Pine Needle Duck Egg and Bacon Sandwich

pine needle duck egg sandwich

The best start to your day

There is no better start to your day than a bloody good bacon and egg sandwich and today I can happily declare I have made the best one I’ve ever tasted.  Each year I insist on getting the biggest Christmas tree that will fit into my living room, they’re always locally grown, cost just £20 (for an 8ft tree) and hold their needles really well despite being attacked by cats/me after a few too many sherries.

Once I’ve finally accepted that the Xmas decs need to come down (usually around February) the tree normally moves from my cottage into the chicken pen for the girls to explore. This year however it’s been bloody freezing so I’ve been snapping bits off to throw on the fire. This has made the house smell amazing and whilst tucking into breakfast one morning the flavours and smells all came together and the idea for this was born.

In the past I’ve infused eggs with the flavour of truffles simply by popping the eggs in a sealed Kilner jar with a few bits of truffle (Mr Truffle sells bits of truffle as well as whole ones which are perfect for this). Before the branches are burnt the pine needles are shaken into a big tupperware box. Due to the selectively permeable shell of the egg it absorbs the surrounding aromas (hence why you should never keep eggs in the fridge) so I decided to pop a few duck eggs into a container with some pine needles and leave for a few days.

The gentle pine flavour in the rich duck yolk just rocks my world. If left infusing for too long the pine would be overpowering so just around 3 days has been perfect .  I’m leaving some more eggs in for an extra day to make a pine duck egg ravioli next, if it’s anything as good as this sandwich then I’m in for a real treat.

pine needle sandwich

 

Ingredients:

  • pine needles
  • duck egg
  • your favourite bacon
  • your favourite ketchup
  • mayo
  • rocket leaves
  • white bread

Method:

  1. Pop your duck egg into a tupperware box that contains a handful of pine needles, seal and leave for a few days.
  2. Fry your bacon in a pan until crispy, move to the side then fry your duck egg in the rendered fat.
  3. Mayo and ketchup your bread, add a layer of fresh rocket leaves then add the crispy bacon and top with your duck egg, season then pop your bread lid on and tuck in.
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Coconut Panna Cotta with Ginger and Lemongrass Syrup

This week marked the start of the Thai New Year so the Domestic Sluttery food writers were all asked to make Thai inspired recipes. I made a Thai style Kedgeree for my savoury post (reckon I will always make it this way from now on but with the addition of some Lapsang Souchong too) but I needed to come up with a dessert for Friday’s post.

I’ve never made a panna cotta before, I don’t really do desserts, I much prefer a cheeseboard at the end of the meal. I have had a few wonderful panna cottas in my time though so I knew I needed to achieve that perfect Boob Wobble if it was to be a success.

I’ve had a pack of gelatine leaves in my pantry for a few weeks now, the intention was to make some lovely Elderflower and spring flower jellies as my collection of glass jelly moulds never actually get used.  Coconut panna cotta it is then.  According to the gelatine instructions I just needed 4 leaves for every pint of liquid, simple enough so off I went to buy coconut milk, coconut cream (because I love it) and regular cream (because I wanted it to feel luxurious in the mouth).

I had received some very sad news the day before and thought I was coping really well (cooking is great for grief, eating not so easy) but I found myself crying in Tescos (they’d changed it all around AGAIN) and so did a rubbish job of shopping and returned home with gin, dried porcini mushrooms and chorizo.  I didn’t even realise I’d forgotten to buy any coconut ingredients until I got home and spoke to Glen (who detests coconut so was pretty happy about the shopping fail but obviously a bit worried about the girl crying in the doorway holding a bottle of gin and some chorizo). I had another cry at being rubbish at shopping.  I wasn’t really crying about that at all, I was crying because Nain, my grandmother, had died and I didn’t know what to do.

Another shopping trip later (this one without tears) and I was ready to go.  I love making up recipes but it’s always a bit nerve-racking when doing things like this (science-y).  The coconut mixture I had made was quite thick so would I need more gelatine? Having worked out how much gelatine I would officially need for a Boob Wobble set I threw it all together. It was only when I was putting the unused gelatine leaves back in the packet that I realised 2 must have been stuck together so I’d added a bit more than I should have.  I wasn’t bothered though as it just seemed right.

