12 and a half ways to crack an egg (dish)

I am not sure if this is slightly inspired by Easter and conversations and traditions arising about eggs, but I have had the urge to share the wonderful things you can do with eggs. I personally did not grow up with egg traditions (or religion) at Easter, beyond hunting for chocolate eggs. My interpretation of these happenings is that in the northern hemisphere Easter and Spring coincide and Paegan or general celebrations of new beginnings entangled themselves with the story of Jesus, feasts, some rabbits and chocolate. Well whatever you believe, I believe it is always good to get together and share food- and that’s what we did! So back to eggs-

A bowl of eggsIt is so good to keep chickens and with some love, a good house, some perches , you can have protein converted from your veggie scraps and some extra grain and some furry friends that you know are treated well. I have written all about suburb chooks here- ..

There are no official commercial egg producers in the Darwin region (The Berry Spring Eggs are only packed there!) So they journey a long way if you don’t find a backyard grower or orchard producer. Greenie has eggs that work in a system fertilising his lime orchard, and you can do the same integrating poultry and fruit production !.

IMG_2536 Because we have 12 and a half chooks (one is bantam), of all colours and none are too old to lay, we get about 5-6 eggs a day (they produce less as they get older) and along with a lot of (not so local) grains and a hint of cheese and kangaroo, this is our main source of protein. So in honour of our 12 and a half chooks, I have come up with 12 and a half of the most simple and delicious ways to use an egg or two and I found a great stash of photos illustrating all of these-

 

1)   Boiled and then steeped in tea

Egg art feb- for webBoiled eggs go a really long way, but how about cracking then gently and then re- boiling them in tea and leaving them to cool and steep in the tea. This has amazing effect, adds a little tea hint to the eggs and is fun (and a little fiddly) These are known as Chinese Tea Eggs

 

2)   Boiled and then curried

Curried eggs 2There are so many variations of this, but one the best ways is with fresh chilies, ginger, garlic, sugar and tomatoes.

3)   Boiled and then added to awesome salads and sandwhiches

egg in wrapHow about this wrap- home made flat bread, and seasonal (this was dry season) roast veggies, like pumpkin tomatoes, heaps of herbs and a dash of spring onion- oh yeah!

 

4)   Boiled and then pickled

Pickled eggs best smThis is actually a huge tradition in the UK, where in every good traditional pub there and fish and chip shop there is a jar of pickled eggs. In the pub you have them in a bag of crisps (chips) with your pint. I love them and when we first got our chooks and had less dogs to share our eggs with we would pickle the excess. You can toast up pickling spices (star anise, pepper corns, all spice, cumin and coriander seeds) and then add to apple cider vinegar to be really flash. Put the cooled boiled eggs in , in a preserving jar and leave. The flavours and vinegar seep through to perfect pickling perfection after about 4 weeks. I was under the impression that pickled eggs could be pickled forever, but in Darwin where that noted ‘cool dry place’ is often hard to find I think 6 months could be the maximum for pickling. When I worked at Alawa Primary the students and I pickled eggs and then forgot them, a couple of years later, they had gone past their best and king of dissolved. Having said all this I highly recommend this amazing snack.

5)   Fried

fried eggWho can resist a fried egg, especially on a Sunday morning. My localizing suggestions are to add local garden greens, like Amaranth, cosmos leaf, Basil and many more depending on season. I have had home made baked beans made with Jackfruit seeds in tomato sauce, but these are not the ones in the picture and yes this fried egg has a funny form, it is fried just not too an oily crisp! Don’t forget the cup of tea- garden tea if you fancy.
 6) Poached

poached egg 2The more healthy option over frying, use vinegar or lime juice in the water and twirl it into a little vortex so that the egg stays together, it only takes a couple of minutes in boiling water until cooked enough and still retaining the dripping yolk. Don’t forget the garden greens and a splash of olive oil, lime juice and or soy sauce, chilli is also a great topping.

