February 23, 2014



The kitchen “before”.

We are beginning the process of selling our house in Derbyshire.  Our intention is to downsize in England and upsize in France, spending more time there.  I try not to think too hard about the reality of selling two houses and buying two houses as the idea is just likely to send me into freefall but we have made a start.

This start involved making our house in England look like a show home for the photos that will appear on the agent’s website.

kitchen after

The kitchen “after”.

We are now functioning with about half of our cooking equipment, the other half being temporarily moved to the garage then ultimately to be deposited in my dad’s garage so that anyone wanting to view the house can see the size of the garage beyond the stuff that used to be in the kitchen.

baked eggs with haddock and spinach Cooking has been limited and even more haphazard than usual during this initial process but we have managed to make a few things that we were pleased with (baked beans and scrambled egg don’t fall into this category, however much we love them) including this dish which is ideal for lunchtime (or a starter perhaps). 

It’s adapted from the Hairy Bikers book “The Hairy Dieters” which my brother gave us for Christmas the other year.  (He also gave us their second dieting book last Christmas - cheeky monkey.)

baked eggs with haddock and spinach2 baked eggs with haddock and spinach3

It’s basically smoked haddock baked in crème fraîche with spinach and eggs and it’s absolutely delicious.

baked eggs with haddock and spinach4 We followed the recipe almost to the letter and for personal consumption I would do it again and again with no changes.  If I was to serve it to guests I think I would follow the tip given by Rachel Khoo when making her croque madame muffins and pour out some of the egg white.  It would simply make it look prettier and a tad more professional.

Instead of smoked haddock (we used the tail end of a piece we had the day before) I think it would be lovely made with smoked salmon, smoked ham or even a bit of fried bacon.

baked eggs with haddock and spinach5 Ingredients (for two people)

½ bag spinach leaves

75 - 100g approx smoked haddock, skinned and snipped into small chunks

75g crème fraîche

2 spring onions, washed, trimmed and sliced

1tsp cornflour

2 eggs (preferably fridge cold)


Preheat the oven to 220° C / 200°fan / gas mk 7.  Lightly grease two large ramekins and put them onto a baking tray.

Put the spinach into a pan with about a tablespoon of water and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.

Drain in a sieve or colander and remove as much water as possible by pressing with the back of a ladle or large spoon.

Put the spinach, fish, crème fraîche, cornflour and spring onions into a medium bowl and mix together.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Divide the mixture between the ramekins, cover with oiled foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, slip off the foil and break an egg into each ramekin.  Replace the foil and bake for a further 8 minutes, by which time the egg whites should be cooked but the yolks still runny.

Remove from the oven again but leave with the foil on for a further 2 minutes.

Serve hot with toast on the side. (And a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc if desired.)

Serves 2.


  1. I do not envy you selling two houses! But I do envy that gorgeous happy dog in the first pic!

  2. Good luck with the plans - wounds like it will be worth it in the end. This dinner sounds like my idea of heaven - although I might add in some crispy bacon...

    1. Sounds - not wounds...

    2. Smoked haddock AND bacon........lovely idea!

  3. This is my kind of food - good smoked fish and eggs might be simple but just SO delicious. I always reduce the egg white a little in this kind of dish because my wife refuses to eat too much of it. She says it's pointless. I sort of see her point - I think.
    I wish you loads of luck with your plans. We desperately wanted to do something very similar some years ago and got part way through our house sale and house search in the Gers when it became clear that we had to stay to care for various ageing relatives and all our plans had to be abandoned. So I'm definitely cheering for you to do it. Keep the faith.

    1. Thanks Phil, I feel your pain having gone part way through the process then having to give up.
      We have anguished over how to do this for a couple of years and arrived at the conclusion that the only way for us was to spend less on the French house, leaving enough to have a small place here where we can stay for prolonged periods to visit my dad or for when he needs us.
      Then when he doesn't need us any more (not a nice prospect), we can decide whether we want to keep the ties with the UK or not.
      Luckily you can still buy a very small house for a sensible price in our part of Derbyshire. We would love to have a nice little cottage in a nice little village somewhere but they fetch a small fortune these days.

  4. Yummy this sounds delicious, thanks for sharing this.