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Dublin: 18 °C Friday 23 August, 2019
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From the Garden: Homegrown tomatoes are perfect for these 'Anytime Eggs'

Turnips are very easy to grow and because they produce a crop so quickly, they are an ideal candidate for late summer sowing.

Michael Kelly Grower

A SUNDAY MORNING routine for me is to spend a little more time over breakfast, cooking up what we call in our house “Eggs Anytime”.

The name suggests that it’s a dish that could also be had for lunch or dinner, but we’ve always used it as a breakfast recipe which makes the name rather redundant I suppose.

It is basically a one-pan spicy Mexican-style tomato, chilli and pepper sauce with eggs cracked into it at the end to poach.

It’s sort of like huevos rancheros I guess, but without the beans (though you could add them if you wanted). With a combination of 6 different types of veg (chard, tomatoes, garlic, onions, pepper, chilli-pepper) and the goodness of eggs, this must be one of the most nutritious breakfasts you could eat.

It’s also utterly delicious and filling enough that you might not even need lunch.

We eat poached eggs every day in our house for breakfast – I always feel that if the kids have a poached egg after their porridge then we are sending them off in to the world with the best possible start.

Poached eggs are quick and easy to cook on a rushed week-day morning. This dish however, requires more time to prepare – about 10 minutes of prepping the veg and then a good half hour to cook up.

That’s the kind of time you really only have available on a lazy Sunday morning.

It’s a particular treat at this time of the year when the veg you need are available in the veg patch.

You could of course use good quality shop-bought Irish tomatoes, or even an organic passata, but I think the flavour is best if you’ve got your own tomatoes in it.

This week we also found a rather large and decidedly ready green pepper in the tunnel, which was an early surprise. I don’t think I’ve ever had peppers ready this early in the summer and I can’t exactly explain why that is – though I think I just got lucky and got healthy plants up and started early in the year.

A nice hot chilli-pepper is vital to give the recipe some zing. Though I don’t have any ripe chilli-peppers from the garden yet, I do still have some nice red ones in the freezer from last year.

Chilli-peppers freeze really well, so if you have a glut, it’s a great way to store them. To defrost just bung them in the oven for a few minutes before chopping.

Any leafy green will work – kale, chard or spinach – but I like chard the best because of the extra bit of colour you get on the plate. Don’t forget to use the stalks as well.

Give yourself the time to prep and cook, and then enjoy it all on a slice of sourdough toast, a pot of coffee and the weekend newspapers. Enjoy!

The Basics – Sow Turnips

Turnips are very easy to grow and because they produce a crop so quickly, they are an ideal candidate for late summer sowing.

Note that we are talking about turnips here (with the white flesh) as opposed to swedes (yellow flesh) which take longer to mature (it’s too late now to sow swedes this year).

Sow turnips thinly in shallow drills around 2cm deep. Thin as soon as possible to prevent roots from getting tangled in each other.

Allow 15cm between plants and 25cm between rows. Baby turnips can be harvested when the roots are 5cm wide.

It’s a good idea to do a sowing of turnips in late summer, perhaps in a bed freed up from another crop (eg. Onions or garlic).

The turnips will be ready to eat (and much appreciated) in early October, before the weather turns bad.

The green leaves that grow on top of the turnip can also be eaten. Water well in dry spells to prevent cracking.

Recipe of the Week – Anytime Eggs (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large green or red pepper, chopped
  • 1 mild chilli pepper (like Hungarian Hot Wax), chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
  • 6-8 large tomatoes (about 450g) roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 200g rainbow chard, stalks finely chopped and leaves sliced into ribbons
  • 4 eggs
  • a small handful of fresh herbs like parsley, coriander or dill
  • small handful crumbly feta or dollop yoghurt
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper or smoked paprika
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • sea salt and black pepper

Directions

Heat the butter in a large frying pan and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper and cumin and cook for a few minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, chard stems, balsamic vinegar and 250ml water, stir and bring to a simmer.

Pop the lid on and let everything cook down for 10 minutes to make a chunky sauce. Stir in the chard leaves and cover the pan for 5 minutes to allow them to wilt.

Take the lid off, season to taste and, if needed, leave to reduce again with the lid off for a few minutes for the sauce to thicken.

Push the vegetables aside using a spatula to make a small gap in the sauce and crack an egg in.

Repeat for the other three eggs. If you pop the lid back on the eggs should be ready (whites set, and yolk runny) in about 3-4 minutes.

Scatter over some fresh herbs, a dollop of yoghurt or feta and finish with sprinkling of cayenne pepper or paprika and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Michael Kelly is an author, broadcaster and founder of GIY

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Michael Kelly  / Grower

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