Sunday, February 10, 2008

Jamie At Home: Episode 5, Eggs

Do eggs come from a garden? OK, while I love Jamie Oliver, I’m a little confused about his “At Home” premise. It was promoted as cooking with fresh ingredients from Jamie’s garden. But a couple of weeks ago we had puff pastry (not from the garden) and this week we have eggs, which is really more from a farm. So maybe this series should have been called Jamie’s Country Kitchen. I’m just saying.

Anywho, we start with Jamie busy whisking two eggs, and he’s planning on making breakfast. BTW, he’s in that sun room where he’s sitting and cooking again. He seasons his beaten eggs with salt, pepper and some chili. Then he gets two pieces of organic crumpets to soak up the egg. He coats the crumpet on both sides with his egg mixture.

He fries up a few pieces of smoked bacon and then places his egg-coated crumpets in the pan to fry that up too, making it nice and crispy. So that’s pretty much his breakfast: smoked bacon with eggy crumpets. Oh, and to finish it off he squirts what he calls “brown sauce,” which kind of looks like steak sauce. Jamie says this is his “best breakfast ever.”

Homemade egg tagliatelle

Egg is the main ingredient in pasta, so Jamie’s showing us how easy it is to make home-made pasta for his dish that he calls “pasta fonduta.” (Complete recipe can be found on the Food Network site.)

He starts off by making a white cheese sauce by creating a double burner with a pot of boiling water and a bowl placed on top. This lets him melt all his ingredients slowly with the gentle heat. He adds crème fraiche, salt and pepper, and a bit handful of parmesan cheese. Then he adds some freshly grated fontina cheese (an Italian cow’s milk cheese).

As his sauce melts away, he starts working on his pasta. He puts two eggs in the food processor and 100 grams of flour. He mixes it and tests and adds flour until it gets to the right consistency, which Jamie explains as “not sticky or squiggy.” It kind of looks like cornmeal. He pours out his egg-flour mixture and rolls it together and then puts it through the pasta machine. Jamie says it’s so easy to make pasta that he makes this odd eek-eek sound when demonstration the steps he just went through. That was kind of odd. When working with your pasta dough, make sure to sprinkle flour to keep it from sticking together. His pasta does have a nice thin look after a few squeeze through the pasta machine. He folds it into a roll and then cut them into hand-cut pieces for his tagliatelle. It looks like those rustic handcut pasta I’ve had as Italian restaurants.

Jamie gets a young broccoli sprout (finally! something from his garden) and he cuts it up and throws it into the pasta pot to cook with his pasta. He says the pasta, because it’s fresh, should only take about 45 seconds to a minute to cook.

He goes back to finishing up his cheese sauce. This episode is the egg episode so he gets a couple of egg yolks, which is brilliant orange-red color, and adds some fresh herbs like thyme and marjoram. He beats all the ingredients together and adds it to the cheese sauce, which he says will give it a rich and silky texture. (The warmth of the cheese sauce partially cooks the fresh eggs.) And then he’s done. He plates up his pasta and broccoli and tosses it with his cheese sauce. A few more grates of parmesan and drizzle of olive oil and it looks like one of those cheesy, comforting pasta dish. Pretty simple and easy.

Meringue with Hot Pears and Chocolate Sauce

Jamie’s making dessert in his tool shed/kitchen. He’s going to make a meringue, and he says the thing about meringue is to get a good mixing machine (he has this industrial-looking mixer with a whisk attachment) and make sure the pot is clean with no water or grease left in it. He gets four egg whites and a pinch of salt and whisk the eggs whites with the mixer to get it white and fluffy. Then he adds unrefined sugar, slowly adding to the meringue. He feels the meringue and if it feels gritty, he says the sugar hasn’t dissolved so he beats it some more. Jamie also offers up the tip that old egg whites are better in making meringue than fresh ones. He doesn’t know why. Just take his word for it. He whisks the whites until stiff peaks form.

Jamie places the meringue on a baking tray lined with grease-proof paper. Then he places it in oven for about an hour.

