Feasts bring people together. Feasts are enjoyable gatherings of any size punctuated with good food, a relaxed atmosphere, and an opportunity to show appreciation or love. A feast is a pleasure. An accomplishment. A triumph. (And everyone knows that simple triumphs are the best) Feasts are more than just a meal, more than just an occasion when we eat.
Most importantly, feasts do not need to be for the masses. They can be solo occasions where time, thought and energy are dedicated to assembling a simple dish or dressing, and the result deserves recognition. Really, I like to find any excuse for a celebration - especially those little achievements that punctuate our weeks.
I relish lunch at home on my own. Don't get me wrong, I love going out and meeting friends, but I find during the week, when these meetings are purely outside of any work, they are laden with more than a little guilt.
I am a true home bod at heart. When the children are at school the house is mine. Working away with the radio on, I love to acknowledge the middle of the day with a proper lunch. Something that I make or assemble and take time to eat, sitting down, and really enjoy.
I say sitting down, as actually, when I think about it I have had way too many “meals” walking around the kitchen, in the car, on the hoof, all of them ending in painful indigestion and feeling not at all satisfied. And when I eat standing up or pacing, it cannot really be considered a proper meal, but more of a graze, which then unfortunately lasts all afternoon, usually culminating in mass amounts of chocolate.
So, in welcoming you to my first blog post, I thought I would share what I consider to be one of my favourite lunchtime feasts.
Simple, delicious, and with many varieties. Baked eggs with spinach (or any green you have hanging around in the fridge). This week it happened to be spinach, as I found a bag of it lurking in the back of the drawer while unpacking the weekly farmers market shop. The dish is filling, and feels virtuous while being tasty enough to keep me satiated for at least an hour and a half until I feel the need to eat again.
I first remember being presented a one pan meal with eggs when I was in my early teens and staying with friends in Tel Aviv. It was there that I first fell in love with Shakshuka, a middle eastern delicacy of baked eggs in a spicy tomato and pepper sauce (of which by the way there are numerous varieties). Every aspect of the dish opened up my world to new flavours, and was an infinite improvement on fried or poached eggs.
My go to lunch of baked eggs with spinach revolutionised my solitary lunches in the kitchen, as it is made in one pan and takes on only 15 minutes from start to finish. Minimal time and mess is definitely a bonus. And some toasted sourdough with good salted butter is always the best accompaniment in my opinion. A few sliced tomatoes on the side adds a fresh zing, but really only if you feel the need......
Baked eggs with spinach, garlic and dill
1 clove garlic, sliced 100g baby spinach, washed thoroughly 2 eggs 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh dill salt and pepper
Saute the garlic in a little butter or olive oil until just golden Add spinach and cook until water evaporates Make 2 wells in the spinach and crack in the eggs Season with salt and pepper (and a few chili flakes if you wish) Cook for about 7-10 minutes until whites are cooked through and yolks are still runny Sprinkle with dill and slide onto a plate.