Eggstra Special from The Chook House

See what they`ve done to cups and cutlery?Cute!

See what they`ve done to cups and cutleryin Avoca Café?Cute!

There was a glut of eggs Chez Red Hen, this weekend. A kind friend had given me a dozen organic eggs from her farm and I`d my usual eighteen egg carton still in the fridge. A hen can`t have enough eggs, yes? Well, this lot called for some eggy recipe ideas. And here`s one of them…

Avoca Nut Loaf. I`m an Avoca Nut myself. Love, love, love the look of their shops. Love their vintage china, love their knits, love their jewellery and am CRAZY about their food. Soups, scones, salads are all yum there. Come to think of it, I can`t recall ever having a poor, or even mediocre, dining experience in any of their cafés. And yes, I`ve been to all of them.

Anyway, the nut loaf… It`s egg heavy-it takes six. And it`s also a delicious way of incorporating a whole lot of veg into a meal. I eat it cold for lunch. Heated up, and accompanied by a green salad and Ballymaloe relish and you`ve got dinner. Heck, I might even toast it for breakfast…Only kidding. I think.

Anyay, TA-DAAA! Here`s the results of today`s cook in.

Avoca Nutloaf

Avoca Nutloaf

Lentil and Nut Loaf

from the Avoca Cafe CookbookServes 6-8

50g/2 ounces Puy lentils

300g/11 ounces orange lentils

50g/2 ounces butter

1 large onion — peeled and chopped

3 carrots — peeled and diced (Keep those little cubes really small, about 1/2 cm square)

1 large red bell pepper — diced

3 celery sticks — diced ( I hadn`t celery so I used courgette instead)

6 cloves garlic — peeled and crushed

1/2 fresh red chili — deseeded and finely chopped

2 heaping teaspoons ground cumin

75g/3 ounces bread crumbs

150g/5 ounces cheddar cheese — grated

75g/3 ounces roasted nuts, such as pistachios, hazelnuts, peanuts — chopped( I dry roasted chopped hazlenuts on a frying pan)

6 eggs

Grease the bottom and sides of a 2-pound loaf tin (non-stick, if possible). Place the French green and orange lentils in separate pans, cover each with cold water, and cook until they begin to split–approximately 12-14 minutes for the French green lentils, 8 minutes for the orange lentils. Drain and place in a mixing bowl. (Confession:there were no Puy lentils Chez Red Hen today, so I upped the orange ones instead)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add all the diced vegetables, garlic, chili, and cumin. Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, being careful not to overcook the mixture or the vegetables will lose their color. Remove from the heat and add to the lentils with the breadcrumbs, cheese, nuts and eggs. Mix thoroughly, then season well and taste. The mixture should be quite highly seasoned, but not too salty. Place in the loaf tin and bake in an oven preheated to 325°F for 45 minutes, until firm to the touch.

I had a big chunk of this just as soon as I finished photographing it. Teen girl had some too. She declared it “Ok”. We all know that`s just teen talk for “It`s absolutely delicious”. Right? Right.

Noshing on that piece of heaven kept me in baking mode, and I found another eggstra special in my “Gorgeous Cakes” book by Annie Bell. It is THE all time easiest peasiest cake I have ever made. And past the Three Teens Taste Test too.

Gotta run some nutloaf off first though. So, stay tooned for the next post…


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