Goats’ Cheese and Spinach Tortilla

This isn’t so much a recipe as a suggestion. An idea. Inspiration. I know you know how to make this. Whether you call it a tortilla, or a frittata, or an omelette, or ‘miscellaneous egg dish’, you can cook this. But I find that sometimes you just cannot think of anything to cook. You know there has to be a meal. You know you have to make it. But what? Name some meals. Any ideas? Anything? And you can’t think of a single thing that people eat. Or maybe that’s just me when I’m tired.


Anyway, this is an excellent thing to cook. It can feed a group of people, or, if you are solo or one of a pair, you can keep the slices and they make excellent and re-heatable leftovers. You can put whatever odds and ends you have in the fridge in it. You can make it in twenty minutes. It’s very suitable on its own for breakfast – heated up or eaten on the hoof. It’s a perfect lunch and can be very easily transported to work, if that’s your jam. And it’s a satisfying dinner, served with salad or extra vegetables or a hunk of bread if you so choose. Sometimes, meals can just be simple.



Obviously you can add whatever you want to this, skipping out the meat if that’s not your thing, throwing in extra vegetables that are kicking around the fridge, or topping it with other cheeses. You do not have to know what you are doing.


3 tbsp olive oil
a knob of butter
400g little potatoes, unpeeled and sliced (baby new potatoes, Jersey Royals, Anya… anything like that)
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
leaves of 1 thyme sprig, finely chopped
leaves of 1 rosemary sprig, finely chopped
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of sea salt
150g chorizo, sliced
handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
200g spinach, chopped
8 large eggs, whisked
small log of goats cheese, sliced


  1. Heat your oven to 160C/140C fan/ gas 3. In your largest ovenproof frying pan – ideally non-stick – melt your butter and heat your oil on a medium heat. Then pop your potatoes, onion and garlic in, and begin to gently cook them. After a minute, add the thyme, rosemary, paprika, and salt, and stir everything together. Let it cook for a minute, then add your chorizo. Put a lid on your pan (if it doesn’t have a lid put a baking tray or something over it), and let everything sweat gently for five minutes
  2. When everything is soft, add your parsley and spinach, and stir to wilt the spinach. Take the pan off the heat and add your eggs. Stir together until everything is evenly distributed.  Lay your slices of goats’ cheese on top of the egg mixture.
  3. Put your pan in the oven for around 10-15 minutes, or until the egg is cooked through. If you like, you can give it a minute or two under the grill to bronze the top. Let it sit for five minutes before turning it out and slicing it.


So, I don’t think it can be denied that I have made the effort to get into the Christmas spirit around here. There have been mulled wine brownies. A Christmas cheat sheet. And even a heroic effort to eat all the world’s mince pies. But you know what? Not everything we eat at this time of year is mulled or sprinkled with glitter. So here is a completely seasonally inappropriate recipe that’s also completely delicious. I’ve called this Menemen because it sounds more exciting than ‘very liberal interpretation of a Turkish egg and pepper dish’, but this isn’t really Menemen in any true sense of the word. It’s also part Shakshuka, and part random invention. It’s an ideal brunch solution though, and very very tasty.


I have been making some variation on this for years, but only thought to put it on the blog when my brother asked me for the recipe after I made it at a family gathering a couple of months ago. When my brother asks for the recipe for something then I know it must have been a winner.


This is, of course, the sort of thing you can be fairly liberal with. If you have other vegetables you’d like to toss in – sliced courgettes, say, or a handful of spinach – then do. You can skip the bread if you don’t fancy it, although I promise you it’s excellent for mopping up all those tasty juices. And obviously, if you’re catering for vegetarians then you can pass on the chorizo. It will still be lovely either way.



This will serve 2-3 people, but it’s easy to scale up by adding more eggs. It’s an excellent thing to plonk down in the middle of a table so that people can help themselves.

Add chilli flakes (or skip them) according to your tolerance for spicy food. I like to make this with a good kick, but appreciate that not everyone will feel the same.


Extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion
3 red or orange peppers
125g chorizo
3 cloves garlic
1 heaped tsp cumin
1 heaped tsp paprika
chilli flakes, to taste
2 tins or cartons of chopped tomatoes
4 or 5 medium eggs
100g feta
handful of pistachios
bunch of fresh parsley
bread, to serve


  1. Gently heat a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan while you slice a red onion. Toss the onion in and cook on a medium heat to soften. Meanwhile, slice your peppers, and add them to the onion once it’s begun to soften. Cut your chorizo into small coins or half moons, turn up the heat, and add it to the pan. After a minute or two, when the chorizo has started to release its oil and is smelling amazing, crush your garlic. Add your garlic to the pan, stir, and cook for a minute. Add your cumin, paprika, and chilli flakes, stir, and cook for a minute more.
  2. Add your chopped tomatoes to the pan, stir, and put them on a medium heat. Let the mixture bubble away form around ten minutes. Taste your tomato base, and season as needed.
  3. Use a wooden spoon to make four or five (depending on how many eggs you are using) wells in the tomato base. Crack an egg into each, and turn the heat down to low. Pop a lid on the pan. The eggs will now poach in the tomato sauce.
  4. Crumble your feta, roughly chop your pistachios, and chop your parsley. After about five or six minutes, your eggs should be ready – you want the white cooked, but the yolk runny. Sprinkle your feta, pistachios, and parsley over the pan. Bring it all to the table and serve directly from the pan, with bread.