I don’t have any Dariole moulds so I just poured the mix into whatever I had: a few espresso cups, an old teacup, a couple of jelly moulds and a cocktail glass.

Once set the first cup was turned out and a nervous Boob Wobble test carried out – perfect. Phew, now to taste them.  I poured over my Ginger and Lemongrass syrup that had been infusing away, and tentatively spooned in.  Wow, it was so silky.  Rich in flavour but light in texture it just melted in my mouth. Yeah, I had a little cry, but this time I think I was also crying because something good had happened for the first time in 24 hours of sadness.

The first one turned out onto a plate ready for the Boob Wobble Test

I was so happy I recorded my Boob Wobble, you can see it HERE.

As I mentioned earlier, Glen hates coconut.  He used to love it but his Mum went through a phase of putting desiccated coconut into EVERYTHING when he was little so he just can’t stand it anymore.  I was so pleased with my new creations though that I made him try a bit.  He loved it! He ate 2 of them straight away.  

So if you want to give my recipe a go, and you really should because it’s really easy and tastes like it wasn’t, then you can see my recipe HEREIt really is stupidly easy to make and as always  you should check out all the other brilliant stuff on Domestic Sluttery!

Smoked Tea

I am currently having an all consuming love affair with Lapsang Souchong tea.  Lapsang tea is smoked over pinewood fires to give it an incredibly beautiful deep smoky flavour. The quality of tea varies massively and it really is worth spending a few quid on an excellent tea as you use it so sparingly it will last for ages. I can highly recommend St Martins Coffee in Leicester for their great tea, also Dragon Fly do a really beautiful organic tea that is worth the extra couple of quid. I have been experimenting with various smoked tea infusions for about 4 weeks now.  One of my favourite quick infusions is to pop a bit of your favourite full bodied red wine into a cup and add a few long strands of tea. Let it infuse for about 30 mins then pour about a tablespoon of the smoky infused wine into a full glass.  I like my red wines deep and full and the addition of a touch of smoke is perfect for a night in front of the fire and  its also a really nice addition to your bonfire night mulled wine.

Rum and smoked tea work really well together.  Just get a bottle of your favourite dark/golden rum and add a few strands to the bottle. I made fantastic Bonfire Night Smokey Spiced Apple Daiquiris a couple of weeks ago – bloody lovely! If you are making a smoked fish kedgeree pop a few strands in the poaching milk, it really does add a new lift to the dish.

I’m currently working on a recipe for a Sheep’s Cheesecake. The sultanas have been swelling in the smoked tea rum for 2 days now and are so plump they pop when you bite them.  Should be ready tomorrow to assemble.

Rose Infused Goat’s Cheese

I was born in Bath and whenever I head back to see family the Fine Cheese Company is always one of my favourite haunts to stock up on fantastic cheese.  On my last visit I discovered a fresh goats cheese called Figue a la Rose. I fell completely in love with it but it is almost impossible to find elsewhere bar online delivery and at great cost so of course I decided to make my own.

I used a young, soft, organic goats cheese from Tescos for my first time and have stuck with it for 2 reasons: 1 – it comes in its own little plastic pot so it can infuse in the smallest amount of rose water that envelops the mound of cheese so its not made soggy by the infusion and 2 – I haven’t been able to get hold of any Brockhall Farm (the Queen of British Goats Cheese)  yet as I haven’t been up that way. Believe me I cannot wait to try this with her artisan goats cheese! The Rose water can be found in pretty much any Asian food store and costs about 99p (it also makes a great toner for your face or addition to a homemade facepack!).

Method

Simply peel back the lid a little way and pour in the rose water. Pop the lid back over and cover with a bit of cling film so that any smells from your fridge don’t get in there too. Put it back in the fridge and let infuse overnight. When you are ready to use it simply tip any excess rose water away and pop it on your cheeseboard. So far this has always been the most popular addition to my cheeseboard! If you like Lavender,  try popping a couple of little lavender flowers in with the rose water infusion. Dead easy and so beautiful and delicate in flavour. Drizzle with your favourite honey (I use sweet chestnut honey) and a scatter of pistachio nuts and you are good to go.