If you are looking for easy, nutritious comfort food which can be whipped up quickly for breakfast, lunch or supper, then look no further than these Baked Eggs with Cheese. I think that this recipe is a brilliant example of the miraculous transformation that you can achieve by cooking familiar ingredients in a slightly different way. Somehow, oven-baking makes two eggs and a bit of cheese into a sustaining and filling dish which is also a bit of a treat. It is absolutely what I want to eat on a lazy weekend morning, particularly after a late night, or when I get home exhausted after a day at work.
Baked Eggs with Cheese is also one of those versatile, flexible dishes which it is always handy to know. They are a vegetarian but fall into the “vegetarian-by-stealth” category in that that non-vegetarians do not seem to notice the lack of meat. Also, you can make as many portions as you need according to how many people you need to feed. So you can have a meal-for-one or a meal for ten (or more!) according to your requirements.
It is also a recipe that is perfect for adaptation according to your particular taste preferences and available ingredients. I love recipes like this as I enjoy experimenting with different flavour combinations. The basic recipe uses eggs, cheese and herbs. In this version, I use cheddar and chives but there are so many other cheese and herb combinations that you could try. Other good combinations are: mozarella and basil, goat’s cheese and dill, ricotta and thyme, blue cheese and chervil.
Easy and versatile. Quick and sustaining. Herby Baked Eggs with Cheese is a go-to recipe for a luxurious breakfast or an after-work supper.
For each serving:
A little melted butter or oil
25 g of hard cheese such as mature cheddar
A small bunch of chives
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons of double cream (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
For each serving you will need a small ramekin or oven-proof bowl.
Set your oven to 200 C or Gas Mark 6.
Lightly grease the inside of each of your ramekin with melted butter or oil.
Grate the cheese and put it in the bottom of the ramekin.
Chop the chives and scatter half of them over the cheese.
Break the eggs into the ramekin.
Spoon the double cream over the eggs. Using the cream makes the dish taste richer but you can leave it out if you want a lighter and healthier meal.
Season with salt and pepper.
Put the ramekin on a baking tray and put in the oven. Bake until the whites are set. Baking times will vary according to your oven and how you like your eggs. It is a good idea to check every now and then the first time that you cook them. In my oven, it takes 12 minutes for runny yolks, 15 minutes for soft cooked yolks and 20 for hard yolks.
Remove the ramekin from the oven. Scatter the rest of the chopped chives over the top.
Serve immediately with some crusty bread if you want to make it a bit more substantial.
You can make this recipe with different cheese and herb combinations. I also like mozarella and basil, goat’s cheese and dill, ricotta and thyme, blue cheese and chervil but there are lots of possibilities and it is fun to experiment!
Keywords: eggs, baked eggs, herbs, chives, cheese
Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.
Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon, Herb Fennel and Chives
Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon, Herb Fennel and Chives is probably the quickest and easiest pasta dish. It is done in the time that it takes to cook the pasta – which is usually around 10 to 15 minutes – and only needs a single saucepan. It is also extremely tasty with the cream absorbing the savoury, salty smoked salmon flavour and allowing it to permeate the whole dish. Although smoked salmon is often considered a luxury food, and can be expensive, a little goes a long way and it is fine to use smoked salmon trimmings which are sold in most supermarkets and are a lot more affordable.
The use of fresh herbs to enhance dishes and the ease with which this can be done – you just chop them up and add them at the end of cooking – is highlighted in this dish. I have referred to Herb Fennel, to differentiate it from the bulb fennel, often used in Italian cooking. Both the Herb and bulb fennel share an aniseed taste. Therefore, if you do not have Herb Fennel, dill is a good substitute.
My daughter, who is a pescatarian and therefore eats fish but not meat, describes this pasta sauce as being like spaghetti carbonara for non-meat eaters. I think she is right – there is definitely an echo in this dish of the creamy, salty taste created by pancetta and eggs in a carbonara.
