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The autumn appeal of eggs!

The below article was issued for the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) by Protactic Strategic Communications

Just as one season follows another, you can always count on the sunny yellow of eggs! With the South African summer fading, it’s time to give their richness and creaminess a star turn in the many warming, spiced foods of autumn.

Take advantage of the cooler temperatures to wander the outdoors and explore nature, with picnic lunches for the family and delicious, energy-filled snacks for everyone. Eggs are a tremendously versatile, extremely cost-effective way to do just this. Yes, a couple of boiled eggs are perfect for keeping you going on a hike or drive in the country, but why not take 10 minutes to transform them into meals as magnificent as the shimmering South African sky – all beautifully budget-friendly, of course!

Try a picnic favourite like Fried Devilled Eggs, also known as Ovos Verdes or Portuguese Green Eggs. These are herb-enhanced, crumbed and crusted treats that are a joy eaten as a sunset snack or quick lunch.

Eggs also love leftovers, which are some of the best eats in your fridge and should never go to waste! Quick Lunch Egg Wraps make use of thin omelettes to get everything from cold curry to cold cuts into your mouth in the most pleasing protein-packed way.

Also good for using up leftovers, as well as feeding a hungry, hard-working hoard for dinner, is an Anything Goes Cheesy Broccoli, Spinach & Feta Strata. This is a hearty, make-ahead one dish wonder that uses up any bread you may have sitting around, along with all those last bits of cheese in the fridge, made velvety delicious, of course, by a savoury custard of satisfying, silken baked eggs.

And don’t shy away from putting Cheat’s ‘Clear The Fridge’ Nasi Goreng on your autumn lunch or dinner menu – a traditional Indonesian fried rice recipe that is both filling and fabulous, stirred into life from whatever you have at home to produce a cost-effective, egg-enhanced meal that is so spectacularly tasty your family will be begging for it to become a regular on the weekly meal rotation.

The South African Department of Health’s food-based dietary guidelines state that eggs can be eaten every day. This means that eggs are a great way to increase the nutrient and protein intake of the average South African making family meals on a budget – eggs remain the lowest cost animal protein available, really easy on your tastebuds and on your pocket!

Food safety is also of paramount importance right now, but rest assured, South African egg producers pride themselves on producing top quality eggs, delivered fresh to the market daily.

So eggs… good for you, good for the whole family, quick and easy to prepare. Check, check and check! This autumn, a few simple tweaks with a whole (easy to find and store!) basket of eggs will make you wish you had more leftovers to use up.

Follow @EGGcellent food on Facebook or for further information visit www.sapoultry.co.za

FRIED DEVILLED EGGS OR OVOS VERDES (PORTUGUESE GREEN EGGS)

Serves 4  

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs plus 1 extra for coating (7 eggs in total)
  • 3 tablespoons Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) white wine vinegar
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) good quality olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ litres vegetable oil, for frying
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

For the quick Aioli:

  • 1 whole egg
  • ½ small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) smooth Dijon mustard
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 250ml good quality olive oil

Method:

  1. Boil 6 of the eggs for roughly 7- 8 minutes for hard boiled eggs, reserving 1 for the crumbing. Run cooked eggs under cold water and when cool enough to handle, peel and cut in half length wise.
  2. Use a teaspoon and scoop out the yolks, keeping the whites intact.  Set aside the whites. In a bowl combine the egg yolks with the chopped parsley, vinegar, olive oil and seasoning. Mash to combine. Spoon the yolk mixture back into the egg whites and mould the tops with the teaspoon to form neat and rounded domes.
  3. To crumb, place the flour in a shallow bowl with a little salt & pepper for seasoning, whisk the remaining egg with a pinch of salt in a separate bowl, and place the breadcrumbs in a third bowl.
  4. Gently roll the stuffed egg in flour then dip in the beaten egg ensuring it is well covered. Finally roll in the breadcrumbs.
  5. To cook, heat the oil in a deep pot and working in batches, lower 2 – 3 crumbed halves into the hot oil and cook for 2 minutes until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towel, repeat with the remaining eggs.
  6. To make the aioli; place the egg, garlic and mustard in the jug of an immersion blender or food processor and whizz to combine. Slowly, drizzle the olive oil in through the feeder tube or down the side of the jug as slowly as possible all the time blending to combine the emulsion. When blended, add the lemon juice and adjust seasoning with sea salt & black pepper.
  7. Serve the eggs warm with the aioli as a snack or with a fresh green salad as a light meal.

