A cracking good meal

I’ve been MIA from the blog yet again, this time due to serious (and scary) illness. I know reading about people’s ailments is about as interesting as tax law, but I hope you’ll indulge me sharing this as it took me completely by surprise!
I contracted sepsis and ended up in hospital for nearly 2 weeks, including 6 days in intensive care. I’d never even heard of sepsis before and consulted Doctor Google from my hospital bed – quite unwise as it freaked the living daylights out of me. I had all kinds of tests and horrible procedures, including a catheter in my neck. Fun! Short story is, I survived!
So, I’ve been taking life at a snail’s pace ever since, starting with a little holiday in Cobden – look at those views! I’m going to run a One Equals Two Light for the next few posts; starting with two quick and easy egg recipes which I’m sure you’ll wanna ‘have a crack’ at 🙂

[Recipe 1]

Got beans? Got eggs? Got pasta sauce? That’s dinner sorted!
Baked eggs are a favourite midweek meal around here, as they’re on the table in 15 minutes. They’re also great for weekend brekkies and lunches.
Nearly every culture has their take on baked eggs – Shakshouka, Huevos rancheros, Les œufs en cocotte… have I forgotten any?? Mine are usually served up Italian-style as I often have a tub of home-made Amatriciana pasta sauce in the freezer (which incidentally is a splendid topping for chicken parma).
The extras are limited only by your imagination – replace the white beans, rosemary and pancetta with black beans, smoked paprika and chorizo; toss in some pan-fried zucchini strips and drizzle with pesto; or swap the beans for chickpeas and stir through a handful of roasted eggplant chunks.
Are you a baked egg fancier? If so, do share your favourite combo (links are welcome)!

CobdenIngredients for baked eggsBaked eggs and beans. One Equals TwoBaked eggs, beans and peppers. One Equals Two[Recipe 1] Baked eggs with cannellini beans and roasted capsicum (pictured)

Ingredients (serves 4):
♦ 2½ cups (600–650g/1.3–1.4 lb) reserved Amatriciana sauce
1 x 400g (15 oz) can cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained, rinsed
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
½–1 cup marinated roasted capsicum, drained (optional for kids)
4 eggs
Sea salt and freshly-cracked pepper
Fresh chopped parsley to serve
Crusty bread, to serve

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Place reserved Amatriciana sauce, beans and rosemary into a small saucepan and simmer gently, stirring, for 5 minutes.
Divide warmed mixture amongst 4 x 1½-cup capacity (or 2 x 3-cup capacity) oven-proof ramekins. Arrange drained capsicum on top.
Make an indent in the centre of each with the back of a spoon, and crack in an egg (or two if you’re using large ramekins).
Bake until eggs have set to your liking; 10 minutes for soft and 15 minutes for firm.
Season, scatter with parsley and serve with crusty bread for dunking.

[Recipe 2] Baked eggs with navy beans, spinach and goat’s cheese

Ingredients (serves 4):
♦ 2½ cups (600–650g/1.3–1.4 lb) reserved Amatriciana sauce
⅛ teaspoon chilli powder (or more, to taste)
1 x 400g (15 oz) can navy (pearl haricot) beans, drained and rinsed
50g (1¾ oz) baby spinach, roughly chopped
4 eggs
30–60g (1–2 oz) goat’s cheese, crumbled (optional for kids, see notes)
Fresh basil, torn, to serve
Crusty bread, to serve

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Place reserved Amatriciana sauce, chilli and navy beans into a small saucepan and simmer gently, stirring, for 3 minutes.
Divide warmed mixture amongst 4 x 1½-cup capacity (or 2 x 3-cup capacity) oven-proof ramekins. Arrange spinach on top, pushing down lightly with a spoon.
Make an indent in the centre of each with the back of a spoon, and crack in an egg (or two if you’re using large ramekins).
Bake until eggs have set to your liking; 10 minutes for soft and 15 minutes for firm.
Season. Scatter with crumbled goat’s cheese and basil, and serve with crusty bread for scooping.

  • Kid tip: Kids may prefer their baked eggs plain, in which case you can replace the goat’s cheese with grated parmesan cheese.
  • Feel free to add a good slosh of chilli sauce or tabasco!
  • Home-made amatriciana sauce can of course be replaced with store-bought tomato pasta sauce (Maggie’s and Spiral Foods are both rich and lovely). Add pan-fried bacon, pancetta or chorizo if desired.
  • Navy (pearl haricot) beans are small and white; and are commonly used in baked beans. They’re popular in the UK and USA, and kids love them! In Australia they’re available canned from Health food stores.

37 thoughts on “A cracking good meal

  1. Relaxing with a glass of wine and a good book with those rolling, green hills behind you looks like it was supremely restorative. So sorry to hear how frightening your illness was, and so glad that you’ve made a full recovery, Sas. Count on you to bounce back with such delightful comfort food. Warmest wishes to you!

