Thursday, January 26, 2012

Eggs Poached in My Best Ever Homemade Tomato Sauce

My Best Ever Homemade Tomato Sauce

This is the tale of  4 yummy things:

Homemade Tomato Sauce
Cheesy Sodabread
Poached eggs
Basil olive oil

I've been thinking about eggs for dinner all week, but my husband is not such a fan. So I held off until he left for a business trip today, when I unfolded my plan. Eggs poached on homemade tomato sauce have long appealed to me, but only today did I actually get off my behind and make them. This dinner is ridiculously easy but rams home how good ingredients can result in the tastiest food.

Having bought a sizable quantity of San Marzano tomatoes last weekend I decided the moment was right to make a batch of tomato sauce. My 3 year old was (sort of) resting on the couch after lunch, so I set to work. I don't have a standard method of making tomato sauce, in fact we don't often eat it in this house. When I was pregnant with my second child the mere smell of store bought tomato sauce gave me instant nausea. To this day I still dislike most store bought tomato sauces but homemade is a different matter. Nevertheless, I knew it needed to be good, so I opened my "Jamie's Dinners" for advice.

Simply using garlic, tomatoes and a little of my new favorite ingredient; O&Co basil olive oil (Thanks Kirsty!) I made a simply delicious tomato sauce. If you can get your hands on some of this olive oil, buy it! It's subtle and yet amazing in it's ability to enhance the flavor of all sorts of dishes. I've used it in dressings, with my pea puree, and tonight, in the absence of fresh basil, it infused my sauce with an extra richness and extra something yummy. That said, fresh basil and good extra virgin olive oil would make a perfect substitute in this or any other recipe.

My Best Ever Homemade Tomato Sauce

Eggs poached in Homemade Tomato Sauce


6 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced
3 large (28oz) cans of whole tomatoes (the best you can get; I used San Marzano) Do not break up the tomatoes until after the sauce is cooked. The tomato seeds may make the sauce bitter; yuck, I learned from experience in the past.
2 teaspoons olive oil (I used basil olive oil)
salt and pepper to taste (Go easy on the salt; your tomatoes may already be quite salty)

To finish:
1 tablespoon basil olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium and add the garlic.
  2. Cook gently for approx 3 minutes then add the tomatoes
  3. Cover and simmer the sauce for approx 30 minutes
  4. Turn the heat off and glug in the basil olive oil (or chopped basil leaves and olive oil) and balsamic vinegar. 
  5. Gently break up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon or a potato masher

To make the poached eggs, simply crack the eggs in a small bowl then gently place in the sauce. Cover and cook on a medium heat for approx 5 minutes.

I served mine on top of Cheesy Sodabread Rolls. I thought it was simply delicious and it went down pretty well with the 5 and under crowd. The only objection was a yolk, but we worked around that!

Enjoy the sauce endlessly with pasta, fish, poached eggs, or cook your sausages in it.

Cheesy Sodabread recipe is next in line for the posting.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Quinoa Pancakes

Quinoa pancakes; sorry about the poor photo quality; it was before 7am...

It's been a month of excess and enjoyment in this house. I may be behind the majority but my New Year healthier approach to cooking and baking really only started yesterday.

And finally I am inspired to share again thanks to one of the (many) new cookbooks I got for Christmas. The King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Book has been a fabulous addition to my already overflowing bookshelves. It contains a wealth of information, tips and recipes on how to use whole grains without sacrificing any taste whatsoever. However, given my overdose of Christmas baking (some frozen) lasted us until last week;  I could not, in all conscience, add more goodies to the snack cupboard until we were all done with the reserves.

Today, however, a cold is moving through our house and my little one woke up asking for pancakes. I couldn't say no; partly because (selfishly) it gave me the perfect excuse to try out the pancake section of my new book. The book gives me an excellent opportunity  to use the whole grain flours I have been storing in my freezer, unused for months. Apparently whole grains go off much faster than their processed cousins so I now keep the less often used ones in my freezer. Today it was the quinoa flour that shouted to me.

So at 6:30a.m. I got out the baking bowls and we set to work. The batter has no fat or sugar added but manages to turn out a light, slightly sweet and earthy pancake. Very well received by all and it pleased this Mummy no end to send her brood off to school and work with a protein packed breakfast. My husband made some comment about feeling like he was in a hotel; I guess I haven't made a decent breakfast in a while! We had them with pumpkin butter and a touch of maple syrup but the recipe recommends maple syrup mixed with ginger syrup which sounds lovely to me.

Quinoa, ginger and cranberry pancakes


1 cup (3 7/8 oz) quinoa flour
1/4 cup (3/4 oz) whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4 oz) milk
1/2 cup (4 oz) applesauce
1 egg
1/2 cup (2 oz) dried cranberries

1/4 cup minced crystallised ginger ( I omitted; my kids have given it the curly lips in the past, but it would be delicious)


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients ( not including the cranberries) 
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the milk applesauce and egg.
  3. Mix the wet with the dry and stir until well mixed together; it will be quite runny.
  4. Finally stir in the cranberries and crystallized ginger if using .
  5. Leave the batter to sit for 10 minutes
  6. Heat a heavy skillet or griddle pan on medium
  7. Pour a 1/4 cup of the batter for each pancake.
  8. Cook until bubbles form and the edges just start to turn golden.
  9. Turn them over an cook another 1-2 minutes until golden.