Passata Baked Eggs

How many times have you been in the kitchen making lunch and doing something else at the same time? We all lead busy lives and the time constraints of work and family can often mean at lunchtime we just make a quick sandwich or buy something on the go. Here’s one of my easy lunch recipes that’s both filing and tasty and leaves you hands free for most of the cooking process.

This dish was given to me by a friend from Calabria a while back and is great for lunch as it’s rather like having a bowl of soup with some added protein to keep you felling satisfied throughout the afternoon.

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The ingredients are very simple, just 400 ml passata, 2 eggs and cheese; I’m using a 24 month aged Parmesan but any hard cheese like Grana Padano will do as will a mature Cheddar.

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Add the passata, to an oven-proof dish and break the eggs into it, gently move the passata so the egg sinks rather than sits on the top. Give the dish a sprinkling of salt and black pepper and pop it into a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees and leave it for 20 minutes. I’m using some of the passata I made a few weeks ago, for the recipe click here.

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To serve add to warmed bowls and sprinkle with the cheese of your choice and serve with a crusty bread roll. It’s equally lovely topped with chopped chives but doesn’t really work with basil. If you want that authentic Calabrian taste add a generous splosh of fiery chilli sauce, my friend adds so much that he calls his, the Devil’s eggs.

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buon appetito

Pizza and the Continuing Dock Saga

As I need to have music as background noise as I work the demise of my iPod tower last week has continued to bug me, not only did I have to return one faulty dock to the store near the airport I had to do the same again, but this time somewhat closer.

I love pizza and It would be fair to say that the Italians do too. The pizzeria is busiest around lunchtime with people clamouring for their slice of heavenly goodness (that’s how I see it.) I’m in no way stereotyping the Italian population by saying this; I’m not saying they are anything like the Dolmio family, but the truth is they do love pizza. In a country where McDonalds and other  takeaway restaurants sell less product than the traditional Italian pizzeria, you can understand why, it’s perfect fast-food and also in Italy tradition and culture are vitally important. I’ve sat in the McDonalds near the university and watched as young Italians flock through the doors in much the same way as their English counterparts, the difference here is they purchase very few burgers and opt for traditional Italian panini and slices of pizza.

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So after OH and myself had a slice of pizza and with the remaining two slices in the car for consumption later, we set off on a quest to buy a new iPod dock. We trawled through electronics shops and I am quite taken with a black, Sony device, but this has a clock included and a radio and really all I want is a dock and speaker combo. We tramp our way through the major supermarkets and drive backwards and forwards between the two in the centro commerciale. I eventually spot a nice little white LG device and it’s on offer, down from €79,90 to €49,90 for one week only… How fortuitous I think to myself, it’s fate. I read the symbol that states designed for iPod and iPhone and hand over my euro notes to the cashier.

I drive the 22 Km home and open the box eagerly, plug in all the cables and turn on the power and plug in my iPod and nothing happens, “Not again,” OH says remembering the saga with the first one and the no sound issue. “I’ll look at the destructions,” I say opening the instruction booklet, and read the words, suitable only for iPod Nano 4th generation and onwards. “I’ll try the USB,” I then say. But it’s to no avail, the dock is completely incompatible with an iPod classic. (I really should take my reading specs out with me).

So you guessed it, I had to return yet another device. I drive to Lanciano and explain that I had purchased it as a gift for my nephew and it was the wrong one; a lie I know but at least It gave me the chance to form a sentence with the word ‘sbagliato’ in it.  Taking no more chances I ask the assistant if they have any docks suitable for a classic iPod, she tells me, no and then refunds my money saying, “You speak sir, well Italian.” I’m convinced it’s the use of sbagliato, that boosted my language skills.

I return to Euronics and test the Sony device by inserting my iPod into it and Peter Murphy fills the shop with his song, I Spit Roses, an assistant comes over to see what I’m up to and within minutes he’s fetching me a docking station from the back of the shop. So finally after two false starts and a total of four trips and 178 km’s I finally have a new speaker pumping out tunes as I work away. Will it make me a better writer I doubt it, will it make me happy, you bet.

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And for those wanting to know what song was the first to shuffle and play on my new device, the artwork is above showing it was, Revive the World by Toyah, from the acoustic album.