  2. Oh my goodness, I’m doing some blog catching up and so it’s a relief to hear you are on the mend. and you know that great minds think alike, as I was only talking about baked eggs yesterday – but now I’m going to add some red peppers to the mix thanks to you! Hope your recovery is going well. Claire x

    • Pia!!! You have a blog!!! I had NO idea. Well, I’m off to make myself a cuppa, pull up a chair and have a read. Thanks for the PR lovely girl.
      PS. For anyone reading this comment, Pia is my delightful niece and you should totally check out her blog!

  3. Saskia, i am so touched reading all the lovely comments of – I would call them your friends in cyber space. So much love and good wishes from everywhere and from me as well.
    I find eggs a real comfort food, especially nice organic eggs straight from the market with a bit of bum fluff still sticking to the shell. Do take good care of yourself.

    • They are like friends in cyberspace, you’re right. I often refer to them as my adult penfriends too. It’s one of the best aspects of blogging – connecting with like-minded folks from all corners of the globe. I love it! And a big YES to a proper egg with bum fluff! 🙂

  4. What an experience you have had! Glad you pulled through and life is slowly returning back to normal. The baked eggs dishes look like the perfect quick dinner. I think it will be going on our dinner list very soon. Hugs to you!

  5. Sepsis is nothing to trifle with, Saskia. I’m so glad that you were able to get good medical care and have recovered. I really do enjoyed baked egg dishes. We call ours Eggs in Purgatory but the concept is the same — though we don’t add beans. I love that idea and want to give it a try. Thanks for sharing. Stay well. 🙂

    • I’ve been awake since 5.30 this morn (thanks to a magpie gurgling down our chimney) and have been researching Eggs in Purgatory. LOVE learning the origin of wackily-titled meals, and it’s not often you see a Catholic foodie metaphor! Found two theories: 1. They’re what you eat when you’re feeling like hell (ie. hungover); and 2. The eggs are the souls and the fiery tomato sauce represents their suspension between heaven and hell! Most entertaining morning John. Thanks!

    • Thanks Karen. Yep, sepsis is really dangerous and it’s amazing there isn’t better awareness of it, as it apparently causes more deaths than prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined! It was a VERY steep learning curve for me. PS. Just in case anyone else is reading this comment, here is some more info about it. It’s really worth reading. Sorry for sabotaging my response to you with medical info Karen!! Hope you’re well.

  6. I am so glad you are back my friend, it must have been awful! I’m sorry you had to go through that! Beautiful dinner photos, thanks for the inspiration! But big hugs, big glasses of water (i’m sorry, I can’t doctor!) and lots of positive vibes being sent your way!
    Hugs (again)

  7. You’re back! HOORAY! I’m so glad you’re feeling better, and that those green rolling hills and vino have been healing. I’m guessing you’ll be celebrating pretty hard when 2014 finishes. These egg recipes are just the thing I need as we’re buying a few chooks at the next local market in a couple of weeks time, so hopefully I’ll have eggs’o’plenty and will need tasty egg recipes for every day of the week. (p.s if any of your epiphanies involved moving to the Macedon Ranges, I wholeheartedly support that….)

    • Aw thanks Amelia. Yep, 2014 has been a tough year that’s fer sher. We’re definitely planning a move in 2015. Not a tree change (I would miss the concrete too much!)… if we ever did though, your neck of the woods would be my top choice. Best area in country Vic I reckon, for so many reasons. Looking forward to a slightly bigger backyard (current one is not much bigger than a postage stamp) so we can grow veggies; and maybe chooks… can’t wait to see the pics of your new family additions, and hear their names!

  8. Oh no Sas I’m so sorry to hear how unwell you’ve been. Super happy you’re making a good recovery and are slowly getting back your strength. Take care. Big hugs! And thanks for the dinner inspiration – beans and eggs for me tonight ; ) xx

  9. Saskia, yes sepsis is scary. I remember some of my patients when I was working in the pharmacy that told me about when they had it, terrible indeed. So glad you’ve recovered, still got your sense of humour, and be sure to take things calm now while you get your strength back and eat well. I hope your family is taking good care of you.
    Yep I like baked eggs, and hadn’t thought of them with beans. Will throw them in next time.
    Take care and sending you hugs!

    • Thanks Sofia. Yep, the family have been taking care of me very well indeed. We were also thoroughly spoiled by folks dropping off beautiful dinners. Took me ages to get back into the kitchen again! Glad to be back though, and to have my tastebuds in full working order again (the nasty meds made everything taste metallic).

  10. Sas, SO happy to see you back doing what you love! SO happy you are feeling somewhat better. The photographs are just amazing, as always. PS – glass in hand is always a good sign tee hee. CXX

  11. Oh Saskia, do take care. My husband had a terrible case, an antibiotic resistant bug. 4 months of IV drugs It made us reassess the direction of our lives and reconsider what’s important. Blogging light is very generous. A big healing hug for you……

    • Thanks for the healing hug Sandra. Oh no, so sorry to hear your husband experienced the sepsis nightmare too 😦
      Lots of reassessing here too – I had time for epiphanies aplenty while lying on my back for so long! 2015 is going to be a year of changes for us.

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