I often make this dish as a quick family supper but, as the smoked salmon makes it seem luxurious, it is also a really good easy option for a dinner party or for a date night! It would certainly be a good choice for a romantic meal as it is so quick and tasty and is easy for those with little cooking experience to prepare (and, unusually for my pasta recipes, it does not include garlic!)
This quick and easy pasta dish combines delicious smoked salmon with fennel and lemon. It takes a matter of minutes to prepare and is perfect for supper after a long day at work.
500 g dried spaghetti
100 g smoked salmon (smoked salmon trimmings are fine)
2 fronds of herb fennel (or dill)
Bunch of chives (about 6 stems)
150 ml double cream
A knob of butter
Zest of half a lemon
Fill the large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. When boiling, add a pinch of salt, put the spaghetti in the saucepan and cook according to instructions (generally this will be for around 10 minutes).
Meanwhile, cut the smoked salmon into small pieces and finely chop the herb fennel and chives.
When the spaghetti is cooked, drain it and return it to the saucepan. Stir in the smoked salmon pieces, chopped herbs, double cream and knob of butter. Grate a little lemon zest over the pasta – the amount will depend on how lemony you like your pasta. Season with black pepper. There is no need to add any extra salt as the smoked salmon will be very salty.
This recipe is based on on “” by Geraldene Holt, which dates back to the 1980s, and is one of my favourite cookery books, beautifully designed and produced, with fantastic recipes. My version of this recipe is slightly different as I use more garlic, fewer eggs and make individual tartlets rather than one large tart.
These tartlets are all about the taste of the herbs. Often herbs are used to enhance the flavours of other foods but here they are the stars of the show, rather than a supporting act. The choice of herbs to include is up to you, depending on what you have to hand and which flavours you prefer, but they need to be soft herbs (no bayleaves!) and you need to think about the balance of flavours as some stronger herbs, such as rosemary, will dominate the others. I generally include chives as I love their mild oniony flavour and then add other soft, milder herbs that are growing in my herb garden such as parsley, tarragon, chervil or sorrel. You can choose to just use one herb – tarragon or sorrel are good on their own as they both have very distinctive flavours – or use several. If using more than one variety, I would stick to three or four, otherwise the flavours will not be distinct.
Combined with a mixed green salad and maybe a potato salad, these tartlets make a fantastic light summer lunch or supper. They are also good as part of a buffet at a summer party or as a snack at a drinks party.
These Herb Tartlets allow the flavour of fresh herbs to be the star of the show rather than a supporting act.
For the pastry:
275 g plain flour
125 g fat (I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
A little water
For the filling:
1 clove of garlic
150 ml double cream
55 g mixed fresh herbs – such as parsley, chives, chervil, tarragon or sorrel
Salt and pepper
Method: for the pastry
Set oven to 200 degrees C/gas mark 6. Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl. Add the fat and combine – either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough.
Roll out your pastry and use a round pastry cutter to cut circles. Put a circle in each indentation in your tartlet tin.
Method: for the filling
Break the eggs into a bowl, add the cream and beat until mixed.
Add the crushed clove of garlic.
Chop the fresh herbs finely and add them to the cream and egg mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the filling into each pastry circle in your tartlet tin.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
When slightly cooled, remove from the tartlet tin, and place on a cooling rack.
The tartlets can be eaten hot, warm or at room temperature.
This is a lovely, simple soup which showcases the taste of leeks, a much undereated vegetable. There are two keys to making it special. Firstly, you must cook the leeks and onions slowly to allow them to sweeten and soften. Secondly, you must use a good quality, flavoursome stock. I generally use vegetable stock as my daughter is a vegetarian – Bouillon gives an excellent flavour.
This is a really easy soup which can be eaten either hot or cold. Although it uses relatively cheap ingredients, the soup is elegant and flavourful and is not out of place as a first course at a dinner party.
2 onions (I use white onions to keep the colour of the final soup pale)
2 large potatoes (about 500 g)
50 g butter
1 tbs oil
1 litre stock (good quality chicken stock or vegetable stock)
A bunch of fresh chives
A little double cream (optional)
Wash the leeks, trim off the dark top parts of the leaves and chop the stalks roughly. Peel and chop the onions.
