An Egg Masterclass w/ Clarence Court & Madeleine Shaw

Eggs are an absolute staple in my kitchen and diet.

They’re just so easy to cook and versatile – not to mention cheap as chips – so there’s hardly a week going without  some yolk-based dish grazing my dining table and/or lunch box.

An egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + Whisky

Because I love eggs so much, I have quite a few tricks up my sleeves.

… but nothing compared to the egg-perts at the Underground Cooking School, where I recently attended a egg-centric masterclass organised by specialty egg producer Clarence Court and fellow egg-lover Madeleine Shaw.

An egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + Whisky

Together, they took us through the steps of cooking my dream dinner – a three-course meal with eggs for every course.

Really quite egg-citing!

An egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + Whisky

First, we made some healthy vegetarian Scotch eggs, wrapped in chickpea paste and baked to golden perfection.

An egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + WhiskyAn egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + Whisky

They’re super easy to make too.

First, make the chickpea paste by blending a can of drained chickpeas.

Mix in a couple spoonful of tahini paste, salt, papper and any spices you like (paprika and cumin are both excellent choices).

An egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + Whisky

Then form a ball with a little bit of the chickpea paste.

Flatten it to about 1/2 thickness and wrap around a 5-6min boiled hen egg (we used some lovely, orange-yolked Burford Brown eggs).

Repeat until you’ve covered the egg entirely, sealing the different pieces together carefully.

An egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + WhiskyAn egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + Whisky

Next, the eggs (make one per person) need to be crumbed, following the classic flour-egg-breadcrumb process.

An egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + Whisky

Brush the crumbed eggs with a little bit of olive oil for added golden factor, then baked for 20 min at 200°C.

An egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + WhiskyAn egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + Whisky

Whilst our eggs where baking, we learnt how to prepare and filet mackerels…

An egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + Whisky

… and how to make the perfect poached egg, every time!

An egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + Whisky

Essential skills for that night’s main course, and for any cook really, hence the very attentive audience!

An egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + Whisky

Last but not least – pudding!

And not just any pud – Madeleine Shaw’s signature healthy blondie brownies, made by the get-the-glow queen herself!

An egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + WhiskyAn egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + WhiskyAn egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + Whisky

Just a few ingredients (including super creamy duck eggs) and very speedy to put together, they are the perfect indulgent-but-healthy pick-me-up.

An egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + Whisky

Then in true Underground Cooking School fashion, we sat down to eat the egg-squisite fruits of our labour.

An egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + Whisky

First up, the vegetarian Scotch egg – incredibly satisfying and moreish, and a great recipe to keep in mind for a party (imagine how cute a mini quail egg version would look!).

An egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + Whisky

Then delicious (if somewhat blury) mackerel filets with a perfectly poached, runny egg (look at that yolk colour!) and a side of broccolini.

A simple yet fantastic main, with the creaminess of the egg pairing perfectly with the rich, oily flesh of the fish.

An egg-celent masterclass with Clarence Court / Three-course egg menu / Cake + Whisky

Last but not least – the nuttiest of blondie brownies, served with cocoa nibs for texture and a side of vanilla ice cream.

An egg-celent end to an egg-celent meal, full of egg-centric recipes that are very easy to make at home.

Invite your favourite people over, pick one, two or all three recipes, and you have all the ingredients for a cracking party!

Other cooking classes I’ve tried

A British cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside

L’Avenue brunch masterclass

Lobster masterclass

Butchery masterclass at Barbecoa

I attended this event as a guest of Clarence Court and/or their PR representatives. 

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An Egg Masterclass w/ Clarence Court & Madeleine Shaw

Very Lazy breakfast recipes

I love breakfast.

Especially when I’m not the one cooking it.

Because you see, it rather gets in the way of getting an extra 20 minute sleep.

So, in my house, it’s really just bread and butter, with a little jam if you really insist and scrambled eggs for big occasions only.

Very Lazy Breakfast Recipes (V) • Cake + Whisky

But the truth is, a healthy, balanced breakfast isn’t that complicated or time-consuming a thing!

As I recently found out at an event hosted by Very Lazy and Sally Bee at Food at 52, a few very lazy breakfast recipes and some clever Very Lazy shortcuts are all it takes to cook fuss-free, delicious and nutricious breakfasts quickly!

Very Lazy Breakfast Recipes (V) • Cake + Whisky

First things first: Spicy ginger and apple tea.

A warming hot toddy-style drink combining the antioxydant benefits of ginger and immune system-boosting chilli pepper and lemon.

Perfect to get you energised from the get-go and kicking off any seasonal cold symptoms while it’s at it – and super easy to make too!

In a large saucepan, mix together 750ml of water, 750ml of apple juice, 3 tsp of Very Lazy ginger paste, the juice of 1 lemon, a pinch of Cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and 3 tbsp of runny honey. Simmer for 5-6 min and serve warm.

