Category Archives: Kirsty’s cooking blog

Kirsty’s cooking blog – Oval beauty

Eggs BenedictThis week I’ve mostly been thinking about oval shaped things. It all started with the rugby ball that agonisingly didn’t quite go over the line, but for those of you wearing red shirts, like him indoors, it was pretty good news. As we’re supposed to be good natured in defeat, I thought I’d be gracious and make a celebratory supper. The occasion suited Welsh rarebit with leeks, bacon and sage. Cheese on toast is great, with or without a smearing of marmite, but it becomes extra special when you use a mature cheddar like our Wyke Farm’s, spiced up with beer and an egg. I got chastised for not using Brains beer of course, but our organic Sam Smith’s did the trick nicely, and I got to drink the leftovers. It also used up some of the mountain of leeks I seem to have accumulated in the bottom of the fridge. If you’ve got a glut, try using some up in recipes that call for an onion. Make a leek and potato soup to take in a flask for lunches, or if you’re feeling like baking, try our flamiche tart. Both are easy to make and suitable for freezing.

Usually on a Tuesday (recipe day), I stand in the kitchen with a veg box and my hopeful assistant, a rather large hound, looking for inspiration. The hound, about work surface height, but not much of a veg eater, always looks a bit disappointed at the array of green. So we both start with an egg. I served his raw, but blinged mine up, making a hollandaise and serving it as possibly my favourite breakfast, eggs Benedict (it would make a special Mother’s Day breakfast too, so keep the recipe for the 18th March). Adding greens to it gets the five a day off to a start; psb or spring greens work well. It also makes a good supper.

My tip to get that perfectly round restaurant-looking poached egg, with no stray white bits, is to line a ramekin or small cup with clingfilm, leaving some overhanging the cup. Gently crack your egg into the cup, then carefully twist the clingfilm to seal it in. Lift the clingfilm out of the cup, gently place it in a pan of barely simmering water (no bubbles allowed) and cook for 4-4 ½ minutes for a runny egg, or 5 for one that’s a little firmer but still soft, if that’s your preference. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and carefully remove the clingfilm, to avoid breaking the yolk. However you poach yours, use the freshest of eggs.

As it’s Fairtrade Fortnight until March 11th, try pairing a couple of oval beauties with some of our fairtrade fruit in a banana and walnut loaf. Foolproof but tasty, you could also serve it up as part of a Mother’s Day afternoon tea. It serves eight, but keeps well in an airtight container and can be frozen if you like.

Happy cooking!


Nannas know their onions

My name’s Kirsty and I’ve been asked by Riverford to swap apron for laptop and write a cooking blog about the weekly recipes I put together for your veg box and on our website.

I was prompted this week to think about family hand-me-down recipes that use up the last onion in the box. One of our customers, Anne-Marie Haigh, kindly sent me one such recipe – her version of Guernsey Bean Jar, which her mother and grandmother have made before her. There’s no better recommendation than that. Using belly pork, in our winter warmer meatbox this week, it’s adaptable for veggies too.

Anne-Marie’s email reminded me of a couple of recipes that my Nanna and Granny used to make. Braised beef and onions was a classic Nanna dish, often accompanied by homemade wine – elderberry for a special occasion, pea pod for a headache the next morning! Try it with kailkenny (or colcannon, depending where you come from). It links Nanna with my Scottish Granny, who lived in Cullen, on the North East coast, home to a soup cum meal in a bowl, Cullen Skink.

Simple to make and a real cockle warmer, it uses that last onion again. When you’re going for the ‘last tent standing’ award at the gale-swept campsite on the headland at Cullen when I last stayed there, you’ll want an hourly dose of this, coupled with a good dram or two, for sustenance and sanity. I made my version, in which you poach haddock in milk from the start, as Granny did (some recipes just use water for poaching) and served it to my Scottish builder Kenny. It passed muster; I hope you try it too. If you’ve got a leftover leek, use that up instead of the onion.

I’d love to hear about your Nanna’s know-how in the kitchen – email us at with suggestions for recipes and foodie topics or questions for this blog.

Happy cooking!