Tag Archives: Water

Recipe: How to poach an egg

Poached Egg
Poached Egg

Ingredients;


1 egg
4 tablespoons of distilled malt vinegar
Water


Place a saucepan on a high heat and add about 2 inches deep of water to it. Add the vinegar and bring to the boil.

While the water is heating, crack the egg into a small bowl. And set your timer for 3 minutes.

Once the water has come to the boil reduce the heat so the water remains just below boiling point.

With a slotted spoon, stir the water to create a vortex in the centre of the saucepan, then quickly pour the egg into the centre of the vortex and start your timer.

Once the 3 minutes are up, use the slotted spoon to remove and drain the now poached egg and serve – for example on a slice of ham on toast, garnished with balsamic vinegar and some dry herbs.

Recipe: How to hard boil an egg

Hard Boiled Egg
Hard Boiled Egg ready to be mashed for egg mayonnaise

Ingredients;

1 Egg
water


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.

Recipe: Pizza Base revisited

A naked uncooked Pizza base

Ingredients;

1kg of Farina Tipo 00 Flour
1 teaspoon of salt
2 x 7g packets of dried yeast
1 tablespoon of honey
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
625ml of tepid water (tepid = 2 parts cold to one part boiling)
1 handful of cornmeal

Makes 6-8 Pizza bases


One of the earliest recipes I published on NotJunkFood was for pizza bases, that recipe is a good recipe to use if you do not have access to pizza/pasta flour (also known as farina tipo 00). Thanks to Roma, Superquinn and Dunnes Stores, farina has become much more widely available in Ireland recently and as a result I have had the chance to experiment with my original recipe and I’m happy to say that the following is my updated pizza base recipe.

Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl or onto a clean work surface and make a well in the middle of it.

Mix the yeast, honey and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork (or your hands) start to stir the liquid in the well while bringing in the flour until the dough starts to come together. Then work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until you have a smooth, springy dough.

Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and dust the top of it with some flour. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Now place the dough on a flour-dusted surface and knead it around for a 2-3 minutes to push the air out. As you are doing this, work the dough into a giant sausage shape. Divide the dough into six or eight pieces (eight if you like a thin and crispy base) and put them to one side.

Take one of the portions and make it into a ball, then stretch that into a roundish shape about 3-4 inches across and place on a floured surface and grab your rolling pin. Rolling away from you and turning the pizza regularly, roll the pizza base out until it is thin (about an eighth of an inch or less) then flour the pizza base and place on a baking tray lined with cling film – if you don’t have a suitably-sized baking tray, you can substitute with a chopping board or any flat surface that will fit in your freezer.

Fold the cling-film back over the top of the pizza base ready for the next one to be placed on top and repeat until all the portions have been rolled out.

At this point, you can dress one of the pizza bases using some Italian tomato sauce and your preferred toppings, on a baking tray or preferably a pizza stone, either way you will need to sprinkle some cornmeal on before placing the pizza on it to prevent it from sticking.

Then place in a hot oven (approx 220 degrees C) for about 8-10 minutes, sprinkle with dried oregano and enjoy.

Recipe: Minty Pea Pasta

Minty Pea Pasta
Minty Pea Pasta

Ingredients;

Pasta for 4 – I used fresh spaghetti
1 onion, finely diced
2 large handfuls of peas
1/2 cup butter, softened
A large handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon paprika
Large pinch of salt

Serves 4


In a bowl mix the butter, lemon juice, mint (fresh and dried), salt and paprika until well blended. I’ve found it’s best to soften the butter first, about 10 seconds in our microwave on it’s lowest power setting does the job, although in the recent heat just leaving the butter out of the fridge for about an hour has the same effect. Once mixed pop it in the fridge while the rest is being prepared.

Next you’ll need to prepare your pasta. If you’re using dried pasta follow the instructions on the packet. Alternatively you can use our fresh pasta recipe for this, I just used the spaghetti cutter that came with our pasta maker instead of a knife for the tagiatelle described in the recipe. This recipe works great with any pasta so use your favourite.

The pasta needs to be just ready when you complete this next stage so timing is important. Thankfully this next step is pretty easy 😉

Now add about half the butter mixture to a frying pan on a medium high heat and when it has melted add in the onion and fry until they start to soften. Now add the peas and a little of the pasta water and let this cook the peas for 2-3 minutes.

Drain your pasta, then add the contents of the frying pan to the pasta and toss this over a medium heat. Add the remaining butter mixture and continue to toss the pasta until it has melted completely. Then you’re ready to serve.

Kitchen Essentials – Bowls and Jugs

So Bowls and Jugs, they’re maybe not as essential as ingredients and pots and pans but as you start to cook more and more, you will begin to find that for some recipes (particularly baking) they are a big help at the least and in some cases essential (measuring jug).

We have a selection of mixing bowls and measuring jugs but I would recommend 4 mixing bowls and 1 measuring jug as a minimum.

A selection of Bowls and a Measuring Jug
Our essential bowls and jugs

The first of the bowls is a very large plastic mixing bowl that Elly picked up in “Homestore and More” for less than a tenner and I use that for making pizza bases, bread and salads. As it’s plastic it’s great for dough, if some sticks just rub it and it rolls up and falls back into the bowl to be mixed back in.

We also have a set of 3 Pyrex bowls that stack neatly inside of each other in the press and these get used for mixing everything and anything. They can go in the dishwasher so we don’t have to worry about cleaning them and because they’re different sizes it means we don’t have to use a huge bowl unless we need to.

As for a measuring jug these are so useful I honestly could not cook without one. Ours is, again, a Pyrex half litre measure but it also has imperial and cup measurements on it as well.

Pyrex bowls and jugs are great because they are heat resistant so you can pour boiling water in without fear of the glass shattering, which is a major added bonus :)