QUICK LUNCH EGG WRAP

Serves 2

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • Pinch sea salt & white pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons / 30 ml cold filtered water
  • 10 ml olive oil or non-stick cooking spray

Fillings of your choice:

  • Baby spinach
  • Grated carrot
  • Grated beetroot
  • Chopped ham
  • Cherry tomato
  • Chopped avocado
  • Grated cheddar or cubed mozzarella

Method:

  1. To make the wrap, whisk the eggs with the seasoning and water until very well combined, allow to stand for 2 minutes if frothy.
  2. Grease a 22cm nonstick pan and pour in a quarter of the egg mixture to form a thin layer in the pan, gently coating the pan to spread the mixture around the pan as you would an omelette. Cook over medium heat for approximately 2 minutes until cooked, flip over and cook for a further minute, remove and cook remaining mixture.
  3. To serve; fill the egg wrap by placing the fillings of your choice down the centre of the omelette, roll up and cut in half to serve.

ANYTHING GOES CHEESY Broccoli, Spinach & Feta Strata

A strata is a make-ahead savoury bread dish similar to a quiche or frittata without the crust of a quiche. Its charm is in that it can be made ahead of time, in fact its better made 12 hours ahead and is a creative way to use up leftover bread, cold meats and vegetables. Flavour with any leftover cheeseboard cheeses, strong Gruyere works well, as does mature cheddar, goats’ cheese or blue cheese. It’s a great way to feed a crowd for an easy supper and requires no special culinary skill!

Serves 8

Preparation time: 10 minutes + approximately 8 – 12 hours resting time

Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Total Time: 90 minutes & minimum 2 hours resting time

Ingredients:

  • 8 large eggs, at room temperature
  • Pinch sea salt & white pepper
  • 1 cup full cream milk
  • 1 teaspoon English mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons hot sauce such as Sriracha (optional)
  • 3 cups day old bread, such a ciabatta, French loaf or English Muffins, cut into cubes.

Fillings of your choice:

  • 250g baby spinach
  • 200g long stem broccoli, blanched
  • 1 cup grated mature cheddar, or other strong flavour cheese
  • 1 cup feta, crumbled
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Method:

  1. Grease a shallow baking dish. Arrange the bread in the dish and sprinkle with the cheeses and add the vegetables.
  2. In a large bowl whisk the eggs together with the milk, seasoning, mustard and hot sauce (if using). Pour the egg mixture over the bread and cheeses, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours and up to overnight.
  3. To bake; preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the baking dish on a baking tray and remove the plastic wrap. Bake until puffed up and golden brown and set in the centre, approximately 90 minutes, if necessary, cover with foil halfway through cooking. To test if cooked, pierce with a sharp paring knife – it should feel firm and the knife should come out clean.
  4. Let the strata stand for 10 minutes before serving, it will deflate.
  5. Serve in wedges with a garden salad.

Cheat’s ‘Clear The Fridge’  Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng is a traditional Indonesian fried rice recipe. This cheats version is a great way to use up leftover proteins and veggies. It is a cost effective and filling meal.

Serves 4  

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) sesame oil
  • ½ cup spring onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 chilli, diced
  • 1 cup veggies: diced red pepper, broccoli florets, a handful of frozen peas, or any other veggies you have in the fridge
  • 200g diced ham, or shredded cooked chicken (optional)
  • 500ml (2 cups) cooked rice
  • 60ml (4 tablespoons) Sweet thick soya sauce
  • Extra olive oil for frying the eggs

To serve (optional):

  • Spring onion
  • Lime wedges
  • Chilli
  • Pickled cucumber
  • Crispy fried onion

Method:

  1. Use a large frying pan or wok and heat the sesame oil.
  2. Add spring onion, garlic and chilli. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add the veggies, ham or chicken if using and the cooked rice.
  4. Stir fry for 8-10 minutes until heated through. Add the sweet soya sauce.
  5. In a bowl break two eggs and whisk with a fork. Pour the beaten egg into the wok and stir through the rice, heat until cooked through and it will scramble slightly.
  6. Transfer to individual bowls and keep warm.
  7. Wipe out the wok and heat the olive oil and fry the individual eggs to your liking.
  8. Top each bowl of rice with a fried egg, and serve with the accompaniments.

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