny Cradock, Britains foremost TV Chef from the sixties is a hoot..if you fancy a few minutes of feeling like a nervous schoolgirl or a new bride in the ’60’s, catch her video here  –I assure you she’s anything but Nigella! It’s back to brass tacks and being told the ‘correct’ way to do things, none of our namby pamby “you’ll find your groove” baloney 😉 She also gives you an option to use ‘mouse-trap cheese’ if you run out of parmesan in most of her Italian recipes!! Go watch her, if only to step back into the less flamboyant past or be surreally thankful for foodstyling  😉

Getting back to the brownies, Here’s what you need :

oil, for greasing your brownie tray
175 g dark chocolate and 175 g milk chocolate broken into small pieces
250 g unsalted butter
3 eggs
250 g dark brown muscovado sugar
100 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2tbsp icing sugar to dust brownies once done

chocolate brownies, baking, simple recipe, bake sale
When the surface begins to crack, it’s done!

Let’s get down to putting it together :

Heat the oven to 170°C Lightly grease a 22cm square cake tin.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffy.
Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
Sieve the flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir to mix. Pour the mixture into the cake tin.
Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 35 minutes until the surface is set. It is cooked when it just starts to crack on the top. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely in the tin.
Slice the cake into squares and dust with icing sugar. Store in an air-tight container

chocolate brownies, baking, simple recipe, bake sale
Enjoy lush, gooey chocolate brownies! :)

Enjoy with a nice cup of Hot Chocolate or a cafetiere of freshly brewed coffee!

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Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

The Fairy and the Frog
Casa Costello

You might also like to have a look at :

Caramelised Onion&Goat’s Cheese Tartlets!

A Tale of Two classics~ Pancakes and Palmiers!

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