Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Spinach Baked Eggs with Berry Frozen Yogurt

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

You can't beat a good egg. Poached, fried, scrambled, in an omelette or a frittata, there're so many things you can do with eggs. They are also filled with goodness. Eggs contain a whopping 18 different vitamins and minerals, provide us with the highest nutritional quality protein of all food sources and are a source of omega-3 fats (the healthy fats). So it's fair to say these little-shelled beauties pack quite the nutritional punch. But should you be looking for something slightly more exciting than scrambled on toast, this could well be the dish for you.

Cooked in a tomato-pepper sauce with quinoa, spinach and mashed sweet potato, these baked eggs are a great lunch or dinner dish to share. Served with a mixed leaf, tomato, avocado and pomegranate salad and some quick homemade frozen yogurt, this dish was the main of choice for a summer lunch alfresco at mine with some of my very lovely friends. 

For this dish, you will need:

Egg Bake
200g quinoa (mine is red and white blend - I really like the colour and texture, but normal quinoa would work just fine)
3 sweet potatoes, peeled (add in 1 tbsp grainy mustard, a squidge of tomato ketchup and a generous grind of black pepper for mashing)
Half a big bag of spinach 
2 peppers
1 onion
Can of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp of tomato pesto
1 tsp of harissa paste
1 tsp oregano
9 eggs

Big bag of mixed leaves
A couple handful of cherry tomatoes
1 large avocado
Any seeds/nuts you fancy to scatter over
Seeds of half a pomegranate
Maple syrup (or honey) and olive oil for drizzling
Good grinding of salt and pepper

Homemade frozen yogurt
150g frozen raspberries
250g yogurt of your choice 
2 tbsp of honey

Start with the frozen yogurt so it can chill in the freezer while you do the eggs. This really is the very simplest of desserts, and always goes down well. The ingredients are variable, and you can use any frozen fruit or flavour yogurt you fancy. I went for raspberries and used a mix of vanilla and greek yogurt.
Place the frozen fruit and yogurt into a blender, and blend until minimal fruit chunks remain and the yogurt and fruit are completely combined. Pop it into a tupperware like this one here:
And into the freezer it goes. It's good to serve when it's still a bit soft, as if you leave it to really freeze up it gets a bit crystallised. It's just an incentive to eat it all up in one go really!

Now let's get cracking on the eggs. Cook your quinoa for 15 minutes, and while this is happening you can peel and chop your sweet potato into cubes, ready for steaming or boiling. If you can, steam them as this retains more vitamins, and in a steamer like this:

It's dead easy. You want to steam or boil them for the same time the quinoa is cooking, and while they're both cooking away we can get on with the tomato sauce.

This is a simple tomato sauce with a few key add-ins.

The harissa gives it a slightly spicy, tomato-y tang, and the tomato pesto adds a rich creamy flavour. Oregano is to tie it all together making some form of italian-type sauce, but again...as with my energy bars, this recipe is a bit of an improvisation, so work with what you want to make a tasty tomato sauce!

Our sauce is going to have onions, garlic and peppers - I used one red pepper and one yellow. 

Cook the onions for 5 minutes and then add the sliced peppers. Here you want to add in your harissa, pesto and oregano, followed by the chopped tomatoes. If you have a hand blender feel free to whizz this up -I used my food processor, but it could equally be left chunky.

With the pesto, harissa and pepper mix you have a delicious tomato sauce that would trump any shop bought equivalent. With the sauce done, it's time to attend to our quinoa and sweet potato. Take the quinoa off the heat and drain, and mash the potato. Here I threw 1 tbsp grainy mustard, a squidge of tomato ketchup and a generous grind of black pepper. Now mix all together in the pan with spinach until wilted...
And you have the base for your eggs! Spread in a baking tray, and make little circular indentations for eggs to nestle in. Crack in eggs, and don't worry if the whites spill over their allocated mini-holes.

That goes into the oven at 200 degrees celsius for about 10-15 minutes, and now we can make the salad. There's no real art form involved in this, it really is just a combination of all the ingredients in a bowl, and for the dressing I chose a very simple olive oil drizzle with a touch of maple syrup - I use this slight sugary touch to really bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes. If you find the task of deseeding pomegranates slightly daunting, fear not. See this youtube clip for a quick and easy way to do it!

Serve all together, bringing out the frozen yogurt just before serving. 

The muffins served alongside the yogurt were baked by my wonderful friend Lily, and are from an Ottolenghi recipe. They were truly sumptuous - nutty and rich but not overly sweet, they went down a treat. I found the recipe reposted on the website What Rachel Atewhich is also a fantastic blog.

All this delicious food, and the company of some gorgeous girls and sunshine. A perfect afternoon!

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