This year, I had the great fortune to spend a week in the beautiful old harbour town of Chania, Crete. I wanted somewhere truly special to celebrate my 40th birthday with my significant other at the end of February, and having put a pin in the map (to find some late winter sun without having too long a flight), the island of Crete certainly seemed doable. I had never visited Crete before for the following reason – I had falsely assumed that the island was significantly smaller than it actually is, and was largely inundated with my idea of hell – Brits abroad doing what they do best: get drunk, disruptive, hump what they can, and act in a predominantly obnoxious and disrespectful manner. Maybe after the bloody awful results if the 2016 Brexit Referendum, the cost to travel and party abroad may bring a decline to the budget tourism industry leaving some of our worst examples of Brits abroard to bless UK shores with their brash and, at times, obscene and violent behaviour. I am dreading already what will come of the un-united Kingdom.
Thankfully there is a lot more to the island than Malia and Hersonissos, and Chania is one fine example. Following a search on Expedia, we were lucky enough to find availability at the truly spectacular La Maison Ottomaine. It was so good in fact that I had to pen a review on TripAdvisor. I could not recommend it highly enough. @ Andreas- if you are reading this, we cannot thank you enough for the hospitality. So, after my certainly politicized and cultural rant – what has this got to do with food, and will I ever get around to a recipe?….. absolutely.
The island of Crete opened up my eyes (and stomach) to an amazing range of food and ingredients and totally changed my view of what could be typically considered Greek food. I was expecting lots of heavy and oily dishes like Moussaka, deep fried fish and not much else to boot. I have had the misfortune of visiting some truly dire Greek Tavernas in the UK – one so awful in London (I had been a month before going to Crete), I almost shredded my plane ticket and stayed at home. Lesson learned – if you want the best of what a Greek island has to offer, go to the island. I do not recall one regrettable meal out there and still yearn for some of the simplest and most delicious seafood I’ve experienced – be it grilled fresh octopus and cuttlefish, seared tuna and swordfish, really fresh salads. For me, what jumped out was the sheer simplicity of just a few ingredients and just letting their natural flavours do the rest.
One totally unexpected revelation was the fantastic range of really amazing cheeses – in particular Graviera, a typical hard cheese of Crete which is typically made with sheep’s milk. We were first introduced to Graviera cheese on our very first morning as it arrived delicately grated over a a delicious omelette. This really got me thinking that it was time to come up with another brunch idea which featured eggs as a main ingredient. Amazingly the cheese I brought back vacuum sealed over four months ago is still perfectly edible.
I was also inspired to make use of my recent purchase of truffle oil – I am shamed to admit that to date, I have never used truffles or truffle-related ingredients in my recipes. I had always been under the impression that I would have to sell an internal organ or remortgage my property to get my mitts on anything truffle realted. It was a pleasant surprise to discover a UK company called TruffleHunter which offers a diverse range of really fairly priced truffle products. I ordered their Truffle Oil Selection and decided to try the Black Truffle Oil – and wow, does it pack a punch in terms of intense taste. Just a few drops transformed the flavour – however if you cannot get your hands on it in time, this recipe still works really well.
I hope you enjoy my Scrambled eggs with spring onion and truffle oil recipe as much as I did experimenting with it. Like many recipes on Love the Kitchen, my aim is to provide nutritious meals which are quick and simple to prepare, using minimal ingredients wherever possible.
- 5-6 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 5 large free range eggs
- 1 x teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 x tablespoon olive oil (Cretan, if you have it) ;o)
- half teaspoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- freshly ground sea salt and milled black pepper to taste
- 10 grams of finely grated Cretan Graviera cheese (or Parmesan as a substitute)
- A drizzle of black truffle oil to taste
- In a bowl, combine the eggs, parsley, Dijon mustard and seasoning and whisk gently until the mustard is evenly distributed. I find it better to drop a few smaller blobs of mustard into the eggs - the blend is more consistent.
- Bring a non-stick saucepan to a medium heat, and add the olive oil. Tip in the spring onions, and sweat for 2-3 minutes until they have started to soften.
- Reduce the heat slightly, the pour over the seasoned eggs and mustard mixture, then stir well. Leave for a minute or so, then fold in the mixture.
- Leave for another minute, then fold through again. Personally, I like my eggs a little on the softer side and do not mind if they appear a little runny.
- When cooked to your liking, remove from heat and carefully spoon onto lightly toasted bagels or a bread of your choice.
- Finely grate the cheese over the eggs, then drizzle a little truffle oil over the top. Season with freshly milled black pepper, then serve.