He gets some hazelnuts and puts it in the bottom of the oven to toast them. When he brings out his baked meringue, it looks like this square of baked clouds. It’s one of those really ugly but beautiful looking thing.

He makes his chocolate syrup by placing pieces of chocolate with orange zest on a low heat. (He also uses the juices from his jarred pears.) Jamie says chocolate goes well with “Mr. Ginger” so he busts out some candied ginger, chops them up and adds it to the chocolate.

But it’s not just chocolate, Jamie’s getting some heavy cream and blends in the seeds of a freh vanilla pod along with a tablespoon of icing sugar. He whisk them up for just a bit.

Jamie gets his pears from the jar again and cuts them into halves or quarters. He crushes the hazelnuts to get them ready as a sprinkle. So he finally assembles his meringue by drizzling it with cream and the chocolate sauce, and then places a few pieces of the cut pears and tops it off with the crushed hazelnut. Wait! He’s not done. He grates a bit of orange zest. I’ve never seen a dessert like that. It’s almost like a Jackson Pollack painting. (The complete recipe here.)

Omelette salad with bresaola

I thought Jamie was over with the dessert, but he’s going back to breakfast, making what he calls an omelette salad. He says this is a great winter salad.

He starts by getting some eggs “from my chicks” and whisk about four eggs to make a thin pancake or crepe. He seasons the egg mixture with salt and pepper and adds some water to thin it out. Then he puts some olive oil in a non-stick pan and then heats up the pan. He adds some of the egg mixture and swirls it around the pan to create this really thin layer of egg, which does look a lot like crepe.

He makes about four of these thin egg pancakes or crepes.

Jamie works on his salad, getting a handful of rocket, radicchio, treviso and dandelion. He says you can make any kind of mixed salad with what’s in season. He also adds thinly sliced fennel, which he placed into a bowl of ice water briefly.

He gets his bresaola, which is these very thin, lean preserved Italian meat. He just plates these up and then he gets his thin omelette pieces, rolls them up and cuts them just like he cut his pasta awhile back. With the thin strips, he loosens them up and tosses them with the greens, which he then dresses with olive oil, lemon juice and a few drops of truffle oil.

He places everything on top of the bresaola and garnishes with grated parmesan cheese. It looks like a nice restaurant salad.

The show ends with his free-range hens clucking around the hen house. They look happy.

Must be a British Thing:
Just some clarification on some of the terms Jamie uses.

Crumpets=English muffins

Brown sauce=steak sauce?

Grease proof paper=parchment paper

Icing sugar=confectioner’s sugar

Jamieisms heard in this episode:

Rock and roll




Jamie At Home airs on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. on the Food Network. Visit Jamie’s Web site at More on the accompanying book for the series here.


Amanda said...

Some help with your British terms: Crumpets are not actually the same as English muffins. They're much more dense and can often have a kind of waxy texture. As for brown sauce, I think that might be harder to describe. You've done well comparing it to steak sauce, but it certainly doesn't taste like American steak sauce. The malt vinegar flavour dominates. I've only ever had it on chips, and I wouldn't say it's a favourite. :)

Chef Ben said...

Thanks Amanda for the clarification. I couldn't think of anything comparable to crumpets that people could use here, so English muffins were the closest I could think of. As for the brown sauce, I may have to just go to London and check it out. ;-)

Gavan Murphy aka The Healthy Irishman said...

I watched this episode too.Wasn't too sure about the salad idea but the breakfast is definately good. I've made the eggy bread before with just plain thick sliced bread. I eat it with ketchup which,I think is better. BTW the brown sauce is called HP sauce across the pond.

Chef Ben said...

Gavan, everything's good with ketchup. ;-)

Lionel said...

Thank you for the explanation, I've just watched the episode with the pasta... I'm going to make it and let you know. Hope it's going to be like Jamie's!!! ;)

Anonymous said...

FYI the Brown Sauce he used is HP, which can be found at Whole Foods or most gormet stores (though its really just standard bloke fare).

Cheryl said...

The eggs do come from his garden, he has a whole bunch of chickens there.