Pistachio Pops

These arose from the annual glut of courgettes. After having them grilled, fried, baked, and in soup and chutney, and still having a never ending supply from the veg patch, I started looking for more creative ways to use them up.

I first heard of Harry Eastwood and her vegetable adventures on BBC Breakfast (while in a hotel room in Iceland, bizarrely) a few years ago, and subsequently bought her book, the gorgeously named Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache. However, as often happens with cookbooks, it had been pushed to the back of the shelf and largely forgotten about until my courgette quest led me to turf it out. It’s such a beautifully written and photographed book that it’s worth a read even if you never intend to make any of the recipes, but on discovering the dregs of a packet of pistachio nuts I had to experiment.

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Power Brunch: Poached eggs two ways

Eggs are definitely one of my favourite ways to start the day. Not only are there so many ways to cook them (Poached, fried, boiled, scrambled, baked blah blah), but they manage to keep me full until at least elevenses, which in my opinion is impressive. Eggs have had a fair bit of bad press lately due to the fairly high cholesterol in the yolk, hence the anaemic and kind of gross looking egg-white omelettes that are popping up all over the internet. Not only are these poor people missing out on the most flavoursome part of the egg, in my frugal Yorkshire it also seems a huge shame to be wasting half an egg for silly reasons, especially as that’s the part that contains some pretty important vitamins. As well as this, recent research has indicated that saturated fat, rather than dietary cholesterol, is the bad guy (you can have a gander over some egg facts here). So, if it’s good enough to grow a little yellow chick from scratch, I’m pretty sure it’ll be alright for me!

Anyway, I digress, back to breakfast. Here’s a little recipe for a power pack of vitamins and nutrients to start the day. I only intended to use avocado to snuggle my egg on, but I found some leftover beetroot hummus in the fridge (as you do) so I decided to experiment. Firstly though, is the base of the dish: toast. If you can, make sure you use some nice wholemeal, seeded or sourdough bread or muffins, even if it’s been lingering at the bottom of the bread bin for a bit too long it’ll toast up beautifully. Light and airy white bread (think the kind perfect with a ham sandwich) is pretty useless here, as it tends to lose all form and smush onto the plate. This recipe is great if you’ve got a slightly over-ripe sorry looking avocado, because as you’ll be smashing it up and covering it with an egg the beautifully sliced and uniformly green type will be wasted here.

(There’s a very high chance your egg will look more attractive than this, I dropped mine!)

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Chocolate Chip Muffins

Muffins are so simple and easy to make, it’s just a case of mixing dry ingredients with wet ingredients and blobbing the mix into cases. They also freeze really well, so there’s no need to fall for the mediocre ones sold for a small fortune these days. There are a seemingly endless amount of flavour combinations that can be baked into a paper case of yumminess, so let’s start with a favourite: chocolate chip.

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