Spiced Lentils and Tomatoes with Kale and Baked Eggs

I hate to begin writing anything with a bunch of excuses, but I’ve just been too busy to write lately. It’s always this time of year that my schedule becomes inexplicably hectic, my diary gets booked up, my inbox spirals out of control and I find myself eating chiller cabinet pizza for dinner twice in the same week. The shame, the shame.

I realise it’s been two weeks, but I have managed to do a little bit of cooking in amongst my frenzied attempts to grab food where I can. Although I am now on first name terms with the entire staff of the Great Portland Street branch of Pret, who may or may not have witnessed me having a complete meltdown over the phone, I have also got to spend time eating nice things: Like last week I finally got to go to Asma Khan’s wonderful Darjeeling Express residency at The Sun and 13 Cantons for a sublimely happy dinner with my best friend where no work was discussed at all. Also, Honey and Co. is within sneaking off-distance from my desk, so I’ve been hiding in there with coffee and cake. A lot.

I wish I could come back to you, lovely readers, all excited about a new recipe that I devised last week; but I really need to get started on the backlog. The recipes that I have been itching to share for a while now but haven’t managed to get down in type. The pieces of oil-splatted notepaper with odd scribbles on that are littered across my desk and threatening to overwhelm me.

This baked eggs and lentils dish was from a few weeks back, and I absolutely loved it. It was driven by my need to use up some old kale I had in the fridge after a Sunday lunch, and inspired by a recipe I found on the Serious Eats website. It is reminiscent of shakshuka, and its many variants, which I will often cook for breakfast at the weekend, but made more substantial with the addition of puy lentils. I have a bit of a thing for lentils and eggs, somehow the yolk just adds to the brilliance of lentil dishes. Especially if you have good bread handy.

Spiced Lentils and Tomatoes with Kale and Baked Eggs

Olive oil
½ onion, finely diced
1 mild red chilli
Sea salt and black pepper
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
350ml vegetable stock
200g dried puy lentils
150g kale, shredded
4 or 6 eggs
Finely chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 180°c.

Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof frying pan, or chef’s pan, over a medium heat and gently cook the onion and chilli, with a little salt, until soft, about five minutes. Add the tomatoes and stock and bring to a simmer.

Add the lentils and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes until soft. Stir in the kale during the last couple of minutes of cooking and check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if required.

Remove from the heat and make wells in the mixture for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the wells and carefully transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until the eggs are cooked to your liking, checking them after five minutes and then every couple of minutes thereafter. Garnish with parsley to serve.

Serves 2-3. Adapted from a recipe from Serious Eats.

Sweet Potato, Chorizo and Caramelised Onion Hash with Baked Eggs

Quite a few of the items I received in my Farmdrop box could be frozen, so I immediately popped them in the freezer to make breakfast with at a later date. These sweet potatoes were the last of the fresh ingredients and, probably, what I was looking forward to using the most. Sweet potatoes make their way into my breakfast dishes often, but there are few better ways to show them off than in a hash. This one combined with chorizo and caramelised onions and was the base for some baked eggs. A little avocado on the side and a drizzle of hot sauce made it just perfect.

Sweet Potato, Chorizo and Caramelised Onion Hash with Baked Eggs

Olive oil
2 large onions, halved and finely sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
250g cooking chorizo, chopped
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
8 eggs

Cook the onions in a large frying pan, or chef’s pan, over a medium-low heat, with the salt sugar, until dark and caramelised. This should take about an hour. Set aside. Add a little more oil to the same pan and cook the chorizo over a high heat until crisp. Set this aside also.

Preheat the oven to 220ºc.  Toss the sweet potato in a bowl with some olive oil, salt, smoked paprika and rosemary and spread out on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan.  Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes until the sweet potato is tender.

In a very large frying pan, or chef’s pan, combine the sweet potato, chorizo and caramelised onion and make eight wells in the mixture with a spoon.  Crack an egg into each of the wells and place the pan in the oven to cook the eggs.  This should take about 10 minutes for soft yolks.

Serves four. Adapted from a recipe by Serious Eats.

Baked Eggs with Tomatoes and Feta

After my brief wander into the world of American breakfasts, I returned to my Farmdrop box for today’s Sunday brunch. I had received a box of beautiful Isle of Wight tomatoes: rich red plum tomatoes, those gorgeous yellow cherry tomatoes and the ones that appear to have a red and green stripe. Chopped up and cooked down, and with a little feta, they make a great sauce for baked eggs.

Baked Eggs with Tomatoes and Feta

Olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
¼ tsp dried oregano
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp sugar
225g fresh tomatoes, chopped
8 eggs
100g feta, cut into 1cm cubes

Preheat the oven to 190ºc. Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan, or chef’s pan, and cook the garlic for a couple of minutes until golden.  Add a pinch of salt, the dried oregano and a good grind of black pepper before stirring in the chopped tomatoes and a little water. Stir, check the seasoning and add the sugar.

Add the fresh tomatoes and cook for 15-20 minutes over a medium heat until thickened.  Remove from the heat and make eight dents in the sauce using the back of a spoon and crack an egg into each. Scatter the feta across the eggs. Return the pan to the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes until the edges of the white start to turn opaque. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked to your liking. Serve with good toast.

 Adapted from a recipe from The Guardian. Serves four.