The Darina Allen Column

Darina Allen

This month Darina talks about eggs - preferably from happy lazy hens

Eggs are truly a super food, every cook’s best friend. Unsurprisingly they are having their moment again, particularly in the US. This was very evident on recent visits to both the West and East coasts of America. In virtually every restaurant and café, eggs were starring on the menu in some shape or form, not just for breakfast and brunch. Even food carts and food trucks were serving eggs in many guises.

In Portland, I loved the food cart in Pioneer Courthouse Square called “Fried Egg I’m in Love”, manned by a cheery chap selling a range of fried egg sandwiches, all with ‘punny’ names like Yolko Ono, Egg Zeplin and Sriracha mix-a-lot.Each sandwich has a fried egg, sometimes two...

The eggs are sourced from local farms and all sandwiches are served on toasted sourdough, cooked “easy-over medium” and sprinkled with a special spice blend called Magic Egg Dust.

Another cart in downtown Portland invited customers to Build Your Own Omelette, with delicious veggie or protein options on a croissant or bagel, incorporating local seasonal ingredients and fresh herbs.

Other trucks did a range of poached or scrambled egg dishes and I loved the sound of Eggs Travaganza, at the corner of 52nd Street and Park in Midtown, New York, long queues for Mexican egg wraps, burritos, egg tacos….

I also heard good things about the Egg Tosti (version of egg and cheese toast) from Steel Cart. Then there’s Daily Provisions on East 19th Street, Lower Manhattan, my favourite new breakfast spot. There’s a constant queue for their breakfast gougères and breakfast egg sandwiches served on a brioche bun. Egg toasts were served on sourdough with a variety of toppings, sprezzatura and jam, English muffin with ricotta and smoked salmon, bacon, egg, spinach and hot sauce…lots of hot sauce everywhere....


Crispy Potatoes, Fried Eggs and Spring Onions

An irresistible, comforting brunch. The crispy capers add a delicious zing but are optional. A few fresh sage leaves crisped in the oil are just irresistible as well as or instead of the capers. Serves 1

2-3 cooked potatoes, depending on size
extra virgin olive oil
2 organic free range eggs
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 spring onions
5-7 capers or fresh sage leaves fried until crisp.

Spoon a couple of generous tablespoons of hot bean and chorizo stew onto the side of a hot plate. Add the crisp bacon slices and the egg or eggs and some fried potatoes, if using. Serve with pan grilled or toasted sourdough if you fancy a more robust brunch


Egg and Sausage, Melted Gouda and Hot Sauce in a Brioche Bun

A perfect breakfast or brunch inspired by Daily Provisions on East 19th Street in New York.

Serves 8

8 brioche buns with poppy seeds sprinkled on top
8 sausage patties, see below,
8 organic eggs, (1 egg omelette per bun)
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g to 175g (4oz-6 oz) Gouda, grated
Hot tomato and chili sauce, see below or use your favourite brand...

First make the Tomato and Chilli Sauce:

30g (1oz) green chillies, deseeded and chopped, or 2-3 depending on size
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut in 3 inch (2cm) dice.
2 x 400g (14oz) tin of chopped tomatoes
1 clove of garlic , crushed
1 dessertspoon castor sugar
1 dessertspoon soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons water

Put the chillies, pepper, tomatoes and garlic into a stainless steel saucepan with the sugar, vinegar and water. Season and simmer for 10 minutes until reduced by half.

Next make the Homemade Sausage Patties (makes 8 large patties)

225g (8oz) good, fat streaky pork (rindless)
1 tablespoon mixed fresh herbs (e.g. parsley, thyme, chives, marjoram and a little rosemary)
30g (1¼ oz) soft white breadcrumbs
1 small garlic clove
1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small organic egg (optional – helps to bind – reduce breadcrumbs to 50g/2oz if omitting egg)
dash of oil for frying

Mince the pork at the first or second setting, depending on the texture you like. Chop the herbs finely and mix through the breadcrumbs.

Crush the garlic to a paste with a little salt.

Whisk the egg, and then mix into the other ingredients thoroughly. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Fry off a little knob of the mixture to check the seasoning. Correct if necessary.

Divide in 8 and flatten into patties. Keep covered and chilled until ready to cook.

To cook: Fry the pork patty in a hot pan in a little extra olive oil while you quickly make a 1 egg omelette.

Heat a small frying pan over a high heat. Whisk the egg, add a little dash of milk, flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Add a little clarified butter to the pan, when sizzling add the egg, tilt the pan and quickly make an omelette and fold.

To serve: Split the brioche bun in half but keep attached at one side. Sprinkle a layer of grated cheese onto the base of the bun and pop under a grill. When the cheese has melted top with the pork patty and the omelette. Drizzle generously with the hot sauce, fold over the brioche and serve ASAP on a square of parchment.


Omelette Arnold Bennett

Serves 1-2 as a main course

This British classic was created in the 1920s by the chefs at the Savoy Hotel to commemorate author and playwright Bennett writing his novel, Imperial Palace, whilst staying at the Savoy. It would also be very good made with smoked salmon or smoked mackerel.

50-75g (2-3oz) smoked haddock
a little milk
25g (1oz) butter
150ml (5fl oz) cream
3 eggs
salt and freshly ground pepper
2-3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
Garnish - parsley, freshly chopped

In a small saucepan simmer the smoked haddock in enough milk to cover until it is cooked enough to separate into flakes (about 10 minutes). Drain.

Toss the haddock over a moderate heat with half the butter and 2 tablespoons of the cream and keep aside. Separate the eggs, beat the yolks with a tablespoon of the cream and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Whip the egg whites stiffly. Fold into the yolks with the haddock and add half the grated Parmesan cheese.

Melt the remaining butter in a 25.5cm (10 inch) omelette pan, preferably non-stick. Pour the mixture in gently and cook over a medium heat until the base of the omelette is golden. Spoon the remaining cream over the top and sprinkle with the rest of the finely grated Parmesan.

Pop under a hot grill for a minute or so until golden and bubbly on top. Serve in the pan or slide on to a hot dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately accompanied by a good green salad.



West Waterford Festival of Food, 20th-22nd April 2018 which has been running in Dungarvan and West Waterford annually since 2008 and has become synonymous with fabulous food, fantastic family events and most importantly lots of fun.

Ballymaloe Cookery School - Homemade Butter, Yoghurt and Several Cheeses, Wednesday 2nd May. Morning course (includes a light lunch after the demonstration) on how to make a long list of delicious dairy products including homemade butter, yoghurt, cottage cheese, coeur a la crème, labneh, paneer, and a simple farmhouse cheese. You’ll also discover how added flavour can be achieved with fresh herbs and fruit. If you would like to learn how to milk a cow, you can can start at 8.15am when the Cookery School’s Jersey cows are milked, then separate the milk and cream - optional, but fun; see


 '30 Years at Ballymaloe' - Bord Gáis Avonmore Cookbook of the Year 2013

Good Food Ireland Cookery School of the Year 2012/2013


Ballymaloe Cookery SchoolOnce again, the Ballymaloe Cookery School in East Cork has a great programme of cookery courses for all interests and abilities running throughout 2018. Ranging from a relaxing visit to sit in on an afternoon cookery demonstration to a week long ‘Intensive Introductory Course’.

Sitting in the middle of a 100 acre organic farm the Ballymaloe Cookery School provides its students not only with a life skill learnt under the expert tutelage of their very capable teachers but also a place to relax and unwind from the stresses and strains of normal everyday life. The cottage accommodation available onsite for residential courses consists of a collection of delightful converted outbuildings which have been transformed over the years by the Allens, and other accommodation is available locally for the short courses.


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