Spicy pickled eggs in cider vinegar

Pickled eggs are a British institution. You’ll find them behind the bar of every decent pub, but how many people do you know who actually buy them? I imagine those catering-size jars must sit around for decades, their rusty lids prised off once in a blue moon as the landlord’s gnarled yellow fingers fish out an ancient rubbery orb for the amusement of drunkards on a dare.

I used to be a little bit afraid of them. The name alone is a deeply unappetising, and in the gloom of their natural habitat they bring to mind the formaldehyde-floating horrors of the biology lab.

Such thoughts, however, are entirely unwarranted. Served in the traditional manner – shaken vigorously inside a bag of cheese and onion crisps – pickled eggs are the perfect accompaniment to a pint. British tapas. Here’s how you can make some that will surpass even the finest vintage specimens from your local hostelry.
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Roasted butternut, garlic and olive risotto

Although risotto does require constant attention while it’s bubbling away on the stove, the inconvenience is short lived. The stirring and pouring is finished in a quarter of an hour, leaving only the finishing touches to apply – in this case roasted squash and garlic, which you can prepare while the rice is cooking.
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Green tomato and chilli tortilla

If you’ve got a crop of tomatoes that have stubbornly resisted ripening in the miserable British weather, here’s a good way to use them up. Actually this Spanish omelette type thing is fine with any type of tomato, ripe or otherwise, and while I can’t vouch for its authenticity, I can promise that it’s a reasonably foolproof veggie main course that works equally well served hot or cold. It smells great too, and for some reason it drove our cat absolutely wild while it was cooking (he’s mad for melted cheese but unfortunately not such a fan of chilli peppers).
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