Week 65: Eggs Poached in Red Wine

Gosh what a year! I’ve somehow managed to make something new every week (admittedly some of them have been horrible) and I managed to finish the year by hitting 6000 views. Hurrah! So to start the new year in the same vein as the old, I’m kicking off New Recipe Night 2015 with a dish that looks like I’ve carried out a back alley organ transplant.

I’ve used Matt Tebbutt’s Cooks Country a few times over the last year, and if I lived more rurally than London Zone 2 I’d use it a whole lot more.  Fortunately I managed to find spinach and eggs in darkest hammersmith, the great hunter that I am.

Here’s a recipe that is cheaper to make for 4 than it is for 2, which is quite unusual.  For four you will need: 150g bacon (cut into chunky lardons), 150g button mushrooms (cut in half), 1 onion (peeled and chopped), 50g unsalted butter, 1 bottle of deep red wine (I think I used Shiraz), 250ml beef consommé/stock, 4 bags of baby leaf spinach, 4 large free range eggs, red wine vinegar, 1 bay leaf, and 4 slices of fried bread to serve.


Fry the lardons, mushrooms and onion in butter until golden, pour in a glass of red wine and reduce right down.


Add the stock and reduce by half. Put the lid on and take off the heat.  In a small saucepan start warming up the red wine.


Heat a large empty sauce pan and then thoroughly wash the spinach, season the spinach in the sieve and then lob it into the pan with only the water that’s still on the leaves.  Heat until just wilted, then keep warm off the heat.


The wine should have reached a rolling egg-poaching bubbly pre-boil, if that makes sense?  Add a splash of red wine vinegar and the bay leaf.   Gently swirl the wine and gently drop the eggs in to poach for about 4 minutes.  Remove each egg and drain on kitchen roll, season the top (I forgot this bit)


Serve the eggs on a pile of spinach, with some of the bacon garnish spooned over in an artistic way.


It was very tasty, I’ll definitely make it again – especially if I have guests for a cozy supper.  Learning to make fried bread was just plain dangerous, and I’ll probably be admitted to a fat camp by midsummer; but the fried bread really added to the dish giving it a varied texture.  The egg didn’t taste very wine-y, but the sauce did – I think rather than using a whole bottle you could put the glass in the sauce, and one in with the eggs and drink the rest; but the eggs probably won’t have the kidney-theft look about them.

I think the only actual downside to this recipe is that with the fried bread it needs four pans; which is a lot for a small meal – but sometimes a meal is worth a mountain of washing up (not one yours though Mr Oliver!)

Happy New Year everyone!  Thank you to all my shiny new readers and weary regulars; stay tuned for more adventures in my little kitchen in 2015.


Matt Tebbutt Cooks Country, by Matt Tebbutt (Mitchell Beazley 2008, ISBN 978-1-84533-371-3)


Week 20: Lentils, Spinach, Potato

Three is the magic number, yes it is, it’s the magic number.  This is also Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s mantra for his latest book: “Hugh’s Three Good Things on a Plate”.  For my twentieth week of new recipes (although it’s my 22nd new recipe) I decided to use a new book, rather than cook something fancy from one of the books I’d already used; so I reached for Hugh!

three good things on a plate

The recipe uses lentils, vegetable stock, cooked potatoes, garlic, curry powder, spinach and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, and as usual it provided a number of firsts for me.

The first first, I had never cooked more than 25g of lentils before in one go.  My second first, I had never wilted anything – other than a bunch of flowers in my life.  It’s all go here.

I got the lentils on and they soon broke down into what the book calls a “dhal”.  I didn’t know what one was before cooking this – but I’ve got my eye on a few others already!  I fried the potatoes, added the garlic and curry powder and then added these to the lentils.

Then before serving, I wilted the spinach in batches and added it to the rest and stirred it round with some lemon juice (the second time I made it I used lime and I think I preferred lemon)

Served on some wholemeal pittas (as usual I completely forgot to buy in any salad) it was delicious.  I never though I’d like a plate full of lentils, but I wolfed it down.


There is a sting in the tail though… it’s a really smelly dish to cook.  Casa-del-Crump is only a little apartment, and the whole place smelled of fried potatoes. I had to scrub everything down, febreze the soft furnishings and wash the towels to get rid of the smell.

Obviously it needs the crispiness of the fried potatoes, otherwise it would be like eating a strange leafy porridge, and suffer from “risotto syndrome”, which would be a shame.  Maybe I could sauté the potatoes instead, or use a different oil?  Until I’ve worked out a solution I’m not cooking it again, even though I really want to!

Hugh’s Three Good Things on a Plate by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Bloomsbury 2012, ISBN 9781408828588)