  And in the later dry season, with local tomatoes, garden basil and olive oil!

poached egg and tom on toast

6.5) Poached with hollandaise, served on splat- chat sweet potato

hollandaise 2This is one of my favourite decadent breakfasts. And below is a dish I served on Christmas day- a great day for a fancy breakfast, with champagne (must explain the slightly dodgy photo) Hollandaise is basically butter melted in a pan and then added to whisked egg yolks, which are whisked while being heated over the stove, then when it all becomes really thick and fluffy, lemon juice is added, along with pepper and salt. Its all very rich and involved heaps of eggs. The whites can then be used for meringues, or even Jon’s favourite- Whisky sours (a cocktail with egg whites, whisky and lemon!) which happened this day, as it was Christmas.

hollandaise christmasI used to make this dish all the time and serve the eggs on what is known as ‘Chat potatoes’ – Boiled potatoes, smashed or squashed flat, so some of the middle splats out, in an oven tray with olive oil, slat and herbs and then roasted. This is then the base for the eggs and topped with sauce. WE cannot of course grow potatoes, so our local root of choice for this is sweet potato. I got small (orange) ones and did the same and it was delicious and sweeter and yummier (but not quite as crispy) as with potatoes and I served it on wet season salad greens, including cosmos. You can also use steamed local spinaches (Ceylon, Brazilian etc) which is also fabulous and has some fancy name like “eggs Florentine’ but of course this is a sweet potato Tropical twist, so we need a new name, like eggs Darwinese…

7)   Scrambled eggs

scrambled eggsOk, so before we get into anything too fancy, the old classic, whisk all eggs in a bowl, and pour into a pan, move around, turn off while still not quite soild (in colour) and they will finish themselves off. The best local twist on this is to add heaps of home made garden basil pesto and herbs- yum!

8)   Frittatas

local food week frittataFrittata, possibly also known as Spanish omlete, and with a pastry bottom known as quiche. Basically eggy slice type thing, with yummy veggies. These can be made in the pan or oven. Fry, saute, roat or all the bits that go in (eg onion, spinach, pumpkin, eggplant, etc. Then iin the pan add in eggs whisked with milk and spices, add cheese if you wish and finish off in the grill, or pop the whole thing in the oven (in a baking dish) after pre sauteing all the ingredients. Alternatively grated veg can go in raw and will cook much faster because they are smaller.

Frittata warm 9)   Egg in Soup

Egg and loofa soup

Asian styley- add into clear broths, whisked first and allow to cook in soup, like this egg and loofa soup that the Burmese ladies taught us to cook through My Sister’s Kitchen and the GULP project.

10)  Asian omelette – thinly sliced

asian noodle saladEgg in stir-fry dishes or noodle salads. Whisk eggs with tamari and rice wine vinegar and cook thin simple Asian Omelettes, slice thin and add to stir-fries, noodle soups and even add to Sushi or rice paper rolls.

Rice Paper rolls

 11) Omelette

pesto omlete landsc 2Pretty much anything can go in omelettes, whisked eggs, in a pan over pre sautéed filling. Allow to cook through and then fold in half or roll. Below is a very simple pesto omelette with feta. Other fillings can be feta and spinach, roasted veg etc.

 12)  Crepes/ Pancakes

The simple crepeA batter of eggs, flour and milk is made, in different consistencies make crepes or pancakes- crepes poured thin, pancakes fat- sweet or savory! Your perfect opportunity to fill them with local fruit, below a simple crepe with Red Dhakka banana and local honey filling.

Below was an experiment for the local food challenge, using only local ingredients, so no flour. I used home made coconut milk and coconut fluff- it was quite rich but pretty good!

cocnut pancake fluff

 

12 and a half?) Don’t forget the mayo!

MayonaOk so we may have gone past 12 and a half already, but you can’t forget this classic and pretty easy to make. I am still perfecting getting this thick, but it is egg yolks, olive oil and lemon, whisk whisk whisk. Perfect with Cassava chips!

 

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Bush Tucker (Super) smoothies

I recently wrote about the abundant Terminalia ferdinandianawhich is a wonderful commonly occurring tree in our Savanna woodland, that is fruiting right now. It is well known to contain really high amounts of vitamin C.

plums in hand 2 The Conservation Land Management Students, studying with Yvette at Greening Australia had been collecting the seed to save and propagate in the following year. Above one of her students, Aaron, from Belleyeune community, is showing the great fruit. (Thanks again for your hand modelling!).

Yvette had told me that Leonnie Norrington had suggested putting them in smoothies and they were really great. Well I set off collecting, to a very well laden tree, not too far from the airport stadiums, guided by my friend Cassi. I have eaten heaps of them, but never attempted to make anything with them, although great jams and sauces can be made.

Plums branch 2It is best to collect fallen fruit, so that you can be sure it is ready or shake the tree. The fruit should be just soft. I am not surprised it is made into powder form, as they don’t last very long at all out of the fridge.

