With four children, of a school-going age, our weekday breakfast is rushed, to say the least. However, the only advantage to this is the learned appreciated that I now have for the weekend breakfast. Without the threat of the imminent school bell, our weekend breakfast is a whole lot more relaxed. Valentine's day falls on a Saturday this year, so if you're planning on starting the day off well, and earning a few brownie point, treat your loved one to an extra special breakfast, or brunch. This bap can be assembled in minutes, and the combination of flavours are simply scrumptious.
We’re very fortunate to have eggs straight from our garden from our lovely hens, but if you’ve to buy eggs seek out some true free-range, organic eggs. How delicious this bap really is, completely depends on the quality of the eggs. Brioche buns are for sale in M&S and Aldi, but if you can’t get your hands on them, any bread buns will work in their place. Enjoy!

Chorizo, Avocado & Poached Egg Brunch Bap

Serves 4
4 free range eggs
½ tsp white wine vinegar
2 ripe avocados, thinly sliced
1 tsp olive oil
100g chorizo, thinly sliced
4 brioche buns
Tomato relish of your choice
Smoked paprika, optional

  1. To poach the eggs, bring a saucepan of water to a bubbling boil, add the white wine vinegar. Using a spoon quickly stir the water to make like a whirlwind in the saucepan. Crack the egg into a cup, and with the water still swirling gently add the egg into the centre of the saucepan. Depending on the size of the egg it will take between 2 and 4 minutes to poach. Once cooked, remove to a plate lined with kitchen paper and cover with additional kitchen paper to keep warm while the rest of the eggs are cooking. You can cook two eggs together, but repeat this process for the rest of the eggs.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the chorizo slices and fry for about 1 minute on each side. Remove to a plate.
  3. To assemble the bap, cut the bun in half and over the bottom half spread a thin layer of relish, top with the slices of avocado, an even layer of fried chorizo and top with the poached egg. Season with a few grinds of black pepper and a sprinkling of smoked paprika, if you have it to hand. Add the top of the brioche bun and sandwich together. Enjoy straight away.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Nessa x

This week's Irish Country Living sees the latest instalment of my Home Nurse column. The topic is 'fussy eaters'. Of course this is neither an ailment or a sickness, however it is an issue that many parents with little ones have to deal with. I have mentioned here before how I relied on my trustee hand blender to assist me in combating dinner time battles, so when House of Fraser offered me one of their cordless blenders for one lucky reader it seemed like the perfect giveaway for this week. To be in with a chance of winning this Breville Cordless Hand Blender all you have to do is leave a comment below. All names will be put in the hat and the winner will be picked at random. I will announce the lucky winner in my next blog post. 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: the competition is open to residents of Ireland the U.K. only. You must be over 18. No cash alternative is possibleThe winner must email/contact me within 7 days of them being announced as the winner, or another name will have to be drawn from the hat. 

Best of luck! 

Last October I had the opportunity to partake in Imen McDonnell's Lens & Larder Retreat. The magnificent Ballynahinch Castle & it's surrounding area was the location for our retreat. An ideal spot, as at every turn there was the opportunity to capture a perfectly beautiful photo. I've been meaning to share a few of those pics, but with cookery classes, columns & Christmas, I'm only now getting the chance to pop them on here for you to see. 
A retreat based around food styling & photography was the brainchild of the wonderfully talented Imen McDonnell. By her side were Cliodhna Prendergast of Breaking Eggs and her husband, Patrick O'Flaherty, the manager of the castle, and together they created the perfect food lovers retreat. Our teachers were Beth Kirby, of Local Milk fame, and Susan Spungen, who happens to be one of Hollywood's top food stylists. I learnt much from these ladies and thoroughly enjoyed simply being a part of their company for the few days. From mushroom foraging to candlelit dinners in the castle, we were truly spoilt. 

Susan demonstrating how to cook and style a galette. These delicious galettes were packed with mushrooms we had just foraged from the near-by woods.   

The Old School House, Inishlacken - our shoot location for day two of the retreat. 

Susan and Cliodhna preparing the lobsters for their photoshoot. 

Beth setting up one of our scenes for photographing. 
There were so many opportunities to photograph something pretty, but I loved the simplicity of the old stone walls of the school house, they made for a wonderful backdrop. 
Imen has indicated that there may be another retreat planned for the near future, so keep an eye on her blog for updates. Even three months on, I'm still mulling over all that I learnt on the retreat, naturally from Susan and Beth, who were ever generous with their teachings, but also through the conversations I had with my fellow Lens & Larder participants who each, in their own right, are inspiring creatives.