Eggs in a nest with bacon, thyme and mushrooms

Today – Friday October 13 – is World Egg Day. I’ve had eggs on my mind all week, thanks to Food Writers NZ’s #7dayeggchallenge on Instagram.

We eat a lot of eggs in this household and I’m lucky to have found a great source down at Wellington’s Harbourside Market. Shevington Farm from Ōtaki have one of the most popular stalls at this Sunday market and they regularly sell out of their super-fresh free-range eggs very early (which is why I’m normally there in my sweaty running kit, on my way home from an ungainly jog around the harbour).

Anyway, in the quest to meet all the prompts as part of this Instagram challenge, I came across this blast-from-the-past photo.

I knew I’d taken it while recipe testing for a Three Ways With… column, but I couldn’t remember what the key ingredient was (I knew it wasn’t eggs). By a process of elimination, and much excavation of my not-very-organised filing system, I finally twigged: it was Three Ways With… Filo pastry.

Reading the column made me quite keen to unroll a few sheets of filo pastry, but I might have to wait for World Filo Day (surely that’s every day, in Greece?) to make that happen. In the meantime, here’s the recipe for Breakfast Pies, otherwise known as Eggs In A Nest With Bacon, Mushrooms and Thyme.


Makes 6

Since breakfast for dinner is a recognised thing (no news to some of us), these little pies are acceptable at any time of day. You will need a Texas muffin tin for this recipe (op shops often have them).

  • 3 Tbsp melted butter
  • 4 sheets filo pastry
  • 12 rashers streaky New Zealand bacon, each cut in half
  • 2 cups button mushrooms, wiped and sliced
  • 6 eggs
  • Sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 190C and grease six cups of a Texas muffin tin.

Stack one sheet of filo on top of the other – long sides facing you. Brush with a little melted butter and cut into thirds, then cut each third in half so you end up with 12 squares of pastry. Take four squares of pastry and gently push them into a muffin tin. Brush with butter and repeat with all the other squares, then repeat this process with the remaining pastry sheets.

Line each pastry shell with the strips of bacon, letting it poke out the top. Divide the mushrooms and thyme between each shell, then carefully crack an egg on top. Season well and transfer to the preheated oven.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the egg white is just set and the yolk still a little wobbly. Gently remove from the tins and serve. A drizzle of hot sauce or spoonful of spicy chutney is a great addition.

Crunchy cheese, potato and onion bake

When all this is over, I’m going to declare a fatwa on potatoes and cheese. We’re a potato-based household at the best of times, but right now it feels like we’re practically living on them. I’d do anything for a bit of variation on the cheese front, too. Just before lockdown started I had a wedge of my favourite Whitestone Aged Windsor Blue that I ate all too quickly. And oh, to be able to eat any of the cheeses I ate in France last year…

However, in the spirit of being grateful for small mercies, even the most ordinary potatoes and cheese can make life seem a little brighter. This is a riff on my sister-in-law Jenny’s famous cheesy potatoes (I aspire to make them as well as she can). If you squint, it’s sort of a poor man’s tartiflette – I made this Thomasina Miers’ tartiflette many times in France with enormous wheels of reblochon last year. And one day, I will again.


Serves 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

If you’ve got cold leftover roast or boiled potatoes, you can use them instead – just blanch the spinach or silverbeet in boiling water, then add it to the potatoes and crush. Also feel free to swap the bacon for ham (or a small amount of anchovies, or olives). Other good additions include cherry tomatoes, little florets of broccoli or cauliflower, chunks of other cheeses – whatever your lockdown cupboards or fridge offers up.

  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large onions, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 6-8 large agria potatoes, scrubbed and cut into large chunks
  • 200g spinach or silverbeet, washed and roughly chopped
  • 150g streaky bacon, diced
  • 2 cups grated tasty cheese

Heat the oven to 200C. Put 3 Tablespoons of the olive oil and the sliced onions in a roasting dish and toss well. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes while you’re getting the potatoes ready.

While the onions are cooking, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 15 minutes, until just about falling apart when prodded with a fork. Drop the spinach into the pot and cook for two minutes, then tip the whole thing into a colander and leave to drain.

Remove the onions from the onion and take most of them out of the dish. Layer some potatoes and spinach on top, crushing the potatoes with a fork, followed by some grated cheese and bacon. Repeat these layers, ending with cheese and bacon. Season well with lots of black pepper, drizzle over the remaining olive oil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes, until everything is crunchy. Eat with lots of hot mustard and something green.