This is very handy thing to do as we are now in the summer months, a hard-boiled egg is a great way to add flavour and protein to even the simplest of salads, or for making egg salad for sandwiches or egg mayonnaise.
Fill a saucepan with enough water to fully submerge the egg but do not put the egg in the water yet. Place the saucepan on the heat and bring to the boil. While the water is coming to the boil get a kitchen timer or use the countdown timer on your mobile phone to set a timer for 8 minutes.
Once the water comes to the boil reduce it to a simmer, use a slotted spoon or spider to lower the egg into the water. If you drop the egg in, there is a good chance that it will crack on the base of the saucepan and you will have to start again. Once the egg is in the water start your countdown timer.
I’ve said 8 minutes as this usually provides a good result for me. However if you are using large eggs you may need a little longer and smaller eggs will need a little less time, but the only way to be certain is trial and error.
While you are waiting fill a large bowl or basin of cold water, the colder the better and as soon as the timer goes, you want to lift the egg out of the saucepan and plunge it directly into the cold water. The idea here is to cool the egg as quick as possible.
This serves two purposes, first, it stops the egg cooking immediately and second it prevents that black ring forming around the yoke of the egg which spoils the look and flavour of your hard-boiled egg.
Once the egg has cooled simply roll it across a hard surface with enough downward pressure to crack the shell. Then just peel off the shell and your hard-boiled egg is ready to use.
1 packet of puff pastry
5 – 6 tomatoes, as ripe as possible, diced roughly with the majority of the seeds removed
10 – 12 black olives, finely chopped
Shredded Parma ham (or other dried meat)
Mini mozzarella balls (or shredded mozz)
Handful of basil leaves, roughly torn up
Strong cheese, such as Red Leicester or vintage cheddar, finely grated
Fresh rocket (or oregano, thyme or similar)
Serves 2 as a main course, 4-6 as a snack/starter
Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Flour your worktop well and roll out the pastry to fit the size of a large baking tray. Place it carefully on the baking tray and brush all over with the vegetable oil.
Dress the pastry to 1 centimetre from the edge with your toppings, starting with the tomatoes, then moving onto the olives, basil, parma ham and mozzarella. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and place in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edge of the pastry is golden brown.
Remove from the oven, cut into large slices and sprinkle with the rocket before serving.
1 whole chicken, best quality you can afford
30g butter, softened
Mixed herbs, finely chopped (should give approx 1 handful when chopped)
1 lemon, zested and cut in half. Zest finely diced
Coppa di Parma (or Parma ham)
Root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, onions)
Heat your oven to 180 C.
This is a beautiful and simple one tray dinner. Start by preparing your chicken – check it has been thoroughly cleaned out internally, trim away any excess fatty skin from the openings. Begin to delicately tease the skin away from the flesh of the breast area, creating a pocket under the skin.
Mix your chopped herbs, lemon zest and some salt & pepper with softened butter. Rub this into the chicken flesh inside the pocket you created by lifting the skin. Also rub it all over the outside of the chicken, covering all of the skin. Next, take your pieces of coppa di parma and place in the skin pocket of the chicken. Place one half of the lemon in the cavity of your chicken, this will help to keep your chicken moist.
Chicken should be roasted for 20 mins per lb plus 20 mins. Your vegetables and potatoes will take about 1 hour to cook, so place the chicken in a large roasting tin and place it in the oven. Now, begin to prepare your vegetables and add them to the roasting tin when there’s one hour of cooking time left.
Peel your vegetables as needed and cut into similar sized chunks. Toss them in a little olive oil (add a little dried herbs if you like) before adding to the roasting tin.
Ensure that the juices of the chicken are running clear, by cutting into the bird with a sharp knife, and then rest for 10 minutes before carving.
1 Handful of fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme) finely chopped
2 x onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 stick of celery, finely diced
1 x sweet pepper, finely sliced
Approx. 20cm Chistorra finely sliced (substitute other dried meat if unavailable)
4 x eggs
30g Pecorino cheese, grated
30g goat’s Gouda cheese, grated
30g Red Leicester cheese, sliced
Get your frying pan on to a medium high heat with a little olive oil. Add the onions and fry them gently for ten to fifteen minutes or until they begin to caramelise.
While you wait, beat your eggs well, trying to incorporate as much air as possible, add in the grated cheeses as well as the fresh herbs and beat some more.
Once the onions have started to caramelise add in the garlic and fry for about a minute before adding the celery and continuing to fry gently for about five minutes. At this point you want to add the sweet pepper and fry for about a minute more, before pouring the egg mix over and stirring well. You will need to be quick doing this as the egg will start to cook as soon as it hits the pan. I use a plastic whisk to keep everything moving as I add the eggs and try to make sure that all the ingredients are evenly distributed around the pan.
Now leave this mixture to cook in the pan until you see the eggs start to cook at the very edge of the pan. Now, quickly add the sliced Chistorra over the top of the frittata and crumble the Red Leicester cheese over as well.
Place under a preheated grill and continue to cook until the centre of the frittata has solidified and the cheese has just started to brown at the edges. Divide the Frittata into slices just like you would a pizza and serve with a small side salad.