Very Lazy Breakfast Recipes (V) • Cake + WhiskyVery Lazy Breakfast Recipes (V) • Cake + WhiskyVery Lazy Breakfast Recipes (V) • Cake + Whisky

Next up, the plat de résistance – Mexican-inspired butterbean baked eggs.

Very Lazy Breakfast Recipes (V) • Cake + Whisky

A truly egg-straordinary, simple, warming & filling autumnal breakfast with a bit of a kick!

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And because all breakfasts should have a pudding course – Hazelnut, apple and berry ginger cake.

Very Lazy Breakfast Recipes (V) • Cake + Whisky

Scrummy, delicious and simple too!

(Though it’s better if you make this one the night before so it doesn’t take up too much of your much deserved beauty rest)

First, pre-heat the oven to 180°C (gas mark 6) and line a large baking tin with baking paper.

In a large bowl, combine 275g self-raising wholemeal flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 175g rolled oats, 125g soft brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 150ml light olive oil, 175ml Greek yoghurt, 2 eggs and 5 tsp Very Lazy ginger paste. Add the wet mix to the dry ingredients and mix well.

Pour half the mixture into the prepared tin. Sprinkle with two finely chopped apples and 150g frozen berries. Top with the remaining cake mix and spread evenly.

Top with 50g chopped hazelnuts and a little bit of demerara sugar and bake for 30-40 min until golden.

Served warm with a big spoonful of yoghurt on the side.

Very Lazy Breakfast Recipes (V) • Cake + Whisky

Spiced tea, baked eggs and cake – a very good breakfast if I ever saw one!

And, take it from the worst morning person on hearth (yours truly), all made up of very lazy breakfast recipes!

Egg-cellent news isn’t it?

Very Lazy breakfast recipes

Quinoa Fried Rice

When it comes to cooking, I still have so much to learn.

I’ve always been a very decent cook, probably mainly because I’ve been free to experiment in the kitchen from a very young age, with my parents encouragingly eating up sometimes-far-from-perfect said experiments.

This learning-on-the-job sort of experience obviously has it limitations, the main one being that for a long time, I’d have to work with whatever was already in the fridge.

Quinoa Fried Rice

But every limitation has its silver lining, and in that specific case, it’s made me really, really good at cooking with leftovers. And actually enjoying it.

There’s something truly magical at making something with nothing, and that’s how I feel when I turn a simingly empty fridge into a bountiful meal, always to my boyfriend’s great surprise.

(Even though, quite honestly, he should really be used to it by now!)

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This is exactly what happened with this Quinoa Fried Rice.

Quinoa Fried Rice

Ready in minutes and requiring only a handful of ingredients, most of which are absolute staples in my house (and I’m sure many others’), it’s just as delicious and comforting as the original, but made a bit healthier with the addition of protein-packed quinoa.

Quinoa Fried Rice

Below is the basic recipe, which is absolutely delicious as it is, but feel free to add additional toppings or any leftovers hanging around in your fridge, turning your Quinoa Fried Rice dish into the most delicious way to use up meat, fish or vegetable leftovers.

Who knew fighting food waste could taste that rice?!

Quinoa Fried Rice

Quinoa Fried Rice (serves 1)

Ingredients: 

  • about 100g cooked quinoa, preferably fridge-cold
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • salt, pepper
  • facultative: any cooked meat, fish or vegetable leftovers you have laying around, sliced thinly

1. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

2. Heat up the sesame oil in a frying pan or wok, then throw in the quinoa (and leftovers if using) and cook on high heat until it starts smelling nice, then push the quinoa to the sides of the pan and add the egg in the middle. Cook until the egg is slightly under-set (usually about 20 sec or so), then mix together with the quinoa and cook for a little longer.

3. Transfer to a bowl, top with the thinly sliced spring onion & eat immediately.

PIN FOR LATER:

Quinoa Fried Rice

Quinoa Fried Rice

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co. Farm

The early bird gets the worm.

And a field trip to a Happy Egg Co. farm is definitely worth getting up before dawn for!

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + WhiskyField Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

After a quick snack, it was time to get suited…

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

… and booted!

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

Before meeting up with JP, the farm manager.

A true egg-xpert!

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + WhiskyField Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + WhiskyField Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + WhiskyField Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

With the most adorable furry guide ever, we took off to the fields, eager to meet the the Happy Egg Co. V.I.Bs (Very Important Birds) and find out how happy they truly were.

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

All Happy Egg Co. farms truly do everything they possibly can to make sure they have happier lives – and lay tastier eggs.

Hens are naturally inquisitive animals, and love spending their days rummaging around in treelines and hedgerows – after all, their ancestors were jungle-dwellers!

Which is why, besides loads (and I mean LOADS!) of room to roam, happy hens also benefit from a minimum of 20% tree coverage to play, forage and shelter in.

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + WhiskyField Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + WhiskyField Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

They also have their own henhouse, where they sleep, eat, drink and lay their eggs.

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + WhiskyField Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

The hens usually leave the henhouse between 8am and 9am, then head back to bed at dusk, depending on the season.

