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omelette arnold bennett

For me comfort food so often starts with eggs, in this case an omelette. All this cold weather has us turning to foods that make us feel warm and happy, for example I’m reading lots of blog posts for soups and stews. However, for me this week it’s all about the omelette!

Whilst I will happily enjoy an omelette in any form, it is one that marries two of my favourite ingredients, eggs and smoked haddock, that I love most. In short, omelette Arnold Bennett is pretty close to omelette perfection for me.

This omelette was created for the writer and novelist Arnold Bennett who was staying at the Savoy Hotel while researching and writing a novel. During his time spent there, he ate this for breakfast every morning, the chefs at the Savoy had time to perfect the recipe. Indeed he insisted that this omelette was made for him wherever he travelled in the world. Thus the dish was named after him!

The original recipe, which the Savoy still serve today, includes a bechamel sauce which I am sure would be delicious. However, I wanted Michelle to enjoy this dish too. Michelle is not keen on the combination of smoked fish with dairy, in short it is this combination of seafood and dairy that has put her off many dishes. Therefore, I’ve lightened the dish, keeping it simple with eggs, fish, parmesan and just a touch of cream.

omlette arnold bennett

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 200 ml milk
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 undyed smoked haddock fillet
  • 20g butter
  • 3 large eggs (beaten)
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1-2 tbsp single cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

Directions

Pour the milk and water into a large based pan and add the bay leaf and black peppercorns. Bring the liquid to the boil then turn down to a simmer. Place the fish in the milk mixture and poach gently for 3-4 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan and set aside. Once cooled break the fillet into bite-sized flakes, ensuring there are no bones.
Heat the butter gently in a small grill-proof frying pan. Meanwhile beat the eggs together and season with salt and pepper. Add the eggs to the frying pan and stir gently to ensure the eggs start to set. When the bottom of the omelette is set but the top is still wet take the pan off the heat.
Place the flakes of fish over the omelette, sprinkle over the parmesan cheese, single cream and chopped parsley.
Place the pan under a medium-hot grill and cook the omelette on the top until just cooked and lightly browned.
Remove the pan from the grill and immediately serve the omelette onto a plate to stop it cooking. Enjoy straight away.

Note

To make a larger omelette simply double up the ingredients.

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smoked haddock kedgeree

Smoked haddock kedgeree is a favourite dish of mine, due entirely to my love of smoked haddock and spice. The same cannot be said of Michelle, who for years has believed she hated fish and in particular smoked fish. I do love a challenge! Indeed this is why when I knew we were going to become Brand Ambassadors for Spice Kitchen, this dish sprang to mind immediately.

There are many variations as to the origin of this simply spiced rice dish. Its believed to be derived from the South Asian dish knichri, a comfort dish of lightly spiced rice and beans, ideal for spice fearing Brits in the early days of the Raj. However, it was the British who added the fish and egg to the dish, although in India likely to be fresh local fish, the smoked haddock a later addition. This dish was very much part of the Victorian breakfast table for the wealthy.

subtle spicing:

Without a doubt the success of this dish is down to the subtlety of the spicing, indeed this is further improved by having the freshest of spice available to you. Using Spice Kitchen spices, what we had was a beautiful plate of food. In particular, Michelle and I both commented upon the cardamon, which really came through, not overpowering in any way just beautifully aromatic. As with all spices, buy them in small quantities and often, thus ensuring they are always fresh.

I’ve played with this recipe a lot over the years and read many versions. Some add cream, which I’ve tried but don’t particularly enjoy. Furthermore there are many variations in terms of spice. For example some recipes suggest adding curry powder, however I believe this can overpower the fish. As a result of much playing with the recipe over the years, this is the way I like to eat it. Therefore what we have here is a delicately spiced fish, egg and rice dish that I would happily eat at any time of the day, equally good at dinner as it is at breakfast.

So, was the dish a success in terms of convincing Michelle that her dislike of smoked fish is a thing of the past? Finally after years of cooking for my friend, Michelle has come to the conclusion that she likes fish. Furthermore, this dish is one she’ll be making again!

smoked haddock kedgeree

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 small undyed smoked haddock fillets (approx 70-80g each)
  • 50g ghee or butter
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 2-3 green cardamon pods
  • 1 fresh bayleaf (use dry if no fresh)
  • 2.5 cm cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 160g basmati rice
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 400 ml chicken stock
  • 1 small handful of parsley (chopped)
  • salt & pepper

poaching liquid

  • 2 slices of onion
  • 2 fresh bay leaves (use dry if no fresh)
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 200 ml milk
  • water

Directions

Place all the poaching liquid ingredients into a large based saucepan and bring the liquor to the boil. Immediately turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and add the smoked haddock fillets, ensure there is enough liquid to cover the fish, if not add more water.
Poach the fish gently for 4-5 minutes then remove onto a plate and set aside to cool. Once the fish has cooled sufficiently break each fillet into large flakes and check there are no bones.
In a large frying pan add the ghee or butter and melt over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook gently for 5 minutes until the onion has softened but not coloured. Add the spices and saute gently for a minute until the spices have released their aroma.
Stir the rice into the spicy onion mixture and ensure each grain is coated in the spiced butter.
Add the chicken stock and a teaspoon of salt, bring to the boil before turning down to a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes checking from time to time to ensure the rice hasn't dried out. Add a little more water during the cooking time if required.
Meanwhile hard boil the eggs for 7 minutes. Once cooked peel the eggs and roughly chop up, then set aside.
Once the rice has cooked stir through the smoked haddock flakes and the chopped up eggs, heat through for 2-3 minutes.
Check the seasoning and adjust as required. Stir through the chopped parsley and serve immediately onto warmed plates.

Note

If you don't like smoked haddock, then hot smoked salmon is a good substitute. Likewise, you can substitute the parsley for coriander leaf.

Finally, the spices used in this recipe were provided courtesy of Spice Kitchen.

smoked haddock kedgeree

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