Cassi plumsWe make a smoothie most days, not being very good in the morning, we make it the night before and then put it in a jar in the fridge for a great breakfast take away! Usually we put frozen or fresh bananas and pawpaws from the garden, mango, frozen if not in season, lime and some yoghurt, cinnamon, cardamon and occasionally some greens or psylum husk powder. It is such a wholesome drink, and even more healthy with added green plums. The fruit needs to be soft, and then you just de seed it and put in the whole fruit with skin into the blender. Because they are pretty sour I used it as my my lime replacement and it was pretty good.

Kakadu plum smoothie

 

The fruit will keep coming for a month or so, and I will try and keep collecting and hope next year the tree on my nature strip starts to fruit!

Kakadu plum leaf

 

Mulch Pit Roots coming up!

GULP NT

PawpawGULP is also working with the Mulch Pit community GArden and they have just installed a new kitchen! On Sunday we are inviting people to a roots work shop and food share. Here are the details-

GULP NT and The Mulch Pit Community Garden 

invite you to a wonderful afternoon of cooking focusing on two easy to grow local root vegetables: Cassava and Taro!

In the relaxing environment of the new outdoor kitchen overlooking the community garden at Nightcliff Uniting Church, we plan to:

* Talk about how to grow, harvest and make use of all parts of these these vegetables
* Have fun watching/joining in a couple of cooking demonstrations
* Talk about a favourite root vegetable recipe of our own
* Share a meal together later in the afternoon

 This is happening on Sunday April 13th from 3:00pm  to 6:30pm at the outdoor kitchen at Nightcliff…

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Banana trunk and more at My Sister’s Kitchen

This is what we did yesterday with GULP

GULP NT

The GULP project has been happening, with some great local food shares and workshops, to come up with some lovely local recipes using seasonal produce, from the community, for the community!

We have so far been working in collaboration with various organisations including My Sister’s Kitchen (Darwin Community Arts). My Sister’s kitchen encourages women from all backgrounds in the community, to come together and share art and crafting and cooking on Mondays in Malak. The Malak community centre also has a wonderful garden. If you want to get involved, come along or contact Darwin Community Arts.


Zeba? and Sandar Tun in garden banana trunk

At the end of last year we started running work shops in conjunction with My Sister’s kitchen and the lovely ladies there, to see and share how they cook some of our wonderful local produce.

We have had several workshops there and today we just had another one which came up with…

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Super food in our back yard!

So the seasons are changing, and as the wet season nears its end, various bush tucker and other wonderful native plants start to fruit, putting their energies into reproduction ready for the dry spell.

kakadu plums with leavesOne of these amazing bush tucker fruits is Terminalia ferdinandiana. This is also known as Kakadu plum or Gubinge or Billy Goat plum and various indigenous names inlcuding Nghul Nghul, Murunga, Marnybi and Manmohpan. The fruits of this tree reportedly are the highest natural source of vitamin C. The fruits are often made into powder and sold for large amounts at health food stores! We are lucky enough that right now this common tree is fruiting in our back yard. It is a slender tree (up to 25m) found in savanna woodland, our most common landscape type across Northern Australia.

The fruit are small, about 1 cm long, oval with narrower ends and light green in colour. The fruit are quite sour and ready when they are soft to touch.

kakadu plum 2

The fruit can be added to smoothies, made into jam or relish and sauce, the skin is a little astringent.  There are a wonderful indicator of seasonal change!

While out bush doing work I have found quite a few fruit, just about to be ripe. I have also planted a tree on my “Native nature strip” but it is not yet mature enough to fruit. If you would like to plant one, you can either grow a tree from seed or buy them at a native plant nursery. Anna has a small and growing nursery- The Native Plum and co in Rapid Creek  and Greening Australia sells through various nurseries in Darwin.

There is also a green plum (Buchanania obavata) which fruits at the beginning of the wet season in October, but has more round fruit and more leathery leaves!

Plums in hand (Aaron)Here is a close up of the fruit, Thanks to Aaron, from Bellueyen community (and I hope that is spelt correctly) for hand modelling, he is studying Conservation Land Management and their team have been saving heaps of seed to propagate. Yvette Brady, their teacher says the seeds need to be cleaned and kept for nearly a year untill they are propagated as they have a dormancy. You can alternatively look for last years seeds under the trees.