I didn’t realise it, but crumpets seem to inspire strong feelings in the general populace. The yeasted crumpets we know and love today are a gift from the Victorians and, as such, everyone has had plenty of time to form very definite opinions about them. I told a friend – a generally good and reasonable person – that I had made and was eating ridiculous amounts of crumpets. Upon hearing I was eating them with jam (shock! horror!) he was scandalised at the notion that I was adorning them with anything other than plain butter, and I’m not sure he’s entirely forgiven me. He is a purist who insists that crumpets + melted butter = perfection, and I am a heathen for messing with this equation. Unfortunately for him, I also love crumpets with a layer of Marmite, topped with a layer of cheese, and grilled until melty golden and delicious (try it, thank me later).


My butter-loving friend is not the only one with strong feelings. I gave some sample crumpets to a couple of other friends of mine after I’d made my first batch, as even I struggle to eat ten crumpets solo. One of these friends posted a picture of one of the crumpets I’d made on Facebook to say thank you, and a person I don’t know commented, saying ‘That looks suspiciously like a pikelet…’. I just love the use of the word ‘suspiciously’. As if it were a spy in disguise, infiltrating batches of baked goods, pretending to be a crumpet when it was only a humble pikelet. There’s a pikelet vs. crumpet debate to be had (although, frankly, who has that kind of time?), but as far as I understand it, pikelets are made without crumpet rings and thus tend to be shallower and more freeform as a result. What I made, then, are technically crumpets. Not that it matters at all, really, as both things are delicious.


I know crumpets are a fairly unusual thing to make, and I can’t deny that it is (a little) easier to simply buy a pack of them in a shop than it is to make them from scratch. But these fine specimens, hot from the pan, tender with gloriously buttery crisp edges, are much nicer than any shop-bought crumpet I’ve ever eaten. Yes, you do have to let the batter sit for an hour once you’ve made it, but it’s a very simple mixture made from cheap ingredients you probably have in the cupboard already, and it will take you literally five minutes to throw together. Also, because no one really makes crumpets from scratch, you will feel like an absolute rockstar for whipping up a batch for appreciative family or friends on a lazy weekend morning.



The batter makes 10-12 crumpets, depending on how generous you are with depth and size.

This recipe is very unlikely to work properly if your bicarbonate of soda is out of date. I bake near-constantly, so I finish tubs of bicarbonate of soda and baking powder every month and am constantly purchasing new ones. However, if you turn out baked goods at a more sane rate then it’s perfectly possible that you have bicarbonate of soda that’s been sitting at the back of your cupboard for a couple of years. That stuff does go out of date. Check the label.

Normal people don’t tend to have crumpet rings. They are fairly cheap to buy, but if you don’t plan on making crumpets regularly I can see why you wouldn’t want to bother. But fear not! Just as with American pancakes, you can simply dollop the crumpet batter into a pan and it will cook away perfectly happily. Your crumpets will probably be a little flatter and more irregularly shaped (so technically pikelets, I think, but let’s not get into that), but they will still be completely delicious. Alternatively, if you have sets of cookie cutters (metal, not plastic, for obvious reasons) they will do the job too. Or you could just fill the pan and make one massive crumpet and slice it up, pizza style, to feed a brunch crowd. I haven’t actually tried this as the thought has only just occurred to me, but I can see no reason why it wouldn’t work and actually sounds pretty awesome.



100ml water
275ml full fat milk
250g strong white bread flour
1 x 7g sachet dried yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Butter, for greasing


  1. Heat the water and milk together in a saucepan until hand-hot. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the yeast, caster sugar, bicarbonate of soda, and salt. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and gradually add the milk and water, beating with a wooden spoon, slowly drawing in more flour from the edges of the bowl as you add liquid until it is all smooth and incorporated (this is called the batter method, and is the best way to make a batter for crumpets, pancakes, Yorkshire puddings or whatever without getting lumps). Cover the bowl with cling film and leave the batter in a warm place for around an hour.
  2. Your batter should now be thickened, obviously risen and full of bubbles. Grease crumpet rings with butter (if using) and melt a knob of butter in a non-stick pan over a medium heat until gently foaming. Place the rings (if using) into the pan and dollop around 4 tbsp of batter into each (until the rings are nearly full).
  3. Lower the heat and cook the crumpets for around 10 mins. You want the crumpets to rise, form bubbles on the surface, and dry out all the way through. If your heat is too high, the bottoms of the crumpets will burn before they cook through. Remove the rings (with tongs, they will be hot) and flip the crumpets and cook for a couple of minutes more on the other side until golden.
  4. Repeat until you have used all of your crumpet batter. Eat immediately, toast later, or even freeze and toast to defrost when crumpet cravings hit.