Baked Eggs with Caramelised Onions, Broccoli and Sumac

Best recipes are often the simplest ones. I arrived back home after a press trip to find one broccoli and some onions in the fridge. Luckily, there are eggs in the house most of the time, so I made a very simple lunch. Wish I wasn't lazy to cook caramelised onions more often. The combination of sweet onions, broccoli, eggs and sumac is hard to beat.

Baked eggs with caramelised onions and broccoli
Serves 1

1tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
half a head of broccoli, broken into small pieces
2 eggs
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 spring onion, sliced

Heat olive oil in a frying pan, add the onions, cook covered for 5-10 minutes over a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid, add balsamic vinegar, season with salt and freshly ground pepper, cook over a high heat for another 5 minutes, stirring often, until caramelised.

In the meantime, place the broccoli in a heatproof bowl, pour over boiling water to cover the broccoli completely. Let it stand for 5 minutes, then drain the water.

Add the broccoli in the pan. Make two wells and crack in the eggs. Cover with a lid and cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolk. Scatter with spring onion and sprinkle with sumac.


A Wine Tour of Catalonia

When you say Catalonia, most people imagine Barcelona, but there's so much more. This fascinating Spanish province is home to some of the best Spanish wines, including Cava, Spain's most famous sparkling wine, and my favourite summer drink. A few weeks ago, I spent four days in a company of four lovely international bloggers and journalists exploring wine regions of Catalonia. If you want to discover new places, activities, delicious local food and wine outside Barcelona, read on.

Catalonia Wine Tour

Terra Alta Greenway bike tour
We kicked off our first day with a bike tour through the Greenway, an old abandoned railway line which was closed in 1973 after one of the tunnels had collapsed. The route offers amazing views of the mountains of the Natural Park of "Els Ports", typical vineyards and olive groves. Although we cycled only 7 out of 45km of Terra Alta Greenway, which takes you through several tunnels, bridges and old train stations, we all felt that we deserved the wine tasting in our final point, the picturesque La Fontcalda.

Catalonia Wine Tour

Catalonia Wine Tour Catalonia Wine Tour Catalonia Wine Tour

A Cathedral of Wine in Pinell del Brai 
I've never heard of a cathedral of wine before visiting Catalonia, but I definitely liked the sound of it, and was curious to discover what these impressive buildings are. Just like traditional cathedrals, many cathedrals of wine also feature multiple naves, built in the shape of a cross. Tall windows reminiscent of wine bottles, however suggest these cathedrals were serving quite a different purpose. Designed by a Catalan modernista architect Cèsar Martinell, a disciple of Antoni Gaudí, at the end of the 19th century, these were in fact cooperative wine cellars. Four families in Pinnel de Brai, Terra Alta region, decided to build the cathedral and set up a cooperative in 1917 after the phylloxera plague destroyed most of the vineyards in the region. You won't find an altar or wooden benches inside, but concrete wine vats which are no longer in use since 1990's. One of the specialities here is a delicious sweet wine called Mistela. 

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Bike tour through Masroig vineyards
After a bit of wine history in the morning, it was time for another bike tour, this one even easier than the last. One push of the power button on our electrical bikes made the group moving, heading towards vineyards of Masroig winery in Montsant region. I don't know if I should blame my bike or my technical skills, but I got my workout after all, when my bike refused to turn the motor on while going up the steepest hill of the entire tour.

Catalonia Wine Tour
Catalonia Wine Tour Catalonia Wine Tour Catalonia Wine Tour

Mas Trucafort restaurant
Having my appetite completely whet, I wasn't shy to snatch the last of baked mussels which appeared on the table, and disappeared in a matter of seconds. Mas Trucafort restaurant sources the freshest mussels from Sant Carles de la Ràpita. They were seriously the best mussels I had in my life and I'd go back there just to have them again. But let me tell you about paella de tros!
Many people think paella is a coastal food prepared with seafood. Roger Felip Ibars, the owner and chef of the Mas Trucafort restaurant explained that there are in fact many kinds of paella, prepared with any available meat, as the most important ingredient to any paella is rice. He uses marisma rice, a Spanish variety with a large size of the grain, which perfectly absorbs stock and makes for a creamy and tasty paella. He prepares paella over an open fire fuelled by dried grape vines, in pans of different sizes based on number of people eating. Watching him cook the paella is like watching a fire show with a delicious finale. It takes only 16 minutes to cook the dish, but don't forget to cook the rabbit meat, chargrill artichokes and prepare your stock the day before.