Heat the butter and the oil in your saucepan. Add the chopped leeks and onions, season them with salt and pepper, and very gently fry them for around 20 minutes until they are soft and sweet. It is really important to add seasoning at this point and to cook gently to bring out the flavour of the vegetables – it will make a huge difference to the taste of your soup.
Next, peel and chop the potatoes and add them to the saucepan with the leeks and onions. Cook gently for a few minutes.
Add the stock to your saucepan and simmer the vegetables gently for about 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly before blending.
This soup can be eaten either hot or cold.
Keywords: leek potato soup
Loved this recipe? See the Recipe Index for lots of other tasty recipes!
Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter – capture the flavour of zesty spring herbs
Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter is a fantastic way to capture the fresh taste of spring herbs. Sorrel is a leafy plant, with leaves that look a bit like spinach leaves, and has a distinctive lemony taste. It provides a burst of fresh sharp flavour which is so welcome in early spring. It can be hard to find in supermarkets but it is very easy to grow if you have a garden or outside space for a pot. Sorrel was one of the first things that I planted when I moved into my current house – it sits in an unprepossessing spot near the garden fence, needs no attention whatsoever and each year produces lots of leaves from early spring onwards.
Clearly, you can use any herbs that you like to make a Herb Butter. Others that lend themselves particularly well to this kind of treatment are parsley, tarragon (especially good with chicken) and sage (good with pasta). You can play with different flavour combinations to suit your taste. However, I think it is best not to include too many herbs – you need to allow individual flavours to be sing out rather than get lost in a crowd. Also, it is best to stick to soft herbs (rather than woody herbs). Other flavourings that go well in a herb butter include garlic (of course!), chilli, citrus (grated zest of lemon, orange or lime) and spices (in particular nutmeg).
A tasty Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter which can be used to enhance the flavour of pasta and cooked fish and meat.
3 to 4 sorrel leaves
Around 10 chive stems
100 g salted butter (ideally, room temperature)
1 clove of garlic
Black pepper to taste
Finely chop the sorrel and chives. Either chop the garlic clove finely or squeeze through a garlic press
Mash up the butter and incorporate the chopped herbs, garlic and black pepper. This is much easier to do if you have left the butter out of the fridge for half an hour or so.
Shape the herby butter as you wish. I generally roll it into a sausage shape. Then, when you want to use the butter, you can easily cut it into discs. Sometimes, I get fancy and use cookie cutters to shape it into hearts or other shapes.
Put the Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter into the fridge, wrapped in cling-film, until you wish to use it. It will keep in the fridge for around two weeks and can also be frozen if you wish to keep it for longer as it will last for around three months in the freezer.
There are so many uses for Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter – it adds zest and flavour to a great many dishes – but some of my favourites are as follows:
Add on top of grilled meat or fish just prior to serving. It will melt and release all its butter flavour. I think Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter is particularly good with grilled chicken and with grilled salmon or lemon sole.
Stir into cooked pasta to make a quick and tasty supper – see my recipe for Prawn Pasta with Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter. Or you could add some steamed vegetables – courgettes or peas are a good choice – or other sea-food such as scallops.
Spread on some crusty bread and just eat it as it is or add some tangy cheese.
Keywords: sorrel butter, chive butter
Other things you can do with Sorrel
In addition to Herb Butter, there are lots of other quick and easy ways in which you can use sorrel. Some of my favourites are as follows.
Use young leaves in a mixed green salad, along with lettuce, spinach or other greens.
Heat some double cream and add chopped up sorrel leaves to make an instant sauce for meat or fish.
Saute chopped up sorrel leaves in butter for a few minutes and then use as the filling for an omelette. Or you can add the leaves to the egg mixture when making an omelette and fill it with something rich and creamy such as grated cheddar cheese.
Add chopped up sorrel leaves to soup – it goes very well with home-made leek and potato soup or chicken soup – to give instant zest.