If you had 10 seconds to grab one book, which one would it be?
For me that was easy, it had to be Cranks Fast Food by Nadine Abensur. Its a vegetarian cookbook that helped me through my student days and opened my eyes to new ingredients then such as sumac, harissa, tahini, black sesame seeds, preserved lemons and even feta cheese, that we take so much for advantage now. Nadine Abensur is perhaps the number one vegetarian cook who has influenced me and got me cooking out of the so-called vegetable box, injecting bold flavours into traditional fare, but also experimenting with exotic ingredients. I've raved about Nadine Abensur on my blog before, and would be happy to do so again, but today its about the challenge. But before I continue with the challenge, I will say if you haven't checked out her cookbooks and your a veggie, then I would strongly advise that you do so.
The next part of Dom's challenge was to take the book off the shelf and open it at a random page. I did so and ended up on a recipe that I had surprisingly not made, a small surprise as I have cooked so many dishes from this book. When my eyes saw the recipe, the first thought that went through my head was, ooh do I have to make this?! The answer to the question was yes, as the final instruction from Dom was to cook the recipe on this page (or if its something you've cooked before then turn to the very next page and cook that dish...and don't cheat...) no chance of that happening Dom, I don't want to be cheating myself - what would be the point in participating then.
The recipe was Eggs en cocotte with spinach ad cream. The one reason I have not made this dish from the book (and I am being totally honest here) was the primary ingredient Eggs - egg dishes don't appeal to me that much, but yesterday that had to change.
Funnily enough, it may have been a good thing that I ended up randomly selecting this recipe. The fact is that Eggs en cocotte have become quite fashionable of late, appearing on blogosphere and in new publications baked in earthenware oven to table dishes, as a result Shakshukas a spicy version of also known as Moroccan Baked eggs have been re-introduced. Some of us veghead have been around long enough or scoured enough vegetarian cookbooks from the past to note that such like Shakshuka have been around yonkies years, I do remember seeing a version of shakshuka in one of Rose Elliots cookbook, but sadly some people do have very short memories and some things become popular when it's highlighted by celebrity chefs.
Anyway enough of the rant, this dish was lovely and rather filling. I made it yesterday for brunch. We had it with parsley mushrooms and buttered bread. I was really stuffed. My husband said it made a rather nice change from his usual beans, eggs and toast. I have to say I agree. So thank you Dom for getting me to try a new dish from a much loved and used cookbook! UP-DATED Here is the round of the challenge and other entries.
Eggs en cocotte with spinach and cream
2 tablespoons of salted butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of grated nutmeg
6 tablespoons double cream
4 free range eggs
Preheat oven to 180oc/gas mark 4.
Butter around an 8 inch ovenproof dish.
Heat the oil in a saucepan, ad the garlic and fry until soft. Add the spinach until it wilts, Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg. Put the spinach mixture into the buttered dish and make 4 wells in it, first pour the cream into thee wells then carefully crack the eggs into these. Bake in the oven for 18 - 20 minutes, do check before the timer goes off as you want the egg yolks to be a tad runny. Serve at once.
Slightly adapted from Cranks Fast Food by Nadine Abensur