Catalonia Wine Tour
Catalonia Wine Tour Catalonia Wine Tour Catalonia Wine Tour Catalonia Wine Tour Catalonia Wine Tour Catalonia Wine Tour

Forn de Nulles bakery
Luckily we've skipped dessert before a visit to a traditional family run bakery Forn De Nulles, known not only for the traditional bread, but also loaves with tomato, turmeric with nuts, cherries, pistachios or chocolate and orange.

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Wine vats walking tour in St Llorenç de Munt i l’Obac Natural Park
Bages might be the second smallest wine region in Catalonia, but it's the most interesting one. It was also the last place where the phylloxera plague arrived. In the 1980's fire destroyed most trees in St Llorenç de Munt i l’Obac Natural Park, and revealed old wine vats, remarkable constructions and one of the most important wine legacies of Catalonia. Some of these stone vats had been built grouped together.  We went on a fab walking tour with Bages Terra de Vins to discover these wine vats, and of course there was a wine tasting as a reward. Our incredibly passionate and knowledgable guide Ricard told as all about the history of the region and these fascinating constructions.

Catalonia Win
Catalonia Wine Tour Catalonia Wine Tour

Despite the scorching temperatures, we all loved a quick visit to the medial town of Mura, lead by the funniest guide Pere, who's one of the 90 people living in the town. Wish we had time to get a lunch in one of the town's seven restaurants! Instead, we popped into a small town store selling everything from wine, fresh produce to cleaning products. I bought locally grown chickpeas and was really tempted to add a few gorgeous tomatoes.

Catalonia Win
Catalonia Win
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Alta Alella winery
A glass of chilled Cava in my hand, a gorgeous view of the Mediterranean Sea and lush greens of the vineyard. We couldn't have imagine a better way to spend our last day in Catalonia than a relaxing morning with a brunch and wine tasting in an organic Alta Alella winery. The winery is conveniently located only 2km from the Mediterranean Sea, so you can feel sea breeze on your skin, but it's also the closest wine cellar to Barcelona.

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Catalonia Wine Tour Catalonia Win

Note: I was a guest of Catalan Tourist Board, all views are my own.

Courgette Fritters from Eat the Week with Iceland

Planning is certainly not my forte, but when it comes to food, I do like to plan. Let's be honest, having weekday meals planned makes my life so much easier and brings fun back to my everyday cooking. Being self-employed and often working from home means that I cook a lot and quite often end up with a bowl of cereal for lunch or a fried egg on top of some greens. We all need new ideas and inspiration when it comes to cooking.

courgette fritters

I'm all about simple and quick recipes, because really, cooking doesn't have to be complicated. Even simple recipes can be flavoursome and cost effective. We live busy lives, but feeding our families and providing them with the right nutrition and a balanced diet is very important.

I was really excited about a new cooking show called "Eat the Week with Iceland" with TV chef, Simon Rimmer, aired weekly on Channel 4. Simon shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen. He presents many easy and quick recipes that are simple, nutritious and fun to prepare even for busy families. With the help of a freezer, you can save time, reduce food waste and enjoy foods that are out of season.

courgette fritters ingredients

I'm sharing a recipe inspired by this Sunday's episode, One Pot Wonders. I love one pot dishes for many reasons. They are quick and easy, "just throw everything into a bowl or pot" kind of things, so you don't have to worry about a kitchen full of dirty dishes and you can spend more time with your family enjoying a nice meal instead. My favourite recipe from this episode was courgette fritters. Simon was serving them with a simple salsa which took the ordinary courgette fritters to a different level. It's such a great combo, and will help you towards your 5-a-day. I made a few changes to the original recipe, but the result was amazing.

Courgette Fritters

Serves 4

4 tomatoes – deseeded
1 cucumber – deseeded
½ red onion
Handful coriander
1 avocado
2 limes – zest and juice

For the fritters
2 courgettes, grated
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
75g feta cheese, crumbled
20g mint, chopped
100g self-raising flour
pinch of smoked paprika
2 large eggs, beaten
salt and pepper
oil for frying

In a bowl, mix together the courgette, spring onion, feta, mint, smoked paprika and flour. Stir in the beaten eggs and season with salt and black pepper.

Heat some oil in a frying pan and drop in a good spoonful of the mix. Cook for 2 minutes each side, drain on kitchen roll and keep warm until all the mix is used up.

Salsa – simply chop all the ingredients and put into a bowl. Season well and add the lime zest and juice.

Serve fritters topped with a spoonful of salsa.

Note: this post was written in collaboration with Iceland Foods. All opinions are my own.