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Roquito® Spiced Eggs with Peppers, Tomatoes and Ham on Toast Recipe

Merchant Gourmet and Chef Alex Mackay

Merchant GourmetMerchant 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

Alex Mackay . . . the Cook, the Teacher, the Writer and the Father

Chef Alex MackayCooking 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.

Nearly 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.

These 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 Cook.

I 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 Awards.

I 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 Food Network.

My cookery workshops at Norwich City Football Club with Delia Smith are now going into their seventh year.

I 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.

This 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.

My projects these days are ever more varied, but food, and people that want to learn about it are always at the centre.

I live in Oxford with my wife Jess and sons Jake and James.

Delia Smith from her foreword to Alex Mackay's book Cooking in Provence:

"Alex 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."

Information taken from Alex Mackay's own web site www.alexmackay.com


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 sliced
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


  • Preheat your oven to 200°C / Fan 180°C / Gas6
  • Put half of the Roquito® Peppers into a shallow, oven proof pan with the onion, orange pepper and the olive oil.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of water. Cover and then soften over a high heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt and sugar.
  • Break 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.
  • Toast the bread, put the ham on top then spoon the eggs and sauce onto plates.
  • Scatter the chopped chives over the top and serve

Prep Ahead:

The 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.

Kids Corner:

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.

Serves: 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)

Merchant Gourmet


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