A Worthy Spread
This month we're all about eggs... a pantry staple that can be dressed up or down with delicious results! Plus we look at our fave lunchbox hardware and meet some goats!
Smashed eggs with mayo is a popular sando filling in many parts of the world but do you think we could settle on a name for it? Egg spread might be what many of us here in the Antipodes call it, but over in the US, the term egg salad is used to describe either chopped or smashed egg and mayo mixed with other salady things, or spread on bread. In the UK, home of the mighty egg and cress sarnie, they don’t even seem to have an actual term for the egg component… other than just ‘egg mayo’. But we’re not letting this disappoint us… egg spread deserves a high five, so here are some ideas for turning it into a star sandwich filler.
Start with our size M eggs as they have a higher yolk-to-white ratio which makes for a smoother spread.
Play around with different brands of mayo to find a taste and texture you love… or make your own!
Experiment with flavoured mayo: Dijonnaise, aioli, or wasabi mayo if you like a bit of kick.
Mash hard boiled peeled eggs with…
Dijonnaise, finely chopped crisp grilled Freedom Farms streaky bacon, finely minced shallots
Mayo, finely chopped cornichons, finely chopped capers, finely chopped parsley
Mayo, avocado, crumbled feta, finely chopped basil leaves
Aioli, very finely diced boiled potato, olives, and red onion
A Japanese tamago sando sees egg spread joined by halved boiled eggs sandwiched with sliced milk bread. Try it like this – mash hard boiled eggs with wasabi mayo, furikake (seaweed flakes), minced shallot, white pepper and salt. Layer thickly onto one slices of milk bread, then place a halved boiled egg on top in the middle of the slice and gently push into the spread. Pop the sando lid on and carefully slice the sandwich so that you slice through the egg – giving your lunch an artful cross-section, a half moon of egg surrounded by creamy spread.
We love Dunedin outfit Dogtown Mustard’s sophisticated and scrumptious flavoured mustards. Both the Curry & Dill and Beetroot & Caraway pep up an egg spread like a boss, and their Smoky BBQ mustard is excellent combined with mayo, mashed eggs, and grilled chopped bacon for a chunky champion sandwich filling.
We love salads that are a meal, and the cobb salad fits that bill not just with aplomb, but with bacon, too… a common fixture popular in the US where it was first created, the cobb, liked its salad cousin the Caesar, is often considered more a restaurant eat than a DIY thing – but this popular main course is simple to make and a real crowd-pleaser, making it a great dish to roll out at summer get togethers and family gatherings. It’s all about simple layers, and a balanced dressing:
Hard boiled eggs – we recommend our medium size, sliced or cut into wedges.
Cooked chicken – poached is our pick here, chicken breast poached in stock for extra oomph and when cooled to room temperature, diced. (Leftover roast chicken works very well, too)
Crisp bacon – Freedom Farms Back Bacon works brilliantly here, being mostly hearty and great for chopping up but with a wee tail end of streaky fat to introduce moments of melt-in-mouth sweetness. Grill whole pieces till golden are and crisp and chop into squares.
Lettuce – something hardy like Cos or Iceberg is your friend here, chopped into manageable pieces.
Other additions – watercress is often used – ensure you wash it well, and remove stringy stems/ cherry tomatoes, halved/ avocado, diced/ croutons/ toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds/
Dressing – a red wine vinaigrette is traditional: extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, garlic.
Arrange cobb salad in a wide, shallow serving dish as you like – it’s popularly served with each ingredient arranged in neat rows, before being dressed and tossed at the table. It also looks lovely with ingredients arranged in concentric circles… or simply see where your eye for presentation takes you and go with the flow.
A wee change to our egg cartons…
You may have noticed some of our egg cartons have lost their sunny yellow colour over the past few weeks… COVID-19 wobbles in packaging supply chains have changed the way a lot of industries operate, all over the world, and unfortunately our yellow cartons are not available for the time being. But… the hen’s don’t stop laying eggs, so we’re using the natural coloured boxes – rest assured while the cartons are a little less sunny on the outside, the yolks are still golden on the inside!
Lunchboxes to Love
We’ve done the rounds (and packed a few thousand lunches) to bring you a lineup of some of our favourite lunch-packing solutions that are lighter on the environment.
Beeswax wraps are a fave with many lunch packers these days, and we like that the Davis & Waddell 100x30cm roll of reusable wrap allows users to cut to the exact sizes – and shapes – they like!
Bento boxes – lunch boxes with various sections and sometimes layers – are nifty in so many ways, not least because the built-in separation means less to no other packaging or wrap is required. We love the range at Lunch Box Inc. – especially the stainless steel double-decker and the more colourful Zoku Jnr Bento.. For those who want to make a French-deisgned style statement when flashing their midday sustenance, the Monbento line up will impress.
When choosing a bento box, think about what items you’re most commonly packing – is a sandwich section a must? Do you need a reliably leak-proof section for salads or other meal items? Find slicing fruit tedious (hello, us), so want enough height to pack a whole apple? And consider materials: stainless steel for example is easy to clean, but can rattle in the school bag which certain kids (ours) may find irritating. Certain materials aren’t dishwasher safe, or can dull or fog with washing over time.
Zip Top silicon containers have a sit-flat base and a leak-proof zip seal which allow for easy access. They’re great for filling with soup or salad to easily pour or tip out into a bowl to heat and/or serve, sliding a sandwich into, or filling with scroggin to combat the 2pm energy dip.
Love a wrap in your lunchbox, but hate when it unravels? Silicon Wrap Bands are a nifty solution.
Fans of bright colours will love the Goodbyn range, and we especially love that these reusable, leak-proof containers are fully recyclable if you do decide it’s time to move on one day.
Five Things to Ponder
1/ We reckon Thetextbookgirl is on the money with her assessment of the current TikTok craze, the fufu challenge. Users are challenged to taste one the West African staple fufu – a starch often dipped into soups and stews. What could be an opportunity to boost knowledge has turned into something silly and disrespectful.
2/ Farmers in India have been protesting and Al Jazeera offers a clear explanation of why.
3/ We’re fiends for a good goat’s cheese. We recently visited Belle Chevre Creamery in Waipu and tasted Jennifer’s range of small-batch cheese (and enjoyed some generous goat cuddles), including chevre, ‘zalloumi’, and feta – she also makes the Valencay-style Manaia Ma which we’re so ready to try when it’s back in stock...This is fantastic stuff and you can get your mitts on it at just a few stockists at present, including the twilight market outlined below!
4/ Farms opening to visitors is a great thing to see. A new initiative, Roving Rural Market, sees farmers and other producers hosting a market of producers and craftspeople local to Waipu. The idea is to connect the community with its producers – for folks to bring a picnic blanket, relax and enjoy. The inaugural market is happening February 13th this year… and keep an eye out for Belle Chevre hosting around Easter time.
5/ We’ve been keenly following Slow Stream Farm for some time and we’re excited to see Nicola and team announce seasonal beef boxes to order. This Taupō farm focuses on regenerative farming methods and producing stress-free beef.