Spiced Eggs with Peppers, Tomatoes and Ham on Toast
Gourmet and Chef Alex Mackay
Gourmet recently launched a brand new web site www.merchant-gourmet.com.
As well as an online store to enable you to easily order
Merchant Gourmet products a recipes section has been
created, into which video guides have being incorporated
from top chef Alex Mackay.
Merchant Gourmet was started by Mark Leatham in 1985.
He spent his time looking for the cream of the crop,
and talking about it to la crème de la crème.
Today, Merchant Gourmet now has over forty products
that you will find on the shelves of major supermarkets.
Mark is still looking for more, newer good stuff, and
working with their suppliers. The rest of the team spend
a lot of time cooking and tasting.
The range includes everything from Chestnuts to Porcini
Mushrooms, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Balsamic Syrup. Merchant
Gourmet wants people to use them all the time, rather
than lose them in the back of the cupboard. The big
idea is that a bit of something special can elevate
your lunch or dinner. One ingredient makes all the difference,
if you will.
For written version of recipe please
scroll down page
Mackay . . . the Cook, the Teacher, the Writer and the
is everlasting, ever changing, magical fun. I cook all
the time, very often three times a day. I cook for work,
I cook to relax, I grow things that I want to cook and
I read about how best to cook them. And I really love
to talk and write about it.
fifteen years ago Raymond Blanc called me in Bermuda
to ask me to come back to Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons
and run his Cookery School. That was the day I started
to become less of a chef and more of a cook.
days I'm learning to be a father as I write, appear
on television, run Delia Smith's Cookery Workshops at
Norwich City Football Club and spend as much time as
I can with the wonderful Kids Cookery School. And as
you can see I have also become the Merchant Gourmet
write a monthly recipe feature for Sainsbury's Magazine.
I won The Guild of Food Writers Cookery Journalist of
the Year 2006 and was runner up in 2007 and 2008. My
book "Cooking in Provence" won the Gourmand
World Cookbook award for "Best Book on French Cuisine
in English" and was in a short list of three for
"Best First Book" at the Guild of Food Writers
am a regular on Ready Steady Cook on BBC 2 and I have
featured on This Morning and Too Many Cooks on ITV.
I was a regular for five years on UKTV's Great Food
Live and made three thirteen part series for Carlton
cookery workshops at Norwich City Football Club with
Delia Smith are now going into their seventh year.
started working in restaurants completely by chance
after being asked to leave school in New Zealand at
fifteen. I washed dishes for a year before starting
an apprenticeship and then as soon as I finished I bought
a one-way ticket to France. I spent nearly three years
working in the kitchens of two starred Michelin restaurants
in Burgundy, Tours and Courchevel. After this I went
to work for my great friend and mentor Raymond Blanc.
I was promoted to Sous Chef after six months. I left
a year later to get a little rest in Bermuda where at
the age of twenty-three, I was runner up in Bermuda's
Chef of the Year Awards. It was then that RB called
to ask me to the come back to Le Manoir as Director
of L'École de Cuisine and Head of development
for Blanc Restaurants Ltd in charge of all its publishing
and consultancy activities.
time I spent three years at Le Manoir working on Projects
as varied as Raymond Blanc's books and food for Virgin
airlines. I then opened my own school, Le Baou d'Infer,
in Provence. It was soon placed in the world top ten
by the Sunday Times and Conde Nast Traveler as well
as being voted one of the Worlds Finest by House and
Garden Travel. The cookery school is now finished after
fulfilling its five-year plan and, apart from the first
year, always being fully booked.
projects these days are ever more varied, but food,
and people that want to learn about it are always at
live in Oxford with my wife Jess and sons Jake and James.
Smith from her foreword to Alex Mackay's book Cooking
Mackay is, first and foremost, a brilliant chef. Yet
at the same time he is much more than that. He has
a rare and special gift, which goes beyond simply
creating beautiful dishes. That gift is the ability
to teach, inspire and enthuse others who want to learn
how to cook."
Raymond Blanc from the booklet for Alex Mackay's
former Cookery School Le Baou d'Infer:
"I have watched Alex grow with great pride from
a fine chef into a fine teacher and listened with
pleasure to the many guests who have enjoyed his free
style of teaching and learnt so much in their time
with us. The sadness I feel as he leaves is overwhelmed
by the joy of seeing a pupil become a master."
SPICED EGGS WITH PEPPERS, TOMATOES AND HAM ON TOAST
This is a great dinner, breakfast, brunch or lunch.
The Roquito® Peppers perk up the eggs enormously
and the sauce just kicks and screams with flavour.
3 Roquito® Peppers, finely chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 orange, red or yellow pepper, de-seeded and thinly
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 large eggs
4 thick slices of farmhouse loaf
2 slices of cooked or cured ham
A few chives (optional), thinly sliced
Salt and caster sugar
your oven to 200°C / Fan 180°C / Gas6
half of the Roquito® Peppers into a shallow, oven
proof pan with the onion, orange pepper and the olive
Add 4 tablespoons of water. Cover and then soften
over a high heat for 5 minutes.
the tinned tomatoes, bring to the boil then simmer
for 5 minutes.
to taste with salt and sugar.
the eggs into the sauce, sprinkle over the remaining
chopped roquito then pop the pan into the oven for
6 - 7 minutes for eggs that are just set.
the bread, put the ham on top then spoon the eggs
and sauce onto plates.
Scatter the chopped chives over the top and serve
tomato, pepper and Roquito® mixture will keep
for a couple of days in the fridge and can also be
frozen, I often make double and freeze half for an
evening when I've got no time to cook.
I have found using spice very interesting for my children,
often they love the flavours when I thought they may
not, but you have to be careful of the heat. For the
tiny and toothless, leave out the Roquito® completely.
But as they get older, because Roquito® Peppers
are sweet as well as spicy, they are a good way of
introducing a gentle warmth to dishes. For example,
in this dish, I just use half a Roquito® in the
sauce and then I leave it off the tops of the eggs
for my kids. If you make a puree of this sauce, you
can then mix it with a mashed potato, polenta or rice
flakes to soften the heat.
Very importantly, as with anything you feed your
children, taste it yourself before serving it to them.
2 (can easily be doubled for 4 adults, or if you
have smaller kids small just add an egg and a piece
of toast or ham for each of them)