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

However, Happy Egg farmers try their best to encourage the hens to go outside as much as possible.

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + WhiskyField Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + WhiskyField Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

Besides giving the birds a beautiful red crown, it helps them remain healthy and reduce both stress and violence, which can in turn affect the quality of the eggs (soft or wrinkled shells…).

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

Despite the Happy Egg Co. being a massive organisation providing free range eggs to supermarkets across the UK, I was surprised to find out it works as a cooperative of family farmers.

Each farm is hand-picked according to a strict set of rules, guaranteeing that the farmers are truly committed to the wellbeing of the hens.

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

 

The best farmers have their own quirky ways of keeping the girls happy – early morning walks on the range, singing in the henhouse, employing a bunch of alpacas to ward off pesky foxes, or even hen-petting!

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + WhiskyField Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + WhiskyField Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

Which we obviously couldn’t resist trying, though our attempts weren’t all quite succesful…

Looks like it’s just not something you can wing!

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

After photographying the farm’s VIBs from every angle (could you resist those shiny & fluffy feathers?!), we went on a egg hunt…

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

With eggs-tremely good results!

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + WhiskyField Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

After the eggs get collected from the henhouses, they get hand-stamped.

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

0 means organic, UK is (quite obviously) the country of origin and the following 5 numbers are a unique code for the farm of origin, allowing absolute tracability of the eggs.

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The eggs are then stored in a giant fridge until they’re packed and collected by lorries to be distributed across the country.

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

After a morning in the fields, we were all pretty egg-cited for lunch!

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

Especially since egg-specialist Jackson & Rye had come all the way from London with a cracking menu!

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

Starting with Smoked devilled eggs

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + WhiskyField Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

Creamy yolk, firm white and plenty of smoked paprika, it was and egg-celent modern take on the retro classic.

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + WhiskyField Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

Avocado Egg Florentine with Truffle Hollandaise

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

With eggs Florentine on of Jackson & Rye’s signature dishes, I can tell you this was no yolk!

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

Another good egg, that dish!

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

Last but not least, Jackson & Rye signature Pecan Pie, served with maple rippled crème fraiche.

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

No word to egg-spress how good it was, so you might just have to go and try it yourself!

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

Quite an egg-straordinary day altogether!

This peak behind the scenes has re-inforced my choice of always doing my best to support animal welfare and farmers doing their best to garantee it and I truly believe choosing The Happy Egg Co. brand does just that.

Going above and beyond the RSPCA Freedom Food standards, they’re definitely worth paying a little eggs-tra!

PIN FOR LATER:

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co farm | Cake + Whisky

*I visited The Happy Egg farm as a guest of the brand, but all opinions, pictures & terrible puns my own!

Field Trip to the Happy Egg Co. Farm

Vegetarian Caesar Salad

There are two sorts of people: the ones who love salads, and the ones who don’t.

Or rather, the ones who haven’t quite realised that a salad is just a green, leafy vehicule for all the good stuff.

And this Vegetarian Caesar Salad recipe is the perfect demonstration of this theory.

Vegetarian Caesar Salad | Cake + WhiskyVegetarian Caesar Salad | Cake + Whisky

If you’re already a  salad sort of person, you’ll love it! (also we should totally be friends and swap recipes!)

But for those who roll their eyes at the very mention of vegetarian, low cal and run from anything proclaiming to be ‘healthy’… this is a total dreamboat.

The perfect “salad for salad dodgers”.

Vegetarian Caesar Salad | Cake + WhiskyVegetarian Caesar Salad | Cake + Whisky

It’s fresh, crunchy and light, but packs such a punch in terms of flavours that nobody will ever guess it’s actually good for you!

The very best way to get your friends on the green side of the force!

Vegetarian Caesar Salad | Cake + Whisky

Vegetarian Caesar Salad (serves 2-3)

Ingredients: 1 box Fry’s Family Rice & Chia Nuggets, 2 heads of Romaine lettuce (washed, dried and cut lengthway), 3 free-range eggs, 1 handful croutons, handful Parmesan shavings, fresh chives (chopped), 2 egg yolks, 1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard, 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped or grated), 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 4 tablespoon cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper

1. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C, then cook the nuggets according to box instructions. When they’re nice and golden (and your whole kitchen smells of toasted rice), take them out and cut them on an angle into bite-sized chunks.

2. Put a pot of water to boil. When it’s boiling, drop the eggs in and cook for 6-7 minutes. Shell the eggs, then cut in half lengthway.

3. While things are cooking, make your Caesar dressing: in a bowl, mix together the mustard, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar. Add the egg yolk, then blend with a hand blender.  Add olive oil slowly until it just starts to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Dress your salad on big plates, starting with the lettuce. Drizzle with a bit of the dressing, then add the halved eggs, nugget chunks and croutons. Drizzle with more of the dressing, then sprinkle with Parmesan shavings and chopped chives. Serve immediately.

Vegetarian Caesar Salad